Phoenix, AZ – ABA Winternationals 2010: After a typically sunny Arizona Saturday, mother nature turned on the BMX crowd for the final day of the ABA Winternationals – bringin’ with her cloudiness, a morning drizzle and eventually turning on the spinklers for the quarters and semi’s, before really pouring it on everyone for the main events. In some slippery conditions, Team Redline decided to do the same – and poured on the power, winding up with THREE wins out of the four Elite finals.
[ above L to R: Masa, Sam, Tory and Alise – all smiles after impressive finishes in Sunday’s mud. ]
JR ELITE: Canada~Redline’s TORY NYHAUG was already on cloud nine after scoring a Saturday win in Jr Elite. Beating the always-tough Conner Fields will always put a smile on Tory’s face, and he continued to smile on Sunday despite the change in weather and track conditions. Mud and slick turns are no stranger to this Canadian, and he was feeling as if he were back in British Columbia once the skies opened up and began creating havoc. Inspired by his fellow Canadian national hockey team, Nyhaug was shooting for Gold and out to beat the U.S. juniors – and won Sunday’s finale wire to wire.
Ink him in for a Winternationals "double" – and add on some needed Olympic qualification points for Canada.
ELITE WOMEN: While more accustomed to feezing cold and snow, Minnesotan ALISE POST is also no stranger to rain and mud. After a crazy semi main that saw the No.1 contender of Shanaze Reade abruptly swerve off a double jump in to the mud and muck of the infield, Post felt she had the main event in the bag. Although still up against some tough competition – including Redline’s Dutch National gal JOYCE SEESING, Post got the snap in the main and held on to the lead with Seesing holding down second. Across the finishline, it was a 1-2 finish for Redline – rounding out her weekend with an impressive 2nd and a 1st.
[ The top two rungs of the Elite Women’s podium – Alise & Holland’s Joyce Seesing. ]
ELITE MEN: With over 50 AA-pro contenders – and 8 of them being the Dutch National Team, competition in Phoenix was TIGHT. After a barely noticable drizzle during the motos, the track finally started getting slick in time for the quarters. And it just kept on getting worse for the semis, and then even more slick for the main events.
It was here where many of the Dutch national squad began experienceing troubles, and riders were decidingon whether to throw on Tioga Comp-X tires, or stick with their Powerblock’s. Redline-USA’s DENZEL STEIN stuck with the Powerblocks, and wound up going out in the semi’s, while Redline-Australia’s Sam Willoughby put on more knobbies and proceeded to the main.
Of all the Elite riders, though – the two who stood out to be surprisingly awesome mudder’s were Japan’s MASA SAMPEI and his fellow countryman Akafumi Sakamoto. Amazingly, both Japanese contingents were not only up front, but also made the big show. This was a first for Japan – having two of their own in the Elite final!
The Netherland’s MARTIJN SCHERPEN was also looking strong in the Elite semi, and was in transfer position up until the last turn, where he got a nice elbow for the fourth and final transfer spot.
In Sunday’s Elite mens final, Aussie Redline recruit SAM WILLOUGHBY proved he was the man to beat with a killer snap and super skills in the mud ‘n crud. Meanwhile, Masa Sampei was squeezed off down the first straight and fell back to 6th place, while Willoughby lead it wire to wire – jumping everything in front of him as if it were a sunny, dry day.
Not a bad way to wrap up the weekend – with Redline atop the podiums for three of the four Elite mains!
Tune back later for photos and more details from Phoenix.