Recap and Photos: 2016 Derby City Nats
The annual trip to Louisville on Labor Day had an added edge in 2016, as a $900,000+ refresh was finished, which added a dual hill configuration, first and second straight reworks, and reshaping/paving of the first and third straightaways. In the months leading up to the classic race, which was formally the NBL Grands, BMXers who had a place in their heart for the old track voiced strong opinions against the changing of this iconic facility.
As raceday approached, early ride reports painted the new build in a mostly-positive light, with a few holding firm on their previously-pejorative opinions.
The true-test would be the comments coming from Thursday’s all-day practice and pre-race to the three-day national. On those first laps, impressions were mixed, again, but as the weekend wore on, the new build started earning some converts.
There’s no doubt that the refresh rattled riders. News overheard a mom talking on the phone on Saturday morning saying “it’s much harder than any other track we have been to, so he is having a real tough time.”
The general consensus was that, after a winter of settle-in, and a full 2017 season of “roll-in” by the locals, the track will mellow into its place as the “new-iconic” for the 2017 installment of the Derby City Nationals.
Just prior to the race, USA BMX and the Louisville Sports Commission announced a 10-year extension of the Labor Day race, so there will be a long-runway to get things just-so for future years.
Of course, there are still those who have their doubts and derisions.
Along with seeing several just-back-from-Rio Olympians mix it up on the new 8-Meter SX hill, race fans were also treated to three days of picture-perfect weather—something that we haven’t seen in Louisville for the past several years of trekking down there. It’s ALWAYS a 7-10 split of primo conditions, with thunder, lightning and body surfing in the infield. Not this year!
And while the temps were agreeable, the race action was hot, hot, hot all three days. Here’s a photo-recap of some of the headlines, and links to the three photo galleries below:
Top Photo: Corben Sharrah came to Louisville to do some business. On Friday, he battled with Sam Willoughby out of turn one, down the second straight, and zoomed into the lead in turn two of the main event. On Saturday, he got the Answer Holeshot award as he scooted on to his second main event win. Corben hit the pay window for $7250 for the weekend!
Climbing mount Louisville. We walked up the front side of the SX hill to grab this shot. Walking up the hill definitely gives you the sense of scale, and the steep inclines they are working with. But still, best seat in the house to watch the racing.
Skittles Gayheart tripled-up on the cruiser in Louisville, winning 13-14 GC all three days. She was also on the podium all three days on the 20-inch, with a 2-3-3 (Natalee Daugherty won 14G Friday, and Ashley Hayes won it on Saturday and Sunday).
Brandon Bredeweg from Michigan went aces-across in 11x, aboard the new Throdwn titanium frame. This dude in on the gas!
The Mayor of Factory Row, Richard Bunt of Clayborn Bikes, was recently elected Mayor of his hometown, Ragland, Alabama. He takes office in the coming weeks and is ready to do some serious good for his constituents. Congrats, Buntster!
BMX News 2016 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
The G-Man, Gavin Freewalt took home the Eastern Division Jersey in 13x, with wins on Friday and Sunday, and a second place on Saturday (to AllTow’s Vaugh Philippus).
The new dual hills at Derby City BMX, dressed up in their Derby City Nationals finery. Of all the critique leveled on the track, the Gates and hills were praised across the board.
Kentucky Derby bugler, Steve Buttleman, is a fixture at the Bluegrass Nationals in the winter and the Derby City Nationals on Labor Day. Steve loves coming out to the track, and can always be seen snapping phone photos of the race action.
Sean Gaian split wins in Louisville with J&R hotshoe, Zack Van Kammenn. Zack won it on Friday, and Sean on Saturday (no A-Pro racing on Sunday).
In her first outing after winning the Silver Medal in Rio, Alise Post put it to the pedals back on home soil, and greeted fans in the Factory Redline pit. Danny George (33) pushed The Beast on Saturday, leading the main out of the last turn…but Alise pushed it that last-little-bit, and got past her in the final feet.
BMX News 2016 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
Bailee Enlow was rockin her Marian University jersey in Louisville, and tripled-up in 17-20 Women.
Shawn DiPrete turned some major-big laps in Louisville, with a 1-1-3 in 41-45 Expert. Jeremy Thompson got the Sunday Win and Raul Gomez with the deuce. This class is one of the heaviest-comp classes out there. Can’t wait to see how it shows up at the Grands.
TP Todd Parry took home five wins at the Derby City Nats. The only lap he dropped all weekend was Friday’s 46-Over Expert main, where he wrecked pretty bad. Here’s what he said about the weekend: “Tough weekend in Louisville, I had a really hard crash in the only lap I lost this weekend. My back, right shoulder, right thumb and right heal are jacked! I lived in my hotel room with ice packs… so between feeling like I got ran over by a truck and racing some fast brothers like Billy G, Big Daddy, Bubba Hayes, Cody Smart, Steve Clark, Steve Ewart from Australia just to mention a few… it was more a success for me because I fought through the soreness and pain and still made it happen.”
Major lead by the Major. Answer/Rennen ripper, Marshall Gehrke took wins in every main event he gated up for in Louisville. 1-1-1 in 9x, 9 Cruiser on Saturday, and 9-10 open on Friday/Sunday.
Raul Gomez goes for the inside swoop to get past leader Shawn DiPrete in turn two of Sunday’s 41-45 Cruiser main event. Raul won it, with Jeremy Thompson in second and Shawn in third. Jason Carnes won it on day one and DiPrete on Day Two.
Monica Kelly rockin it out for TNT in Sunday’s 31-40 Women main event. Carley Young took the win on Friday/Saturday. Carley also took triple wins in 31-35 Women Cruiser.
8x was white hot in the Derby City. On day one, Jason Linville from Ohio took the big wins on day one and day two, but it was W1, Karter Montellano with the upset on day three. Hunter Cole was second on Sunday, and Linville was third.
It’s always-awesome to watch Bryce Batten ply his trade. Triston Judd put in a rapid lap on Friday to take the day one win (Bryce was second), but BB got the wins on Saturday/Sunday, to take the Eastern Divisional Championship Jersey back to Phoenix.
We look forward to heading down to Louisville before next year’s Derby City Nationals to see how things are going with their local program, and how the track is settling in.
Heading back to the BMX News rig on Sunday, we caught a snippet of conversation “You comin back next year?” This was the moment of truth. “Yeah, definitely.” was the response.
Check the links below for the three-day photo galleries.