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Recap and Photos: 2017 USA BMX Gator Nationals

February 28, 2017 by  

2017 USA BMX Gator Nationals

After a somewhat hellish weekend in Phoenix for the 2017 pro season opener, everyone was ready to hose off, dry off and take off for the eastbound jump to TPA and the 2017 USA BMX Gator Nationals in Oldsmar, FL. With a heavy-pack turnout of Elite Men (44 riders on Day One), and 16 Elite Women, the first stop on the North American SX Series was a serious show for the fans. And even though the amateur turnout was lighter than expected (157 motos, without pros), the track filled in plenty of action to augment the awesomeness.

The Oldsmar facility is undeniably one of the best we have in the fleet, under the watchful eye and sharp shovel of John Sawyer. The grooming and hospitality was on-point, and everyone was stoked to be there. It didn’t hurt that the weather was picture-perfect the whole time–upper 70s and sunny with a flag-waving breeze.

We came back with some sweet photo galleries from all three days. Links are below to the full sets, but here are some of the highlights:

BMX News 2017 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Top Photo: This race has been the “Gator” Nationals for years and years now…and we have been to more than a few in that time. But this is the first time we have seen and honest-to-goodness gator. This little guy was under the surface most of the weekend, but by the time the race let out on Sunday, he was on land, sunning himself like a boss. No doubt that by the time we return for the 2018 Gator Nats, he’ll be all-grown-up and ready to welcome us back to *his* domain with open arm…uh…jaws. Contrast that with the sharks ready to dive in to the treacherous waters of Oldsmar BMX.

Elite Women at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsElite Women had 16 riders for day one in Oldsmar. That’s less than the 25 who gated up for the Winter Nationals, but if you take a look at this lineup, you’ll see the star power was here in spades. Front row is Crain, Post, Buchanan and Stancil. Felicia was back for her first big race since last summer and, though she was still shaking the cobwebs off, it’s clear she’ll be back to her old self, and then some, real soon.

Alise was leading Friday’s main event until she tumbled, gymnast style, to the bottom of the triple into turn one.

Re-watch that vid, and check Caroline’s situation. She was off the pedals, but got back on to win it at the stripe. Props to both Caro and Brooke for wowing the crowd!

Alise later gave fans the update on how she was doing:

#GoBigOrGoHome … Friday I went big, so Saturday I went home… I have always been the rider out there willing to push the boundaries and take the risks necessary to be on top at the end of the day, and although I’ve proven that triple within my skill set many times, I misjudged the takeoff slightly and it was costly… that’s now 2/2 weekends with silly mistakes whilst leading the final… time to be home, regroup and get my head back in the game! Thanks for all of the well wishes everyone

—Alise Post, via Facebook

Ryan Martin at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsRyan Martin was looking like he might come out king of SX Open in Oldsmar. The 24-rider class turned out tons of top amateur age group talent to try their hand at the big hill. At 15, Martin was one of the youngest in the class, and made up a huge deficit in Friday’s main event to finish second. Very impressive!

Unfortunately, first round on Saturday saw a bad wreck on the first straight, that gave him a backboard ride, and a concussion protocol black flag for Sunday’s race. Word is he’s OK, and will be back on the bike in a week or so.

Carl Lein at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsOne of our “random” snaps of the weekend. Only one guy who can color it up like that at a BMX Race. Must be the incomparable Mr. Carl Lein. (hand sa-lute!)

Throdwn's Lucas Zimmerman at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsWe have never seen Lucas Zimmerman tear up 10x before—probably because he is from Brazil, and we don’t get many reports from Rio’s local scene. Still, this guy laid siege to 9-10 Open both days, won 10x on Saturday and a deuce on Sunday (to teammate, Ty Beadle), plus aces-across in the pre-race. Jim Buchanan and Factory Throdwn are on global pickup patrol. Trivia: there was a rider named “Anthony Dean” in 10x who had us saying “Huh?…where?” all weekend long, as we looked for pros on the track.

Anthony Dean at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsSpeaking of Anthony Dean, Pro model, he had a gruesome get-off in this very-turn (two) of Friday’s Semi, after posting some up-front finishes (2-2-1 in motos and first in the quarters, by our notes). We would have liked to see him in the mix for that main event, but it’ll have to wait. No solid word on what his injury was, or how bad, but it looked ankle related from our perch on the backside of turn two.

Hyper's Jordy Scott at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsJordy Scott jammed home to pair of Hyper-powered wins at the Gator Nats. It’s so awesome to see long-time skills progressing, and pushing to that next level. Bailey Brannen and Stephani Morin have that going on as well in 15-16G. Both with second place finishes, respectively.

BMX News 2017 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

BMX News Coverage of the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsFor all the stories of sponsored riders saying “gimme, gimme, gimme,” the are some who express genuine appreciation to their sponsors, outside of the normal lines.

Factory Yess 6G, Genevieve Roper wrote the above card to Team Manager Lisa Motley. Upon receiving the card, Lisa told News:

Super G is pure goodness. Genevieve and her brother Dawson are two of the nicest, most polite children I have ever met. I love getting cards and letters from my team children. These two make me smile almost every day. I am so fortunate to have met them.

Jason Carnes' Berm Academy at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsThe “Coast to Coast Extravaganza” of Jason Carnes’ Berm Academy was finishing up its four week run in Oldsmar. Over the past month, three campers were given the Royal treatment, and shown some sights few BMXers outside the factory ranks have seen. Lots more tours left in 2017, so check out bermacademy.com for more info.

Cole Tesar and Alex Tougas at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsElite classes and A-Pro were over as of Saturday, but Vet Pro and Pro Open were back to help close things out. Throdwn’s recent addition, Cole Tesar, took it to the front throughout the day, and ended up with a second place on the day, to Saturday’s third place Elite finisher, Sylvain Andre (who is, coincidentally, third in this shot as well). Alex Tougas keeps Cole honest on the outside in this shot, and Alec Bob joined Cole and Sylvain on the Sunday Podium.

The All-French Elite Men Podium at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsSaturday saw an all-French podium in Elite Men. In fact, both Friday and Saturday mens’ podiums were missing a single American. Friday had Maris up-top, then Joris and David Graf. Nic Long was the highest placing American in Elite men, with a 4th on Friday. Pictured here on Saturday are winner Joris Daudet (center), Romain Mahieu (Chase), and Sylvain Andre (WIA/WIS)

Jaycie Sinclair at the 2017 USA BMX Gator Nationals2016 Girls Cruiser Champ, Jaycie Sinclair picked up a new ride to go along with her new plate. The AllTow Wrecking Crew came-a-callin with an offer she couldn’t refuse. Much respect to the Wrecking Crew for the prime pickup. She took a fourth and a second in 14G. Ironically, we didn’t see her on the sheets for Cruiser.

The Third Straight at Oldsmar BMXDeep Thoughts. The third straight rhythm at Oldsmar BMX is no shallow challenge. You need some tall skills to tackle it, and moreso to master it. Either that, or get prepared for an ample sample of the finiest soil an OTB throw can offer. These last three rollers are knee-high to an NBA center (OK, a six-foot BMX Photographer).

Jordan Miranda and Alec Bob at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsJordan Miranda joined Factory Free Agent on the Tuesday before Oldsmar, and wasted no time suiting up, even if his new bike was still on a UPS truck somewhere in the flyover states. He and new Teammate Alec Bob looked like a pretty dynamic duo out there battling the 30-rider-deep A-Pro Class. Jordan chalked up a third in A-Pro on Friday and, as mentioned above, Alec was on the box with a Pro Open tré on Sunday.

Caroline Buchanan at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsWe are still not-quite-used-to the DK stars rockin the red white and blue. But, we have to say, the new kit is growing on us the more we see it—especially when it’s up front all weekend long.

Barry Nobles and Caroline Buchanan at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsCaroline took home twin wins in Elite Women (including the above action shot in the last turn of Saturday’s main event), and still had plenty of time to get in some goof-around with Barry between warm ups and cool downs in the every-hour pro running order.

Larry Dardini at the 2017 USA BMX Gator NationalsVet Pros never say “enough” to training opportunities. Double-W finisher, Larry Dardini used the 30-mins or so the Elites and A-Pros were running off the big hill for some last minute pull ups to help his awesome first straight pull.

BMX News 2017 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Screech to the Beach
Sunday’s race ended before 1PM, which is one of those bittersweet things. Some wish the race had bigger rider count for their coveted scores, but Clearwater beach beckoned, and the early end-up opened up some time to get in a post-Gators dip in the Gulf and some time to think about the next big race–in this case: Rock Hill, SC in about a month. News will be there, so keep it right here.

—Mike Carruth

Links

Friday Photos – 2017 Gator Nationals

Saturday Photos – 2017 Gator Nationals

Sunday Photos – 2017 Gator Nationals

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