January 8, 2015 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
By Bryce Betts
Every year the A-Pro class is rejuvenated with a new stock of fresh talent. Despite the lack of a “title” in the class, it is still very exciting to watch the young and hungry pros go at it, before the crème of the crop rises to the top, and turns elite. We will see a ton of fresh faces in pro practice this Friday, and we took the opportunity to ask a few of the new A-Pros, and Elite Women for some insight on their decision to turn up. This is by no means the definitive list of every amateur turning pro–just an appetizer portion of some of the names we have seen sitting high in the am results.
Jordan Miranda – 20 – Clayborn Bicycles
Chris Sutton- 29 – Elf Bicycles
Kenny Gustafson – 20 – Doublecross Bikes
Trae Proctor – 23 – Staats/Ciari
Marquise Montgomery – 20 – Looking
Ryan Pettigrew – 16 – J&R Bicycles
Sean Gaian – 18 – GT Bikes
Brandon Cato – 20 – Bay Area BMXers
Sienna Fines – 16 – Bay Area BMXers
Collin Hudson – 18 – Redline Bicycles
Layne Gainer – 19 – FASTSIGNS Factory Racing
Kelsey Van Ogle – 16 – Staats/Ciari
What is your first race?
JORDAN – Las Vegas Nationals
CHRIS – Las Vegas Nationals
KENNY – Las Vegas Nationals
TRAE – Winter Nationals
MARQUISE – Las Vegas Nationals
RYAN – Las Vegas Nationals
SEAN – If all goes to plan, the big hill race in Rock Hill will be my first race back. I wanted to race Phoenix, but I don’t think I’ll quite be back from injury that soon.
BRANDON – Winter Nationals
SIENNA – Winter Nationals
COLLIN – I made my debut at the Grands, but my first race of 2015 will be the Winter Nationals
LAYNE – Winter Nationals
KELSEY – Winter Nationals
How do you expect the pro class will differ from amateur racing?
JORDAN – A lot of the 19-27x competition are all turning pro, I’m thinking it’s going to be just as if not a little harder because some of the 17-18x guys are also going to be in there. It will be a challenging class and I’m excited to start making my way up the ranks into the elite class.
CHRIS – I don’t think the class is going to differ too much. There’s going to be a lot of younger riders that’s for sure! I think the 2 classes together are just as fast as each other.
KENNY – I expect the pro class to be more intense than 19-27. We’re all racing for money now instead of just points so I think that we will make us ride differently than we did as amateurs.
TRAE – I feel like 19-27x class was the best class to watch outside of the pros. Every race had at least three or four people on the gate that could win. We had power, skill, and we weren’t afraid to rub elbows. It’s obvious I expect the same from the pro class but I feel like a consistent gate is the key to being a successful pro. It’s all about the first straight with those guys. It seems like whoever wins to the first turn usually wins the race. Since I’ve come back my gate has been the most inconsistent and I was able to get away with that in 19-27 but I know I can’t get away with that being a professional.
MARQUISE – I expect the intensity in the pro class will be a lot higher then 19-27x due to the fact that there’s actually money on the line.
RYAN – I think it’s going to be a pretty big jump from 16x. I think any time there’s change their will always be a learning curve. In this case I’ll be racing with grown men.
SEAN – I don’t think A pro will be too much different from 17-18x. Both years I was in that class, it was always super stacked and full of great competition. Elite on the other hand is a whole different animal, but excited to start mixing it up with the big dogs.
BRANDON – I don’t really expect a big difference because majority of the riders in the pro class I raced in 19-27x . It’ll just be much more competitive since we are now racing for a check rather than points.
SIENNA – I expect the elite class to be a whole lot different from 15-16 girls in every aspect, especially the speed and skill level. But I’m excited to race with the strongest and fastest women in the world.
COLLIN – I expect the pro class will be way more fun to race. Better racing, more fast riders across the board. Instead of having 8 top riders, there will maybe 20+ fast dudes. I really enjoy the three motos to qualify and 3 mains to race.
LAYNE – I think pro will differ greatly in the aspect of having to be consistent starting with motos. In amateur, most of the top tier riders could coast through motos and quarters and not have to worry. Pro will require 100% effort each lap.
KELSEY – The pro class will definitely have a lot more competition than in the amateur classes.
Do you expect to race strictly A Pro this year, or mix in some “Elite” as well? (Guys only)
JORDAN – I will be mixing it up racing both classes along with the aba/uci sx series.
CHRIS – I think I will mostly stick to riding A Pro this year and continue to train and progress towards elite.
KENNY – Definitely going to race quite a bit of elite this year
TRAE – This year I will be racing almost all the pro races as Elite and may hit a few other races to race as A-pro.
MARQUISE – For 2015 I plan on racing A-pro and also race a few Elite races
RYAN – I do plan on racing Elite at some of the UCI USABMX races as well as World Cups.
SEAN – I’ll be racing both classes mixed. Any of the USABMX SX series that I attend will be in the Elite class, and will be sticking to A pro for the most part at the other races.
BRANDON – I plan on racing a many UCI races as possible, and mix it up with some A pro races as well.
COLLIN – I will race A-pro and elite/supercross. I will hopefully be at all of the International Supercross races, and will definitely be at every American supercross race I can be.
LAYNE – With the support of my team, I would love to mix in some Elite races this season. I got a taste this past season and I really wanna get in there more often.
What is your ultimate goal in BMX Racing?
JORDAN – The Olympics have been my dream ever since I found out that BMX would be in the Olympics. Also along with the Olympics, another ultimate goal of mine would to be the best person I can be on and off the track.
CHRIS – I would say my ultimate goal is to continue to get better and make it to elite and to pass down the knowledge I’ve picked up over the years to younger riders.
KENNY – To be a legitimate competitor in the elite class.
TRAE – I came back to BMX to basically prove that I could come back and still live up to my name. I had a lot of doubters and people that laughed at the thought of my return and it just fed the fire. I wanted to be a household name and I feel like that’s starting to happen which is pretty cool. The ultimate goal I have in BMX would have to be to win a title. Whether it be usabmx, world, or Olympic I just want a title.
MARQUISE – My ultimate goal in bmx is to race in the Elite class and hope to one day become a UCI world champion, and have a shot at because a USA BMX #1 Champion.
RYAN – Ultimately to reach the pinnacle of the sport and be able set new standards. Helping BMX become a more professional “high performance” sport.
SEAN- My ultimate goal in the sport would obviously be to compete on the biggest stage in sports which is the Olympics, and be in a position to be on the podium. However in the short term I’d like to just make the progressions and keep bettering my results in the pro classes.
BRANDON- my goal is just to continue to have fun racing bmx, supporting my team, and inspire other riders while in the process. Giving my all at everything I put myself through because you will reach levels you didn’t expect from yourself if you give it your all.
SIENNA – I want to be a top Elite Woman when the time comes. And now that I’m of age, I’m going to turn so I can get the experience I need to help me become so. My ultimate goal is to represent my country—the Philippines—in the Olympics
COLLIN- My ultimate goal in BMX is to earn an Olympic Medal. I think after that, I would love to come back as a coach for the younger guys and possibly become a full time coach.
LAYNE- My ultimate goal in BMX is to reach my potential. I feel like a lot of talented BMX racers have wasted their potential in the sport. I wanna be able to look back at my career and say that I gave it everything I had and then some.
KELSEY- My ultimate goal in BMX is to represent my country in the Olympics and to be a great role model for all the young kids in the sport.
What made you decide to turn pro?
JORDAN – I’ve always wanted to be a top pro, and to gain experience with guys who have the same dream as I do.
CHRIS – I’ve always wanted to turn pro, but never got the chance. I stopped racing when I was 18 to see my first son born and didn’t come back to racing till I was 26. Over the years of being back racing I decided it’s not to late to give it a try. After all I’m not getting any younger!
KENNY – I was always planning on it, but since I raced elite last year it was not an option.
TRAE – The reason I turned pro was because I’m a competitor and I want to be the best. I want to race the best and those guys in Elite are the best. Also it’s everyone’s dream to be a pro growing up and since I have the support I don’t see why I should bite at the opportunity. Finally I just feel like I’m ready.
MARQUISE – I’ve always dreamed of becoming pro. I’ve raced on the am aide for years now and just felt it was my time to step into the big boys class.
RYAN – Eventually I was going to go pro it was just a matter of when. With the new rule change it helped make up my mind as of when because I already had plans of racing Jr.Elite/Elite this season. I’m lucky enough to have my main sponsor J&R Bicycles behind me during this transition.
SEAN – I have played with the idea of turning pro for a little over a year now, but I decided last year I wanted to make a run at the AM title. That ultimately got cut short with my broken ankle in September, so I think its just that time to move up. Luckily I have a great sponsor that is supporting me fully on moving into pro and I am really looking forward to another year with the GT Bicycles family.
BRANDON – Turning pro is something I’ve always wanted to do growing up racing BMX. Other than that, there is no specific reasons.
COLLIN – The reason I turned pro was to compete at the next level. I want to try and set myself up as well as possible coming in to 2016, so I am going to try and move through the A-pro class quickly and race the AA’s.
LAYNE – I’m turning pro this year because I am in the position to. FASTSIGNS helped me achieve the best season of my career so far in 2014. They want push me further and guide me to becoming a top professional. With the help of my family, team and new coach, Jared Becker, I will be hunting for the podium in 2015.
KELSEY – I decided to turn pro because I wanted to start racing the elites as soon as possible. I wanted to take my racing to the next level and turning pro was the best choice for me.
The stage is set, and it seems like the A-Pro class will be as exciting as ever this year. With at least 10 top Amateurs joining the ranks, as well as multiple rumors of other top riders turning in the middle of the year, we will definitely have our eyes on this class all year. One interesting trend is the amount of riders waiting till Phoenix to make the debut. This is likely due to the amount of formal coaches our sport has now, wanting their athletes to come into the season prepared. We would like to thank everyone who helped participate, and wish them the best of luck in their 2015 pro debut, with hopes of a long career!
*Photos mostly via Facebook
In case you missed the full-spread of BMX News Grands photo galleries, give ‘em a fresh look. Links will open in new window:
August 12, 2014 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Jonas Harmon joins News today for the first in a series of “Coffee With Jonas” interviews with top riders, industry-folk and newsmakers across the BMX landscape.
I sat down with Factory GT rider Sean Gaian to get a little insight to what makes him tick, how his season is going so far, and overcoming mental and physical boundaries. Sean is one of the most exciting riders to watch on the track and personally one of the best to be around off the track. He is a man of very few words, always letting his riding do the talking. Here we talk about the 2014 Worlds and the season thus far.
2013 was a great year for you. What was your goal for 2014, and how was your season leading into World Champs?
The goal of the season was just to finish off strong with my Jr. career and be in a good place to break into the Elite class next year. The year started off slow; however, things have been going very well recently despite the broken wrist in Berlin.
You broke your wrist in Berlin at the World Cup and had surgery the week after. How was your mental state coming off that surgery?
Coming off my wrist surgery I was definitely a little worried about being able to make the recovery in time for world champs, but as it progressed the first few weeks I felt better and better about it. I was really mostly worried about injuring it again before the race.
Was there a strategy behind keeping the surgery on the down-low?
I tried keeping the injury private, not to keep it from people but more of a way to focus on myself. With the injury already setting me back from worlds, I just wanted to focus on my rehab and preparation with no distractions. I didn’t want to focus on the problem but more on the solution.
Whats your coffee of choice?
Cafe Latte, hands down!!
Recap the 2014 Worlds
Worlds was a great race given the circumstances. I fell short of the podium on time trial day with a fourth. Race day was a struggle with the wrist getting pretty sore by the finals, but I was happy to make it out with a second place on race day. Overall the whole trip was a lot of fun!
Photo by Tristan Kohut, via Facebook
Comparatively speaking, you’re smaller than a good portion of the Jr. Men but one of the fiercest competitors in the class. Explain your state of mind when you gate up.
On the gate, I don’t view myself as any different than the other guys. I just worry about myself and make sure I give the best possible effort I can. That just means I have different strengths. My motto has always been ‘I may be smaller, but that’s just less weight I have to get moving out of the gate.’
What’s your favorite thing outside of BMX?
I really like hanging out with my two dogs. They are always the highlight of when I come back from a trip.
I try not to plan too far ahead, but I will definitely continue on racing Elite Men while working part-time to get my business degree.
Any good guilty pleasures?
I would say Oreo cookie shakes late at night. I always have a craving for one of those!!
Any shout-outs and where can people find you?
Big thanks to GT Bicycles and all of our great co-sponsors for making this dream a reality and getting me to where I am today, my coach James Herrera for always being in my corner, and also a huge thanks to my parents, Big Tommy and Sandy, for providing me with years and years of support. You can follow me on Instagram @sgaian, Twitter @sgaian77, and check out my athlete page on Facebook for updates!!
Jonas and Sean, via Sean’s Instagram.
July 28, 2013 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
With so much to report, we figured it would be more digestible for us to put out a two-part recap for the UCI World Championships, which unfolded Saturday and Sunday, after the Challenge classes were finished.
This was a break from the ordinary, in that Friday – Saturday are traditionally the “Championship” (Elite) class days, then the event finishes up with cruiser on Sunday.
But, in Auckland, the track had to be reconfigured for the Junior and Elite classes. The Vector Arena was not big enough to accommodate the side-by-side hill configuration we have seen the past few years, and the side-by-side straightaways.
Their solution was ingenious–after Challenge racing was finished, they would “jack-up” the hill from the 6-metre challenge height, to the 8-metre Championship (Supercross) height. Transformers, eat your heart out!
Here, now, the Juniors:
With only 16 entries, we would not see much of the Junior Women in Auckland. Rachel Jones had the fastest Time Trial lap in the qualifying round, with a 26.315. Reigning World Champion, Felicia Stancil finished the first run third with a 26.430. But when the Superfinal came, it was all Fly’n Felicia, with her winning time of 26.133.
On Sunday, Felicia aced-up on the three rounds of motos, and positioned herself for the oh-so-important lane choice that would guarantee an inside gate for the main event. That would be the next time we’d see them.
In the other group Sarah Sailer of Germany was also holding three aces into the main event. Sailer got third in the Superfinal on Saturday, and would start the main from lane four (just to the left of Shay Glynn).
When the gate dropped, Russian Natalia Suvorova was out of gate six with a good pop, but so was the World Champ in lane one. Suvorova held second down the first straight, but had Kiwi Hannah Sarten edging under her on the inside, and Domenica Gonzalez on the outside. Just then, Shay Glynn lit up the after burners and blasted inside from the back of the pack, and pulled off a spectacular sixth-to-second pass to lock in just behind Felicia.
Sarten gave up the spot for the moment, but fought to gain it back down the second straight. Shay is tough as nails, and held her position with an iron grip. Felicia was well-away by the third straight, but the silver was still a battle. Shay opened up a bit of a lead, but Hannah closed the gap on the last straight. At the line Felicia was the winner, and it was a photo finish for second.
Here’s the video of the main event:
Felicia Stancil (USA)
Shayona Glynn (USA)
Hannah Sarten (NZL)
Domenica Gonzalez (ECU)
Viviana van Hees (NED)
Yerlin Castillo (VEN)
Natalia Suvorova (RUS)
Sarah Sailer (GER)
A total of 61 riders on the sheets for the Junior Men, so we’d see more of them than their better-looking counterparts. Niek Kimmann from The Netherlands would turn the top qualifying time in the Time Trial, with a 23.495. During the early qualifying, some of the names we were watching here at the BMX News command center were Sean Gaian (5th), Hunter Pelham (7th), Bryce Betts (12th), Maliek Byndloss (15th), Cole Tesar (18th) and Alden Volle (26th).
With eight slots in the Superfinal, Gaian and Pelham would be the only Americans in the next round. Sean ended up with second in the final lap, behind France’s Romain Mahieu. Mahieu (who also won the title last year) turned a lap time of 23.367. Gaian’s time was 23.529. Hunter ended the day in fourth.
Through Friday’s motos, only Mahieu and Gonzalo Molina from Argentina had a triple-ace day going into the quarters. All the Americans were moving on to the evening show.
In the quarters, the first three racks made it through clean–no crashes, which was a pretty amazing feat, if you look at the Championship classes as a whole. In the fourth group, Latvian Kristens Krigers came in to turn one a little too hot, and high-sided, taking three with him. High-shiners in the quarters were Mahieu, Betts, Gaian, Byndloss, and Molina. Hunter Pelham was leading the fourth group (was ahead of the first turn dust-up), but unclipped in the last straight. He lost the lead, but pumped his way home, one footed, to get the last qual spot, just ahead of Alden Volle. Amidou Mir got the win that time.
The first semi had a hassle-free trip, with Mir, Max Cairns of Australia, Mahieu and Byndloss all making it through. Maliek seemed to unclip, or have a tiny bit of trouble in the second turn, but was able to hold off Cristobal Palominos from Chile for the final qual spot.
The second semi would not be so lucky in terms of a smooth-move to the main event. Hunter Pelham was starting from Lane 8, which was a very tough placement on this track. Betts was out of lane three, and Gaian from one. Sean had the first straight more wired than any other rider out there, and was quick to the lead. Molina and Jeremy Rencurel of France were bunched up just behind. Hunter made it from the far outside to in-the-mix, and skied into turn one. It would have paid off nicely, but it put him in a bad position, and he was pushed high on the turn–so high, that his back wheel went over the top, and he skidded around the berm, but kept it on two wheels. Betts was down on the way into turn one. Qualifiers were: Gaian, Molina, Rencurel and Tristyn Kronk of Australia.
The video tells it best.
Some points of interest:
Sean Gain had it from the drop, even with casing into turn two. Nice work Seany-Sean! Molina also rode a hella-strong race.
Rencurel (who will finish third) is in gate 6, and is in sixth-place into the first turn. He keeps fighting, and vectors to the inside in prep for turn two, where he airs it out and passes two to put himself on the podium.
Byndloss won the photo finish with Cairns for fifth.
Sean Gaian (USA)
Gonzalo Molina (ARG)
Jeremy Rencurel (FRA)
Romain Mahieu (FRA)
Maliek Byndloss (USA)
Max Cairns (AUS)
Tritsyn Kronk (AUS)
Amidou Mir (FRA)
July 28, 2013 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
After a pins and needles day of racing in Auckland, New Zealand, BMX sorted out its World Champions Sunday afternoon, New Zealand time.
BMX News will bring you the full report Sunday Afternoon, US Time, but before we get arms around that big story, here are the punchline finishers.
2013 UCI BMX World Championships, Auckland, New Zealand
Elite Women (Top Left)
Caroline Buchanan (AUS) (Center)
Lauren Reynolds (AUS) (Left)
Manon Valentino (FRA) (Right)
Elite Men (Top Right)
Liam Phillips (GBR)
Marc Willers (NZL)
Luis Brethauer (GER)
Felicia Stancil (USA) (Center)
Shayona Glynn (USA) (Left)
Hannah Sarten (NZL) (Right)
Sean Gaian (USA)
Gonzalo Molina (ARG)
Jeremy Rencurel (FRA)
Congrats to the podium finishers! It was a way-crazy day of racing, and we will bring you a more detailed re-cap Sunday afternoon.
March 25, 2012 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
On January 25, BMX News brought you details, and a podcast, on a hot new sponsorship deal of the USA Cycling Junior Development Program by BMX Racing Group’s Chase BMX, and Tioga BMX. Now, USAC is proud to add J&R Bicycles to the mix, via a special jersey program, for the top points earner in the boys and girls classes in the USAC/USA BMX Jr. Devo series.
These jerseys will carry a special “captain” designation (ala NFL team captains), recognizing them as the captain of their “class” at the camp (see main photo).
The one-year sponsorship will debut its first jersey at the Jr. Development camp that starts the day after next week’s Mega-race weekend in Chula Vista (camp dates: April 2-7). The first to wear the “J&R Captain’s Jersey” will be Sean Gaian and Shaelen Reno, based on points earned at the first six races of this Jr. Devo “series” (Last year’s Chula Vista, Disney Cup, and President’s Cup/Race Of Champions…and Reno, Guthrie and Oldsmar in 2012). There will be three more camps in calendar 2012 (see link below for the specifics).
J&R owner, Kirk Morrison said, in the official release: “It’s important to give back to the sport…We like being involved in all levels of BMX racing. From the local program, to the state level, to national and international. It is also fun to be a part of the next step for these aspiring Supercross riders!”
BMX News will be in Chula Vista, starting on Thursday, and will do our best to get you the first-photos of Sean and Shaelen in their slick new USA jerseys.
January 8, 2012 by BMXNEWS.COM Editors · Comments Off
Nothing official from the company yet, but over the weekend, the ABA posted the coming roster for GT’s 2012 Factory Team on their Facebook Page. Here’s how it breaks down:
(Ages at the 2012 Grands)
Jack Kelly – 9X
Sophia Foresta – 13G
Sean Gaian – 16X
Felicia Stancil – 17G
Jordan Miranda – 18X
Jonas Harmon – 31X
Steve Spencer – 45X
Eric Rupe – 47X
Mike Day – Elite Men
Corben Sharrah – Elite Men
Quite a roster for the first USA BMX season. Watch for early photos of the new Am crew from the USA BMX Silver Dollar Nationals next weekend!