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2016 Lumberjack Nationals race report

Filed under General on July 02, 2016 | Comment(s)

Just like any BMX scene all around the country, the Northwest has long had it's own trademarks and unique style. If NorCal is infamous for creating its own language - "Pimp, Pull Treat," then we've got to give credit to the Great Northwest for making open face helmets without visors a fashion statement. 

National announcer Erick Grindle continued to warn the riders throughout the day - "Watch out for those open face dudes; they'll get'cha!" While it's true that they might resemble a bowling ball, they've got some skills to match. Guys like Pee Wee Lee - the longtime racer, massive-points earner since the 80's and Mr.Rogers look-alike, are not to be written off just for the fact that they haven't kept up with the times by spending hundreds of dollars on a cool fullface helmet, carbon frame and clipless pedals.
C'mon - this is Seattle! A visorless fullface is the grunge-band equivalent to a flannel shirt. 

In fact, one of the best mains of Day 1 just so happened to involve Pee Wee and his 41-45 cohorts. From the moment the gate slammed down, it was complete chaos and elbows. Lee found himself mid-pack through the first turn, and was quickly weaving in and out of traffic like he was heading north on the 405 during rush hour. Vendetta-Elite's Jim Nelson had the lead, but he had a bullethead breathing down his neck. By the last turn, Pee Wee made the berm his playhouse and took over the lead with an old-school inside swoop. With only a couple of more jumps to victory, suddenly Lee got squirelly, sideways and launched off the side of the tabletop, in a tabletop. Jim Nelson kept it straight and took back his first place lead, while William Jones and Jon Lindberg sprinted to the line, with Lindberg unclipped and dragging his foot like an anchor - leaving a big trail of river-silt in his wake. Talk about excitement! 

41-45 CRUISER

  • JIM NELSON, VENDETTA/ELITE BICYCLES, SACRAMENTO, CA
  • JON LINDBERG, BREMERTON, WA
  • WILLIAM JONES, FACTORY YESS, N VANCOUVER, BC
  • BRAD THORNOCK, NORMONDY PARK, WA
  • GERRY ERICKSON, BALLISTIC BMX, LANGLEY, BC
  • JASON RUSHFORTH, GHY BIKES, TACOMA, WA
  • IAN TIERNEY, MT CURRIE, BC
  • BRENT LEE, BMXTC/SOTACMICROMART, UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA

Since the last time the ABA stopped at River Valley BMX in the very early 00's, there are a few things that have changed plenty of things that haven't. Being built in a flood plane, the soil here in Sumner is silty and sandy, which requires constant watering and constant attention. It also means that the dirt berms could easily see some soft spots (we'll refer to them as "gopher holes" - since them pesky critters have the habit of reaching up and grabbing your front tire when you least expect it). In fact, we could swear on a stack of BMX Action magazines that the gopher holes in turn two and three are in exactly the same spots as they were back in 2000. 

Elite Bike Shop owner Eric Dyer described things perfectly during a break in practice. "The first time I hit this first turn, I had a big smile on my face. It felt like I was racing back in time." 
If there were ever a "throwback race" - this would be it. The River Valley first turn is a long left-handed sweeper, and takes you down what was once considered one of the gnarliest double-infested straightaways in the sport. The doubles into the second turn have been noted in at least two cover-photos of the ancient American BMXer. The tricky part for new school riders, clipped-in, is how to properly take the first turn. This is al brand-new, to the new school kids. What?! No pavement? No perfectly banked-out 180-degree bowled-out berm? No slurry?! No hard, water-repellent Soil-tac'ed surface?!
Nope. Not here, folks.
This year, the Lumberjack Nationals have put the "motocross" back in to Bicycle Motocross!  

By Saturday morning, though -it looked as if Carl Spackler had worked all night long, using sticks of dynamite and C4 explosives shaped like squirrels. All of the gopher-holes had been eliminated. By practice, the turns were packed well and ready for Day 2. You've gotta hand it to the River Valley crew; they were determined to keep this track intact.

The Northwest is home of many BMX brands - from Redline, Yess, Diamondback and Kuwahara, as well as being the new home for Doublecross frames and Ballistic BMX (and don't forget FSA, Chris King headsets and any housebrand you buy at REI -despite being MIA this weekend). This region also has plenty of incredibly quick bike shop teams - from Northwest BMX, RRP, Bike Master and GHY Bikes.

The Kuwahara, Ballistic and both American and Canadian Yess teams were out in full force, and constantly spotted out front. 

Of the many winners of the day, perhaps one of the most impressive ones who stood out in my mind was Ballistic's Sean Day. This being his hometrack, it should be no surprise to see the younger "365 Day" ripper out front of both 9cruiser and 9x. But it was more than just having the hometrack advantage - Day was doing it with style, skills and speed that would've made him a winner this weekend whether he was in Virginia or Washington. For this kid, his time has come - to defend his NAG No.1 plate come November, and at the looks of things, he plans on making it two-in-a-row.

9 CRUISER

  • SEAN DAY, BALLISTIC BMX, TACOMA, WA
  • WYATT (THE RUSSIAN) WORTH, FACTORY YESS, COALINGA, CA
  • HUDSON WHITE, SONIC BMX, SEATTLE, WA
  • JASPER ALTENDORF, RRP BMX GATES, EVERETT, WA
  • TRAVIS (THE TORCH) GOODWIN, SAN CLEMENTE SURF, SAN CLEMENTE, CA
  • DEXTER WINTON, UNIQUE RACING, LANGLEY, BC
  • WILL HUTTON, DIRT DEMONZ, DELTA, BC

 

9 EXPERT

  • SEAN DAY, BALLISTIC BMX, TACOMA, WA
  • CONNOR EATON, FACTORY HARO/PROMAX, VALENCIA, CA
  • WYATT (THE RUSSIAN) WORTH, FACTORY YESS, COALINGA, CA
  • LUKE SOWPAL, DIABLOS RACING, MERRITT, BC
  • ARYEI LEVENSON, BLACK BOX/BASIC/FLY, JACKSONVILLE, OR
  • HUDSON WHITE, SONIC BMX, SEATTLE, WA
  • TRUE BAILEY, CEEZ NW/J&R BICYCLES, LAKE TAPPS, WA
  • RYLEY COFIELD, SPEEDLINE CANADA, NANAIMO, BC

 As many great Northwest teams there are based up here, the big team winners on Friday were from Utah and Minnesota. The orange the turquoise teams of Extreme and FullTilt (with only four riders in attendance!) wound up with the wins. 

Much of Extreme Team's factory victory was thanks in part to Hunter Brown coming out on top of 15x.

15 EXPERT

  • HUNTER BROWN, EXTREME TEAM, W BOUNTIFUL, UT
  • DAHVIN CHILDS, JR BICYCLES.COM/CHASE/BOX, CASTAIC, CA
  • ZACHARY FRIER, BALLISTIC BMX, ABBOTSFORD, BC
  • GAVIN BOWERS, SUPERCROSS BMX, PORTLAND, OR
  • JACOB ZOLL, LAWMAN BIKES, SEATAC, WA
  • KOBE SWANSON, TIME 2 SHINE, TAYLORSVILLE, UT
  • BRANDON LOUDERMILK, FAITH DRIVEN RACING, SALEM, OR
  • PRESTON STEVENS, BIKEMASTER, MILTON, WA

In A-pro on Saturday, the guys had one solid gate o' 8 and it was declared that they'd run four times - first for lane-choice, and then three times for the bucks. With a full-on International field - featuring riders from Autralia and Japan, this was bound to be a good one. Having just landed from Japan, stepping on to American soil for his annual Tangent Tour, Daiki immediately stepped on to another plane to fly up to bigfoot country.
On Friday, AApro local Josh Klatman showed the guys the quick way around River Valley, in the Pro Open, but for the next two days - it was Apro's only and left Klatmanless.
With three rounds for the main, Kuwahara snowbird Alan Hudson, who is currently calling Seattle home for the next three months, duked it out with Daiki for the win. MyRadar's Will Grant even made the trek all the way from Florida to enjoy the trees and lakes of the NW. In the end, Daiki won Saturday and likely could've done the same on Sunday if not for having one of those pesky gophers grab his tire in turn two during the second A-pro main. This left the win for "HotPants" Hudson.

A PRO - Saturday

  • DAIKI IKEDA, TANGENT CARTEL ROCKLIN, CA - VIA JAPAN
  • ALAN HUDSON, KUWAHARA, PHOENIX, AZ
  • JOSHUA BOYTON, EXTREME TEAM, BRISBANE
  • WILLIAM GRANT, MY RADAR/ J&R BICYCLES, SEMINOLE, FL
  • MATTHEW RUBECK, JR BICYCLES.COM/CHASE/BOX, CANYON COUNTRY, CA
  • ERIC MULLER, TIME 2 SHINE, GRANTS PASS, OR
  • RILEY DACEY, BRISBANE, QLD
  • JOE RASMUSSEN, DOUBLECROSS, LANGLEY, BC

One of the best clashes of the weekend would be in the older cruiser mains, which is always exciting  - but this time, being in Washington, everybody was expecting this one to be a real nail-biter. Edge-of-your-seat action, for sure ...and they did not disappoint.

First up in 41-45 cruiser, Elite's Jim Nelson was leading the charge of the 24" brigade, when RRP's Jason Wesson made a move and tangled up. Suddenly, the track resembled the last turn, last-lapat the Daytona 500. Carnage everywhere! Bike flying, bodies sprawling! Complete chaos. And just like what Cole Trickle did in Days of Thunder - Bremerton's John Linberg rode high and gassed it through the debri, holding his breath and hoping he makes it thru. In fact, just to add to this comparison, Linberg was even wearing an open face helmet resembling ColeTrickle's!  BikeMaster's Jeff Graham also took the high road and went from fifth to second in just five-tenths of a second. Nelson and Wesson got up, dusted themselves off and set their sights on Sunday -where they would survive and stay upright and go 1-2 in the main.

41-45 CRUISER  - Saturday

  • JON LINDBERG, BREMERTON, WA
  • JEFF GRAHAM, THE BIKE MASTER, BREMERTON, WA
  • WILLIAM JONES, FACTORY YESS, N VANCOUVER, BC
  • BRAD THORNOCK, NORMONDY PARK, WA
  • IAN TIERNEY, MT CURRIE, BC
  • GERRY ERICKSON, BALLISTIC BMX, LANGLEY, BC
  • JASON WESSON, RRP GATES, PITT MEADOWS, BC
  • JIM NELSON, VENDETTA/ELITE BICYCLES, SACRAMENTO, CA

When all was said and done, you've gotta hand it to the River Valley BMX crew. They kept the track together, and despite a few gopher-holes here and there, the track provided some of the best racing we've seen all year! The old school-style track brought out some excellent excitement, and the new school riders were forced to re-learn how to take the turns with their slick tires and lack of asphalt. 
The crowd was great, the turnout was good, and the fun-factor for all was highr than usual! What a great way to kick off your 4th of July weekend -with a BANG!. 

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