2017 Great Northwest Nationals race report
PHOTOS BY DAN MOONEY
The national circuit came back to the always-anticipated Dechutes Fairgrounds for Roud eight of the 2017 season, and as expected - it was a big one. Being the third Worlds qualifier - and the last West-coast chance to make Team USA, we knew Friday's race would be a doozy. Adding eight more riders to each UCI age group would provide some bar-to-bar racing!
FRIDAY: TEAM USA WORLDS QUALIFIER
Known as the "Challenge" classes, we added some vital riders to the red, white and blue squad who will surely be in contention for adding a W in front of their number this July. Supercross' Wyatt Worth (11 year old), Rift-Tangent's Tyler Grigsby (12) and Nic Adams (15), and Daylight's Tyler Cacciola (16) were just a few of the many qualifiers who are poised to rep us well.
The big story of Friday night, though, was 68 riders in 17-21 Challenge! Yes .. we said, SIXTY EIGHT! This class will be awesome to watch in Rock Hill, as it is chock full of the hottest riders in the fastest age groups. After narrowing down the 10 groups of riders to the final eight, the cartel's Ryan Puckett held off Elite's Shane Harlow and sand-bagger Austin Hiatt for the win. It was an awesome race - and also making Team USA were Gold's Gym's Tyler Petty, Kullman, FA's Antil and local heroes Taylor Stevens and Alex Steeves. Add these eight to the 16 who have already made the cut, along with carry-over W#1 Josh Banuelos and we've already got some MAJOR title contenders on the team.
17-24 CHALLENGE MEN
- 1 RYAN PUCKETT, FACTORY RIFT/TANGENT, REDDING, CA
- 2 SHANE HARLOW, ELITE BICYCLES, MORENO VALLEY, CA
- 3 AUSTIN HIATT, FRESNO, CA
- 4 ALEX STEEVES, MEDFORD, OR
- 5 TYLER PETTY, FACTORY GOLD'S GYM, CYPRESS, TX
- 6 JASON KULLMAN, RRC-SUPERCROSS-FLY, HENDERSON, NV
- 7 TAYLOR STEPHENS, REDMOND, OR
- 8 ALEX ANTIL, FACTORY FREE AGENT-BOX, SAINT MICHAEL, MN
Will the remaining 60 riders who didn't made the cut here in Oregon show up in texas in a couple of weeks for the final chance to qualify for Team USA?
Another large age group that was hotly contested was the old fougies of 35-plus. With 34 riders juiced up on Geritol and fish oil tablets, these dudes didn't come to play. In the final, Tommy McCollister came out on top, followed by Boise's Jayson Hale and longtime Colorado ripper Jamie Keelan. Answer~Rennen's Al Roybal, who in a rare mood, pedaled all the way to the line and duked it out for a 4th place.
35 & OVER CHALLENGE MEN
- 1 TOMMY MCCOLLISTER, REAL PRESENCE MUSIC, EUREKA, CA
- 2 JAYSON HALE, BOISE, ID
- 3 JAMIE KEELAN, ARVADA, CO
- 4 AL ROYBAL, ANSWER/RENNEN, PRUNEDALE, CA
- 5 DERICK PRIOR, METRO BMX, BAKERSFIELD, CA
- 6 BRENT LEE, BMXTC/K7TGU.COM/STM, UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA
- 7 JEFF AANA, BAY AREA BMXERS, SANTA CLARA, CA
- 8 DANIEL MENDIETA, BAY AREA BMXERS, SAN JOSE, CA
In the Girls Challenge classes, Oregon saw the triumphant return of the Shriver sisters - whom we haven't seen much of so far this year. All three of them - Katja (age 11) and Esja and Richelle (14) qualified their new Throdwn's to Team USA, and definitely be W1 contenders at Rock Hill, as long as they can hold off Colombia's mini-Mariana's. We can't wait to watch those mains in July!
After such a late night at the Winter and Carolina nationals, USA BMX's new Friday night schedule for the Worlds Qualifier was refreshing and really highlighted the classes and what was at stake. By Friday night, all of social media was flooded with pictures of riders proudly holding their USA medals of honor, having made it to the Team.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY: GREAT NORTHWEST NATIONALS