Steel City Nationals invade Southpark BMX
Pittsburgh, PA. Land of Steelers fans and steel factories - as well as the longtime, legendary BMX fast and fun track known as Southpark BMX.
This weekend's racing was also a Pro Series race - with UCI points on the line (although they won't help you much in getting to the Olympics, as that's been decided awhile ago). With all of the Olympians decided - and many of them already in Rio on packing their bags and catching their flights, the big question coming into this weekend was "I wonder which pros will show?" Furthermore, we also asked ourselves - "Do you think any Olympians will show up, for a lil' pre-Rio warm-up?" That question was answered over in the Redline pits, as Sam Willoughby pulled in and put his Aussie Olympic Flight carbon bike together.
"I just wanted to race; that's what I do," stated Sam. Since he'd missed out on Utah due to an injury, he figured this would be a good way to tune up for the Olympic Games and burn off a few of the cobwebs. His last race was the UCI Worlds, and by the looks of things - he wasn't too rusty.
Also on the Elite motos sheets - trying to make it to the main sheet, were Speedco's Logan Collins, Doublecross' Kenny G., and our 2008 bronze medalist Donny Robinson. Elliott McGrath, Emilio Falla, T-Bone Tanner Sebesta and Justin Posey (Dan's Comp) were also present and accounted for, and voted "most likely" to make the final.
Hey ... and don't forget about the fastest guy you've never heard of - Kyle McRory! He's practically a Southpark son, and his fans were in full force cheering him on to the big show. He would not only make it to the final, but also pulled off a podium finish; sporting a Steelers shirt for his podium pic!
Although Sam started off a little bit off (playing it safe, not slow), he gradually turned it up a few notches on up to the main. By the time Friday night's Elite main lined up, he'd turned it up to a full 11 and was ready to rip these guys apart. Logan Collins kept it closest to Sam's back tire - and scored the 2-spot, with local hero McRory making it to the podium.
- 1 SAM WILLOUGHBY, REDLINE - CHULA VISTA, CA
- 2 LOGAN COLLINS, SPEEDCO - MT JULIET, TN
- 3 KYLE MCRORY, BRIDGEVILLE, PA
- 4 JUSTIN POSEY, DAN's COMP - WINSTON-SALEM, NC
- 5 KENNETH GUSTAFSON, DOUBLECROSS BIKES, PONCA CITY, OK
- 6 DONNY ROBINSON, NAPA, CA
- 7 TANNER SEBESTA, STAY STRONG/ORP, BUDA, TX
- 8 EMILIO FALLA (NCH), QUITO
With the one win that he needed to stay in title-contention for the No.1 Pro title come November, Sam decided to play it safe and sit things out for Saturday. This left the three podium positions up to Collins, McRory and Kenny G. Would one of these guys score their first-ever AA-pro win?! Indeed ... and Doublecross' FLyin' Okie, Kenny Gustafson, did just that.
MEN ELITE - Saturday
- 1 KENNETH GUSTAFSON, DOUBLECROSS BIKES, PONCA CITY, OK
- 2 LOGAN COLLINS, MT JULIET, TN
- 3 KYLE MCRORY, BRIDGEVILLE, PA
- 4 JACOB PEEBLES, JET RACING, CHICO, CA
- 5 TANNER SEBESTA, STAY STRONG/ORP, BUDA, TX
- 6 JEREMY SMITH, EXTREME TEAM, DAYTON, OH
- 7 SANTIAGO MARIN, AJ'S BOY, PLANT CITY, FL
- 8 JUSTIN POSEY, WINSTON-SALEM, NC
In the Elite Womens final, DHR's Dani George came out on top both days with a killer holeshot - scoring the extra $250 Answer Holeshot bucks, and leading the gals from start to finish. On Friday, Yess' Amanda "I'm not retired!" Geving, showed that she's still got the skills and speed and isn't about to give up her BMX legacy. For Saturday, it was Flyin' Felecia scoring a redemptive 2nd place finish for the day, followed by Dan's Comp Samantha Brown.
Come November, these two wins for DHR's Dani-G could come in very handy in the Women Pro title chase, as long as she can do battle with Brooke and Alise.
WOMEN ELITE - Friday
- 1 DANI GEORGE, STAY STRONG, PALMDALE, CA
- 2 FELICIA STANCIL, GT, CHULA VISTA, CA
- 3 AMANDA GEVING, FACTORY YESS, LARGO, FL
- 4 SAMANTHA BROWN, DANS COMP, CROWN POINT, IN
- 5 RACHEL MYDOCK, FACTORY SUPERCROSS BMX, GLENDALE, AZ
- 6 MIKA SHAW, HOSTILE ELITE, CASTLE ROCK, CO
- 7 FLORENCIA SORIANO, CORDOBA
- 8 ALAINA HENDERSON, RUBY, NY
So for all of the old school critiques out there on the inter-webs, who love to whine and complain about modern day BMX and how "clipless pedals have ruined the sport" or how "tracks these days are just mellow pump-tracks" and "we need big air and jumps, like the good ol' days" .... well, after getting a long straightaway to pedal-on in Rockford, here in Southpark your wishes came true with high speeds and mondo-air. Yes, Southpark has JUMPS - lots of them. And riders were leaving the ground; quite often, in fact. But don't get a big head over this fact, thinking that all of your moaning and groaning has made a difference in our sport's direction. Southpark BMX has ALWAYS been this way, and most likely - ALWAYS will be.
This is why racers - both old schoolers and new, love coming to Pittsburgh, PA. If you are a jumper or speed-fanatic, and you've never been to Southpark, then you absolutely MUST add this to your hit-list! Former GT factory rider form the 90's, Anthony "Flat Pedal King" Reyes, was stoked to return to the Southpark track; a track that he always loved winning on when he was a lil' factory ripper. Now doing it for CCH in the 36-40X class, he was up against some tought comp - and having a blast!
In the main, it was super-power -vs- super skill, as Ryes met up with the "Big Block" - Jimmie Sims. Imagine who would win if you paired up a hopped-up Mustang Boss 429 (Sims) with a good-handling 4-cylinder car like a Subaru WRX sti (like Reyes). What you got was a drag race all the way to the line, with the Milwaukee Big Block defeating the SoCal legend.
36-40 EXPERT - Saturday
- 1 JIMMIE (BIG BLOCK) SIMS, BMX BLOCK FAM, MILWAUKEE, WI
- 2 ANTHONY REYES, FACTORY CCH, ANAHEIM, CA
- 3 SCOTT MORRISON, JRBICYCLES.COM, LEESBURG, VA
- 4 ANTHONY KUMIEGA, CUSTOM CYCLE, MONSON, MA
- 5 FRANKO GREGORY, TNT BICYCLES, CONWAY, SC
- 6 RENATO DASILVA, WOBURN, MA
- 7 MICHAEL CAMMARATA, TEAM LONG ISLAND, PATCHOGUE, NY
- 8 MYKE MUNOZ, FREDERICK, MD
Even funnier was the Facebook post that Big Block posted later that night, after scoring his big win. Surprsingly, he was getting in to the Southpark starting gate a little bit timid: "I saw the track and thought about going home! I don't jump or manual and I thought I didn't have a chance. But the Block Fam never gives up so I went out there and made it happen!"
10 EXPERT - Saturday
- 1 GAVIN STAZETSKI, FACTORY CCH, CHARLEROI, PA
- 2 AUSTIN CLOSE, TIME 2 SHINE, YORKTOWN, VA
- 3 BRANDON ZEPEDA-ORTH, PEDAL TO THE MEDDLE, DENVER, CO
- 4 ANDREW DOROFEE, TUCKAHOE BIKE SHOP, EGG HARBOR TWP, NJ
- 5 CRUZ SARICH, CAMPBELLVILLE, ON
- 6 CHASE (RED RACER) WHITE, CRUPI GREEN/MERTENS, KINGMAN, AZ
- 7 COLTON BOGGS, HONEY BROOK, PA
- 8 WYATT (EASY MONEY) CLARK, RACE INC, AVON, IN