Pro Championship FInals 2017
The arena went dark as the packed grandstands sat there, anticipating the best show of the year. Suddenly, the familiar guitar riff of Angus Young began to creep thru the speakers, as AC/DC's Thunderstruck began to crank through the wall of speakers above the Champions stage. Colorful laser beams from all corners of the arena began their dance atop the ceiling, and all around one of the best Grands tracks ever built.
It was SHOWTIME!
Welcome to the 2017 Pro Championship Finals!
Back home - hundreds of thousands of viewers were seeing the same thing on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Could Alise earn a 10th National No.1 title? Would Joris snag a third-consecutive No.1 Pro plate, and join the ranks of Bubba Harris as the only AA's to get a 3-peat? Or would Connor Fields end a 9-year drought of American Pro Champions and win the title? Soon, we'd all find out.
With 65 A-pros -including many fast foreigners, it wound up being a full INternational field come main-time. Our only two U.S. contingent were Yess' Rookie Pro Cameron Moore and Olijuwon Davis; in his last race for Speedpeddlers. The other six lined up in the gate hailed from France, Netherlands, and Australia After three mains, the younger brother of former BMX World Champion Niek, rode away with the win. Those Kimmann Bros. are like the Dutch version of Richie and Ronnie, or Eddy and Mikey. It looks as if they plan to become the World's Fastest Siblings in modern-day BMX.
A PRO - final results:
- 1 JUSTIN KIMMANN, AMSTERDAM
- 2 THEO CHAPELLE, LYON
- 3 CAMERON MOORE, FACTORY YESS, CHAPEL HILL, NC
- 4 MAX CAIRNS, HENDERSON, NV (via AUSTRALIA)
- 5 EDDY CLERTE, SUNN BICYCLES / MIRA, PASADENA, CA
- 6 OLIJUWON DAVIS, SPEEDPEDDLERS, ST CHARLES, IL
- 7 TRISTAN TOURNEBIZE, YESS BMX, PARIS
- 8 MATT KRASEVSKIS, J&R/SPEEDCO AUSTRALIA, FLINDERS VIEW, QLD
After winning at Friday's ROC, The Beast had a good enough points-lead that all she really had to do was make the main in order to win her tenth No.1 title. But the ladies of Pro came out in force to stop her - including Venezuela's former World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Stefani Hernandez, as well as Illinois' Felicia Stancil who has been absent from the circuit this year and was rumored to have retired. As always, Brooke Crain was hauling and even tempting the decision-maker short-cut.
While the first and third mains were what we had expected from Alise, the second main was by far the most thrilling, with The Beast going elbow-to-elbow with Hernandez in the first turn, and Alise crashin' out as a result. To make matters worse, Answer-Rennen's Lauren Reynolds collided with Alise's GW as they slid to the bottom of the berm, and then scrambled for their bikes.
Excitement was in the air, as the points were completely scrambled. Those who ruled first round did lame in the second, and vice-versa. Entering the third main, we had three gals tied with 9 points (Alise, Brooke and Reynolds), as well as a 3-way tie with 6 points (Mechielsen, Stancil and Hernandez), while GT's rookie Pro Sophia Foresta was basically tied for the lead with 7 points after the first two rounds. We don't recall there ever being a more tighter, closer race than this one!
In the third main, Post grabbed the holeshot and wanted to put an exclamation point on another No.1 title. Out of turn two, she opted for the lefty-lane - the safer route. Surprisingly, Stefani and Brooke hooked it to the right and went for the beach-jump, in an attempt to
WOMEN ELITE - final results:
- 1 SOPHIA FORESTA, GT, SOUTH JORDAN, UT
- 2 ALISE POST, PROMAX/GW, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 3 BROOKE CRAIN, HARO/PROMAX, VISALIA, CA
- 4 FELICIA STANCIL, ANTIOCH, IL
- 5 LAUREN REYNOLDS, ANSWER/RENNEN, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 6 STEFANY HERNANDEZ, GUAYANA, BOL
- 7 DREW MECHIELSEN, FACTORY YESS, LANGLEY, BC
- 8 KEELY KORTMAN, FACTORY ALPHA, TUSTIN, CA
Nobody wanted to grab an extinguisher - even though Connor Fields was on fire. Let him burn up the track, was all of our thoughts. Whatever you do, don't put the guy out. keep that fire goin'!
After winning the ROC, Fields was looking strong for the title chase. Especially in contrast to his French teammate, Joris Daudet - who had gotten food poisoning the night before and had to skip the second and third mains. it surely had to have been a big boost for the Con-man's psych, and a huge point of stress and added tension for the defending 2-time No.1 Pro, Joris the Win-a-saurus. Can you imagine having to deal with that, on top of all the pressure and hype that had already been built up leading into Thanksgiving weekend?
Despite everything he was going thru, Daudet still made it all the way to the big dance. They'd started out on Saturday morning with 37 of the fastest Elite racers in the World - and now we had the final, full gate of 2017.
It'd been a crazy 24 hours, but now he was still in the hunt alongside his Chase teammate Connor. Also in the final gate o' eight was Anthony Dean, who'd won two major AA-pro races this season (including the final day in Reno). Former World Champ Niek Kimmann (from the Netherlands) was also in, along with some furiously fast Frenchmen - Wia-Wis' Sylvain Andre and Sunn's Bara Kidou. new Zealand was repped well with Trent Jones, who is currently living in Vegas and is training partners with Connor.
Main #1 went just as Connor and coach Sean Dwight had hoped for - with a dominating win for Fields. Joris was shut down to fourth.
But it was the second main that had everybody on the edge of their seats and nippin' on their nails. France's Sylvain Andre snagged the holeshot, and Connor found himself in the 2-spot, with a hoard of hungry Elites in tow. Joris exited the first turn in fourth but quickly moved into the third spot and went for an inside move in the big TULSA turn. The reigning Champ knew this was likely his one and only chance to put things in his favor and tossed an elbow into his Chase teammate in an attempt to nab the 2-spot.
But Fields wasn't about to let that happen!
Although pushed to the far outside, Connor kept right on it and utilized the wide decision-make section to not miss a beat, ride the white line and pumped the pre-Beach roller for all it was worth to get back the position that he felt was rightfully his. Side by side with Joris, Fields scrubbed the beachy sand-jump to reclaim the 2nd place spot, and right there - in that moment, is probably where Joris knew it was over. Today, there was no beating Fields. He was in the zone. He was on fire. ...and nobody could stop him in his quest for the National No.1 Pro Championship.
Afterwards, when asked about the Daudet elbow and inside swoop, and his miraculous save, Connor just kind of laughed. "Instinct." he told us. "I've been preparing to ride the white line for the past month."
A win in the third main by the Gold Medalist just cemented his legacy and assured everyone in the stands - and all who were watching it from home, that Connor Fields deserve the No.1 title this year. Well done! We are happy to report that the nine year drought is officially over.
MEN ELITE - final results:
- 1 CONNOR FIELDS, HENDERSON, NV
- 2 ANTHONY DEAN, CORONA, CA
- 3 NIEK KIMMANN, NETHERLANDS
- 4 JORIS DAUDET, CORONA, CA
- 5 TRENT JONES, CHRISTCHURCH
- 6 SYLVAIN ANDRE, LYON
- 7 CORBEN SHARRAH, TUCSON, AZ
- 8 BARA KIDOU, SUNN BIKE, LYON
To Connor went the $10,000 overall paycheck - which when added to his Chase sponsos and co-sponsor contingencies (such as Monster Energy), should give him a mighty fine payday for November.
Best of all, we are please to point out that every "major" title in 2017 - both USA BMX and UCI Worlds, returned to America in 2017! Between Alise, World Champ Corben and newly crowned No.1 Pro Connor, USA owns all of the No.1 plates. Could this be a changing of the tide for the U.S. BMX scene? We will go back to complete domination on the National and INternational circuits, or will the Global forces come back stronger in 2018 to stop American BMXers from ruling the World of BMX?
We'll soon see.