2018 Stars 'n Stripes Nationals race report
Located in the plush tree-filled Trilogy Park of Pottstown, Trilogy BMX is well known for its super smooth, impeccably-kept track surface and fun-filled family atmosphere. It's also well known for being home of the Knapper brothers and plenty of other ultra-fast locals - such as USA Cycling's Jr.Devo rider P-Nut Ridenour. Add in all of the quickest East Coasters into the mix, along with great Summer temps and humidity, and we all knew that the 2018 Stars 'n Stripes National was going to be a HEATER!
Welcome to Knapper-land!
Trilogy Park BMX has been around since 2004, and since Day 1, the Knapper family has been running the show - along with close to forty super-dedicated volunteers. 2018 Rookie Pro Justin Knapper - the youngest of Answer-Rennen's brodacious brotherhood, practically grew here at Trilogy Park. USA BMX gate starter Ron Jones joked that Trilogy is the third-child of the Knappers, and that "she" is kind of high maintenance. We're pretty sure they'd agree. The track surface here is super smooth, and held together with a soil-glue, rather than the super-expensive SoilTac(TM) brand. "It holds up really well, and we put a new, fresh coat on every year," Mr.Knapper explained to us. He could be spotted all weekend fixing any divets with what looked like a bottle of 2% Milk. But, actually, it was their "secret" dirt-glue recipe.
The spot where Trilogy Park BMX is located used to be home of an Olympic-sized swim pool, but due to old age, high maintenance and declining use, the city had decided to fill it with dirt insted of water. The Pool house, with showers and restrooms, along with office and storage space, was ideal for a new BMX facility in Pottstown, and it's been a great facillity since its opening day.
Turnout for this year's Stars & Stripes National was exactly what we'd expected for this race, and was nearly identical to last year's moto-count. Among the "I'm surprised to see you here" attendees was the Elliott clan, from Northern California. Since Mom has family in Philly, PA is always on their radar for a "family visit" (ie: racing). After his killer race in Roseville two weeks earlier, we were expecting to see Jackson (in the black helmet) and Nick (white helmet) leading the charge in 17-20x.
But suddenly, Powerlite's Justin Richmond pulled into the parking lot, after driving for 11 hours all by himself, from Illinois. Once he stretched his legs, he was ready to race. Hmmm... this could change things.
With 22 riders in 17-20x, this would again be the key main to keep an eye on. The main lined up with Grands-like line-up, stacked to the hilt with two Free Agenteers - Plummer and Antil, two Throdwn'ers - Welch and Deters, the Elliott boys, AllTow's Leto and The Juice.
From the start, it was all Justin Richmond, and things got tight in turn one, as it became a 4-way battle for second. Just as he did in Roseville, Nick Elliott made an inside swoop, and moved side-by-side with Free Agent's Jack Plummer. Joseph Lete was on the upside of the turn and moved back to fourth. IN turn two, things got even tighter, with Throdwn's Jesse Welch getting ridden to the top of the berm and struggling to keep it on the white line. This year's new 17-20 age class sure has been amazing to watch, and we can't wait until Saturday and Sunday's mains to see who will come out on top.
17-20 EXPERT - FRIDAY
- 1 JUSTIN RICHMOND, POWERLITE DANS COMP DFR, ROCHELLE, IL
- 2 JACK PLUMMER, FREE AGENT BOX, EDINA, MN
- 3 JACKSON ELLIOTT, NORCAL NEXT GENERATION, GRANITE BAY, CA
- 4 JOSEPH LETO, ALLTOW WRECKING CREW/YESS, MYAKKA CITY, FL
- 5 NICKOLAS ELLIOTT, NORCAL NEXT GENERATION, GRANITE BAY, CA
- 6 JESSE WELCH, THRODWN, PERRIS, CA
- 7 ALEX ANTIL, FREE AGENT BOX, SAINT MICHAEL, MN
- 8 NICOLAS DETERS, THRODWN, ST PETERS, MO