When we pulled into Nova BMX in Woodbridge Virginia on Thursday it was 95 degrees before noon, with the heat index hitting 103. The weekend weather looked good with some possible passing showers. Word was getting around that Friday’s 131 moto pre-race would be the hottest part of the weekend and then cooling off slightly for the next two days of National racing. Unfortunately, a heavy storm came through Friday night and rained out the pre-race during moto 58, which was to be finished Saturday morning before the start of National race day one. Luckily with the new no practice on Saturday morning schedule the pre-race would be starting at 8:00 AM and the National would only be pushed back a few hours and end around the normal time. The moto count was in the mid 200’s both days, which was bigger 'n better than the last time we were here.
Even though it does not seem that long ago the last time we were here at NOVA BMX for a National, it was for the 2016 Stars and Stripes Nationals. The track is located in the back of a giant municipal complex and once you get inside the high chain link fencing that runs around the track your eyes immediately go to the bright red starting hill with an enormous NOVA BMX logo painted on it. The track does not disappoint in looks or riding quality and might be one of the smoothest tracks around. I heard the smoothness of it being compared to Trilogy Park BMX by many, and if you have never been there the Knappers keep that track as smooth as glass so it is a huge compliment. The Trilogy comment hit me again when I saw the track staff using one of the moves out of the Glen Knapper track maintenance playbook when they were filling and gluing every scratch left from a wreck. With the track being smooth and slightly downhill simple math tells you that this will equal really fast racing.
The same Girls/Women dominated the Cruiser class winning both days Chase Burian, Mia Custer, Kylee Niederberger, Peyton Pulaski, Haylee Brown, Ashlee Hill Pettinelli, Lisa Webb, Sarah Cugler, Cynthia Pappas and Marjorie Kaminski. The Boys/Mens Cruisers had a similar winning streak going with Liam Canida, Ashton Hester, Marshall Warner, Rowdy Holzer, Sean Nicosia, Terrance Williams, Jeremy Knapper, Robert Pettinelli, Dwaylon Carter, Cory Skinner and Don Beals all winning both days. There were a few standout Motos this weekend, the first one was when Ryan Bramer and Yavant Haulser drag raced down the first straight in Day One’s 17-20 Cruiser Main with Yavant taking the lead from the outside and getting to the turn first. Yavant held the lead going into the second and third turns, but by the third turn a new rider was in second place, Michael Amaris. Yavant went way too wide coming out of turn three and Amaris jumped at the opportunity to pass him on the inside, with Bramer following close behind. Amaris easily pulled away and won his long awaited first ever National Main Event, and Bramer passed Yavant near the line and took second place.
Saturday's 36-40 Expert was easily the best Moto of Day, as Greg Custer had the hole shot and easily led until turn two, when seemingly out of now where Ryan Bunker snuck inside of him into turn two and pushed Custer over the white line coming out of the turn. Bunker pulled away on the third straight with Custer a couple of bike lengths behind. Custer pushed hard through the turn into the last straight and was able to pass Bunker and turn his head right at the line and glare over at him. What an incredible comeback with a little I don’t think so look right at the line.
You would be hard pressed to find a more action-packed Moto than the 17-20 Expert Main at any National Event and Day Two’s did not disappoint. Cameron Bramer snapped the gate and was the clear leader by the first turn, with Tyler Henry in close second. Christopher Hobbie came into turn one on the inside with maybe a little too much speed and touched bars with Tomas Correa, sending Hobbie cartwheeling into the remaining riders and ending at the plywood wall. Three riders survived the “Big One” and went on to finish in the same order that they left the turn in, Bramer, Henry and Foxx.
Hopefully the Big Red truck will come back to Nova BMX again soon, the racing, the facility, and crew of volunteers were all excellent.
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