The 2014 USABMX season came to a close in Tulsa, OK over the Thanksgiving weekend, and team Redline was there as always, chasing dreams and titles! The Race of Champions/Grand National weekend is always a thrilling event, as it is the culmination of a year’s worth of training, effort, and racing. With 531 motos for the ROC, and 701 motos for the Grands, there was guaranteed to be no shortage of action and drama. The USABMX track builders did not disappoint, building a technically demanding track that tested the world’s best racers and produced some of the most exciting battles of the year! It was weekend filled with amazing highs and devastating lows for Redline, and here is how our riders fared:
Alise Post (Women’s Pro) – It has been seven years since Alise raised the silver cup of the USABMX Pro Champion, and her journey back to the top has been one littered with victories, injuries, heartbreak, and tragedy. She has continued to amaze us with her positive spirit and ability to rebound from every setback along the way. Coming into the Grands, Alise was on a streak of her own, placing second at the World Championships in July after a long injury layoff, and winning eight straight USABMX nationals since August! With powerful first-straight pull and buttery-smooth laps, she showed the world that this was her year. Alise won every lap of the weekend except one, to capture both the ROC and Grand National victories! It was an amazing weekend, and one that has been a long time coming. It was an emotional time for Alise, her dad Mark, and a lot of her fans as well. All we could manage to get out of her afterwards was, “I am so happy to have finished the 2014 season on a high note with some of my best riding to date! It was a very special feeling to finally hoist that cup wearing the Redline colors!” Alise ends the year as the USABMX Women’s Pro Champion with fourteen national wins, World #2 Elite Woman, and had two podium finishes (out of two events…2nd and 3rd) in UCI World Cup competition.
Sam Willoughby (AA-Pro) – What can we say about Sam that hasn’t been said already? After being the most dominant pro over the last four years with a list of stats that may never be matched, he came into the Grands weekend as the Elite World Champion, riding an eight-race win streak, and a points lead over Olympic Gold Medalist, Maris Strombergs. Sam’s quest for his fourth (and third in-a-row) USABMX Pro title was on track after Friday’s unbelievable come-from-behind ROC win and qualification into Saturday night’s Grands semi-final. The semi is where things unraveled for us. After spinning out on the gate, Sam came from last and shot quickly into the fourth qualifying spot before he even reached the second jump. Through the second-straight pro section, he was charging to try and pass the second and third place riders, including title contender, Maris. Sam pushed through the final jump, staying way too low and came up short, flipping him over the bars and ending his fairytale season. After the dust settled, Sam was back to his positive self with a tweet to the fans, “The mistakes I made in that semi-final last night will haunt me for a while, but 2014 has been a great year nonetheless with great people.”
The night was not all bad though, with Sam picking up the USABMX Pull magazine “Pro of the Year” Golden Crank Award, as voted on by the USABMX membership. One thing to be sure of is that he will be back in 2015 hungrier than ever. Sam ends the 2014 season as the World Champion, USABMX #2 Pro with fourteen national wins, and two (out of two) UCI World Cup victories.
Tory Nyhaug (AA-Pro) – Tory’s Grands weekend was cut extremely short! He finished second in Friday’s first moto, but unfortunately things went awry in moto two! An unsuspected swerve by another rider in the pro-section forced Tory to jump sideways over the final jump and he came up way short! The case left him with multiple fractures in his left ankle, but luckily no ligament damage. A few bits of hardware from the good doctor will have him back on the bike in no time! Heal up quick, Tory!
Collin Hudson (A-pro) – After a long layoff and multiple surgeries from his crash at the World Championships in July, Collin was finally cleared for racing last week and came to Tulsa amped to get back on the track! With plans to turn pro in 2015, he decided (at about 5:00pm on Thursday) to skip 17-18 Expert and make the jump to A-Pro for the weekend. With solid qualifying laps, Collin transferred into the ROC finals and after two (of three) mains, he found himself tied for 2nd place. He finished third in the final main, giving him an impressive 3rd place podium finish in his pro debut. At the Grands, Collin showed no signs of slowing down and transferred easily into Saturday night’s “Pro Spectacular,” where the Pro semis and finals are showcased. In the semi-final, he was sitting pretty in fourth, but after being forced into an outside line in turn two, he was pushed back and took the dreaded 5th place spot, ending his season.
Hunter Pelham (17-18 Expert) – After winning two out of three at last month’s Disney Cup, Hunter came into the Grands weekend feeling red-hot and ready to prove it was no fluke! He looked poised to keep the streak alive with an impressive semi-final win and lane one in the main! Anything less than a perfect start makes lane one a dangerous place to be, and Hunter was reminded of that when he came out a fraction of a second late. He had to settle into third into the first turn, but stayed on the gas to nip Andrew Townsend at the line to take the 2nd place finish and end the year NAG 3!
“Gorgeous” George Goodall (46 and over Expert, 46-50 Cruiser) – George came in defending his ROC 1 cruiser plate and got real close to a repeat. After making both mains on Friday, he finished with a hard fought second on cruiser. The disappointment of losing the ROC plate had George charged up for the Expert main and he gave it everything he had against BMX Hall of Famer and former Redline pro, Billy Griggs. Unfortunately, a last turn battle moved George back to the 3rd place podium finish. George made the Grands final on his cruiser as well, where he finished 7th.
It was an amazing year for all of our team riders and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and dedication! It is a pleasure to work with such hard-charging athletes who strive so hard to achieve their goals! Also, a big thank you goes out to our great sponsors who keep us geared-up and ready to race, including Box, Promax, Alienation, Fast Signs-Goodyear, KMC, and Kool Stop. Last but certainly not least, thank you to our loyal dealers and Redline fans and riders around the world! Happy Holidays to all and we’ll see you on the track in 2015!
Photos by Nick Campbell at Steve Diamond Elements