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Podcast: Dr. JRich and Arielle Martin

February 28, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Gold Medal Mindset Podcast: Arielle Martin

We have only caught one or two episodes of Dr. Jason Richardson’s “Gold Medal Mindset” podcast so far, but we have a bunch of them queued up for the 17-hour drive back from Oldsmar that starts in the wee-hours of Tuesday morn.

But this one was too good to wait. Read more

Final Hours to Bid for Arielle Martin’s Olympic Jersey

September 17, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Fundraising Auction for Arielle Martin's Olympic Jersey

The moment that I put on my Olympic uniform for the first time on July 29, 2012 was the proudest moment in my 23yr BMX career. It was the realization of a dream I had since I was 10yrs old, and while my injury the very next day prevented me from wearing it to compete for a medal at the games, it hangs on my wall where I can see it every day as a reminder of what hard work, perseverance, and heart can accomplish.

I had three identical jerseys made for the games, one is hanging on my wall, one is folded up safely with the rest of my Olympic memorabilia and the last one I have donated to be auctioned by Pennys for GSD. Glycogen Storage Disease is a genetic disease that prevents proper storage and usage of glycogen which is the primary energy source for the body. I wouldn’t part with that jersey for just any cause, but I know two very special little children who have the disease and their mom, who is a dear friend and was a part of my Olympic journey as an athletic trainer, has started a non-profit organization to raise awareness and funds for research for a cure. It takes a lot to keep these little sweethearts alive and were it not for advances in modern medicine and diagnosis they wouldn’t be here today.

I hope that my one of a kind jersey goes to a good home and can be a small part of the journey in research for GSD.

Bidding opens Thursday 9/17 at 12AM and runs for 24hrs. To place a bid, comment under my picture with the amount you would like to bid. Winning bid will be sent a paypal invoice for the final amount. Invoices need to be paid within 24 hours or the item will go to the next bidder

Pennys for GSD is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit and all donations are tax deductible

***Bidding Closed***
Winning bid was $650, by Claire Preece

Links

Bid Now!

Podcast: USAC Development Program Update

May 6, 2014 by · Comments Off 

2014 USA Cycling BMX Development Camp #1

It has been almost five years since the appearance of “Junior Development” qualifying races inside the ABA, then USA BMX, National series. Back when it debuted in 2009, Jr. Devo was kind of a strange site to see at the races–it had the “random gate” like the pros (back when the ams still ran under the two-light cadence), and it put some of the younger faces in the top expert classes as an opening act for the pros, which was a cool jump forward in programming.

The first Junior Development race was held as part of the ABA Great Salt Lake Nationals on July 10, 2009. Lain Van Ogle won the boy’s class that night.

Since then, we have seen hundreds of Junior Devo races, and now see a clear path between the Junior Development program, and a rider’s “progression” into the world of BMX Supercross.

In order to get a refresher on the program, we got together with Arielle Martin and Jonas Harmon. SInce retiring from racing last year, Arielle has taken on the role of Program Manager of the BMX Development program, and also serves as a coach for the riders. Jonas works with Arielle, and shares coaching duties.

Sidebar: The term “Junior Development” is not used inside USA Cycling anymore, as “Junior” has a specific meaning– a rider 17 or 18 years old. Thus, they call it “Development,” or “Devo.”

There is some very useful info in this interview, so if the Devo program is something you like keeping up on, we encourage you to give it a listen. Great for riders, parents, team managers and track operators.

Shout out to Chase BMX and Tioga USA for their support of the Devo program!

Top Photo: First USA Cycling BMX Development camp of 2014.

Back Row (L to R): Bubba Gonzales, BJ Ensey, Alex Tucker, Ryan Pettigrew, Jordan Miranda (rider coach), Jonas Harmon (coach), Mike Day (rider coach)

Middle Row (L to R): Joshua Berliner, Michael Boyle, Jacob Williams, Damian Ontiveros, Uhl Woods, Jason Boyle, Austin Palasota

Front Row: James Herrera (national team coach), Arielle Martin (devo program manager/coach), Sophia Foresta, Kelsey Van Ogle, Shayla Blackmore, Jamie Staff (Director of Sprint)

Listen Now
http://www.bmxnews.com/podcasts/at-092-arielle-martin-jonas-harmon.mp3

iPhone users: paste the following code in your phone's browser: http://bmxurl.com/at092

Links

USA Cycling BMX Development Program Website

Devo Program points (USABMX Website)

Flashback: Re-Cap of First Jr. Devo Race – July 14, 2009





BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Top Stories of 2013

December 30, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Top Stories of 2013

We had some great stories to report in 2013. BMX Racing is going in a positive direction, and everything that happened this year points to a bigger-and-badder year ahead in 2014.

We took some time, during our Christmas-week hiatus, to look back at every story we posted this year. BMX News brought the community hundreds-upon-hundreds of newsworthy stories, over 10,000 curated photos and 25-hours of podcast interviews. Our 2014 plan steps up that game considerably, and we are charging our batteries already for the season opener in Reno in two weeks.

Of all the stories we published in 2013, we picked the 12 that we felt were most important in the BMX Racing world (presented in chronological order. All links will open in a new window).

January 7 – Mike King Departs USA Cycling Post, Jamie Staff Takes Over

BMX News Top Stories of 2013 - Mike King and Jamie Staff
Mike had been at the helm of the USA Cycling BMX program since the dawning of the Olympic Era (2007), and took the decision with grace saying, in a farewell email to friends “I ultimately failed to bring home an Olympic medal for the United States in 2012. These are the harsh realities that come with this job and I want to wish my successor all the best leading up to 2016.”

On the same day, Jamie Staff assumed the new role of “Director of BMX,” and told BMX News “My sincerest thanks go out to Mike King for all the hard work, mentorship, friendship and direction he’s provided over the years. Mike’s tireless efforts and leadership have placed our US BMX program on an incredibly solid foundation from which to build upon.”

Two days later, Jamie was our guest on the Announcers Tower Podcast (link below), where he outlined his plans for Team USA in 2013, and beyond. A major accomplishment of the program in 2013 was Connor Fields’ win of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup title.

In October, Mike joined Vee Tire Co. as Tire Development Manager and Brand Ambassador.

Mike King Departs USA Cycling BMX Program

Jamie Staff to be USA Cycling “Director of BMX”

Podcast: New USA Cycling BMX Boss Jamie Staff

Mike King Joins Vee Tire Co



May 13 / August 13 – Live Streaming of Nationals

HWC Bids Farewell to USA BMX Audience
Following the 2011 demise of GO211, there had not been a solid provider for streaming USA BMX nationals. Tampa, FL based Health & Wellness Channel struck a deal with USA BMX in the spring, and by Albuquerque, we were enjoying the live coverage in our bunny slippers at home. Three months to the day after reporting the launch of the program, HWC suddenly pulled the plug, showing a “farewell” message to viewers immediately following the Buckeye Nationals coverage. USA BMX self-produced the Grand National streaming, via YouTube live, and it was a big hit with fans. We are optimistic that we may see more races streamed in the new year (though no official word on that).

Streaming To Return For USA BMX Nationals

HWC Mutes USA BMX Streaming



June 2 – Nashville Elite Walk-Out

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Elite Walk Out
On Day Three of the Music City Nationals in Nashville, the pros were angered by the fact that their checks for the previous two days did not match the published payout table USA BMX had published in the rulebook. USA BMX assured them it would be addressed in the days following the race, but the entire of Elite Men and Women’s classes walked off in a spectacle display along the fenceline, receiving high-fives from fans as they walked back to the pits (most thought it was a new “meet the fans” initiative, but word spread quickly, as USA BMX officials dropped a number of empty gates to make the race official).

It was a rare moment when all BMX racing pros stood together against the sanction, a display of solidarity which had not been seen at any point in the history of the sport. In the days following the race, all payments were made good to the riders, as was promised before the walk-out. Feelings on both sides were healing for the balance of the season.

Elites Take a Roll Out…And Keep Going

USA BMX Issues Statement on Elite Protest



June 6 – VSI Products Suspends BMX Program

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - VSI Suspends BMX Program
Home to the top brands in BMX Racing for years, VSI Products, parent to Intense BMX, Speedco and Sinz announced they would be leaving the BMX market, as of June 30. Aside from being a major shock to the industry, this move left Elite riders Brian Kirkham, Arielle Martin, Dominique Daniels and Kory Cook without a sponsor in the middle of the season. Kirkham would announce his retirement after South Park, Dominique would continue in her Grand Canyon University jersey, aboard another frame, and Arielle and Kory would join Toby Henderson’s Promax brand for the balance of 2013. Arielle would also retire before the end of the season.

VSI Products to Suspend BMX Program June 30



July 18 – Death of Howie Cohen

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Death of Howie Cohen
“KuwaHowie,” as Bob Osborn once called him in BMX Action magazine was one of the most important figures in the early days of the BMX industry. His “Everything Bicycles” was one of the first, and definitely the most prominent BMX-centric wholesale distributor in the world at the time. Howie brought Kuwahara Bicycles to the United States, and worked with Steven Spielberg to put Elliott on a (Kuwahara) BMX Bike in the 1982 blockbuster “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Howie was an amazing person, and generous mentor to countless members of the BMX and bicycle industries. He was 74 years young.

Remembering Howie Cohen (1939-2013)



July 24 – Jay Fraga Podcast on Concussions

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Jay Fraga on Concussions
With the media coverage surrounding veteran NFL players coming forward to say they had been adversely affected by repeated hits to the head during their careers, many sports were taking a fresh look at how their athletes were affected as well. Jay Fraga from Massachusetts took the lead in investigating his own BMX-related concussions, following a series of injuries over the past several years. He appeared on our Announcers Tower Live show to talk about what he learned. Boston University is at the forefront of this research, and Jay has become our defacto expert on the topic. On October 8, the PBS series “Frontline” debuted a two-hour episode entitled “League of Denial,” documenting the NFL case.

Podcast: Jay Fraga on Concussions

PBS Frontline Episode: “League of Denial”



September 9 – 2020 Olympics Awarded to Tokyo

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Tokyo Selected for 2020 Olympics
With the countdown-to-Rio clock already running, the International Olympic Committee set its sights on the 2020 Games, and awarded them to Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo hosted the 1964 games, and won the bid for a 21st century games over Madrid and Istanbul. The bid package included artist renderings of the BMX venue (above), and puts BMX Racing in the middle of the action, just as it was in London. With an on-going nuclear crisis following the April 2011 earthquake, critics have expressed concerns that Fukushima (less than 200 miles to the North) may pose a safety risk to the Tokyo Games.

2020 Olympic Games Awarded to Tokyo



October 2 – Arielle Martin Retires

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Arielle Martin Retires
One of the qualities that makes a great athlete–whether in BMX or otherwise–is “heart.” Arielle Martin is an athlete who has exhibited an incredible amount of heart in her career. An indefatigable competitor, AMV15 suffered injuries which kept her out of the 2008 Olympics. Then in 2012– after earning a spot on the London 2012 team, she was struck-down by a life-threatening crash just hours before leaving for London. Still, she came back. After recovering from her September 2012 injury, Arielle was back on the bike in time for the Winter Nationals. The Podcast we recorded with her in October covers all her reasons for retiring after the last Supercross race of 2013, and is worth another listen. Today, Arielle is a big part of the USA Cycling BMX coaching staff, and we will be hearing more from her, in her new role, very soon.

Arielle Martin on Retirement/What’s Next



November 12 – $125K Payout for the 2013 Grands

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - $125k Grands Payout
The 2013 USA BMX Grand National would be the richest-cash weekend in the history of BMX Racing. The AA Pro champ would hoist a $20,000 check, with the top Pro Women taking home $5,000. Sam Willoughby and Mariana Pajon would be the recipients of the top-title prize money.

$125K Payday Awaits Pros in Tulsa



November 30 – Sam Willoughby Caps-Off a Tremendous Season

BMX News 2013 Top Stories -  Sam Willoughby
With an astonishing 20 AA Pro wins, 13 of which were consecutive, Sam Willoughby was the absolute ruler of the top class in 2013. This was Sam’s third title in four years, and we’re sure he is getting ready to make a run at title #4, which would tie him with legends Pete Loncarevich and Gary Ellis for most ABA/USA BMX titles won.



November 30 / December 1 – Largest BMX Race Ever

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - Largest BMX Race Ever
When motos were posted at the hotel, after the Friday night Race Of Champions was over, word spread fast that the 2013 USA BMX Grand National would be the largest BMX race of all time–at 712 motos and approximately 4,040 entries. The USA BMX crew ran the race with Swiss-watch precision, and had us out of the building by 3:30PM on day one (for the first round), and just shy of 9:30PM on Sunday. Some predicted Sunday would go as late as 1AM.



December 17 – Stay to Save

BMX News 2013 Top Stories - USA BMX Stay to Save
Just prior to the Christmas break, USA BMX announced that the long-standing $5 per class pre-registration discount would be replaced in 2014 by a $5 per class discount for staying at USA BMX host hotels. The initiative, dubbed “Stay To Save” would also bring with it a new online booking capability. In our story, BMX News did a “Quick Check” on the new system, and found that riders racing one bike for two days in Reno, as one example, would save $34 by booking through the Stay To Save program. Still, there was major outcry from families who camp, or prefer to stay at other-than-host-hotels.

Closer Look: USA BMX “Stay To Save” Program


As we end 2013, we would like to thank all of you who have made the work involved in writing, and shooting, and planning, and recording content for this website worth every second of it. We greatly appreciate the messages of support throughout the year, and the personal interaction we enjoy with so many of you at the races.

We also want to offer sincere thanks to all of our advertisers for making what we bring to the BMX Racing community possible. Without all of you, our coverage would not be possible. We emphasize that to everyone reading, and encourage you to support those who support our efforts.

We wish all of you a happy, safe and prosperous New Year, in your BMX endeavors, and otherwise.

—Mike Carruth





Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Podcast: Arielle Martin on Retirement/What’s Next

October 2, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Podcast: Arielle Martin on Retirement- bmxnews.com

We just could not leave it with a few sentences at the end of our Chula Vista article. We wanted to hear more about Arielle Martin’s retirement, and the story behind it. We also wanted to hear more about what was next for our friend.

The podcast we recorded today captured it all so well. AMV was still at the OTC this morning, like any other day…only this time, she was on the other side of the number plate, coaching the Junior Development camp, alongside the team of professionals who were coaching her just days ago. In the interview, she talks about how her career trajectory has always been coaching–her degree is in a related field, and her passion (off the bike) is working with athletes to help them go faster and attain more.

Listen Now:

Arielle Martin Retires

iPad/iPod users: paste the link below into your device’s browser:
http://www.bmxnews.com/podcasts/at_82_arielle_martin.mp3

Arielle Martin at the 2008 Disney Cup
At the end of the interview, I share a tidbit about the first time I became acquainted with Arielle when I came back to the sport in 2008. It was at the Disney Cup, and I was taking a break from shooting, during second round. Third round of Pros came up, and I was in the stands. The girl pros were up, and I noticed the lead rider boosting the first set in the second straight. I got my camera ready, and even though there was no flash, I popped off a pretty awesome shot of her launching into turn two. It was only my secnd national back, and I really did not know any of the top riders’ names yet. But the above photo was one that would make me an Arielle Martin fan forever. We have shared a lot of interviews since then, and I am sad to see her retire, but looking forward to seeing her working with our up & coming riders, and “coaching” in Strider practice in three or four years.

—Mike Carruth

Sponsor Scoop: Martin and Cook Land With Promax

June 26, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX Sponsor News - Arielle Martin and Kory Cook

Arielle began teasing it last night, via Instagram, with a photo of a blurred out contract with her signature on it, and a few boxes deposited by the UPS man.

Then, this morning, an email from Michael Gamstetter with news that Arielle and Kory Cork–scheduled for departure from their VSI sponsorship ties as of July 1–would be joining Cycle Group, Inc. as the Promax Elite Factory Team. As you know, Donavon Long’s Haro/Promax team is a mega-force on the Amateur circuit, and now Arielle and Kory will add some pro starpower to the brand.

The pair was not scheduled to go to South Park, even before the derailment of their VSI deal. Thus, the first race we’ll see them in the above Promax kit will be Louisville at the end of August.

Frame-wise, Arielle will be back on a GT, and Kory will be on a DK.

Here’s what the official release says:

Promax Launches Elite Factory Team With Arielle Martin and Kory Cook

Cycle Group, Inc. (CGI) is pleased to announce that as of July 1, Promax Components will be the main sponsor of Elite Woman Arielle Martin and Elite Man Kory Cook. The two had been riding for VSI’s Intense and Speedco respectively, but lost their sponsorships when the distributor announced it would discontinue all rider and team sponsorships at the end of June.

“I know how tough it is for a rider to lose a sponsorship in the middle of the season. Michael, and I have had very good relationships with all the VSI riders. When they lost their main sponsor, we wanted to help out,” said Toby Henderson, founder and executive director of CGI, BOX’s parent company.

CGI also approached Brian Kirkham and Dominique Daniels about sponsorships. Both riders, however, have other plans or opportunities.

“Arielle is one of the top female riders in the world, consistently placing well in both Super Cross and USA BMX events. And Kory has shown a lot of potential as an Elite rider. I think with the right support he could become a consistent podium finisher. Both will represent Promax well,” Henderson added.

The contracts with Martin and Cook are through the end of 2013.

“We had been thinking about maybe picking up a pro for Promax, but had no budget or solid plans. When these riders became available, we wanted to help them get through the end of the season and saw this as a good time to try something new. What we do next year is still up in the air,” said Michael Gamstetter, CGI’s senior brand manager and senior product designer.

Both riders are expected to make their debuts in Promax uniforms August 30 at the USA BMX Derby City Nationals in Louisville.

CGI will supply Martin and Cook a range of Promax components such as brake sets, cranks, bottom brackets, headsets and seatclamps, as well as BOX handlebars and stems, rims, number plates and one-piece saddles/seatposts.

Both riders negotiated separate frame deals. Martin will ride GT frames while Cook will be on DK frames.

Congrats to all parties on getting (back) together. As you may know, Toby and Michael brought Arielle and Kory in to the VSI program when they were over there.

Watch for the first photos of the new bikes, decked out in Promax and BOX components as soon as they become available.

Links

Visit Promax on Facebook

BOX Components Website

VSI Products to Suspend BMX Program June 30

June 6, 2013 by · Comments Off 

VSI Products to suspend BMX Program June 30
VSI Products, the parent company for BMX megabrands like Intense BMX, Sinz, and Speedco will announce today that it is moving to sell each of the above brands to a new owner, effectively ending the company’s ties to the BMX hardgoods business.

VSI (which stands for Vigor Sports, Inc.) entered the BMX market in 2004 and has remained a market leader since. Over the years, it enjoyed a level of brand presence at both local and national races that made it nearly impossible to see a gate of riders without at least one Intense bike in the mix.

BMX News spoke to VSI’s outgoing Chief Operating Officer, Gregorio de Haro, about the developments. Here’s what he said:

We are actively looking for a new home for three of the VSI BMX brands, Speedco, Sinz and, together with Intense Cycles, Intense BMX. VSI is not closing its doors, but we have had to take a very hard look at the financial performance of our BMX lines over the years in relation to the company objectives …it is just part of a “re-thinking” of the overall business of the parent company, and where ownership wants to take the company in the future.

Until such time as each respective sale is final, VSI will continue to handle sales, warranty, and other customer service needs. Customers can contact us at 562-407-2184 or by email at sales@vsiproducts.com.

t.h.e. is the one brand VSI will keep in its portfolio of products. This is due, in part, to the fact our parent company is a large player in the helmet and protective gear space. They will decide how to re-orient t.h.e. as a brand, and to which segments its product will be marketed.

Gregorio also told us that VSI’s four Factory Elite riders (Above: Brian Kirkham, Arielle Martin, Dominique Daniels and Kory Cook) have been released from their contracts and, while VSI will pay them through the end of June, they are free to explore other sponsorship opportunities (so, if you know anyone who’s lookin, hook ‘em up).

On a personal note, VSI has been a big part of our advertiser community here at BMX News since 2009, and that support has helped us get to more races, and bring you more photos and news. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to them for that friendship–which, of course does not end here, but changes a bit. We all agreed to keep in touch.

We asked the departing riders if they had any comment on the news. A few responded by “press” time:

Arielle Martin: “While I am disappointed the Intense BMX brand will not be continuing, I am incredibly grateful for the sponsorship they have given me over the last four years. VSI fully supported me in my Olympic quest and continued to financially back me, with full faith that I would return through the seven months I was off my bike recovering from my injuries. I want to publicly thank them for that support and wish the best to all moving forward.”

Brian Kirkham: “I was shocked by the news today, and its really disappointing they are letting the BMX program go.”

Dominique Daniels: “I have always enjoyed riding the products produced by VSI. They have been a sponsor of mine, in one form or another, for most of my career. I very-much appreciate all they have done for me over the years, and wish them well in their future projects.”

Kory Cook: “I would just like to say I am shocked and dissapointed. I’m thankful for everything VSI has done, but this was out of left field. All I can do is move forward and keep my head clear for Salt Lake City.”

The irony is not lost on us that today’s Speedco Top Story is the impending transition of Speedco, itself, from the hands of its birth parent, to a new home.

We will keep you posted on new developments on this story as they become available.

—Mike Carruth

Links

VSI Products Website





Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Reade and Phillips Tops in Home Turf SX

April 21, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips win the Manchester SX

Story by Mike Carruth

Exactly 253 days after the London Olympic main events crossed the line, the BMX Supercross world was focused, again, on the United Kingdom. It wasn’t medals on the line this time, and not even Olympic qualifying points (which don’t start again til next year). What was on the line, however, will set the tone in the Elite classes for this season and beyond–the emerging “alpha” performers of the sport.

A total of 198 entries (160 men and 38 women) turned up at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester this week for the start of the 2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup season. The four-event series will take us to Argentina next, then to Papendal, Netherlands. And the season will finish in Chula Vista, CA on September 28.

Conspicuously Absent

With all the talk of revisiting Olympic rivalries, the two most logical competitors to point a camera toward, Gold Medalists Maris Strombergs and Mariana Pajon, were not on the start list this weekend. Free Agent Team Manager Dale Holmes said that Maris is concentrating on the USA BMX title chase this year, so may or may not be hitting the SX stops. We did not get official word on Mariana, but it would make sense that she might be taking some time off the SX circuit as well, though that’s strictly a guess.

Also off the sheets this weekend were Marc Willers, said to be still nursing an injury, and Team USA Olympian David Herman, who is also taking some time off the SX scene (with courtside seats to the Denver Nuggets, no less).

American Invasion

The start list held 20 Americans (14 men and 6 women). Add a coupla coaches, and you have a few 747 rows worth of Americanos ready to kick some butt for the colonies. Back from a near-fatal injury the week before the London Games, Arielle Martin made us all extremely proud, just by being there. Talk about getting back on the horse–she got back on it, did a “hi-ho silver” move, then raced the Kentucky Derby.

Ten of the 20 were on the USA Cycling “funded” team, and 10 had their own tickets.

Stream of Consciousness

BMXLIVE.TV has replaced Freecaster as the go-to channel for live-streaming UCI Supercross. And while they’re not on the same Bat Channel for 2013, the voice of Pete Dylewski on the mic brings the expert-witness component of years in the tower. DoubleAPete always takes the audience inside the inside jokes and hotel-lobby chatter that happens before showtime–something that is oh-so-important to rabid BMXSX fans stuck on home soil.

National Cycling Centre Track

National Cycling Centre - Manchester, England

BMX News has covered the steady progress of the National Cycling Centre construction since it was announced in October, 2009. The US$40 Million, purpose-built facility is the crown-jewel of BMX tracks, and also serves as the HQ for British Cycling. And even at 100,000 square feet (2.3 acres under one roof), it is not as spacious as the 4-5 acres afforded to outdoor venues like USA Cycling has given over to the tracks in Chula Vista.

Consequently, the Manchester track is a little more compact, and packs the same action into a smaller space. Sam Willoughby summed it up best, from the rider’s POV, when he said, in a post-moto interview: “You have to go slow to go fast on a track like this.”

GSX decided that the track needed a little more “kick” to it, and brought in a wooden “kicker” launch ramp to boost riders into the stratosphere as they headed into turn one. Looking down the first straight from the hill, the kicker looked like a quarterpipe, hit at 30MPH. Whether it was the cajoling of keyboard cowboys, or actual rider ridicule, the UCI Supercross Facebook page carried the following response to the kicker question on Friday:

The obstacle in question has been tested and approved by the UK athletes prior to the event and deemed safe and correct for both men and women’s events. The UCI Technical Delegate has also approved it during the track inspection on Wednesday.

BMX Supercross is about progression, but as in life, it’s also about compromising. Although some of the elite men will have to adjust their racing strategy on the first straight, the elite women have found it challenging but in-line with their continuously increasing skill level.

We appreciate the passion of all our BMX SX fans and we certainly listen to them and the athletes. We hope that they will all be out in full force over the weekend and come and support their riders. We look forward to another incredible event in UK.

Make of that what you will, but the kicker definitely changed fortunes in both directions throughout the weekend.

Time Trials

Practice seemed to claim some casualties before the first real-deal gate fell. Four women and 14 men were listed as Did Not Start (DNS) on the Time Trial results. Four men were listed as Did Not Finish (DNF), meaning they crashed, or somehow did not cross the finish line for their time trial lap. Chief among them was reigning Women’s World Champion, Magalie Pottier of France.

If this race were held anywhere else, we’d have to call it a “British Invasion,” but Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips turned near-perfect laps in both the early qualifying, and in the Superfinal later in the day. Sure, it is their home track, and that definitely helped, but both put on an amazing display of bike skills to all who watched.

Joris Daudet turned the second-fastest lap in the qualifying round, and Tory Nyhaug was runner-up for the Superfinal. On the women’s side, Team USA’s Felicia Stancil had a blazing lap early on, finishing second to Shanaze, but had some trouble down the third straight in the Superfinal, and ceded second-chair to teammate Alise Post. There really isn’t a “podium,” per se, in the Superfinal–it’s top-step only, but it served up a tasty appetizer to what we might see on Saturday.

As we mentioned above, the winning laps were awesome… but sometimes, the crashes are what grab the most YouTube views. Case in point: Sam Willoughby’s Superfinal run.

The world champ lays down a heapin’-helping of horsepower. But, on this track, there is such a thing as going TOO fast–resulting in over-clearing a big set (something Sam said, with the benefit of experience, on Saturday). Raging into the second straight, SW91 over-cleared the first double, which put him out of shape on the landing, and left no time to recover before the second set. Sam did a near-front-flip over the massive gap, and had such momentum that his body catapulted over it, Superman-style, and delivered him safely to the backside, for a slide on his…well…backside. It was the kind of wreck that should earn him the nickname Sam “Nine-Lives” Willoughby, because watching it, no logic would have him moving off the infield under his own power.

Here it is, from the stands (courtesy of Justin Kimmann, via YouTube)



SATURDAY!

Elite Men

The BMXLIVE.TV stream came to life right on cue, at 2PM Eastern Time in the US (7PM local). Liam Phillips was in the first gate of the evening, which was perfect to get the stoke factor of the 2,000-seat, capacity-crowd flowing in a big way. The pack was tight going into turn one, but it was Justin Posey of Team USA who came out in the lead, with the World Champ charging hard in second. Down the third straight, Sam made up major real estate, and nipped JP in the final feet for the first win of the day. Phillips was third, but would ace both moto-laps to follow, and turn the fastest lap time of the day, thus far, in the third round, with a 29.392.

Second rack was owned, in full by Tory Nyhaug x 3. Ditto for BFF, Connor Fields in the next group. The Con-Man had the “smooth-filter” applied all over this track, and his trademark aggressive style worked wonders down the tech third and fourth straights. He aced all three motos, and tied Tory’s first lap time of 29.640, just like best friends might do.

The fourth group started out with some friendly action among Nederlanders. Joris Harmsen (whom, we’ll have to admit, we had never heard of prior to this), came out of lane two, and took it to the front in the first round. Olympian Twan van Gendt was way out in lane eight, but made tracks quick to rail the outside of turn one to come out battling Edzus Treimanus for the two-spot. Twan passed Edzus in the air going in to turn two, with a brief challenge by Italian, Romain Riccardi on the exit. Riccardi put a major move on Treimanis in the last turn for the third place finish, but it was 1-2 for the Dutchies. Twan won the next two trips.

Next group, we’d see birthday boy, Corben Sharrah battle last year’s world champ, Joris Daudet for a win in the first lap. Those two had a Zip Code margin on the rest of the pack. Second time out, Raymon van der Biezen put down a solid lap for the win, with Corben having some trouble over the kicker into turn one, and disappearing from camera view behind the mountain, not to emerge. Last trip in the motos, it was Corben out of gate four, all the way home. Daudet got the “Mr. Consistency” award in this group with a 2-2-2, and almost caught Corben at the line in the third round.

In an interview with BBC sport (link below), Shanaze Reade boldly-predicts that Great Britain would emerge as the dominant force in BMX Supercross by the 2016 games in Rio. Part of that bet is wrapped in outside-the-headlines guys like Tre Whyte and Kyle Evans. Both turned solid laps in the sixth group, going 1-2-2 and 4-1-1, respectively.

Aussie Anthony Dean was hot in the motos, as well, with a 1-1-1, over names like Simon Duchene of France and Lain van Ogle of the USA.

The final rack of Mens motos split the wins three ways–the only one to do so–with aces for Vincent Pelluard of France, Martijn Jaspers of the Netherlands and Renato Rezende of Brazil (who gave a breathy post-race interview to Max Cluer in English, and capped it off with a charged-up message in Portuguese for the fans at home, which definitely had them saying “Obrigado, Renato!”).

Elite Women

As in the men’s class, the home crowd was treated to some first-gate fire from national hero, Shanaze Reade in the first group of Elite Women. Shinny aced-up on all three motos, with Lauren Reynolds pushing her pink shoes to a 2-2-4 (Simone Christensen of Denmark and Charlotte Green of GBR were second and third in the third round).

In fact, three of four groups had triple-aces in the motos, with Alise Post and Brooke Crain also sliding to the semis with three points.

In the third group, 2012 Bronze Medalist, Laura Smulders had a win in the first round, but had a brief hesitation down the ramp second round, which put half the pack in front of her over the first jump. Teammate Merle van Benthem came out of lane six to nose into the lead, close with Dani George and Eva Ailloud. Merle came out of turn one in the lead, put in a solid lap, and that was the ballgame for the second round, with Ailloud and Dani in 2-3, and Smulders in fourth. Laura regrouped, and took the third round win.

Quarterfinals

Because the men had quarterfinals, the women went first until the final two gates of the evening. At the most inopportune time, our stream went down for the first three quarterfinal laps, which trimmed Donny Robinson, Justin Posey and 10 others from the program. We got our coverage back just as the fourth quarter was headed down the ramp, with Sam Willoughby out to a commanding lead. Corben was out of gate three, and looked like he had a good lap in front of him. He was in third into turn one, behind Sam and Jelle van Gorkom (welcome back!), then Twan van Gendt got under him as the pack headed into the second straight. Damien Godet got inside on the approach to turn two, and that swung our man wide enough to give up the ghost. Sometimes you bite the bear, and sometimes the bear bites you. Next time, Corben!

Semi-Sweetness

Lads

Six laps to go for the season opener, and the normally-staid British crowd was ready to come unglued. First out, once again, was Liam Phillips, starting from the inside. Anthony Dean was on Liam’s starboard side coming into turn one, and it was a Willoughby “Sammich,” with Sylvain Andre and Jelle van Gorkom, hoping for some bread in the final. Andre had the inside, and slipped under Sam, which was enough to push Jelle wide, and set the table for the first half of the Elite Men’s main: Phillips, Dean, Willoughby and Andre.

The second semi had us worried it might be deja vu all over again. Connor Fields was on the inside, and right next to him–just like in the Olympic final in London– was Twan van Gendt. This time, Connor was out like a rocket sled on rails, with Twan close, but not too close on the right side. As they hit the kicker, Twan unclipped, and he did a one-footer that sent him cascading off the pace, and into Martijn Jaspers, pushing them both to the back of the pack. Into turn two, it was pretty much on-lock, with Fields, Daudet, Nyhaug, and Rezende. Damien Godet had a shot at Rezende for a split-second in turn two, but came in too hot, and high-sided out of contention. Men’s final was set.

Lasses

Shanaze Reade was down the ramp first, and vectored-hard to the right, into Brooke Crain territory, who was in gate two just one second earlier. It got all-kinds-of-ugly in the next moment, as the jumble sent Simone Christensen out of shape over the first set, taking Dani George, who was in third just then, out of the race. Manon Valentino stepped between the razor blades and held her second place spot, with Aneta Hladikova (who came out of gate eight) in third. Brooke made lemonade out of the lemons Shinny served up at the bottom of the hill, and staked her claim to the final qual spot.

In the second semi, Laura Smulders was on the inside, with Alise next to her and Amanda Carr in her fresh Thai kit in gate three. Arielle martin would be out of gate five, and Merle van Benthem out of seven. The pack came out fairly-clean, with the insiders having plenty of room to make it happen. But, if you have ever seen a juggler lose her rhythm, with chain saws, apples and bowling balls flying everywhere–that’s what happened behind Alise and Merle, who were solidly in the lead. Amanda came up a little short on the first set, and scrubbed-off some speed. Laura was on Alise’s bottom bracket on the inside, but lost rhythm on the roller leading into the kicker, and Camille Maire and Charlotte Green were out of the picture from the get-go. That left Merle, Alise, Lauren Reynolds and Arielle to take it on home. Lauren got under Alise in turn two, and it would finish van Benthem, Reynolds, Post, Martin. We were stoked to have three Americans in the final gate of eight–but even more stoked to see AMV15 in the main for her first race back.

They Don’t Call it the “Main Event” for Nuthin

As we mentioned before, the final two laps would see turnabout in the program, with the women going first. Thousands of fans, both in the stands, and in their bunny slippers at home, were ready to see the big laps go down.

Women’s Final

Starting from the inside, Shanaze Reade owned it from the drop (some with a different accent might say, even before that). Still, the pack was close over the first jump, and it was an eternity in one second to see who would emerge in podium contention. That would be Brooke Crain boosting the kicker with controlled-style in the deuce, and a trio of Alise, Arielle and Merle making it interesting for third. Into turn two, Shanaze and Brooke were spot-welded in their spots, and Alise / Arielle looked like it could be a two-American podium. Just then, Merle railed up the inside and put the swoop on Arielle. Alise held it for the third straight, but Merle made up serious ground down the last straight, to get her at the line. It looked a heck-of-a-lot closer than the clock had it, with Merle finishing with a 33.675 and Alise with 33.724. Reade’s time of 32.094 was, as you might expect, the fastest of the day for the ladies.

Men’s Final

The Pro Gate was raised one final time for the weekend, and Liam Phillips slipped his Yess scoot into lane one. Connor Fields was aboard his blue Chase in Lane two, Joris Daudet on a GT in lane three, Anthony Dean’s DK in four, Tory Nyhaug on the Canadian Redline in five, then Redline Teammate Sam Willoughby, Sylvain Andre on the French-made “Definitive” frame, and Renato Rezende (on whom we could not ID the bike–sorry).

The guys were out clean, and it was Phillips, Fields, Dean and Willoughby almost indistinguishable from the side–it was that tight. Andre was in fifth, and Nyhaug in sixth in a freeze-frame over the first jump. The setup for the kicker threw the deck in the air, as Connor got out of shape, unclipped, but owing to major bike control, stayed on two wheels. The deck-in-the-air moment left Tory enough daylight to slip next to Sam for a battle for second in turn one. Phillips was well-away in the lead.

Into turn two, it was Phillips, Nyhaug and Willoughby, which would hold all the way home.

The Final Word after the Final

In the final analysis, the first straight kicker seemed to serve its purpose–to mix things up. No doubt, there will be spirited discussion in the coming days on whether non-dirt obstacles (that aren’t the start ramp) have a place in World Cup BMX Supercross. First, it was the Papendal box jump, then the Red Bull box jump at London Test event–both of which were ripped out after one major showing.

We’re not going to start that discussion here, but it will definitely be started, somewhere, by somebody.

Felicia Stancil crashed in the first round of the Manchester SX
Meanwhile, our thoughts are with Felicia Stancil tonight. She wrecked badly over the kicker while battling it out with Alise Post for the lead in the first round.

We’re not saying it was the kicker’s “fault,” as there are plenty of other places on a modern SX track to wreck in spectacular fashion. But her’s happened to be in that spot.

As we write this, Felicia’s in post-op at a Manchester-area hospital. She is said to be in good spirits, but will be there a few days, at least. We are looking forward to seeing her back in the Land O’ Lincoln very soon–and back in the battle not long after that. We’ll keep you updated on her progress.

2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup – Manchester
Results

Elite Men
Liam Phillips (GBR)
Tory Nyhaug (CAN)
Sam Willoughby (AUS)
Sylvain Andre (FRA)
Connor Fields (USA)
Renato Rezende (BRA)
Joris Daudet (FRA)
Anthony Dean (AUS)

Elite Women
Shanaze Reade (GBR)
Brooke Crain (USA)
Merle van Benthem (NED)
Alise Post (USA)
Lauren Reynolds (AUS)
Arielle Martin (USA)
Monon Valentino (FRA)
Aneta Hladikova (CZE)

Links

Full Race Stats on BMX-RESULTS.COM

Shanaze Reade Interview on BBC Sport

Credits:
Top Photo: via Twitter, photographer unknown
Sam Willoughby video clip: Justin Kimmann, via YouTube
National Cycling Center photo courtesy of Craig Dutton, for UCI/GSX Events

Corrections:
Please contact mike bmxnews.com for corrections to this article.


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Martin and Crain say Hello to Velo

December 6, 2012 by · Comments Off 

Arielle Martin and Jamie Staff at the VELO Sports Center

Arielle Martin is back on a bike again, sprinting toward a return to the starting hill. This week, she and Brooke Crain were in Carson, CA putting in some track time with USAC coach, Jamie Staff. The track we’re referring to, of course, is the Velodrome track…as in Track Cycling.

The VELO Sports Center is part of the Home Depot Center complex at Cal State University/Dominquez Hills. BMX had a mild flirtation with that location in years past, as the original incarnation of the velodrome played host, in its infield, to a few of the larger freestyle competitions in the late 80s.

Here, we get a one-minute video of Brooke and Arielle putting their awesome leg power to the pedals to get the track bike rollin. They ride those things with solid authority, and it shows why BMXers are the ultimate crossover cycling athletes. It may not manual all that well, but if it has two wheels, they can ride the rims off of it.

Lookin good, ladies!



Inside the Injury: Arielle Martin Blog

September 24, 2012 by · Comments Off 

On the mend: Arielle Martin shows us the new Intense Phnom

Updated 9/25. See below for latest episode of the “Qualified” video series.

There is no doubt it has been a very traumatic August and September for Arielle Martin and her family. Riding high, as August dawned, with the Olympics just days away, and all the possibility that held…only to have her dreams dashed in a last-minute training accident, on her birthday, no less. BMX News readers were among the first to learn of her accident and, 13 days later in an exclusive podcast from the hospital, how she was determined to put it all back together.

Then, scarcely a month later, tragedy struck as her brother-in-law, Rob Verhaaren, was killed in a freak cycling accident while participating in a road bike race in Wyoming.

We saw Arielle for the first time since her hospital stay at last week’s Interbike trade show. She looked every bit herself, the positive, can-do champion who is still healing (on many levels) inside, but ever-optimistic in word and deed. We got a personal guided tour of the new Intense products, complete with Elite commentary on the 2013 Intense BMX Phenom and Sinz monocoque carbon fork.

Writing is always great therapy, and we were stoked to see a post-Vegas update to her AMV15 blog over the weekend. She tells the story in a “Letter to London,” laying bare all the emotions, dashed dreams and devastating physical injuries of the last fifty-odd days.

It’s tough to read at times; Arielle tells of her injury from the hospital bed perspective, and it is heart-rending to witness a friend in so much physical and emotional pain.

A few excerpts:

At the accident scene


The impact had knocked the wind out of me and I laid there for what seemed like an eternity fighting to breathe. What was that noise? Then I realized it was me. I was screaming.

In the hospital the following day


The white coats came back. “When can I go to London?” I demanded.

…One of them stepped forward and said bluntly: “Arielle you are not going to London.”

One month, to the day, after the Games began


On Saturday Sept 8th as Mike and I were preparing to take the pup for a walk a phone call came informing us that his oldest brother Rob had been in a cycling accident while competing in LOTOJA (Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY) and it was quite serious. I was sick, anxious, as we waited for word and when it finally came I only got sicker. Rob was gone.

Rushing to Jackson Hole, clarity sets in.



A reality check to what is really important in life. It’s quite simply that, the gift of life. (and) Family. It was time for me to let (London) go.

As we said, tough to read at times, but a great read, for sure. We’re anxious to see Arielle back on the track…but not a moment before she is fully healed up. News will continue to update you on her progress as the 2013 season gets closer on the calendar.

UPDATE 9/25/2012: Today, the latest episode of the US Olympic Committee video series “Qualified” was posted on YouTube. This episode features a video that Arielle’s friends and family recorded prior to the Games, for Arielle to watch while she was in London. Obviously, due to her injury, she never got to watch it in London, but sees it now for the first time.



Links

Read The Full Story on ariellemartin15.com


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