Father’s Day means so much to so many, but for BMX’ers, it means the annual trip to Rockford, IL for the USABMX Midwest Nationals. Set in beautiful Searls Park, Rockford BMX is one of the longest lasting, most legendary tracks on the pro tour and has become a favorite to many riders around the globe. Known for its reputation as a finely-tuned drag-strip, “The Rock” lived up to the hype once again! Despite the string of bad weather that has plagued the Midwest lately, Jake Karau (who has been the track operator for over thirty years) and his crew had the entire venue groomed to perfection. With most of the team prepping for the upcoming Pan-Am Games and World Championships, Redline only had two riders rep’ing at The Rock: World Champion Sam Willoughby and the TM, Jason Carnes.
Sam has been talking about the trip to Rockford for weeks now and has taken a liking to the track that fits his style perfectly…putting power to the pedals! On Friday, he had a tight battle with Dan’s Competition’s young hot shoe, Justin Posey. After Sam took the lead into turn one, Justin put in a serious carve and came out with a slight lead, capturing the Answer “Hole Shot” award. Sam had the inside line down the second straight and regained the lead and put in a smooth lap, taking it all the way to the line.
Saturday brought something else that the Rockford race is known for, a chance of rain! The USABMX crew was able to push through the majority of the qualifying rounds before rain forced a delay in the action. The weather-savvy track crew sprang into action quickly and had the track covered in minutes. As soon as there was a break in the rain, the tarps were removed and racing resumed. Although the track was wet, it held up to the conditions and the racers were going full-tilt with very few incidents. The Pro mains were up first, and Sam showed the Rockford fans that he can lay down the power, rain or shine! After pinning it to the front of the pack, he got the day two Holeshot Award and never looked back. Saturday’s win gave Sam his first double win of the year and puts him near the top of the USABMX Pro battle charts.
As night set in and a light rain began to fall, the races kept going and Jason Carnes lined up for his Cruiser main. Although he could be heard complaining on his way to staging “I don’t like racing at night, and I REALLY don’t like racing at night, in the rain,” Jason held it together for a hot lap and survived a bump in turn one to grab a victory on the big bike. Ten minutes later, the sky really opened up and forced a postponement of the remainder of the finals until Sunday morning.
As Sunday’s racing got underway with the remainder of Saturday’s finals, the sun popped out and bought with it plenty of heat and humidity. It was a sweaty one, but Carnes had a great day on both bikes! He showed a little forty-something power of his own and went three-for-three on the day, giving the team a perfect six-win weekend.
Although the weather presented some challenges, we’d like to give a huge “THANKS” to both the USABMX and Rockford BMX staff for keeping things under control and providing us all with another great weekend at the races! Congratulations to everyone who made the trip to Rockford, and a belated Happy Father’s Day shout out to all the rad dads out there! Next up on the race calendar is the USABMX “Stars-and-Stripes” Nationals, the Pan-Am Games, and then the UCI World Championships! Also, don’t forget to check out our Redline Flight School schedule on Redlinebicycles.com. This week is loaded with stops every day from Tuesday-Friday in Farmer City, IL, Hobart, IN, Toledo, OH, and Waterford Oaks, MI. Check it out, then come on out!