The very first UCi Supercross event took place in Spain – and the Redline Global teams from over seven countries were present and accounted for. In all, this was the largest turnout for a UCi SX event – with more than half the field getting instantly eliminated after the Time Trials. This years’ track was hard and the racing was incredible.
In the end, 3 of the 8 in the gate of the Elite Mens final were on Redline bikes, and two out of the three podium positions were aboard a REDLINE!
But before we give you results, let’s start from the beginning …
One of the most talked about things in Spain was the "Box" jump down the second straightaway; which – if it works well, is likely going to be an obstacle used in the 2012 Olympic Games. Throughout this year, the UCi will be trying out new obstacles at these SX events to test them out for the London BMX track.
Denzel Stein also came to Spain with something to prove and was flyin’ in practice. But a gnarly crash down the first straightaway ened his evening quickly and put him out of action for the next two rounds. When asked afterwards about what happend, Stein told us "I was on the outside line down the first straight away and Connor Fields just flew over on me and took out my front wheel. I guess he wanted to set himself up for the outside, or he just got loose. I’m not sure what he was thinking." Denzel landed on his noggin and had put both hands out to protect him upon impact, so he was happy to walk away with just a really bad headache and no broken bones. After refusing to go to the hospital to get checked out, he wasn’t allowed to jump in for the 2nd or 3rd motos.
Meanwhile, Canadian Redline rookie Tory Nyhaug was whizzin’ through the same motos, along with "Evil" Ivo van der Putton. With top finishes in all three rounds, both of those riders would easily move on in the rounds with pure consistency. Surprisingly, they also played a part in helping end American favorite Nic Long’s day.
Throughout the 1/8’s, the box-jump obstacles gave riders fits. You definitely didn’t want to be behind slower riders who could ball you up. Manuel DeVecchi (Italy) and Dutch riders Martijn Scherpen and Robert DeWIlde discovered that a couple of times, forcing them to go around the jump and get bumped to the bottom of the finishes.
Despite some tough first motos, DeWilde managed to come back strong in the final round and with a 2nd place – just enough to squeek in to the 1/4’s. Scherpen only had bad luck throughout every race and his day ended much earlier than any of us woudl like.
Unquestionably, the one guy who was on fire throughout the day was new Aussie recruit Sam Willoughby. So much so that Australian team manger Wade Bootes probably had to wear oven mitts when he high-5’ed him after every race. After taking the overall Supercross title last year, Willoughby picked right up where he left off six months ago. Even with tough comp coming from Argentian Christian Bercerine, Sam won every single 1/8th-moto and became very familiar with lane 1 – having first pick of lane choice every time.
Alise Post was leading her first 1/4-moto, and was skyin’ through the 2nd straightaway rhythm section but cased the last one and unclipped. Coming to a slow, while attempting to get her foot pack in the pedals, a French girl in the second spot collided with her. A disappointing 7th place would put her a bit behind, and she’d have to make up some ground in the next two rounds.
With her usual determination, she came back strong and stayed steady through the next two, winning those rounds to transfer on to the semi.
With plenty of Redline riders in the hunt, our flyin’ Frenchmen Damien Godet dropped out of the show due to a first turn crash. However, in the second 1/4 main we saw three Redline riders move on to the semis – including Canadian superstar Tory Nyhaug holdin’ his own with Ivo van der Putton and Connor Fields.
In the next quarter, we had two more members of the Orange Crush – van der Biezen and Affro Bob. While v/d Beizen took the lead from the start and showed the rest of the riders the fast line on the track, DeWilde was battling for the fourth and final transfer spot and wound up crashin’ in turn two while attempting a inside swoop. Bob’s day was done, but we still had plenty of orange Flight bikes that moved on to the next round.
And finally – the fourth 1/4 main consisted of Sam Willoughby (starting again from his Lane 1 by choice) up against a couple of USA’s finest – Josh Meyers and David Herman. As he had done all day long, Willoughby flew straight to the front from the inside slot and chalked up another win in front of the thousands of Spainish screaming spectators. Shockingly, neither USA rider could work their way out of this one and were sent packin’.
WOMEN’S SEMI’s: AFollowing what seemed like a "mostly unknown" first semi, Alise and Dutch rider Merle van Bretham lined up for the totally-packed Elite semi no.2. OUr two Redline gals were up against all of the heavy hitters – from Shanaze Reade to Caroline Buchanan and Olympic silver medalist Latatia leCorguilee. They’d have their work cut out for them, if they were going to make it out of this one.
Things were looking good down the first straight, as Alise was in the running and battling for a top-3 position. But things got a bit tight out of turn one, and Alise was forced to the outside – bumping her out of the fourth place transfer. Now with traffic in front of her, she wouldn’t be able to jump through the rhythm as she’d done in qualifying, and had to roll thru the section with the rest of the women. Meanwhile, Shanaze, Buchanan and LeCorguille took off with USA’s Brooke Crain holding down fourth. Coming out of turn two, Post and her Redline had a little bit of a bump and run, with the 6th place rider crashin’ out and slowin’ down any momentum she had built up. Unfortunately – that was it. There would be no catchin’ lil’ Brooke Crain to make the main, and Alise’s day was done.
MEN’S SEMI 1: Making is this far in the program is mighty impressive – and one of the most impressive "kids" getting this far was Canada’s Tory Nyhaug. From lane 6, Tory would have to work hard to make the top-4 cut – especially when you’re lined up with the Olympics gold medalist. Also in this semi were two Netherland riders – Ivo van der Puttom and Jelle van Gorkum, and France’s man on a mission, Joris Daudet.
The gate slammed and all four Redline racers hit mach speeds down the 3-story tall starting ramp. Nyhaug was right there, positioned good for a transfer, but suddenly things got bunched up good entering turn one – and Nyhaug and van Gorkum were stuck toward the back. Tory, Jelle and Daudet were pushed to the back and struggled to get back in to the top-4. They’d made it this far, but unfortunately, would not be able to make the "big show" today.
MEN’S SEMI 2: Willoughby – again from lane 1, got another great start but a slight bobble was just the tenth-of-a-second mistake that Raymon van der Beizen had been wiaitng for and in an instant, he took the lead away from Sam. The two Redline global members then played things safe and jammed in for the first two transfer spots. Ramiro Marino from Argentina and Sam’s fellow countryman (and 2008 Olympian) Luke Madill would fill the final spots in the main.
MEN’S FINAL: After some extreme action, the Redline Global team filled nearly half of the gate o’ 8 – with two Dutch riders and one Aussie. Sam Willoughby was joined by Ivo van der Putton and Raymon van der Beizen. Country-wise, there were 2 Australians, 2 Dutch, and one each from USA, Latvia, France and Argentina.
Thus far in the nights’ action, v/d Beizen has been the only rider able to beat Willoughby – which gave him better lane choice for the final – and from their time trial scores, Maris and Ivo got to pick their lanes before Willoughby.
Lane choices went like this: Ramiro Marino (lane 8), Luke Madill (lane 7), Quentin Calleyron (lane 6), Conner Fields (lane 5), Redline’s Sam Willoghby (lane 4), Redline’s Ivo van der Putton (lane 3), Maris Stromsberg (lane2 ), and Redline‘s Raymon van der Beizen (lane1 ).
Starting from lane 4 was the furthest right that Sam had begun from all night. With such a short first straight away, the more inside you were, the better it was. Once the gate dropped, it was full throttle over the huge first jump gap. Sam had a straight shot to the front and got in his patented extra pedal down the backsides, to sprint in to the lead – closely followed by Maris Stromsberg to his inside. Maris came in to the first turn hot and he and Sam connected and rode up high. Menawhile, young American Conner Fields cut hard to the inside and pulled off an amazing swoop. Reviewing tape, it’s pretty incredible that he was able to hold such a line without washing out, and all hree riders came out of turn one practically side by side. With the outside momentum and horsepower, Willoughby reclaimed the lead followed by Fields. Down the second straight away, Sam and his 2010 Flight bike skied up to the top of the dreaded box, and gained a bit of momentum off the drop-off. Yet as hard as Willoughby tried to pull away, Fields was stickin’ to him like glue.
Meanwhile, in the third position, it was a elbow-to-elbow match up between Mr.Olympian and "Evil" Ivo v/d Putton. The Dutch dude had the inside line off the box jump, and with some added smoothness was able to steal the third place spot from Stromsberg.
Heading in to the final corner, Sam still held on to the lead but Fields was trying every move in the book to grab the lead. Conner was close, but the odd exit of the last turn didn’t help him out any, and Willoughby avoided any last turn excitement to sprinted on in for the victory.
Sam wins it!
With a triumphant fist raised in the air and a foot drag to slow him down at the finish, Willoughby picked right up where he last left off in 2009 – as the new leader of UCi’s World Cup supercross points.
You can chalk it up in the record books as his first Supercross win aboard a Redline bike … the first, of what we hope, will be many more to come.