2016 USA BMX Great Salt Lake Nationals
Welcome to the Mayberry of the west. We were greeted with vivid blue skies and mild temperatures for Friday’s elite racing action. With the chase for most Olympic teams all but over for most countries, the elite classes went back to business as usual.
The ladies had one of their better turnouts of the season with 20 riders vying for a win. During motos there were more than a handful of riders looking to make a statement. Dani George, Alise Post, Amanda Geving, Michelle Patterson and the Kortman sisters all came out swinging. In the end, the reigning champ and June cover girl dominated the field and was the only lady to jump the huge triple step up into turn one. Dani George and Aussie Lauren Reynolds filled out the podium on day one and veteran Amanda Geving and Rachel Mydock stepped on the box on Saturday. Mydock claimed her first podium as getting a phenomenal start.
We were pleasantly surprised to see National #1 Pro and now two-time World Champion Joris Daudet roll into the pits early on Friday. He’d have to contend with 21 other Elite Men in the roaring winds of Utah. Friday’s eventual winner Anthony Dean ended up being the man to beat considering he only lost one lap all day long, in the second round of motos. Kory Cook was another huge standout on day one. He’d go on to a more than impressive second place finish on the day. The last spot on the box would go to the luckiest man in the sport right now, Tommy Zula. After making his way into the Olympic Trials, his confidence has been off the charts. He’d hold off Hall of Famer Donny Robinson in the 2nd turn and grab the first podium finish of his Elite career. Day two saw the champion Daudet back on top with his silky smooth style, Dean grabbed the second and Oklahoma’s finest Kenny G would grab the third.
A Pro never lets the fans down and this weekend was no exception. Box’s Sean Gaian was the man to beat but in the end no one was able to do that. The class also had a newbie that was a mystery to most. 16-year-old Joshua Boyton hails from Greenbank, Queensland in the land down under and made a splash at Grands last year by wining 15-16 Open. This year he competed at the UCI Worlds in the Jr Men’s class but would miss the main event after crashing in his semi. This young man has a bright future ahead of him and will be racing the USA BMX series for a few more months in in 2016.
This weekend we saw a few new faces on the gate in the Vet Pro class. GT’s Jonas Harmon and Extreme’s Justin Wike made the leap. Both looked right at home in the class and Harmon even walked away with a podium on Sunday.
The amateur racing throughout the weekend was stellar. Local 7 Expert Gavyn Fox made a big statement by coming from behind and taking the wins in the class both days. He also won 7 & Under Cruiser both days. Factory TMs should definitely have this little ripper on their radar by now.
Full Tilt’s 8X Aaron Matthews has gone from a development rider to the top of his class in a few short years and shows no signs of slowing down. The Whittier local took home first place trophy slips in class and open. If you don’t recognize the name, check for the tallest rider on the gate and that’s probably him.
On Sunday we saw some of the fiercest racing of the year in the 17-20 Womens class. Elbows locked over the first jump and several riders ended up in the infield. Utah’s McKenize Hansen emerged with the lead and never looked back. She also took the win in cruiser both days.
Speaking of cruiser, 11 Year old Angel Montoya was on fire on both of his bikes. He won handily on the big bike and challenged for the lead each day in Expert. Vegas has produced yet another superstar.
Jack Kelly is pretty much unbeatable at his home track but his luck would run out on Sunday. He’d go down in the first turn while leading and Jayden Waggoner would navigate through the down riders and pick up his first national victory.
Despite the gusty winds Rad Canyon BMX remains one of the most awesome facilities around and with 2016 being their twentieth season it’s a firm testament to the greatness of the locals that get to call it home.