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East Coast Nationals race report

Filed under General on June 12, 2015 | Comment(s)

This is the second consecutive year (and 5th-time altogether) that Chesapeake BMX has hosted an ABA or USA BMX national. With so many tracks and cities vying for a chance to hold a USA BMX event, you have to have a pretty incredible facility for the circuit to come back year after year. One look at the smooth and rolling track, located amongst a grassy green, tree-lined park - and you'll know why we're back! 


From my first glance at Chesapeake BMX - located within minutes of the Baltimore airport, this place looks like pure FUN. The surface is super smooth, thanks to a coat or two of their own top-secret "slury" mix. And then there are the multiple step-up step-downs throughout the layout, with a fun-filled rhythm section down the entire last straightaway. Off the track, the paved parking lot is chock full of cars with license plates from all over New England: 

For Frday night, the racing was fast and furious. As Otis our official East Coast official and partt-time Strider announcer would say - "everybody wants to go to the big dance." I jokingly asked Otis what kind of dance is this big dance that he speaks of, he said they're doing the boogaloo. 
Right on!

After covering more national events on the right side of the states over the past coupla years - from Southpark to Rock Hill, Michigan to Georgia, there are definitely some usual suspects that I continually spot in my camera's view finder. One of those guys in particular, who always seems to make for a good photo is "the guy with the Shaanze Reade helmet." 

His name is Aidan Kelly, who hails from Winston Salem, NC, doin' it for the Out2Win bunch. I'm not sure if it's his long and lanky riding style, his elbows-out tuck technique or just the rare UK Olympic helmet on his head - but I just can't take a bad photo of this Kelly kid. In Georgia, I finally tracked him down in staging to get the scoop on his trademark UK-flag helmet. Turns out that he found it for sale on E-Bay, and got a sweet deal on it - paying something like $250 for it.
In Friday's 14x final (errr...sorry Otis, I mean "big dance"), Kelly was looking strong once again down the first straight and was hoping to continue his King of Friday Night streak - but Pedal Melisha's Brett Mathews had just enough umph to power to the lead by turn one. From there, it was the Mathews and Kelly show, as they battled it out like Godzlla and Mothra all around the smooth-as-glass Chesapeake track.

14 EXPERT

  • BRETT MATHEWS, PEDAL MELISHA, NJ
  • AIDAN KELLY, OUT2WIN, NC
  • JAKE BRYSON, STYLIN, NJ
  • THOMAS GLADSTONE, CT
  • WILLIAM ELLIS, JF PERFORMANCE BMX, MD
  • DAWSON YOUNG, HYPER BODY ARMOUR, NJ
  • CONNOR KELLY-BIGELOW, FL
  • FRANK "MR DIRT" PEREZ, RI


SMOOTH-AS-GLASS SATURDAY

Being Maryland in June, there was an additional obstacle to the action this week: humidity. Riders had to really keep on top of things, guzzling lots of liquids and keeping cool between motos and being ready to go 100% when the gate slammed down. For some, this was easy. For others, the heat was showing it's toll. 

Semi-time came quickly and there were some surprise shockwaves seen. Two key riders who were predicted early-on to be the odds-on-favorite winners, found themselves in that awful 5th-in-the-semi spot and would have to watch their expert mains from the grassy knolls alongside the track.
In a 14x semi, hometrack hero Evan Sinchak bailed down the first stretch - to everybody's shock and awe. Next shocker up was the 15x semi, where the always-stylish Texan dominator Tristen Judd - another projected winner, went out with a bad gate and couldn't make up the ground. For their competition, a sigh of relief was heard around the pits. 

In the girls ranks, there is one young 'un in the 5 & Under class who is a sessoned veteran of the class. Having raced since the age of 2 - and NOT on a balance bike/Strider, Crytina Patrick has been pedaling around the track for nearly 4 years now. And yet, to get that big win. Well, today as her mom in staging screamed and cheered llike the mad woman she is - Crystina and her pink bike finally got that long-awaited 1st place trophy that is taller than her. 

5 & UNDER GIRLS

  • CRYSTINA PATRICK, NY
  • LILANI PRINGLE, RIDE LIKE A GIRL, FL
  • KYRIE CODDINGTON-SWEET, POWERS BIKE, NY

 As we said a few paragraphs ago, local hero Evan Sinchak failed to make his 20" final. And that was real bad news for anybody who was in the gate with him for 14cruiser. You just knew that he was going to make up for his semi with a huge win - and he lived up to all of our expectations. We'd expect the same tomorrow, to complete his full revenge in class.

14 CRUISER

  • EVAN SINCHAK, C-YAA, MD
  • JACK PLUMMER, VENOM/BLACKCROWN, MN
  • DAVID ALBERT JR, STANDARD NORTHEAST, MA
  • JAKE BRYSON, STYLIN, JACKSON, NJ
  • ALLEN PARSONS, SPEED TECH SSQUARED, NC
  • WILLIAM ELLIS, JF PERFORMANCE,, MD
  • CAMERON ADDY, POTTER RACING PRODUCTS / DAN'S, OH
  • JACOB NEES, UR/NO NICE RACING, OH 

While there were PLENTY of incredible races, and some great moves in the turns to score some wins, it was a tough call to name just one single main as "The Best" of the day - but we think the difference here is seeing a former No.1 Champ get beat in battle. 

BMX dad and Team Thunder TM Jim Bramer hobbled up to the starting gate, having bailed in an earllier race and most likely refusing the fact that he might need stitches. But this guy is a true BMX warrior, and was out to prove it today. 
Usually, when it comes to the 41-45 cruiser ranks, it's always been a Davey -vs- Goliatch scenario, with big Shawn DiPrete playing the part of Goliath. Most guys wouldn't even think of being "David" the underdog, because the chance of finding a chink in Shawn's muscular armor is pretty much impossible. 
But not today - for Jim Bramer. 

Like a nitro-burning funnycar, the Thunder Racing TM was running on pure adrenaline when he got locked and loaded in the Chesapeake grid - and he likely got the gate of a lifetime and found himself out front, on the inside, by turn one. The South Park local could feel DiPrete breathin' down his neck, and had six other hard charging cruiser crazies chasing him down.
Bramer was doing whatever he could to hold the lead, even if it meant swervin' down the straight like a drunken sailor. As they entered the final turn, DiPrete came in hard for the last-chance swoop, and Bramer braced for impact as if a meteor was about to blast in to his atmosphere!  
Now, if anybody has seen DiPrete without a shirt on, you know good and well that he is built like a brick outhouse. That's what you get when you own your own gym. If the former No.1 Cruiser champ wants your spot, chances are good you are going to give it to him. 
But not today - for Jim Bramer. 
Diprete came in fast and hard but a little off kilter, and Bramer was prepared for it. Amazingly, Shawn not only bounced off of Bramer as if he's hit a rubber wall, but the BlackCrown factory rider also went down in the process!
But not Jim Bramer. Not today, folks.
The Thunder Racing pits exploded in cheers as their mentor and leader crossed the line for his first National win of the year - and it was an amazing one at that! 

41-45 CRUISER

  • JIM BRAMER, THUNDER RACING/DANS COMP, PA
  • JEREMY THOMPSON, POWERS BIKE/HARO, NC
  • SCOTT MORELAND, DANS COMP, IN
  • BILL COLBERT, NY
  • NICK PRENEAU, PA
  • DREW GUSTAFSON, C-YAA FACTORY, MA
  • FABIAN GONZALEZ, TEAM COLOMBIA, MD
  • SHAWN DIPRETE, FACTORY BLACKCROWN, MA

Pennsylvania's Anthony DeBlasio blasted down the third straight in 2nd place, and he wanted more. For a 7 novice, he set up the current leader - Connor Moreland, like a seasoned BMX pro. It was a picture-perfect high-low and DeBlasio de'blasted to the lead for Day 1's win. 

7 NOVICE

  • ANTHONY DEBLASIO, PA
  • CONNOR MORELAND, IN
  • SETH MARTIN, MD
  • KYLIE REBOLD, VA
  • BECKETT ASKLAR, CT
  • BRAYDEN REDD, DE
Day-1's 10x main was another barn-burner, as they say in Amish country. With a small continegnt of LDC~Challenge Factory riders here this weekend, they'd been making their presence known - and Chandler BMX local Luke O'Connor was flyin' out front in all of his motos and now, the main ... and looking strong enough to score the victory. That is, until the last lefty. With a big peaked step-up shooting in to the final corner, plenty of inside dive-bombs were being attempted, and a few of them pulled off. Appropriately, a kid named Cutter - riding for Clayborn, went for the move and pardon the pun - made the "cut" count. Willams took things over and he and O'Connor sprinted side by side to the line with fill-in scorekeeper Brad Hallin marking Williams down for the win.

10 EXPERT

  • CUTTER WILLIAMS, CLAYBORN/FRUIT SHOOT, VA
  • LUKE O'CONNOR, LDC CHALLENGE ELITE, AZ
  • ROBBIE WEBB, BIKERS EDGE/GT, CT
  • WESLEY HAGGSTROM, C-YAA FACTORY, NC
  • JADEN ASKLAR, E HAMPTON, CT
  • KAMREN KRICKLER, GENERATION II, MD
  • RAHKAI BUYNUM, OWINGS MILLS, MD
  • BLAKE POWELL, TSS RACING, VA
Earlier - in the 13-14 X-open, it was surprising to see Haro's Jesse Welch layin' low in the back of the pack;  but by the time his class main (the one that COUNTS) came along - we figured out his strategy. With the weather zapping out a lot of what rider's had left in their tanks, Welch was on cruise-control in his Open and saved it all for the 14x final.
From the slam of the gate to the stripe, Welch showed the guys the fastest way around - as Venom's Jack Plummer rounded out the 2-spot and local favorite Evan Sinchak watched from the side fence and gritted his teeth.
Hopefully on Sunday, we'll see the big rivalry that we all had hoped to see.

14 EXPERT

  • JESSE WELCH, HARO/PROMAX, CA
  • JACK PLUMMER, VENOM/BLACKCROWN, MN
  • BRETT MATHEWS, PEDAL MELISHA, NJ
  • ALEX GARCIA, DANCE FACTORY, WI
  • NATHANIEL CARON, ALLTOW WRECKING CREW/YESS, MA
  • JOSEPH LETO, CYCLECRAFT, FL
  • JAKE BRYSON, STYLIN, NJ
  • NATHAN SYKES, KID DYNAMITE MARYLAND, MD
Ever since practice on Friday, there has been one team that had stood out amongst all others - the East Coast Free Agent factory battalion. Some were locals here in Maryland, others from various parts of the East side of the U.S.. All of them, FAST. 
One of those quick ones who immediately stood out was Bryce Rose. This guy, you might say - was  thorn in the side of all 12x's. (pun intended) Come main-time, Rose was smellin' like a ..uh, well .. you know, as he holeshotted Time-2-Shine's Barone and Staats' lil' Tennessee terror, Zach Jacobs. 

12 EXPERT 

  • BRYCE ROSE, FREE AGENT/OMDG, MD
  • THOMAS BARONE, TIME 2 SHINE BMX.COM, NY
  • ZACH JACOBS, FACTORY STAATS/CIARI, TN
  • MATTHEW WEBB, BIKERS EDGE/GT, CT
  • WILLEM LEBELLE, SPEED TECH SSQUARED, MA
  • PHILIP FORD, CARLEY'S FLYERS, SC
  • HAYDEN SMITH, TIME 2 SHINE BMX.COM, GA
  • GIBSON MOON, POWERS BIKE SHOP, VA
In Nashville a couple of Nationals ago, we had a chance to sit down and talk with the talented Townsend Brothers for an upcoming PULL article. While everybody knows the friendly and fast Andrew and his scruffy beard and mad skills, fewer people outside of Virgina are aware of his softer-spoken, up and coming brother Thomas.
But that is all about to change.
Andrew warned us that his lil' bro was about to come on strong, like a Virginia thunderstorm - and was preparing to strike the national scene like a lightning bolt. (Well, maybe not in those exact words - but, you get the point.) Sure enough, on Saturday in the 15x main, the Factory Powers Bike Shop rider on his carbon Haro bike - thrusted himself in to the record books and showed us all of things to come from this rising BMX star.  
Racing down the second straight, young Townsend found himself in third place and wasn't liking it. In turn two, he made a move for the two - and while it might not have been super pretty, it worked. Suddenly in 2nd, Thomas figured - "I've got this far, I might as well try to win the whole thing" (or something to that effect - it's hard to read minds). The only thing between him and a 1st place trophy slip was AllTow's Kendall Wong. As they closed in on the last corner, Thomas went for the super inside swoop and with a little bump-n-run that put a smile on his brother's face, Townsend took over the lead and sprinted to the line for the first. 

15 EXPERT

  • THOMAS TOWNSEND, POWERS BIKE SHOP/HARO, VA
  • KENDAL WONG, ALLTOW WRECKING CREW/YESS, FL
  • R J ECKERT, STAR BMX PRODUCTS, WI
  • JACOB OLIVER, STANDARD NORTHEAS, NH
  • JUSTIN BOISSONNEAULT, MERIDIEN, CT
  • GRANT RAUM, TIME 2 SHINE BMX.COM, MD
  • QUENTIN CROWLEY, SPEED TECH SSQUARED, NC
  • TYLER KLEMCHUSKY, PHANTOM DEVELOPMENT, DE
Roarty  is a local. It showed. Need we say more? 

17-18 EXPERT

  • LUKE ROARTY, HYPER BICYCLES, MD
  • JUSTIN KNAPPER, ANSWER/RENNEN, PA
  • ALEC BOB, FACTORY FREE AGENT/OMDG, TX
  • CHRYSTOFER DAVIS, FREE AGENT/OMDG,, TX
  • BRANDON PROPHETER, POWERS BIKE SHOP/HARO, NY
  • RILEY WILLIAMS, HYPER BODY ARMOUR, MD
  • NICK DAWSON, EVS, PA
  • JAKE PLETSCHER, STANDARD/BMXUNDERGROUND, NJ
 So far this year, the big man to step things up in 19-27x has been Menardo Simon. From Georgia to Nashville to here in Severn,MD., he seems to be the guys all eyes are on. But this weekend, he had some great competition - by the name of Christopher Fisher, Factory C-Yaa rider from Massachusetts. Add in AllTow's Maryland local Cody Lynn and the legendary Dan Birmingham, and this one wasn't going to be a boat-ride for Simon. 
Heading in to the final turn, Menardo found himself in the 2-spot and had his eyes on the prize as they sped in to the final turn and Simon went for hte inside swoop on Fisher and his C-Yaa machine, Trying to hold a clean line with no contact, Simon's tires suddenly lost traction and he was splattered all over the last turn as the rest of the pack swerved to the top to avoid the carnage. 

The Fisher King scored the victory - and with his earlier win in 17-20 cruiser (above - beating out archi rival Luke Roarty), that made it a double for Day-1. It also marks him with a big target on his back for Day 2, as Simon wil surely be out for redemption.  

19-27 EXPERT TOTAL RIDERS = 24 GROUPS = 4

  • CHRISTOPHER FISHER, C-YAA FACTORY, MA
  • CODY LYNN, ALLTOW WRECKING CREW/YESS, MD
  • DAN BIRMINGHAM, CNC BMX, VA
  • TAYLOR DELTUVA, FACTORY POWERS BIKE SHOP/HARO, MD
  • CALEB MINTHORN, PROFILE RACING, FL
  • ORION HEALY, MAD CYCLES RACING, NC
  • TONY FAVATA, FACTORY STAR BMX PRODUCTS, DE
  • MENARDO SIMON, STARS N STRIPES, PA
With only a few more mains left behind the gate, the 36-40 hoodlums lined up for the big dance. Answer~Rennen's Dave Maltezos was dueling it out mid-pack and tryingto make up ground. In turn two, he squared it up like a geometry major from MIT; which had to make his tm George Costa proud. It's been a while since we've seen a guy carve on a dime like that and get 9 cents change. The move put him in the 2-spot but by this time, Cyclecraft's Thomas Pilock was haulin' beans and would hold on for the win uncontested.

36-40 EXPERT

  • THOMAS PILOCK, CYCLECRAFT, NY
  • DAVE MALTEZOS, ANSWER/RENNEN, RI
  • JOHN SALZMANN, TNT BICYCLES, NJ
  • RENATO DASILVA, BJD / CRIT /FBN, MA
  • MATT DALLAS, BEDFORD, NY
  • JASON KENDALL, TIME2SHINE, VA
  • MICHAEL CAMMARATA, TEAM LONG ISLAND, NY
  • SCOTT MORRISON, JRBICYCLES.COM, VA
After watching Las Vegas' freestyle stunt-man Gary Laurent work over the oldest Experts for the victory, day 1 closed and already had us looking forward to more action on Sunday. Catching up with Laurent in the parking lot, we discovered that he was all the way out here on the Eatern seaboard to drop his daughter off with some relatives for summer vacation. More surprising was the fact that Gary and his Redline bike were both sleeping in his mini-Van. With the heat and humidity, he told us that trying to sleep without the AC on was impossible, so he was forced to let it idle all night long just to keep cool and be able to snooze. "At my age now, I've found out that napping between motos is the secret," he admitted to us. "You feel refreshed."
Whatever he does - it must've worked, as Laurent tore up the 46 & Over X's. ...and he is already looking forward to hitting South Park next month, when he cruises back out to pick up his daughter from her Pennsylvania vay-cay. Look out!

46 & OVER EXPERT

  • GARY LAURENT, VEGAS BIKE WORX, NV
  • DON BEALS, GNC, CALIFORNIA, MD
  • JOHN PRINGLE, PROFILE RACING, FL
  • JEFF BADENDYCK, BIKERS EDGE/GT,, NY
  • RANDY GRECO, HV LIGHTNING, NY
  • ANDY CURRIE, CHIP AND DALE BIKE SHOP, NJ
  • ALFRED ROY, BIKERS EDGE/GT, CT
  • RICH PILOCK, CYCLECRAFT, FL
Last but surely not least, the A-Pro class in Maryland was slightly on the small side for turnout, but huge on talent. After rumors of him turning have circulated all year long, Haro~Promax's Andrew Townsend finally got the green-light from his mentor and team manager Donovan Long, and filled out a pro application. The "veteran" of the class was Phil Delizia, while the ever-stylish Victor Behm was on hand to throw down his standout style. Another young rookie who we haven't seen much of so far this year was Staats' Trae Proctor, who is now a college-grad and is employed fulltime to pay off his school bills. We even saw Ride Like a Girl's Carly Young sign up to take on the boys for Saturday.
(Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Townsend's team mate Walker Finch was doing the same thing.) 
In the end - it was the new Rookie pro psych that succeeded when it came time for the big show, and the Amish-bearded one scored the victory both days. When asked how it felt, he told us that he was more thrilled with watching his little brother battle for the win in 15x; not to downplay his first Pro win. He was just super stoked for his brother, and happy with his own performance.


A-PRO Podium -Saturday

  • ANDREW TOWNSEND, HARO/PROMAX, VA
  • TRAE PROCTOR, FACTORY STAATS/CIARI, MD
  • VICTOR BEHM, MAYSLANDING, NJ

A-PRO Podium -Sunday

  • ANDREW TOWNSEND, HARO/PROMAX, VA
  • PHILIP DELIZIA, STARS N STRIPES, NJ
  • VICTOR BEHM, MAYSLANDING, NJ
USA BMX truck driver and designated starter at every national - Ron Jones, loves coming to Maryland. Much like Forest Gump, each year he rants and raves about spending some quality time around our nation's capitol - but instead of Jenny, he takes his wife. The races ran quick enough to give all participants and parents some time to explore the area - or to dine out at a good restaurant. Mr and Mrs. Jones even found time to go see a Yankees game.
 
In conclusion, the annual East Coast Nationals is a great place to not only race, but to also be a tourist and take in a little bit o' USA history. The last time this author-slash-photographer was here in Maryland was the late 90's, when the race was held at Kenny Allen's Columbia BMX track, with it's teetering finishline tower and fast downhill first straight. A whole lot hasa changed since then - and Chesapeake BMX has become a prime example of modern-day BMX racing, with an incrediblely smooth, fast and super fun track. 
If you ever have the chance to go - don't pass it up! Maryland is an ultimate destination for the BMX family! 

 

Special thanks to Maryland Sports and the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County CVB for the loyal support - and help, in bringing the East Coast Nationals to Severn, MD..

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