Sunshine State Natl race report - 2017
As the 2017 National series winds down, we're in High Springs, Florida (just outside of Gainsville) for the final regular-season national of the season. After this, we've got a Pro Series race on the Island of Curaçao, and then the #GreatestRaceonEarth!
Florida would be the last shot for a good score in National points, so you know the competition would be tough and the racing even tougher.
Appropriately for its name, we arrived at High Springs BMX under blue skies and warm sunshine for the final regular-season race of 2017. Surrounding the track were all of the major teams. From the East Coast came powers Bike Shop, the C-Yaa crew and NY's AllTow Wrecking Crew. From Florida, we had Factory Profile-Hyper, Epik, FTB, Haro-Promax and Yess. Then from the Midwest, came Factory Throdwn and Minnesota's Venom squad, who are currently leading in Bike Shop standings, just ahead of Blot Out Graphics. And in typical Florida fashion, there were plenty of South American racers - including some super fast cats from Brazil, who would be big factors in the main events.
Riders and teams in search of those much-needed, last-chance points made Florida their destination, in hope of bumping up their standings in the NAG and National points chase. We even had riders from over 24 states - including West Coasters from California, Arizona and Colorado. Another draw for doing well at the Sunshiner's was to ensure your spot in the NAG-5 Challenge at the Grands. Just ask Cameron Bramer about that one - as he was sitting close on the No.5 spot but had to do well to hold on to the Saturday night invitation. Despite his 16x win on Sunday, a 5th place in Saturday's main to AllTow's Joseph Leto likely gave up the Top-5 position and he'll have to watch it from the Grands stands in Tulsa.
One of the guys who showed up hoping to bump up his points was Doublecross' Billy Russell; who has been on FIRE this year in the hottest class of them all. Russell came to Florida in the No.1 spot of NAG points, nearly 40 points ahead of Robby Patterson. But he was hoping to throw out a lower score to boost his position in the national rankings - where he is sitting No.4 in the Amateur standings. Being National No.1 is nothing new to Billy, as he earned himself a silver Cup back in 2007, in the cruiser ranks as a 12-year-old. Now a decade later, after a long retirement to play other sports, Russell has his sights set on winning the Grands and if all stars align, he very well could win the Amateur title.
But the turnout in Florida wasn't as big as he'd expected and despite wins both days, Russell didn't move up in points.
- 1 BILLY RUSSELL, DOUBLECROSS, DESOTO, TX
- 2 TAYLOR RIEDEMANN, HARO/PROMAX, CAMBRIDGE, MN
- 3 RYAN ZINZOW, THRODWN, ELKHORN, WI
- 4 DOUGLAS HAYES, HYANNIS, MA
- 5 BRIAN THIERWECHTER, C-YAA NATIONAL/BBI, SANDWICH, MA
- 6 ALEX PALMER, POTTER RACING PRODUCTS, COVINGTON, GA
- 7 TYLER SMITH, HARO/PROMAX, DOUGLASVILLE, GA
- 8 KIT BJERK, SPEEDTECH-SSQUARED, ARCHDALE, NC
The High Springs BMX track got rave reviews from all riders - no matter what their age is. Even the Facebook Live viewers onthe internet was raving about how cool this track looked. With a coat of slurry on the surface, asphalt turns and a French-imported ProStart barrel gate, not a single complaint was heard all weekend when it came to the venue, volunteer staff and race.
High Springs BMX is also home to plenty of hotshoes - including its husband-wife track operators, John and Laura Pringle. Throdwn's MacKenzie Gayheart also calls High Springs "home" and this weekend, she was up against some mighty tough competition.
Colorado's Emily and Ashley Hayes came to Florida for a pre-Grands boost, and were looking stronger than ever. On Saturday, Ashley had the lead but her twin sister Emily swooped underneath in the first turn and took things over for the Day-1 win. On Sunday, they'd do the same, but in reverse order - as Ashley held on for the first. "Skittles", who had been seen going for the Pro section, couldn't make anything happen to defeat the Hayes twins.
We'll find out
15-16 GIRLS - Saturday
- 1 EMILY HAYES, RIDE CO BIKE SHOP, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 2 ASHLEY HAYES, RIDE CO BIKE SHOP, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
- 3 MCKENZIE (SKITTLES) GAYHEART, THRODWN, FORT WHITE, FL
- 4 NATALEE DAUGHERTY, FACTORY FREE AGENT-BOX, PLANO, TX
- 5 CAMILLE IMBERT, HUSSEREN LES CHATEAUX
- 6 STEVIE TOMPKINS, VENOM RACING, MANKATO, MN
- 7 MARIANA GIGLIUTO, NORTHEAST FACTORY, CLINTONDALE, NY