The USABMX Gator Nationals were held in Oldsmar, FL this weekend, and the Redline team made it a race to remember! The weather was perfect with sunny, breezy days and temperatures hovering in the 80’s. Oldsmar BMX has a reputation of being one of the smoothest tracks on the national circuit, and track operator, John Sawyer, and his crew made sure it lived up to the hype. It’s been a long wait for the start of the outdoor pro-series events, and the team took advantage of the long, wide-open straight-aways to show the power and speed that they have worked on during the long break since Reno in January. Here’s how the team fared:
Alise had a phenomenal weekend also, but the finals didn’t start too well for her. In a freak warm-up accident just five minutes before Saturday’s main, she crashed on the jump leading into the asphalt first corner, taking off some skin and damaging her bike. After a scramble to get things repaired and regain her composure, she managed to get down the first straight and come out the first turn in third, behind Olympic gold medalist Mariana Pajon and Junior Women’s World Champion, Felicia Stancil. Alise charged hard and managed to nip Felicia at the line to take 2nd place for the day.
Sunday went a little smoother for Alise with no crashes and a clean sweep of the motos and semi-final. In the main, she came out of the first turn in second, just behind Mariana. With a hard charge down the third straight, Alise pulled alongside her, but was stuck on the outside of the final turn, allowing Mariana to retain the lead. Alise gave it a final charge down the last straight and got the win by a mere foot at the finish! It was an exciting race for the fans, and this is what Alise had to say about her weekend’s performance:
“It was a lot of fun being back with the Redline squad and racing in Oldsmar this past weekend! Saturday’s final was a bit of a flustered performance for me thanks to my silly warm-up crash right before the final. Second was a good finish, but I definitely wanted to be a stronger contender for the win on Sunday. I knew I was going fast around the track and there was a lot of pedaling room that allowed me to dig deep after a below-par start to catch up and chase down Mariana. She is definitely no slouch around the track, so it was great toe to toe racing right to the finish, and it felt awesome to pull past her for the win! That ride was a lot of fun and a big confidence boost for me in my riding abilities!”
After a dominant performance at the season-opener in Reno, Sam came to Florida ready to extend his early points lead. With sixty-nine riders in attendance representing a dozen countries, the elite class was the largest on record at a USABMX national. Sam looked strong all day Saturday, dominating the motos, as well as the 1/8th, 1/4th, and semi-final, giving him a great lane choice for the main. When the gate dropped, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, Maris Strombergs, shot out front from the outside, while Sam jumped into the first turn in second. Sam gave chase all the way to the line, but had to settle for a second place finish.
Sunday was another great day, as Sam rode strong in the qualifiers and earned another spot in the final. As the race got underway, Sam got a great start, earned himself the Answer “Holeshot” award, and never looked back.
“After feeling strong all day Saturday and not getting the win in the end, there was definitely a little extra motivation to stamp it Sunday and do everything as best I could at the end of the day. To end with a fast clean lap was very satisfying, especially in a deep field of nearly 70 of the world’s best men!” -Sam
With 37 riders, 17-18 Expert was one of the largest amateur classes of the weekend. As one of the youngest riders in the class, Collin rode strong and made his way into the final both days. Saturday, Collin came from an outside lane and found himself in fourth place coming out of the first turn. He used his track speed to rally past one rider, taking the 3rd place finish.
Sunday was an even better day for Collin, as he showed the Florida fans why he’s the reigning World Champion. After a great start, Collin shot to the front and never looked back. It was an impressive wire-to-wire win for him, adding some good points to go with his win in Phoenix last weekend.
Tory was on point this weekend, riding very consistently near the front of every lap, winning his 1/8th final on Saturday, and 1/4final on Sunday. His Saturday came to an end in the semi-final with a traffic jam in the first turn. Sunday went much better, with Tory finding his way into the main. Down the second-straight, Tory was in fourth, but closing in fast on third place rider, gold medalist Maris Strombergs. After some contact in the second turn, he fell back to fifth where he would finish the lap.
“It’s awesome to be back out on the USABMX circuit fighting for podiums, especially in such a deep field of competitors!” -Tory
As the other half of our 17-18 Expert dynamic duo, Hunter rolled into Florida, anxious to show the world that he’s ready to cash in on some of the hard work he’s putting in on his backyard track in Conroe, TX! On Saturday, he rode strong through the motos and 1/4 final, only to run into bad luck in the semi. Sitting comfortably in second, the first place rider made a last minute change-of-direction in the split third straight-away, taking Hunter’s front wheel out, along with his plans for a trip to the finals.
Sunday was a better day, with Hunter easily transferring into the main event. The lap was going really well and Hunter was sitting in third. As the second place rider chose the easier (but longer) right side of the third-straight, Hunter pinned it to the left, setting up an inside pass in the last turn, as well as an awesome RL one-two finish. With a little too much speed, Hunter overshot the jump into the turn, buckling his knees and nearly peeling his front tire off of the rim! This sent him straight to the back of the pack and into 7th place. Although it wasn’t the finish he had hoped for, it showed that he’s only got one speed, and that’s wide-open…and we like it! Hunter is looking forward to showing the home-state fans what he’s made of as the USABMX circuit makes its way to Metroplex BMX in Desoto, TX in eleven short days!
Next stop for the squad: The USABMX Super Nationals in Desoto, TX, April 4-6.