Beautiful Chula Vista, CA and the US Olympic Training Center played host to three huge events over the weekend: the western region Gold Cup final, the 2015 BMX Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and stop #3 of the USABMX North American Supercross Series. Chula Vista also happens to be the home of two of the biggest names in the sport of BMX, Redline team riders Sam Willoughby and Alise Post. With an opportunity to sleep in their own bed, and only drive a short ten minutes up the road to compete for a piece of the $60,000 in prize money (as well as valuable year-end points), how could they miss it?!
The weekend’s pro racing took place on the 2008 Beijing Olympic replica track, which has a history of producing some of the most exciting racing on the Supercross circuit. Although it was a little breezy, temperatures were in the mid-nineties and competitors flew in from around the globe, making it an awesome weekend of BMX!
Friday started great for Sam and Alise, and both easily transferred through the motos. While the Elite Men had enough riders for quarter-finals, the Elite Women only had two groups and transferred directly to the final. This gave Alise lots of rest while Sam battled his way to wins in both the quarter and semi-final. When the mains rolled around, Sam and Alise had both earned first lane pick, and chose lane one for the inside advantage. Alise’s main didn’t last long, unfortunately. She had a slow start, which left her battling to not get cut-off by her Olympic teammate, Brooke Crain, who was in lane two. As the group took off from the first jump, Alise and Brooke locked-up in mid-air and hit the deck hard. Alise crashed as softly as you can hope on a forty foot jump at 30-35mph, and slid down the landing on her hip, giving her 7th place on the day. Brooke, unfortunately, wasn’t so lucky. She sustained a concussion that ended her weekend. Feel better quickly, Brooke! Sam had a much better lap, snapping out of lane one, taking the lead, and earning the Answer Holeshot award. Down the second-straight, Sam had a bit of an overshoot on the second jump, drifted to the middle of the track, and left a little too much space on the inside of turn two. American Olympian Conner Fields took full advantage and dove underneath to take the lead. He held on for the win and a huge payday, and handed Sam the 2nd place score.
Saturday started much the same as Friday, with Sam and Alise getting through the motos (and Sam through the quarters) without any hiccups. In the Men’s semi-final, things got interesting for Sam! Just out of the gate, his foot released from the pedal and he immediately dropped back to last. In an eight-man semi full of the fastest racers on the planet, that is tough to overcome! Sam battled his way through the pack and managed to sneak by right at the line to take the fourth place, final transfer spot! It was a little too close for us! In the finals, Alise popped out of lane one to take the lead and Holeshot Award. She rode a strong lap through the pain of Friday’s crash, but Australian Olympian Caroline Buchanan managed to come through a little more smoothly on the last straight and snuck by for the win. This gave Alise the 2nd place finish, and Caroline an impressive double-win for the weekend. Sam’s final was another crazy one! After his fourth place semi finish, he had seventh or eighth lane choice and ended up coming out of lane five. A slow start put him right in the middle of traffic down the first straight, a terrible place to be. Sam’s fellow Australian countryman, Anthony Dean, had a near slide-out in the first turn, which caused both chaos and Saturday’s winner Connor Fields to take a fall. Race leader, Joris Daudet, and second place, Corben Sharrah, were the only ones with speed to jump the second straight and they quickly pulled away. Sam ended up crossing the line for the 7th place finish.
With only a second place finish (each) to show, this certainly wasn’t the weekend Sam and Alise had hoped for, but when you’re up against the best on the planet, it only takes a tiny mistake and the blink of an eye to give up a win. After a points tally, Alise still carries a huge lead for the USABMX series overall, and Sam will remain in a very tight three-way battle with Conner Fields and Joris Daudet. There isn’t much time to rest, as the final stop on the USABMX North American SX Series makes its way to the newly rebuilt Oldsmar BMX in Oldsmar, FL this weekend for the Gator Nationals. This will be the final full-weekend of racing for pro points, with only the Race of Champions and Grand Nationals remaining over Thanksgiving weekend in Tulsa, OK! We can hardly wait!
Thanks to our great sponsors for the continued support: Box, Promax, Tioga, FastSigns Goodyear, Alienation, KMC, and Kool Stop! Also, good luck to Sam and Alise in Oldsmar, as they are joined by fellow team riders Hunter Pelham and Collin Hudson. Safe travels to all!