2019 USA BMX Bluegrass Nationals Race Report
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days you’ve heard of the spongy track conditions at the 2019 Bluegrass Nationals. While the track conditions were less than optimal, the racing was as good as ever. We witnessed some hardcore pedaling, amazing berm warfare and countless passes. Roots.
In the Pro Open class, we saw a couple of new faces and a couple of seasoned ones. Marian University’s Justin Richmond, Zach Reed, and Samantha Taylor all made the leap into the pro ranks in preparation for the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships in April.
Also turning up was Lindsey Wilson’s Anthony Lucchesi. When race time came around everyone was chasing Texan Alec Bob. The 2017 Rookie of the year looked like he was on rails all weekend and found victory all three days.
National number one on Saturday brought 254 motos of heated racing. There were four racers claiming double-doubles (winners of two classes per national day) on the weekend. Three of those four were young ladies. Cruiser National Age Group champ Alexandra Hill had some great battles with Rift’s Deserae Romero on the big bike and with Michiganders Abbey Salisbury and Mila Kelly. She did her new sponsor, Alpha Bicycles, a solid.
Next up on the doubles list is Powerlite’s young spitfire, Lola Jonjevic. She ruled mixed open with an iron fist and handled her Expert Girls class like a seasoned pro. We will keep an eye on the show-me state champ to see if she can continue her winning ways in Tulsa in a few weeks.
The final young lady doubling up was TNT’s Kylee Niederberger. She was one of two 11-year-olds in the 11-12 Girls Cruiser class but that didn’t matter much as she took the wins each day. The field saw the same view of her in the 11 Expert Girls class. Albe’s Emma Cavner was the closest competitor with second’s both days in the class.
Moving on to Massachusetts gym owner extraordinaire Shawn Diprete. The south shore (pronounced “Sow Shooah” by Boston locals) resident led by nearly a straightaway almost every time he took to the track. It’s almost like the track rewarded him for putting so many hours in the gym. Pure power.
Californian cousin combo Jorge and Mia Montano had an accomplished weekend in Louisville. Jorge came away with two wins in 7-8 Open and a fourth and third in 8X. Mia would finish up with a trio of seconds and a third. One of those seconds was hard fought as she came unclipped on the first straight and fell back to fifth. She’d go on to make an inside dive in the final turn and grab that second in 10 & Under Girls Cruiser.
Ace Bike Shop’s Bryan Romadka didn’t have the best weekend on the 20” (fifth in 36-40X on Sunday) but he dominated on the big bike. He will certainly be in contention for a grey plate come November.
Gavin Bradley isn’t the biggest kid in his class but the 11-year-old has the determination to win like no other. After winning class and cruiser at Friday night’s pre-race, he was spotted out front throughout the qualifying rounds on Saturday. He’d go on to finish third in Cruiser and fourth in Expert. The tenacious one from Dayton is one to look out for this season. You’ll be hearing his name again for sure.
Chesterfield, Missouri’s Alfonso Giganti almost joined the coveted double-double list but he was edged out in 51-55 cruiser on Sunday by Vincent DeCastro. Outside of that lap “Papa G” was pretty much unstoppable and had to be running a tiny gear as he feet were moving a million miles an hour.
13 Year Old Dallas Gardner had a formidable weekend in cruiser and class taking a cruiser win over Australian Thomas Tucker on Saturday and grabbing a third in Expert on Sunday. We can’t wait to see his progression throughout 2019.
Last but certainly not least we have Northwest legend Brent “Pee Wee” Lee who made a rare east of the Mississippi appearance and took a pair of wins home in 41-45 Expert. The visorless flat pedal points champion was seen slicing and dicing his way through the pack every time he hit the Louisville tundra.
We’ll leave you with a few words from BMX Hall of Fame Journalist Windy Osborn who once attended a similarly spongy indoor track in Arkansas about 30 years ago. “It’s races like this that make nationals like the Grands the best.” We certainly agree. We’ll see you in Tulsa...