For thirty-six years now, November has meant one thing to BMX racers across the country: time for the Grands! This year’s USABMX Grand Nationals was the biggest race in the sport’s history with over 700 motos! As always, the Redline team was there in full effect chasing the hardware!
The weekend started with the Race of Champions on Friday (over 550 motos) and the team wasted no time getting busy! Gorgeous George Goodall set the tone by capturing a big win in the 46-50 cruiser class. As a clinic guru and staple in the Chandler, AZ BMX scene, George is always in the hunt, and he reminded us once again why he’s the man as he hoisted the Race of Champions cup high into the air.
As the Redline pros lined up for the ROC finals, all eyes were on Alise Post and Sam Willoughby. Alise was trailing just behind Colombia’s Olympic gold medalist, Mariana Pajon in the hunt for the USABMX #1 Women’s Pro title. Sam, on the other hand, having one of the most dominant seasons in BMX history, knew that a ROC win would cement his name in the record books as the champion before the Grands race even began. With a huge win by Alise, she catapulted herself to dead even with Mariana, meaning they would go head-to-head for the title on Saturday night. Sam followed suit and delivered another dominant performance, guaranteeing that he would be the one holding the #1 cup on Saturday.
As Saturday morning rolled around and the Grands got underway, the talk in the pits was the moto count: over 700 motos! Sam, Tory, and Alise all transferred through to the night show, joined by Carly Dyar in the NAG 5 Challenge. Carly made it through to the main and after drawing lane 8, she would have her work cut out for her. As the gate dropped, she fought hard to get across but had to settle for a sixth place finish after getting caught up in first turn traffic.
Carly’s 20″ class main finished on Sunday with the amateur mains. After taking a third in the 1/4 final and winning the semi, She lined up for the main…way out there in lane 8. Carly fought from start to finish, ending with a hard-earned 5th place. She ends the season with a NAG #4 plate, as well as UCI World #2 in class, and a World Championship title on the cruiser. Awesome year!
Back to the Saturday night Pro Spectacular:
Tory ran into a bit of bad luck in the AA semi. While in the fourth transfer spot, he came up short on the first pro-section double, killing his drive and forcing him to hit the brakes before the second set, essentially ending his night.
Running three mains, the pros know it takes consistency to walk away as the winner. Here’s a quick run down of how the mains went down:
In the first main, Mariana Pajon jumped out front to the first turn. Alise had an outside line and set up a high-low to pull right alongside Mariana coming out of the turn. Unfortunately, she didn’t have enough drive for the straight away and Mariana pulled away slightly. Alise settled in there and that’s how the lap finished.
The second main is where things got turned upside down! Alise shot out front, and with a first turn move by the Elite Women’s World Champion, Caroline Buchanan, Mariana was back in third. Down the second straight, Mariana had a great drive and managed to pass Caroline into second. Down the third straight, Mariana closed in on Alise, pulling a textbook high-low in the second turn, pulling up beside Alise. A little bump by Mariana just before the first double is all it took to get Alise off balance, causing her to lose control and go off the track. With Mariana winning the main and Alise getting 8th, it would be mathematically impossible for the RL rider to capture the points lead and title.
Racing for a good finish for the day, Alise shot out front once again in the third main. Haro’s lady pro, and Olympic teammate of Alise, Brooke Crain, rode the second straight very smooth and fast, passing Alise on the outside. With the inside angle, Alise jumped into the second turn hoping to block the line. As she landed in the turn, her front tire slid out, sending her to the dirt once again, putting an exclamation mark on a bad night of racing.
Alise ended the season as the #2 Pro Woman. Although the Grands didn’t go her way, we would like to congratulate her on a very successful 2013 season, where she repeated as the USA Cycling National Champion.
With the national title already in the bag, many wondered how Sam’s main event performance would be. With BMX pros essentially being prize fighters, and $7,000 going to the winner, he didn’t take long to give us the answer.
First main: With an outside lane, Sam got caught up in first turn traffic, dropping to 5th/6th. With smooth riding and full pull, he managed to fight his way up to third by the finish, setting him up good for his inside lanes in the second and third mains.
Second/Third: For the final two mains, Sam put a final stamp on his unbelievable season by powering ahead and never looking back. With five points total, Sam took the big win and showed the fans that his other eighteen wins were no fluke! With three USABMX Pro titles in four years, he joins a very short list of AA riders with three or more cups.
As a bit of icing on the cake, Sam was also awarded the USABMX Golden Crank Award for “Pro of the Year!” It is an award voted on by the members of USABMX and readers of the ‘Pull’ magazine. Sam has already enlisted one of San Diego’s most prominent contractors to construct a new shelving unit, massive enough to hold the hardware he has collected over the past few years.
It has been a great season for the Redline squad and we would like to congratulate all of our riders. With big plans and a few surprises up our sleeves for 2014, look for the red, black, and white of Redline to make big waves out there!
In closing, we have to take a minute to thank all of our team sponsors that make our program such a success:
We can’t wait to see everyone on the track in Reno…just five short weeks from now!