Photo Galleries: Oldsmar
It was an incredible weekend of fun, sun and sizzlin race action in Oldsmar, FL for the annual USA BMX Gator Nationals. The 2015 installment took on a bigger, bolder footprint than in recent memory, in that it was debut event for the new multimillion dollar dual hill facility we have been writing about for the past year or more. Plus, it was the finale for the 2015 USA BMX North American SX series…AND the final two-score opportunity for the pros before heading to the big showdown on Friday/Saturday at the 2015 USA BMX Grand National in Tulsa next month. Tulsa has two scores up for grabs: one at Friday’s Race of Champions (which counts toward the best-of-10 season scores), and one for the Grands, itself, which is double points.
Elite Men had a strong showing, with 40 riders–including the trio who is taking the title hunt right down to the final laps in Tulsa: Sam Willoughby, Connor Fields and Joris Daudet. Oldsmar had some added international flav in the elite classes, with quite a few names we don’t normally see on US moto sheets: Sylvain Andre, Amidou Mir from France were two who American fans have not seen live, and in person, very much. Sylvain wowed the crowd, with the Friday night win, flanked by Connor Fields and Joris Daudet.
There was also a crush of South Americans we do not see all that much, putting down impressive laps against the biggest stars American BMX has to offer. This was solid proof that USA BMX is accomplishing what it set out to accomplish via the NASX series: attract the best riders in the world to US shores to race for the richest purses in the sport.
BMX News 2015 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
Elite Women had a much thinner presence, with only nine entries on Friday night and 12 on Saturday (men dropped to 34 on Saturday). Brooke Crain was out resting a concussion from last week in Chula Vista, but aside from her, the others making up the top five in points were there.
Alise went in to Oldsmar with a season points lead of 515 points. Waiting for the podium presentation, a few stats junkies did some quick iPhone math and proclaimed Alise with having an all-but-certain lock on the title. But, alas, their calculations may be flawed, since they almost-certainly relied on the posted points on the USA BMX site, which did not take into account the Chula Vista scores last weekend. Alise is, obviously still way-out in the points lead, but we’re not sure about it being “mathematically impossible” for Felicia.
All that aside, the two Elite Women wins of the day were hotly contested between Alise and Mariana Pajon (above), who traded top-spot honors from Friday to Saturday–both of which were decided in the last half of the track, which helped the crowd get loud.
We will have more from the Gator Nationals tomorrow in our full recap. Meanwhile, check out the photo galleries of pro and am classes, linked below.