26 YEARS
OF BMX RACING IN TORRINGTON CT.



WEEK #7
AUGUST 2ND, 2020
Story by Rog Plaskett

 

These reports are created as remembered by the author. They may or may not be approved by The Litchfield County BMX Group, Inc. If any rider wishes to fix an error, please contact Rog Plaskett via facebook messenger.


This was going to be a day of decisions regarding the weather. Saturday night the weather forecast was for scattered showers in our area around 2:00 P.M. As of 9:00 P.M. that night we only had about 45 riders pre-registered so it looked like this would be a small race and we might be able to get it in. When registration closed at midnight, we were approaching 160 riders! The forecast in the morning had changed (no surprise there) and rain was now predicted for much earlier and that any time after 12:00 PM the rain could arrive. So now what do we do? Turn away 160 riders or make some adjustments to try to get a complete race in? The staff made an unprecedented decision to push the starting time forward to 11:30 AM and plaster Face Book with the news in hopes that everyone would get the message. It was also added to the website schedule and in the latest news section. It was also decided to go with the two-moto transfer system and run the races as fast as we could without affecting rider safety. The final tally was 165 entries split into 40 motos.

During practice there were a few sprinkles, but we got to 11:30 without rain. Just before we ran the Push Bikes, we named our Rider-Of-The-Week. We chose Drayke Palazzi based on his big win at last week’s State Qualifier. Drayke has been here every week and that was his third win of the season and 5th in his career. He said that Mike Savage was his favorite rider.

   
Former Rider Of The Week, Cooper Jarest, greets Drayke at the finish line

BALANCE BIKES
4-Year Olds
With 11 of these rug-rats in the house they were split into 3 groups. The first was the for the 4-year old’s but one would be a no-show. The four that made up their class sure looked to be having fun. Parker Whalen ran his way to the front of the pack in all three rounds of action. Mattie Doyle had that matching bike and helmet combo working for her as she was right behind Parker. Olivia Cernak was totally focused on making it around the course as she crossed the stripe in third. Victoria Machnik would win the BMX fashion contest as she looked like a racer in a complete BILT uniform.

3-Year Olds
There were three in this group and Asher Smith sprinted his way around and easily won putting his FOX colors on the top sot on the podium. Ryder Vaill, a late add to the moto sheets, would run to a second place finish while Joe Williams was third.

2-Year Olds
There were just three runners in this one and Tanner Smith out-ran them all, putting the Boosted colors across the stripe first. Carter Anthony, wearing some cool looking checkered shorts, was second. Novah Heath, a member of the Boosted gang< had a tough time today but did manage to put a third in the record books.

CRUISERS
17-20 Year Olds
This was a class where the ages ranged from 14 to 35. Marissa Lyman (full circle Bike Shop), earned her fifth consecutive cruiser win with a sweep in this total points race. Laiken Comier, who trails Marissa in the quest for the female Cruiser title, was second. Third went to Amanda Orlandi as she kept the heat turned up on Laiken right to the stripe in two of the three rounds.

36-40 Year Olds
This was another total points 3-rider shootout. This time it was Caissy Price earning her first Foothills win. She did it impressively by winning every round. Kasie Provencal (Answer/Northeast Factory) held off Sarah Huberty (Overhaul Racing) for the second spot overall by finishing just ahead of her in two of the three rounds.

9 Year Olds
This was a 4-rider class and, after the two qualifying rounds, it was Dave Crichton the rider missing the cut. Dave was the only 7-year old in the mix and gave it a great try. His day would get much better a little later. In the main it was Tyler Marhafer (LYPHE Racing), drawing gate 1, leading from start to finish. Hunter Heath (Boosted BMX) had his hands full of Noah Hardgrove (Full Circle Bike Shop) but was able to hold him off for the second spot.

13 Year Olds
This was also a total points event and it was “The farm-Boy” show as Dave Lebarge was dominate. This was Dave’s second cruiser win here this season. Chris Pedersen (sponsored by the Sand Road Animal Hospital), had a great night at Falcon BMX last night with a “double” but was second here today. Breton Provencal (Answer/Northeast Factory) was third.

17-20 Year Olds
The biggest rivalry at Foothills this year is between two evenly matched riders. They are Jonah Graves (Full Circle Bike Shop) and RJ Reale (Warped BMX). Whether it’s a cruiser class or a 20-inch class, these two hot-rods go at it with a vengeance. You just cannot predict who is going to win but they sure put on a show of skills.
   
 
Jonah Graves and RJ Reale. Foothills biggest rivalry
 

Today this was a total points race and we got to see these two go at it head to head for three rounds. In round one it was RJ holding off Jonah. In round two it was Jonah. In the final round it was Jonah winning the tiebreaker. We had it wrong in the tower and I mistakenly announce that RJ was the overall winner, but it was Jonah. Joe Broderick had the best view of anyone as he finished in the third spot every round.

36-40 Year Olds
This was a 4-rider class, well, kind of. Unfortunately, one rider was a no-show and that causes a situation where the two qualifying rounds mean absolutely nothing as all three remaining riders would automatically qualify. This is the second week in a row this has happened, and it seems that the no-show rider, only registers so that he can ride the track in practice with his child. It seems that he is not aware that, for half the price of an entry fee, he can simply pay for practice and ride the track before racing. If I’m wrong with my thought on what’s going on, then I apologize. Anyway, in this main event it was and old Foothills regular, Steve Oldham coming back and looking like he never left. He easily won the main event. Cliff Benoit (Misfits BMX of Cape Cod) was second while third went to “The Rabbit” Jeff Orlandi.

46-50 Year Olds
This is always a fun class to watch as 4-riders were going hard for each position. After the two qualifying rounds it was Rog Billings (Scylent Rage Racing) the rider eliminated but he sure pushed it right to the finish line. In the main it rare to you see Mike Savage (Crit Plate) get a bad start but that is what happened in this one. As Jason Moriarty led the charge down the front straight Mike was chasing him but in turn one Scott Price got to the inside and passed Mike. Then up the second straight Price got a little squirrely but kept going. By turn 3 Mike had the oportunity and passed Price as they headed up the back stretch. At the stripe it was Moriarty, Savage and Price.

NOVICES
5 & Under
The qualifying rounds were as exciting as the main event. Skylar Hardgrove (Full Circle Bike Shop) had missed transferring out of the motos the last three weeks. Today she just made it in as she held off Carter Mancino for the last spot. In the main Austin Dohan took an early lead at built to about a half a straight away by the time he reached turn 3. Into turn three he dove, and it did not look like he was going to make it out. He came in low and headed right up the track nearly crashing into the wooden fence. He managed to turn just before impact and cruised the rest of the way to victory. Killian Connelly finished a distant second with a good run. Bennett Piererse was all over the rear wheel of Skylar Hardgrove and it looked like he had a good shot to find a way around her. It never happened and Skylar would enjoy her best finish ever at Foothills with a solid third.

6 Year Olds
This was a large class with 7-riders vying for those six spots in the main event. Ryder Orsorio, one of our local Torrington riders, would miss making the transfer for only the first time this year. The main event was five riders strong as Owen Sanzone’s pit thought this was a three-moto transfer system and missed the main. They sorted themselves out early and all the way around there was single file racing. It would be Logan Rivera winning for the second time this year. Bentley Preston, a winner earlier this year was second. Third went to Finn Connelly, matching his best finish here this year.

7 Year Olds
Starting with 5-riders we eliminated Caleb Barnes in the qualifying rounds. He was making his first trip here ever from Lansborough Massachusetts. Parker Moriarty (Gold Cup #1) is a two-time Novice winner here and he would win today for the third time. He will not compete for a fourth Novice win because this was his 10th win in the class and becomes the newest Intermediate. Well Done! Second place went to Jayden Mahoney while rounding out the top three was Brynn Whalen.

9 Year Olds
This was the only total points race in the entire Novice groups. Rowan Harrison, with two second place finishes earlier this year, took it to the top spot in his third try and he did it with an exclamation point by winning three rounds. Blake Price and Emilee Maguire were second and third.

10 Year Olds
Pat Leblanc, from Russell Massachusetts, has not been here this year and only three times last year. It was obvious that he hasn’t had enough track time to get the new configuration dialed in and he missed the transfer today. Landon Moynihan, after winning the Rider Of The Week award two weeks ago, came back and backed up the big second place finish in the state qualifier with his second win of the season. Crawford Kesl, after taking a couple of races off, was back today and nailed a solid second place finish. Olivia Kaleta was third.

11 Year Olds
In the first round Hunter Price wrecked in the first straight and eventually, was the rider eliminated. The main event Ethan Cournoyer had the lead going into turn three when Drayke Palazzi (Boosted BMX) got on the inside and took the spot away. Ethen kept battling but at the stripe it was Palazzi, Cournoyer and Collin Ramsey (Scylent Rage Racing).

13 Year Olds
This was a wild one. Jocelyn Orlandi is still trying to make her first main at Foothills and, unfortunately, her quest continues as she did not make it today. In round one Josh Styga, in his first race ever, baled down in turn four but he would make the main and finish 4th. Zach Adams was a boy on a mission today and this will be one that he will remember for a long time. He took the lead early and enjoyed his last ride as a Novice because when he crossed the stripe, he became the newest Intermediate in the country, at least at that moment. Liz Doyle would finish second with Magnus Harrison held on for third.

14 Year Olds
Despite a great try, Addison Rushford (Boosted BMX) did not transfer out of the two qualifying rounds. The three-rider main event the battle was for the second spot because Kraig Geisler (Family Pride) checked out early. He would cruise across the stripe while Wyatt Keeler and Marcus Bodley battled for the second spot which would go to Wyatt.

36-40 Year Olds
This was a four-rider class that saw Caissy Price be eliminated after qualifying. In the main event, this rider has not raced in about 30 years but sure looked good today. Jim Maclennan drew the inside gate for the main and he made that preferred starting position work for him as he blasted out of the gate and, even with Andy Chako charging hard, would not be denied his first win in a lot of years. It is pretty cool as he had his son Connor with him to try and instill some interest in BMX racing in him. What a proud moment that must have been for both. Chalko was second with the third spot going to James Kaleta (Rubber Side Down Racing).

41-45 Year Olds
This was a good-sized group with six riders in the mix. Sarah Huberty (Overhaul Racing) was the rider missing out of participating in todays main event. This was interesting as there was a rider in it that I used to call his races when he was about 12 years old. Now 41 Carl Carlsong was going to give BMX another try as his son Kodie has been racing for a few years. Brial Kesl (Scylent Rage Racing led the charge down the front straight into turn one after starting in gate one. His teammate, Tim Adams, was starting the closest to him in gate 4. He would go right out there with Brian. Carl Carlson, starting in gate 6 was in the mix down the front chute. As they navigated through turn one, Carlson threaded the needle between the two Scylent Rage racers and grabbed the lead. It was a lead that he would hang onto all the way around. At the stripe it was Carlson, Kesl and Adams. What a way to come back to the sport. (No Carl, I’m not gonna stay long enough to announce a race your grandchildren might be in.)

46-50 Year Olds
One of our most intense riders when he’s on the track is Willi Massinger, who considers Billerica BMX his home track. Today he would miss his first main event here this year. Willi had a mechanical problem in turn 4 in the final qualifying round costing him any shot at making the main. Jason Graves (Full Circle Bike Shop) made it two in a row here with a dominate run in this main. He led start to finish but he was pushed hard by Scott Price who tried multiple times to find a way around. Third went to Pat Golden (Rejects BMX).

INTERMEDIATES
7 Year Olds
In this 5-rider race, one of those riders was only 5 years old. That is the fate you suffer when your so good you earn your move up from Novice and your only 5. There simply are not many 5-year-old Intermediates around. Such is the fate of Cole Lyman (full Circle Bike Shop). Some day he will reap the benefits of this early experience, but it will not be this day as he did not make the transfer. In the main the order was sorted out early and remained that way the entire lap. At the stripe is was Dave Crichton (Frye High Racing) first, JD Lataille (Rubber Side Down) second and Cooper Jarest (Rubber Side Down) third. Now this was special because it was win number 20 for Crichton and he rode his way right into the Expert class. What a comeback after missing the cut in his cruiser class. This was Dave’s fourth Foothills win in 2020.

9 Year Olds
So this was a total points race and it was one of those where it is the same order of finish in every round. Noah Hardgrove (Full Circle Bike Shop), after winning the first two weeks of the season but then experiencing a drought for the next four, was back on top today. Adalyn Nevins (Retribution Race Corps) was solid with a second while third was Xander Monczka (Overhaul Racing).

11 Year Olds
This four-rider class fought hard in the qualifying rounds and, after the dust cleared it was Lucas Mancino (Boosted BMX) was the tough luck rider. In the main it was Nick Preston pulling away from two riders out of the Scylent Rage Racing camp. Nick, flying those Concrete Kings colors, was our winner but it was the usual battle for second between Johnny Urban and Brody Kesl. This time Brody got past Johnny in the second straight and held him off to finish second.

12 Year Olds
In this one Noah Rushford (Boosted BMX), who has made the main the last three weeks, did not make it today. Noah has been on a roll making the last three mains here. In this main event Caleb Kaleta and Mikey Roy, both teammates on Boosted BMX, broke away from the pack and had their own battle for supremacy. When it was over, it was “The Gambler” Kaleta pulling off his third win in four tries here. Roy was second but almost passed him in the final turn. The third-place finisher was Colin Leblanc riding “The Green Machine”.

13 Year Olds
We now go back to a total points race and it was The Associated Lightning Rod sponsored Chris “Sparky” Pedersen winning the first two rounds. Nick Tirendi, always competitive, finished a close second in those rounds but won round three. Sparky finished second which was not a “prefect” but good enough for his third win this weekend counting the two he got Saturday in Meriden. Third today went to Liam MacNeil.

15 Year Olds
This was one of the two largest classes of the day with a full gate of 8-riders. In the mix was a girl. Surely the boys were confident of their skills? After the qualifying rounds, it was a free ride for seven riders as Vinny Fahey was a no-show. So well rested, the seven riders were ready to rock and roll in the main. Noah Toney took the lead down the front chute with Kodie Carlson busting a neat move in turn one to get up to the second spot. Marissa Lyman emerged from the pack up the second straight and, by the time they reached turn two, it was nearly a three-rider breakaway. The only pass that occurred the rest of the way was Nick Smith (Full Circle Bike Shop) passing Hayden MacDonald but that was for the fourth spot. The top three were Toney, Carlson and Lyman.

17-20 Year Olds
This was the biggest class of the day with 9-riders going for some Sunday glory. After two hectic rounds of qualifying, it was Sean Adams missing the cut. The main was a full gate of 8-riders. Tyler Farwell, starting in gate 2, got a great snap out of the gate and grabbed the lead. Devin Murphy also got a good start out of gate 4 but Farwell had the inside line and would maintain the lead out of turn one. As they raced up the second straight there was a bit of paint sharing going on between Ty Lepicier and Nate Barnes battling of the third spot. All the way around it was Farwell, undoubtedly remembering the situation last week when Murphy (female) beat all the boys in her class. Farwell (Time2shine Racing) must have felt the hot breath of Devin on his back because he ran a flawless lap and managed to stay in front of Devin Murphy (Daylight Bicycles Factory). The battle for third went to Ty Lepicier (Sand Box Kings). Farwell, being an Expert, means its Expert points for everyone in the main.

26-35 Year Olds
This was a crazy grouping as there was an Expert and a Novice mixed in the Intermediates. As expected, it was Joe Lataille the rider eliminated despite a valiant effort with the more experienced riders. Hunter Zeiner (Butter) was the expert and, after finally turning it on last week in the State Qualifier with his first win, was on fire again today and made it two weeks in a row. Hunter was a regular here for years and is a former Daniel Plaskett Memorial Award winner. Last year he suffered a terrible crash (not here) and it required surgery. He was out for months and is still on the path to full recovery. The last two weeks he looks like the old Hunter who was given the nickname “Butter” because he is so smooth. Shawn Kennedy, who earned his first two Intermediate wins the last two weeks, asked me who that “fast expert” was. Shawn, “That masked man was the Lone Ranger”. Shawn finished second with third going to Josh Hardgrove (Full Circle Bike Shop).

41-45 year Olds
This was a 5-rider grouping of some evenly matched riders. Anyone could be eliminated after the two rounds. This time it was Scott Gonyer Overhaul Racing) missing his first main of the year. Trevor Toney and Justin Provencal (Answer/Northeast Factory) were side by side down the front chute but in turn one it was Toney taking control. The rest of the way around it was the same. At the stripe it was Toney, Provencal and Joel Cristofori (Boosted BMX).

51 & Over
This was a 4-rider class which included Expert legend, Mike Savage (Crit Plate). Obviously, this would be big for those who made the main due to its now Expert points. 64-year old Rog Billings (Scylent Rage Racing) was the rider not enjoying those points but not because of effort as he gives it his all every time out. In the main it was Savage all the way, but it was a good race for the second spot and those 84 Expert points. Art Ramsey (Scylent Rage racing) had that spot for the first two straights but heading into turn two, Mark Reale (Warped BMX) had a head of steam and passed art with an inside move. The rest of the way it stayed the same. Savage, Reale and Ramsey.

EXPERTS
As we hit the Experts classes the sprinkles started, and the wind picked up. We dropped the gate one after another to get in. The gate would drop when the last rider in the previous group had reached turn 3. This was a total points race. Devon Hurley put the Family Pride colors in the winner’s circle in all three rounds. Tyler Marhafer looked good and finished second for LYPHE Racing. Logan Rice (Warped BMX) and the only 7-year old in this mix, was third.

10 Year Olds
In this one, Gold cup #2 Logan Moriarty, who has not missed a main event here in recent memory, did not make it today. I found out later that he had earned his 20th Intermediate win at Bethel this past week and this was his first race here as an Expert. The other rider should enjoy this while it last because Logan sped his way through the lower proficiencies, and it will not be long when riders will be looking at his rear wheel fading off into the distance. Dion Hurley (Family Pride) earned his first Foothills win of the year in this main event and it was not close. Conor Cristofori (Boosted BMX) was second as he held off a determined Cole Charette (Overhaul racing).

12 Year Olds
The next two were total points events and run fast. This one saw a “perfect” from “Zachattack” Zack Rukakoski (Overhaul Racing) as he swept everything. Breton Provencal (Answer/Northeast factory) was second with third going to Ben Machnik (Warped BMX).

13 Year Olds
As we wind down and the sprinkles has stopped, Gavin Suares (Rubber Side Down Racing) had the broom out and swept the motos. Noah Andersen (Ramp Farm Racing) was second with the third spot going to Brandon Houle.
14 Year Olds.

Kayden Smith crashed in the first round down in turn two and that was all she wrote for him. I do not know if he was hurt or the bike was damaged, but he did not show for the last chance qualifying round. The main event was a three-rider shootout that featured that Foothills rivalry I wrote about earlier. With RJ Reale (Warped BMX) qualifying first forcing Jonah Graves (Full Circle Bike Shop) to qualify out of the second round along with Trevor cooper (Ramp Farm Racing). So, with RJ firing the first shot across the bow with that qualifying run how would the main event go? Jonah drew gate two with RJ all the way over in gate 8. Cooper was in gate 5. Bam, the gate dropped and both Jonah and Rj exploded out of the gate. Into turn 1 Jonah had a slight lead as RJ tried and inside move but Jonah kept the door shut. All the way around RJ was all over “The Undertaker” like gum on the bottom of your shoe. The lead never exceeded one bike length, nor did Jonah give up the lead. At the stripe it was Graves, Reale and Cooper.

15 Year Olds
After Chris “Bulldozer” Gonyer was eliminated in the motos, just as his dad was earlier, it certainly was a tough day for the Gonyer riders. These guys are stars on the Overhaul Racing team, and this is something that you don’t see very often. The three-rider main event saw these riders in a pump race so no one really took it seriously. Anthony Bartole (Misfits of Cape Cod) pumped his way to the win. Jacob Faunce (Rubber Side Down) was second while third went to Aidan Biello (Ramp Farm Racing). They all were having fun and that is the most important thing.

26-35 year Olds
This was another total points race and it was the same order. Steve Healey nailed the ‘perfect”. Danielle Jolicoeur, after splattering herself all over the first straight in a round 2 crash was second. Matt Markie, who sat out the final two rounds, was third.

36-40 Year Olds
The final race of the day was this total points race and it was Steve Oldham earning a “double” today winning this class to go along with his Cruiser class win. Dan Rice (Warped BMX) was second with Cliff Benoit (Misfits of cape Cod) third.

We made it just before the rain which arrived within five minutes after we finished. Whew. Thanks, every one for your continued support. We sure appreciate you all. See you next week.

 
For Complete Finish Report