2019 Winter Nationals race report
It's like when you first turn on the faucet to get some hot water - back in 'Vegas, at the season-opener. Things were just starting off. The trickle begins cold for most riders, after taking some time off and snarfing on Christmas cookies'n such. Then in Louisville and Tulsa, things were beginning to warm up (despite the cold temps outside the arena). Finally, by the time stop No.4 hits the desert heat of Phoenix, the BMX season is HOT. And as you are about to read, the action at this year's Winter Nationals proves this theory.
Traditionally, the Winter Nationals has been the gauge for the upcoming year. Do well here, score a win or two, and your chances of reigning supreme for the rest of the season are good. In fact, it's probably a safe bet that there has never been a No.1 title holder in ABA who did not have a good #Winternats.
TOP-10 EPIC BATTLES OF THE WEEKEND
Pretty much every main - whether it was Novices, Mixed-Opens or Experts, Black Mountain saw some tight racing. Thus, we'd like to break things down into five of the best battles we witnessed at Stop No.4 of the USA BMX National Series for 2019.
EBotW #10: TRADUP -vs- MOTHER NATURE
Even before the first gate dropped on Friday practice, a battle had already been brewing. The classic February rain storms had been threatening to spoil our party, and Black Mountain's Master of Dirt had prepared ahead of time before the first drop. Days before, they'd tarped the track, making it as snug as a bug in a rug. On Thursday, as folks began arriving, so did Mother Nature with a pretty good sized storm that rolled in and out in a day. She did enough damage to the pits and infield to let everybody know she'd dropped by, and fortunately we never saw her again the rest of the weekend - but Mike Traddup, his son Beaudie and the rest of their crew (covered in mud and wearing their camo Hunting galooshes) did a great job keeping Black Mountain in great condition. There were a few rough spots that they continued to scrap off all weekend, but overall there weren't too any major complaints.
BMXers can always rely on Black Mountain BMX to be at its best for this race.
EBotW #9: TB#316 -vs- BUBBA
Now that Dr.Holeshot has retired, everyone was left wondering who would be the next one to step things up and give newly crowned No.1 Vet champ Tyler Brown a good run for the win and title. Woud it be The Mosquito? Or maybe Rocky Luciano? Or would there be a new face pop up?
That was answered weeks prior to the #Winternats, when reports started coming in about former 3-time No.1 Pro Bubba Harris considering a comeback in the Vet ranks. The last time any of us saw him race was 5 years ago, when he injured his already-injured ankle one last time, and decided to hang it up. Since then, he's still been doing SuperCamp clinics and private training sessions and track clinics. But he'd once swore that he'd never go Vet Pro; as he still felt like he could hang in double-A Pro. Just a week before the Winters, FifteenBMX.com posted an exclusive interview with Bubba, that confirmed he'd be racing Vet in Phoenix.
Why? Bubba told FifteenBMX "I was never planning to race vet. I did make that clear multiple times, but I also wasn’t planning on seeing how happy my girls were when they thought they had a chance to watch me race. I can go out there and be fast enough to keep up and throw some elbows without having to change my day to day."
Further proof that he was racing solely for the "fun" of it, was the fact that Bub' was aboard a chromoly Supercross 450. No carbon on his bike what-so-ever. But, he did have on new dance slippers.
From the first laps of practice, to his three rounds of motos, it was easy to see that Bubba was having a blast. He was throwing whips, layin' down flatties and nose-manualing into the third turn. But it was also clear that Bubba was still extremely fast and hadn't lost much speed or skill during his five year break. Harris admitted to being a bit winded by the time the third main rolled around. "I'm not sure if I have any fuel left in the tank," he joked. The one thing that kept him going strong were the loud cheers from the crowd when Grindle announced his name. Some things never change! Despite some moments when Bubba applied some pressure to Tyler; the reigning No.1 was still uncatchable in the end and scored the wins both days.
VET PRO - FRIDAY
- 1 TYLER BROWN, 316 RACING DK BICYCLES, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 2 BUBBA HARRIS, SUPERCROSS, SURPRISE, AZ
- 3 LUCIANO CORREA ROQUE, ORLANDO, FL
- 4 CHRISTIAN RICKS, RACE FAST BMX/MECCA NUTRITION, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 5 JOSH SMITH, DK BIKES/CORSA RACEWEAR, SPRINGBORO, OH
- 6 JUSTIN MCLINTOCK, CANYON LAKE, CA
- 7 KIRK LANDEEN, SANTA CLARITA, CA
- 8 MARTY WISEHART, TEMPE, AZ
EBotW #8: CANADA -vs- USA
Rift-Tangent's Teigen is our No.1 Girl in BMX Canada, and would like to become the first rider in BMX history to earn both a black-background plate with a 1 on it in both countries. With many of last year's top contenders moving up an age, we've got a whole new pack of 15-16 girls who all want to leave a mark on this class.
15-16 EXPERT GIRLS
- 1 TEIGEN PASCUAL, RIFT/TANGENT, GARIBALDI HIGHLANDS, BC
- 2 MYA RAMOS, 505 RACING, 100%, ODI, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
- 3 MADELYNN DESANTIS, HARO, SIMI VALLEY, CA
- 4 BRENNA BRADY, EXTREME TEAM, YUBA CITY, CA
- 5 CAITLIN PARKS, IMPACT BMX RACING, LAS VEGAS, NV
- 6 TAYLOR RURY, REMIX BMX/ODI/RYNOPOWER, CALIMESA, CA
- 7 MADI DENTON, MISSBEEHAVIN, PHOENIX, AZ
- 8 BAILEY AGINIGA, FACTORY LRC/MONGOOSE, BOULDER CITY, NV
EBotW #7: WHITE -vs- FREDERICK
When you have a W#1 plate on your bars, you always have a target on your back. That'd be Cole Frederick's case, and he likes it that way. But Frederick was on Josh Whyte's territory, and the Kingman, AZ racer was out to defned his desert turf the best he could. These two went at it, every time they lined up in the gate together - and really put on a show. Frederick's finishes would also help FullTilt win the Factory ranks on team sheets.
- 1 COLE FREDERICK, FULL TILT/RADIO, NEW ULM, MN
- 2 JOSHUA WHITE, SUPERCROSS BMX, KINGMAN, AZ
- 3 CYRUS HEMBREE, CHANDLER, AZ
- 4 TARIN FIELDS, MAX SPEED RACING, NEWMAN LAKE, WA
- 5 KARTER MONTELLANO, FACTORY ANSWER, RIVERSIDE, CA
- 6 BRADY ONEIL, DAYLIGHT CYCLES, HENDERSON, NV
- 7 RYAN RANDOLPH, PURE/ AVIAN FACTORY TEAM, TUCSON, AZ
- 8 MAC LIKENS, GATE 8 BMX CLOTHING, PHOENIX, AZ
EBotW #6: FRANCE -vs- THE WORLD of AApros
Last year, Joris Daudet capped off his season with a long streak of wins to earn his third national No.1 Pro title. Without his American Chase compatriot with him this weekend, Joris was instead surrounded by his fellow Frenchman. On Friday's main, France's finest filled three out of the eight spots in the gate; and they nearly went 1-2-3. If not for Aussie-import Anthony Dean, the Frenchies would've owned the entire podium. (It wouldn't be the first time, and you might see it happen again next weekend in Oldsmar, Florida.)
With 31 riders in Elite Men, and plenty of fast foreigners in attendance, you can tell who is serious about scoring the UCI Country points to earn a Olympic birth next year. With only the top two countries getting to invite 3 of their riders to Tokyo 2020, France and the U.S.' chances are lookin' good right now.
- 1 JORIS DAUDET, CHASE-RED BULL - CORONA, CA
- 2 JEREMY RENCUREL, PERSAN
- 3 ANTHONY DEAN, SUPERCROSS - CHULA VISTA, CA
- 4 ROMAIN MAHIEU, LYON
- 5 ALFREDO CAMPO, MURRIETA, CA
- 6 GONZALO MOLINA, SAN JUAN
- 7 JUSTIN POSEY, MONGOOSE - CHANDLER, AZ
- 8 CORBEN SHARRAH, DAYLIGHT CYCLES - TUCSON, AZ
EBotW #5: COLBY -vs- HAYES
Gordy's gal Lexis Colby proved that she has the goods a couple of year ago when she'd on the NAG-5 Challenge, and she does proudly call herself a Black Mountian local. So when the rest of the Junior ladies filled in the moto sheet, she knew what was at stake.
UCI JUNIOR WOMEN - FRIDAY
- 1 LEXIS COLBY, WITTMANN, AZ
- 2 DALENY VAUGHN, REDMAN/ROCKSTAR, TUCSON, AZ
- 3 EMILY HAYES, POWERLITE-DANSCOMP-DFR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 4 NATALEE DAUGHERTY, FREE AGENT, PLANO, TX
- 5 ASHLEY HAYES, POWERLITE-DANSCOMP-DFR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 6 MCKENZIE GAYHEART, FACTORY FULL TILT/RADIO, FORT WHITE, FL
- 7 CARLY KANE, DK BICYCLES, GUILFORD, IN
WOMEN JUNIOR - SATURDAY
- 1 EMILY HAYES, POWERLITE-DANSCOMP-DFR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 2 LEXIS COLBY, GORDY'S BICYCLES, WITTMANN, AZ
- 3 DALENY VAUGHN, REDMAN/ROCKSTAR, TUCSON, AZ
- 4 MCKENZIE GAYHEART, FACTORY FULL TILT/RADIO, FORT WHITE, FL
- 5 CARLY KANE, DK BICYCLES, GUILFORD, IN
- 6 NATALEE DAUGHERTY, FREE AGENT, PLANO, TX
- 7 ASHLEY HAYES, POWERLITE-DANSCOMP-DFR, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
EBotW #4: HOLZER -vs- WATERS
We'd have to say that the most improved rider on the BMX radar, so far this year, has got to be WiaWis' wizard Rowdy Holzer. The Kid has really stepped up his game. But that doesn't mean he kicked butt and took names all weekend; instead it means that he was dicin' it out all weekend with Daniel Waters (who is now racing for the new Factory Answer squad).
9 EXPERT - SATURDAY
- 1 DANIEL WATERS, ANSWER, VICTORVILLE, CA
- 2 ROWDY HOLZER, WIAWIS/LSG, NEWCASTLE, CA
- 3 BRYAN "SHATTY" SHATSWELL III, ESI RACING, BEAUMONT, CA
- 4 HAYDEN PASSANISI, JR BICYCLES.COM/SPEEDCO/AVIAN, ALPINE, CA
- 5 TYLER WAGONER, BOMSHELL/AVENT, CANYON LAKE, CA
- 6 COLTON KIDD, FACTORY EXTREME TEAM, VAIL, AZ
- 7 RYDER SCRANTON, FACTORY RIFT / TANGENT, CORONA, CA
- 8 KHI NUNNO, LAS VEGAS, NV
EBotW #3: ENSERRO -vs- MONTOYA
When we last saw Evan Enserro - last November at The Grands, he was rippin' it up at the ROC and Grands, and he had perhaps the best weekend of his racing career. Well, that momentum he built up is still rollin' along. Coming into Phoenix, it looked as if the newly crowned NAG No.1 could well be on his way to a repeat grey plate.
But wait! Hold the phone ... J&R's Angel Montoya is back on the scene and has come back just as fast and strong as he was before the late-year injury that kept him out of the Grands. And this weekend, these two were goin' at it like a couple of alley-cats fighting over the scraps of a tossed-out tuna can.
14 EXPERT - SATURDAY
- 1 EVAN ENSERRO, WIAWIS/LSG, CHICO, CA
- 2 ANGEL MONTOYA, JR BICYCLES.COM/SPEEDCO/AVIAN, HENDERSON, NV
- 3 BEAUDIE TRADUP, GORDY'S BICYCLES, PHOENIX, AZ
- 4 PETER CHOAT, RACEFAST, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 5 MICAH BINDER, POWERLITE-DANSCOMP-DFR, YUMA, AZ
- 6 LANDRY WYCOUGH, LDC, ROCKWALL, TX
- 7 CEASAR FLORES, LDC, ATWATER, CA
- 8 MICHAEL JARAMILLO, 316, RIO RANCHO, NM
EBotW #2: RICO SUAVE -vs- HANK the TANK
We've seen New Zealander Rico Bearman before; but its been awhile since he's graced us with his presence. Now a 15x, Speedco brought him State-side to take on Powerlite's Henry Chudzik, Amakaye Anderson, Brandon Crain and the rest of the gang.
For most of the weekend, 15x looked to be the Rico -vs- Chudzik show.
15 EXPERT TOTAL RIDERS = 21 GROUPS = 4
- 1 RICO BEARMAN, SPEEDCO/AVIAN, AUCKLAND
- 2 HENRY CHUDZIK, POWERLITE-DANSCOMP-DFR, HOMERGLEN, IL
- 3 AMAKYE ANDERSEN, DAYLIGHT, TUCSON, AZ
- 4 BRANDON (BIRDMAN) CRAIN, FACTORY ANSWER, RIVERSIDE, CA
- 5 ERIC DROTAR, YESS FACTORY, SURREY, BC
- 6 RYAN CORREIA, FACTORY RIFT TANGENT, SAN JOSE, CA
- 7 LEVI (HOTROD) FOLKROD, FACTORY REMIX, ARROYO GRANDE, CA
- 8 JUSTIN HOULDSON, WIAWIS/LSG, ODESSA, FL
EBOTW #1: HOUSE -vs- WOOD
Easily, the most sizzling battle of this year's Winter Nationals was in 17-20x, between two of Arizona's fastest Ams. Both of these guys know Black Mountain as if the track is their own kin-folk, and both are pretty much equal when it comes to speed, style, and skills. Last November, Wood won the NAG-5 Challenge, while House won the crazy Grands main and was rewarded with the NAG No.1 plate. Both impressive pedigrees.
Friday night, Cam Wood (now racing for Alpha) gave the UCI Jr.Men class a shot, and came out on top; setting the stage for the rest of the weekend. During the off-season, Riley House changed his hairstyle - but not much else. Still as fast as ever! When the Saturday night main rolled into the gate, everyone knew these two would be the ones to watch.
As he'd done all day, Wood got his killer snap on, and House stuck to him like glue. Then, in turn two, House saw a small crack in the door and decided to take the opening. He swooped hard underneath and they came out of the turn side by side. House, with the inside line and a ton of momentum, couldn't help but give Wood a little love-tap, and Cameron instantly shot off the side of the rhythm section. Aa Harry Hogge said in Days of Thunder - "Rubbing is racing, son."
Throdwn's Jesse Welch was also sticking his nose in there on occasion but ran into some bad luck here 'n there. With 35 riders in there, Winters wins will come into play in nine months, when the Amateur title chase comes down to the wire.
17-20 EXPERT - SATURDAY
- 1 RILEY HOUSE, SUPERCROSS BMX, GILBERT, AZ
- 2 JESSE WELCH, THRODWN, PERRIS, CA
- 3 DAMON VOTTA, FACTORY SCR, MESA, AZ
- 4 JETT HAYES, DAD, ANTHEM, AZ
- 5 LOGAN MATTESON, FACTORY FULL TILT/RADIO, ISANTI, MN
- 6 BRANDON LOUDERMILK, GUNSLINGER FACTORY/ONEAL/ERA3, SALEM, OR
- 7 TYLER McGUIRE, ANSWER, GARDEN GROVE, CA
- 8 CAMERON WOOD, ALPHA, AVONDALE, AZ
17-20 EXPERT - SUNDAY
- 1 CAMERON WOOD, ALPHA, AVONDALE, AZ
- 2 RILEY HOUSE, SUPERCROSS BMX, GILBERT, AZ
- 3 JESSE WELCH, THRODWN, PERRIS, CA
- 4 BRAXTON ELSEN, WIAWIS/LSG, THORNTON, CO
- 5 COLIN JOYCE, RRC-SUPERCROSS-FLY, LAS VEGAS, NV
- 6 TRE HEXIMER, ARIZONA BICYCLE WERX/FALL RISK RACING, GLENDALE, AZ
- 7 LOGAN MATTESON, FACTORY FULL TILT/RADIO, ISANTI, MN
- 8 BRANDON LOUDERMILK, GUNSLINGER FACTORY/ONEAL/ERA3, SALEM, OR
UNTIL NEXT YEAR
Some people said we'd lucked out on the weather - and they could be right. After Thursday night's rain, all we saw were blue skies and the occasional cloud that would block out the sun for a minute or so. Temps got a bit cold for Arizona averages, and the slight wind on Friday gave a few out of shape riders fits on this fairly-long track. But 99% of the racers and families in Phoenix went home stoked on some insane BMX action, with wild stories to tell. Each and every one was a part of their own Epic battles - and USA BMX thanks you all for helping make this year's #Winternats another epic race!