Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, is generally spent hovering around the backyard barbecue, but for BMXers like us, it means the yearly trek to one of the greatest tracks on the national circuit, Derby City BMX in Louisville, KY. As one of the few three-day race weekends on the calendar, it’s a chance to squeeze in a weekend and a half of racing into one weekend and gather some valuable national points.
The world of social media started lighting up on Thursday as racers arrived and got a peek at the Derby City track, which was groomed to perfection and is a favorite among many of the top riders. Although the calendar said the end of summer had arrived, the weatherman and thermostat had another story to tell. Temperatures hovered in the mid-nineties all weekend, and the stifling humidity would prove to be a challenge for everyone. With Alise Post defending her UCI World Cup points lead down in Argentina this weekend, Redline team members Sam Willoughby, Collin Hudson, and Jason Carnes made the trip to Louisville and when the dust settled, had amassed some great finishes!
Although Labor Day is dedicated to the economic achievements of the American worker, we’re happy to let Aussie Sam Willoughby in on the festivities. Sam has had a lot of success in Louisville over the years, and looked to carry on that tradition this year. The weekend started a bit off-script, with an 8th place finish in Friday’s final. The Elite class is full of world-class athletes and a little spin on the gate is all it takes to get spit out of the back! With two more days ahead, you have to have a short memory and get back to form quickly. Sam did just that, winning Saturday’s final from start to finish! He closed out the weekend with a third on Sunday, closely behind UCI time trial World Champion, Joris Daudet, and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Maris Strombergs. The points are very tight between Sam, Joris, and American Connor Fields, but Saturday’s win will keep Sam right in the mix for the USABMX pro title!
Collin Hudson came to Louisville ready to redeem himself from what he considers a lack-luster 3rd place performance in Colorado two weeks ago (the mind of a great athlete at work). Although he seemed to struggle through the qualifiers and made Friday’s final by the narrowest of margins, Collin showed up for work when it is needed the most…in the main event. He popped out front from the start and never looked back, taking an impressive win in the A-pro class. Saturday, Collin looked to carry on with that performance and looked blistering fast through the qualifiers. In the final, he got a bit of a squeeze down the first straight and found himself in fourth. Collin set up a great move in the last turn to make a pass for third, but the race leaders came together, causing a pile-up and leaving him nowhere to go but over the bars and onto the asphalt. With a bit less skin on his arms, Collin showed great resolve to make Sunday’s main and battled for the lead into turn one from lane seven. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite get there and was pushed back to third, where he would finish. That finish leaves his streak alive of landing on the podium in every A-Pro race, except the ones where he ends up on the ground. Luckily for him and us, that isn’t too often.
Team Manager Jason Carnes showed up to Louisville ready to work, and was immediately put on triple-duty! Between icing down drinks and keeping the fans running strong and pointed at the Pros, Jason raced both 41-45 Expert and Cruiser all three days. The TM looked to be having a great time on the track, and always one to do it “for the fans,” was one of the oldest riders to hit the third-straight pro section. There were some great battles with the heavy-hitters and title contenders of the class, but in the end, Carnes won every final and went a perfect six-for-six on the weekend. The high rider-count this weekend should catapult him right near the top in the hunt for the National #1 Cruiser title!
It was a great Labor Day weekend in Louisville for the team, and like always, Derby City BMX did not disappoint! Thanks to USABMX and the Derby City crew for putting on a first-class event and giving us an awesome facility to celebrate and pay tribute to the hard work that has made the United States prosperous, and make a little contribution of our own! It definitely beats burning up hot dogs in the backyard!
Congratulations to the team and all who made the trip to Louisville, and a gracious “Thank You” to our great sponsors: Box, Promax, Tioga, FastSigns Goodyear, Alienation, KMC, and Kool Stop! Next up, the UCI World Cup finals are happening right here in USA in Rock Hill, SC (Set 25-26). Safe travels to all and Happy Labor Day!