Recap: 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

June 23, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Sam Willoughby at the 2015 Midwest Nationals

There really is no place better for a BMXer to be on Father’s Day weekend than Rockford, IL. Yes, the Midwest Nationals is a key stop on the annual USA BMX national tour, but it also brings to the front the very-reason why we do this–dads and their kids, of any age, racing bikes. In Rockford, we see the same go-for-it-dad-gusto with the 5-unders as we see popping-up among the fourtysomethings–who may not have heard a hearty “pedal, Pedal, PEDAL!” in a quarter century from their pops. Whether he is there to say it or not, even the most seasoned mover and shaker hears dad cheering at The Rock.

The 2015 Midwest Nats was a grand-scale moto-showdown, while keeping a characteristically-chill atmosphere in the massive-expanse of Searls Park. The waft of campfires, meat on the grill, generator exhaust, and the overall “green” of the thing is all part of the Rockford experience. All that, and a track that has full-time TLC by a 30-year-committed Track Operator. Who could ask for anything more?

News was there from Friday to Sunday, and brought back some great photos (gallery links below). Here are some of the highlights of raceday:

Top Photo: Sam was the man, once again, on this stop of the 2015 USA BMX pro tour. The Redline ace pulled a pair of aces in the RFD, adding to his growing ’015 collection. Justin Posey (who got the Answer Holeshot cash), and Corben Sharrah were with Sam on the day one podium; Kiwi Trent Jones and Posey joined the World Champ on the soggy Saturday podium.

Walker Finch at the 2015 Midwest Nationals^After his pro debut in Salt Lake the previous week, Walker Finch wasted no time getting on the A-Pro podium. Solid laps made for an extra-sunny-sunday, taking third to Kenneth Gustafson and Cole Tesar. On Saturday, local hero, Tyler Whitfield aced the 19-rider field, with Layne Gainer and Leonardo Dos Santos in third. This is precisely why we are diggin the A-Pro class this year. Great competition, and rare usual-suspects on the podium.

BMX News coverage of the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Seconds from disaster. Elite Men was pretty thin in Rockford, with only 16 on Friday night, and fewer (11) on Saturday. In this shot, from third round on Friday, you see Sam powering through the middle, with Donny Robinson just off his rear wheel. Donny had a great start and got the first lead rider call of the lap from the announcers tower. This was when things started to go South for our Nor Cal pal. He got bucked a bit by the second peak on the first triple in the first straight, and impacted the face of the third peak. The guys behind him, Leonardo Dos Santos (far left) and Will Grant (in yellow, behind Donny) got caught up in it, and bikes and bodies flailed everywhere. When the tumble stopped, the trouble started. Donny was down for about 25 mins, as medics stabilized him on a backboard, and carried him off the track to an awaiting ambulance.

Final tally: he suffered multiple rib fractures, and a partially-collapsed lung, and was a “guest” of an area hospital for the night.

Donny RobinsonBy second round on Saturday he was sprung, and back at the track, talking to fans. Incredibly, he pushed through the pain to do two Olympic Day clinics in Minnesota on Monday/Tuesday.

Crowd at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest NationalsRockford always draws a great crowd to the stands and fenceline to watch the racing action. Packed to the rafters to watch the first round of pros on Saturday.

Hayden Fletcher at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^We last saw Aussie, Hayden Fletcher puttin’ the hurt on some of us Yankees last year in 15x. One trip around the sun, and a trip back home has helped Hayden hone his game even more. Because he raced some Junior Elite when he was back on home turf, the 16-year old (17 in “UCI years”) has to race A-Pro on this trip to the States. That didn’t seem to bug him one bit; he made the step up to the pros with poise and pizzaz, rockin in for fifth in Saturday’s main event.

Amanda Carr at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Amanda Carr and Felicia Stancil rode royally in Rockford, with a podium-topping performance apiece. Friday’s podium went Stancil, Carr and Aussie Victoria Hill. On Saturday, it was Amanda, Kristen Bob and Hill. The class had six riders on Friday and seven on Saturday.

Andrea Libich at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Hoosier Andrea Libich fought each lap to the line at The Rock, and came away from the weekend with a double-double for her efforts, in 36-40 Women Cruiser and 31-Over Women. She gets the In-N-Out Burger “Double Double” award for the Midwest Nationals, a $20 gift card for some prime meal time at a future Western race.

William Parker at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^William Parker was lookin strong all day long on Saturday, with this first-round exit in 14x. Come semi time, however, the blue skies turned grey when a tragic last-straight wreck in the rain took him down in a major way. A broken femur, broken collarbone and fractured shoulder landed our guy a sirens & lights ride to the hospital. We checked in on him today, and he is making progress and smilin through the sting–just as we’d expect from “Will Power.” A big “Heal-Up Soon” balloon from your pals at News, William!

Samantha Brown at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Dan’s Comp destroyer, Sam Brown, blazed a trail to twin-wins in 17-20 Women. Bailee Enlow (center) took her BlackCrown to the second spot both days, and third went to Rockford local Heather Collman and Michigander Elida Beeman, respectively.

Derik Bergh at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Though some classes were thinner than the Midwest Nationals norm, 19-27x had a triple-dozen on the sheets (37 on Saturday, actually). Answer/Rennen’s Derik Bergh bested ‘em all both days, which was a first for him. After Sunday’s win, he posted on social media:

Since we’ve been coming to this race, all my dad has asked for is a win. Could never make it happen until this year. Stoked to come home from The Rock with two more wins. Happy Father’s Day.

BMX News coverage of the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^The smooth-and-groovin Rockford racing surface kept things runnin, with sun and storms overhead. Track Operator Jake Karau takes great pride in keeping the facility phat and happy for the annual Midwest Nats, and every local race when the world isn’t watching.

Spencer Cole at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^The Coletrain was rollin hard in Rockford, scoring double-wins in 13x, with some epic push from always-on rival Hollywood Hayden Robinson. Hayden led Sunday’s main to the last turn, when Spencer mounted a tasty inside swoop to catch the lead, and the second win.

Marshall Gehrke at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Local heat, Marshall Gehrke, aced-up in 8c and 8x at The Rock, with a quadruple-scoop of suavé for Answer/Rennen. The Major has logged some major scores in the past two weeks, with eight wins (four at the East Coast Nationals and four this weekend). Dude even has his own suh-weet highlights reel:

Pro tip, via Marshall: only look back once you’ve crossed the line!

BMX News coverage of the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^It’s 15 Cruiser, in the thick of Sunday’s main event. Star BMX Products star, Mighty Joe Gerhartz (inside) had it almost from the get-go, with the Elliott bros, Nick and Jackson chasing down the two-three at the stripe. Gerhartz took the Saturday win as well, with RJ Eckert (far left in this shot, who ran out of railing room in the first turn on Sunday) taking second and Nick Elliott with third.

Gavin Freewalt at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^The national-double-nickle ride of the G-Man, Gavin Freewalt, had a solid weekend in Rockford, taking a win in 11-12 Open and a second (to Bam Bam Perlberg) in class on Saturday; then rallying-back for a gate-to-stripe win in 12x on Sunday (and a second, to Jack Davis in Open).

Nick Deters at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Nick Deters was dyn-o-mite in the Land O’ Lincoln, scoring a pair of aces in 16x. Sunday’s main was a first-straight drag-show between Nick and Jason Baird, but Deters took a prime inside line into turn one, and that was all-she-wrote for this lap. Baird was second on Saturday, and Nick’s Ssquared Teammate, Reece Rankins, was second on Sunday.

BMX News 2015 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Taylor Riedemann at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^Taylor Riedemann has been the master of the second half of the track lately. We saw him reel-in Jason Baird in Nashville for a pair of cruiser wins, and again on Sunday in Rockford for the second 16 cruiser win of the Midwest Nats weekend. We hereby officially bestow the nickname “Reel’em-in” Riedemann on Taylor from this moment forward.

Eric Rupe and Billy Griggs at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals^The final lap of the weekend was a full-on, clash-of-the-Titans tussle in the 46-Over Expert “Legends Class.” Eric Rupe (5) vs. Billy Griggs in all-out combat. Big Daddy had it cold until Mr. Bill took the hot-line in the last turn to put the swoop on Rupe, and take it on home for the day two win. In the Saturday main (run on Sunday morning), it was turnabout, with Big Daddy getting the win and Billy in the two-spot. GHP’s Jim Wahl got third both days.

And with that, another Midwest Nationals was at an end. It’s always the one with lotsa-fun on the tour, and the witchy weather is just part of the well-seasoned-lore, for anyone who has squishy shoes to hose-off, and a blown-out EZ-up to complain brag about, once it’s all said and done.

Our next race is the 2015 USA BMX Stars & Stripe Nationals at South Park (where we will be leaving our rain gear firmly at home). Be sure to keep it right here on News for the story and photo recap.

Photo Galleries

2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals – Friday

2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals – Saturday

2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals – Sunday

DannyD’s BMX TV Vids from Rockford 2015

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Photos: 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

June 22, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Tyler Whitfield at the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

With all eyes on the weather, and three weather-related apps installed, the BMX News team set out on the 81-mile drive to Rockford. All sources throughout the week had the weather on the side of BMXers heading to the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals, which would have been extremely rare. If, as the song goes, it Never Rains in Southern California, it ALWAYS rains in Rockford on Midwest Nats weekend. But the forecast looked good–right up til the time that it didn’t.

Still, we got two days of racing done in-the-dry, with a beautiful day on Friday, sunny and cool, breezy conditions, with temps in the mid 70s at race time. And a hot & sunny Father’s Day on Sunday.

Saturday was on-again-off-again, then always-on rain after second round, at which point it turned all-the-way-ugly (hence the thin photo gallery from Saturday’s race). The semis were interrupted by about two hours of rain delays, and pauses in the program to attend to few serious injuries.

The pro mains were hustled into effect, without the normal big buildup of roll outs and such; we were in somewhat of survival mode and even the normal rendition of AC/DC’s “Thunder” was superseded by the real thing.

BMX News 2015 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

In the end, the race was called due to deteriorating weather after the 12 Novice main event. The balance of Saturday’s main events were run on Sunday morning, and then the Sunday race started, about an hour later than normal.

As always, we will have the full re-cap tomorrow afternoon, but meanwhile, check out the photo galleries from Friday’s pre-race/pro show and Sat/Sun of the National using the links below.

Photo Galleries

2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals – Friday

2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals – Saturday

2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals – Sunday

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Recap: 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

July 1, 2014 by · Comments Off 

2014 Midwest Nationals Re-Cap

The 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals had all the long-storied flavor of years past, but without the run-for-cover weather drama that sometimes plagues the weekend. This year, it held off til the day after the race, when a rare “derecho” system blew in from the northwest and turned a bunch of towns upside down, and put others under raging rivers of rapid mudwater. We didn’t make it the full weekend in the dry, but a 45-minute rain delay on Saturday was basically the sales tax on a prize weekend of racing at The Rock.

Pro turnout was a little thin this year, with some folks out on medical grounds and others not wanting to risk it before the worlds in a few weeks. And some are savin it up for South Park this weekend.

The Rotterdam worlds is chewing up the bankroll of many a BMX family, Rotweiller style. One BMX dad told News that they were “$10k deep already, and haven’t even left US airspace yet.” Wowza!

Track operators Jake and Candy Karau celebrated 30 (yes, three-zero) years running the Rockford track, and were recognized by USA BMX honcho John David before Sunday’s main events. The local newspaper followed up the accolades with a nice piece in the Monday edition. Let us add to that chorus of congratulations to Jake and Candy–they are the very heartbeat of what makes BMX racing so awesome.

We came away from the weekend with some awesome photos (gallery links below), but before you plunge in to the pixels, here are some of the highlights from the weekend.

Strider racing at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

Strider racing is still surging at the nationals, and at local tracks across the country. It’s awesome to see the littlest ones in the BMX family having such a great time. One thing though: if your Strider rider gets to the top of the “hill” and decides s/he doesn’t want to race, be cool and let it go. No sense going all aggro on your four year old cause they get stage fright. Remember: “fun!”

Alan Struna at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

The Big Kahuna, Alan Struna, was back in the saddle in Rockford. Alan has been spending time on his studies and on his school’s rowing team. Dude stepped back on the bike, and was going so fast he blew the numbers right off his plate.

Nick Adams at the 2014 USA BMX

Nick Adams is the man! This guy can play any position on the field: Registration, scoring, answering 10 questions from racers and parents in 40 feet of walking to the trailer, making sure us media types have what we need, back-home Track Operator and sometime-racer. Add to that: technology troubleshooter. Here’s Nick getting the webcast audio dialed after rain sacked the system in North Carolina.

Young BMXer at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

Movin on up. This little guy was pushing his bro’s bike around the infield with gusto. Something tells us he will be leading a pack of 5-under novies in the very near future.

BMX Racing Fans pack the stands at the Rockford BMX track for the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

Despite 66 acres of shaded park land to park your posse, the fans were still thick in the stands all weekend long, watching 241 motos on Saturday and 216 on Sunday. The weather was sunny for the most part, but a storm blew in just after the pro mains ran on Saturday, forcing a 45-minute rain delay. Rockford BMX Track operator Jake Karau and his crew had the track covered in 41 seconds (literally, they timed it), and racing resumed with hardly a skip in the beat.

Haro trio at USA BMX Rockford 2014

Team Haro brought home some bank from the Midwest Nationals, with four of the six Elite Men podium spots. Pickard, Sharrah and Long were all in the same semi both days (above), finishing 1-2-3 (in scrambled order). On Saturday, it was Free Agent’s David Herman with the win Kurt Pickard in second and Nic with third. On Sunday, Pickard topped the podium with Nic in second and Joris Daudet’s Chase BMX ride in for third.

Lucky BMX leprechaun at Rockford 2014

Some folks have all the luck, others make their own luck. And a select-few have their own leprechaun as part of the pit crew, just to help things along.

Haro/Promax Andrew Townsend at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

We love this one of Andrew Townsend, gettin down in the 17-18x Semi on Saturday. That whole class was scary-fast in Rockford. Townsend hit the podium both days with two third place finishes. Cole Tesar won on Saturday with Justin Knapper in second. On Sunday, it was Hunter Pelham scoring the W with Zinzow in the two-spot.

Dylan Wood joins Ssquared/Answer

Dylan Wood has been tearing it up lately, and layin a heaping helping of style on the situation. Just got picked up by Ssquared/Answer and was rockin the house on the team’s home track. Won 10C both days, and ended up with a Saturday crash and a second on Sunday (after “The Birdman,” Brandon Crain).

A Pro Main event at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

Doublecross double-team in the A Pro main on Sunday. Alan Hudson and Jacob Sherbno hit the first straight at maximum warp. Sherbno (right) would take the lead soon after this, and be on to his first pro win. Doublecross also had oodles of orange on the Saturday podium with hometown hero Olijuwon Davis getting the win and Sherbno in second. (Standard Byke’s Jarrod Adcock got third on Saturday and Hutch BMX hotshoe Brandon McDowell got third on Sunday).

BMX News 2014 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp

BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Hyper BMX Jud Ciancia racing BMX at the 2014 Midwest Nationals

It’s been a minute since we’ve seen Hyper Bikes underboss Jud Ciancio on the track. This guy has more aces than a playing card factory. He added four more in Rockford, with 46-50 Cruiser and 46-over expert both days. Jud gets the BMX News “Double Double” award for the Midwest Nationals, earning a $20 gift card to In-N-Out Burger to chow-down on his next West Coast swing.

Tyler Whitfield racing BMX in his home town of Rockford, IL

The “most-factory-fastguy” award goes to Tyler Whitfield. Everything about this dude says slick, including his sensationally-smooth moves on the track. Twin wins in 19-27x in front of the home crowd. Insider Kenneth Gustafson got the fuzzy end of the lollipop both days, with two main event crashes. The race action in 19-27x is more hopped-up than some of the pro motos at times, in terms of “battle to the edge of what’s possible.”

Jack Parkin doubled at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

Munchkins mixin it up into turn one. Sunday’s 8x main was a bunch of back & forth between these two, Jack Parkin on the left and Tyler Bailey on the right. They went 1-2 (respectively) on Saturday. Tyler had the lead for much of the Sunday main, til Jack the Ripper shredded the last straight and zipped past in the final feet.

Rick Terlecki is a BMX Racing dad at the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals

“Pedal, Dad, Pedal!” We love hearing that from the fenceline. Here’s Big Rick Terlecki takin care of biz in the 46-over inter main event on Sunday.

Our next race will be the USA BMX Stars & Stripes Nationals this weekend at South Park BMX in Pittsburgh, PA. Keep it with BMX News for the latest on-track fireworks.


2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals Saturday Photo Gallery

2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals Sunday Photo Gallery

Rockford Results (on

Photo Gallery: Rockford Day 1

June 29, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Nic Long and David Herman

The first day of the 2014 USA BMX Midwest Nationals was a hot, hot, hot day of 241 muggy motos. Action in the pro classes was thick all day long, with Olijuwon Davis handily taking the A Pro class on his home track. Vet Pro had the three long-time favorites: Javi Colombo, Cristian Becerine and Matt Pohlkamp on the podium.

It was a smaller-count day in the Elite classes, with many opting out of Rockford–and likely South Park next week, to rest-up, train up, and not tempt fate for the World Championships in Holland next month. But for the elites that were on-scene, the racing was raucous.

Elite Women was missing Mariana, Alise, Felicia and Shanaze, but the 10 who did show up put on a great show for the fans. Dom Daniels added a win to her 2014 scorecard and was joined on the podium by Amanda Geving and Dani George, who was out for the first time without her familiar Supercross bike and uniform. Amanda Carr was also riding near the front all day, as was Lauren Reynolds.

Good battles in Elite Men between the Haro guys (Long, Sharrah and Pickard, who all made the main–from the same semi, no less), David Herman, Connor Fields, Joris Daudet, Kory Cook and Anthony Dean. Elite Men had 23 riders on the sheets for Saturday’s race, and we also saw good efforts from Joey the Bomb (who crashed out in the semis), Faoro and Posey. In the end, it was David Herman’s day to do-the-do, and he led the race pretty much wire to wire.

BMX News 2014 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp

BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Moments after the pros raced their mains, the skies opened up, and we had a rain delay of just under an hour. Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and the balance of the mains were run in the dry (ok, damp). Storms thundered through overnight, but as of first gate on Sunday, we’re racing under hazy sunshine.

BMX News will have more race highlights from Rockford on Monday morning, as well as our full-re-cap of the Midwest nationals on Tuesday morning. For the moment, take a look at our awesome photo gallery from Saturday’s race. Free photo downloads as well! Link below.


2014 Midwest Nationals Saturday Photo Gallery

Rockford Results (on

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Hotpoints: Midwest Nationals – Rockford

June 26, 2014 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Hotpoints: Rockford, IL

The BMX News crew is packing up and shipping out on another national weekend trip. This time, it’s a simple 82-mile hop to the USA BMX Midwest Nationals in Rockford, IL. Rockford is one of the old favorites on the national schedule, and we are packing our sunscreen and our rain ponchos, as it is all-but-certain both will be pulled from the tripod bag throughout the weekend.

News took the liberty of preparing this “Hotpoints” list of some of the details you’ll want to have at your fingertips for the coming weekend. After you have eaten Dominos in the room enough times, some hometown flavor is definitely appreciated, so we included some of our favorite local chow-down options.

We’ll see you on Safford this Saturday!

Track Address for your GPS:
5100 Safford Rd, Rockford, IL 61101
Phone: (815) 964-8657

Parking at the Track:
$10 per day/ $25 for the weekend
Motorhome: $50 for the weekend

Practice Schedule:
“A” Schedule (Download PDF with times)

Weekend Weather:

Pre-National Clinics:
Pro Gate has two free gate clinics on Friday (must pre-register)
Register Now

Last-Minute Hotels:
A check on Thursday morning found rooms at Days Inn Rockford ($69/nt), among others. The track is not very convenient to any hotels, and the “State Street” hotel area off I-90/I-39 is probably the best call, given its proximity to other amenities. The Days Inn is a down-market property, but it has a bed, a shower and Internet, so for a last-minute choice, it’ll do.

Getting to Rockford:
Driving up to Rockford, via Chicago, I-90 is perpetually under construction, and 2014 is no exception. If you’re flying into O’Hare you may have a long ride out to Rockford, depending on the time of day.

interstate 90 construction

Use the Google Maps app to monitor traffic. If it is super bad, you can look to IL 72 or US 20 as an alternate. Route 72 eventually intersects with Interstate 39, which you can take North over to the track or hotel. US 20 will take you directly into Rockford (with some twists and turns). These are, by and large, two-lane roads, but at least you’ll be moving.

Same goes for your way out of town. Some friends the past two years reported three hour trip times to O’Hare on Sunday. The best alternate is to take I-39 to I-88 East (Chicago). If you’re going to Indiana, Michigan or points East, you can hit 294 and you’re in the clear. If you’re flying out of Midway this would be a preferred route, and for O’Hare, it’s a little out of the way, but still may be a good alternate to a three-hour stop & go (no-traffic trip time should be about 90 mins at posted speeds).

Illinois Tollway I-90 construction overview

Local Food Recommendations:
We’re all pretty tired of the same-old-same-old national chains on the road. These are some great local choices, we have tried before and are mmmm-mmmm-good!

Chinese: Chen’s Cantonese 4722 N 2nd St, Loves Park, IL 61111 (Tyler Whitfield’s grandparents’ place)

Pizza/Italian: Giuseppi’s – 950 Halsted Rd, Rockford, IL 61103 (815) 877-3029

Sushi/Teppen: Shogun – 293 Executive Pkwy, Rockford, IL 61107 (815) 394-0007

Italian: Lino’s – 5611 E. State St. Rockford, IL 61108 (815) 397-2077

Raceday Provisions:
If you want a grocery store that has better-than-commercial stuff, check out Choices Natural Market for a full selection of organic produce and good-for-you-goodies. It’s as close as Rockford gets to a Whole Foods type establishment.

Choices Natural Market
6551 E. Riverside Blvd
Rockford, IL 61114
Hours 9AM-7:30PM Thurs-Fri and 9AM-6PM Saturday

There are also a couple WalMarts in town, if you need the full selection of options (ice, rain ponchos and whatnot).

Near the “State Street” Hotels:
Walmart Supercenter
7219 Walton St
Rockford, IL 61108

Closest to the Track (2.5 miles)
Walmart Supercenter
3902 W Riverside Blvd
Rockford, IL 61101

BMX News “Essentials” (near the “State Street” hotels):

751 S Perryville Rd
Rockford, IL 61108

7474 E State St
Rockford, IL

Have a great weekend at the Midwest Nationals. For those not making the trip, don’t forget to follow @bmxnews on Twitter for as-they-happen updates from the infield and pits. Plus, check back here for story and photos!

For those sticking around in Chicago between Rockford and South Park, watch for our “Chicago Hotpoints” on Monday.


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Rockford 2012 Re-Cap, Part II

July 25, 2012 by · Comments Off 

Collin Hudson of Factory Cruip

We ended our last episode with a recap of Saturday’s top classes.

The ams had the amperage cranked way up as well. Even though Thanksgiving is still four months away–a whole 1/3 of a year to lock in some solid scores–TMs, parents and riders are definitely talkin’ and calculatin’ and strategizin’. And if you don’t think that every last one of them knows when the competition’s birthday is, well you just ain’t havin enough fun in show business.

Posey is in command of the black plate run as of this writing, but Loebe and the Juice have some runway in front of them before Sunday night at the Grands. Every year, we look forward to that “wave” effect that the ABA, this year, USA BMX, brings to the program for the Amateur title. “With a win in this main event Johnny Nagrider will take over the points for National number one Amateur.” It’s like tracking Santa Claus from the North Pole to us.

The 2012 USA BMX Midwest Nationals drew a great crowd of race fans.
The heat was definitely getting to folks both days. Little guys using bags of ice as pillows in the pits, every manner of mister, water willy, and cold drink you could imagine…and even a couple reports of municipal-sized plastic trash cans filled with ice and water as a mini chilling chamber–AMA Motocross style (though we did not see that in the flesh). Temps were in the high 90s, and as Saturday progressed, the old Mother Nature nudge of clouds and the threat of rain somewhere out west. Still, the fans were thick in the stands (above), and packing the fences all day long, for pros, novices, inters and experts alike. covers the 2012 USA BMX Midwest Nationals
Sunday dawned bright & sunny over Lake Michigan, but turning to the West, the sky was unmistakably Rockfordian–a deep, angry grey. Seemed like the line between clear and cloudy was smack-dab over our hotel. So, the question was “go back to bed, or go to the track?…I mean it’s probably going to be rain-delayed, right???” Well, as tempting as a return to the icy-cold comforts of our room at the down-market Days Inn was, diligence won the mental coin toss, and we were on our way to the track.

The start of racing on Sunday was delayed for about an hour, which gave us an opportunity to see some friends we hadn’t on Saturday.

Spent a little of that time hanging under the DK tent with Marc, Barry and Spencer Cole. The Coletrain went on to cinch his fifth and sixth wins in a row in Rockford, on the Breast Cancer Awareness pink bike. Thoughtful little dude.

And Barry was piloting the DK-wrapped Ford Flex around the Midwest between South Park and Rockford–making a stop at Ohio Dreams, putting in a street session on Chicago’s picturesque lakefront, and winning a Pro-Am at The Hill BMX in Elgin, IL before making the hop to Rockford.

Our buddy, Eric Bess, was on Vendor Row with his Kid DynaMite clothing line. Speaking of lines…he had a pretty good one going in front of the tent, with eager shirt seekers taking a couple KDM tees home to the hood.

To give the track a little time to dry-out, USA BMX Head Official, Bill Morris, decided to run the pros after Girl Cruiser, 108 motos into the first round. Good call! In fact, the whole Elite program was on a fast-forward schedule– to get it in, just in case the sky turned ugly again. Elite mains ran after 10x in the second round. Strange, but effective, as they got it done in-the-dry. This is the kind of move that shows the deep experience, and agility of the USA BMX crew. They have all literally been there, done that–and have the T-Shirt.

Katin and Kyle Mitchell of J&r Bicycles
J&R’s Mitchell brothers are rippin it up this year. Picture it: two eight-year-olds and a 10-year old, six bikes. And you thought YOU had a fun time with the airport Skycap. Up top, we have twins Kyle (4) and Katin battling in a cruiser moto, with the rest of the pack a timezone behind. Katin got the Saturday Cruiser win, with Kyle in for second in the 18-rider 8-under Cruiser class. It went the same way in 8x on Saturday. Their big bro, Tristan aced 10C on Saturday, and took a respectable second to Spencer Cole in 10x. The cruisers were parked in the stable for Sunday, as Katin and Kyle went 2-3 to “Nitro” Brody Cole (no relation to Spencer, but wow, coincidental…). Tristan logged a fourth on day two, behind Coletrain, Answer Rennen hotshot, Zach von Bergen and Hollywood Hayden Robinson.

In Saturday’s 15x main, Crupi’s Hudson and Ryan Zinzow for Answer Ssquared got out to an early lead. They were even into turn one, but Ryan took a line that put him into the side of Collin. Zinzow goes down, and Hudson emerges unscathed to scoot on to a comfy win, with Josh Banuelos’ Phoenix ride in for the deuce.

The turns were slicker than a baby oil factory during the mains, with wash-out wrecks happening frequently, mostly owing to a front tire breaking loose.

The Saturday 16x main had Sean Gaian out of gate eight to take the lead, with Cooley, Ceslok and Tesar all challenging down the first straight. Unsure what happened to Hunter Pelham, because he was at the back of the pack, which is an unusual place for us to find him. Gain was solidly in the lead, with Cooley in second into turn one. Big B took a sharp inside line, and Ssquared the turn a little too hard, causing his back wheel to break loose for a second… but he held on to third down the second straight. Tesar was pointed to the inside into turn two, when DC’s front tire broke loose, and sent him to the asphalt. Tesar routed above, and Ceslok to the inside to avoid Dylan’s carnage. Sean was long-gone to the win, and Cole had a healthy handle on second, with Brandon closing strong and getting to within a wheel of Rock & Roll Cole by the stripe.

Talk about a stacked-to-the-rafters main event. Saturday’s 17-18x main had Posey, Nesvig, Whitfield, Byndloss, Sebesta, Jeremy Smith, Bergh and Nor-IL hero, Layne Gainer all made it through a 46-rider class to be in the final gate-of-eight. It looked like Sebesta unclipped out of the gate, but all the rest made it to the 30-foot line more or less even. Nesvig emerged as the leader down the first straight, but JP was just getting started, shooting up the inside into turn one. Posey took the lead in turn one, with Rusty chasing him down down the second straight, with Bergh in third. Smith got to the inside into turn two, and put the swoop on Derik, and Whitfield was shoppin for a slip-up in the top four. It was Bergh, Byndloss and Whitfield about even down to the end of the third straight, but Tyler knows this track like nobody else. He slipped into fourth, then under Smith in the last turn to go from fifth, early-on to a podium spot.

Sunday’s aftermath reminded us of a fireworks show after the “Boom!” It had been a VERY intense weekend for everyone who entered the park. All the colorful factory tents were folded up and stored for the trip to the next stop. For some, it would be Pottstown…for others Tucson, Lincoln, Louisville or Reno. And wedged in there, on August 8,9,10–a little thing called The Olympic Games!

It’s kind of crazy to think about the fact that, in just a few weeks, we’ll have a brand-new crop of Olympic Champions. Who will the Medalists be? And will they go from London to Louisville without missing a beat on the schedule? We can’t wait to find out all of the above!


BMX NEWS 2012 Midwest Nationals Photo Gallery

USA BMX Videos of the 2012 Midwest Nationals

USA BMX 2012 Midwest Nationals Results

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Midwest Nationals, RFD

July 23, 2012 by · Comments Off 

Marc Willers leading through the first turn at the USA BMX Midwest Nationals

Covering the Midwest Nationals in Rockford every year is quite the conundrum for the BMX News team. It should be an easy-do, since it’s a mere 82 miles from our Global Command Center…but throw in the annual show, which we run as part of the Vintage community, and all of the sudden, you have two “all hands on deck” assignments happening in the same 72-hour period.

Still, the feverish pace, and blur of friends, pristine vintage builds, new products on Factory Row, moto counts, checking the weather, shooting photos, who’s hot, who’s not, Best In Show, Pro Podiums, the sleep-deprived week before, packing the rig and all the other stuff that fills in the time between 6AM Thursday and 4PM Sunday are where the true fun of what we do gets written.

The reports started coming in on Wednesday that pit space was filling in nicely, and it looked like it was going to be a BIG race. Some early guesstimates put the Saturday moto count North of 400! And, as much as we love big races, with lots of action, when you hit 400 motos, you start to slope down the bell-curve of awesomeness, and over to “we’ll be out of there at 10PM!” territory.

Jake and Candy Karau and the intrepid army of Rockford BMX volunteers prepped the canvas for another amazing weekend…dialing in pits, parking, camping, traffic flow and important “little” details like diligent trash pickup and porta-john servicing into the already Swiss-watch-like USA BMX national routine to make the facility about as five-star as we’ve seen it. It goes back to the old planning adage “do the job right, and nobody should notice; but do it wrong and it all goes to spit pretty quick.” Well, that may be true of Papal visits and State Dinners, but plenty of appreciative BMXers noticed all the Tender Loving Care that was put into the weekend’s precision and creature comforts.

Down Factory Row, we spied a bunch of new tents at The Rock we have not seen before. Greg Swingrover hauled the Crupi rig from So. Cal and had a strong presence. Tom Floyd and the Phoenix posse made the trip from Oregon with their widely-admired Orange and Blue rig (with the “NASCAR rims,” as one Vintage collector put it). ORP brought their Toter-home-fifth-wheel from Texas to set up a very legit pit for KB and the rest of the team. Star BMX Products had a small showing in 2011, but really plussed-it-up this year, with a display of their all-American-made product line. Dan’s Comp was on Vendor row, across from friendly-competitor, and long-time Rockford race day dealer, J&R. Bob Deily hung out in the Midwest after South Park, and put down stakes with Bubba and Dom Daniels as anchors to the rest of the Doublecross on-track crew. The Rennen van is putting on more miles than a Space Shuttle this year, as GeorgeC and his Answer Rennen mob pulled in to Rockford, en masse, from Massachusetts … And DK was right there, front & center, where Barry, Zula, Willers lounged their quick legs between Elite appearances. Add to those, the old favorites like Redline, GT, MCS, ProGate, Jim Buchanan and Shawn Whitfield’s Answer Ssquared team, and maybe a few more we missed.

Weather is so often a factor at this race, that we considered getting Mother Nature a Pro Women’s card, out of respect. We thought that maybe, just maybe, the July date might have her off doing something else, other than raining on our proverbial parade. But Wednesday night, a major boomer passed through that pretzeled the newish “USA BMX” awning on the semi, and tossed a few pegged-down ez-up frames like the “Wizard of OZ, BMX Edition.”, which is our go-to source for the haps on the thunder claps, said we’d be in the clear, thereafter. But, this being Rockford, we packed a poncho, just in case.

Friday’s pre-race came in at 120-something motos which, using the time-tested formula, put Saturday’s estimated moto count at about 330. On Saturday, under a blazing sun, and near-triple-digit humidity, the boards had the count at 277. We were never so glad to see “the formula” proved wrong. Using the hundred-motos-an-hour formula of 277 x 2 and adding another 277 for quarters, semis and mains, our NEW guess was the final gate on Saturday would fall around 8:30PM (it turned out to be pretty accurate with a +/-15 min margin).


After a packed program of 23 Striders started the racing day off right, the top classes were racked to roll. It was absolutely fitting that hometown hero Olijuwan Davis took his Morphine jersey to the front, and aced the first gate of A-Pro, for the weekend. Joey “The Bomb” Berthiaume won the next rack, as well as the two motos, and the main that followed. Mang! We hope to see Joey at more races, as we remember him at the St. Cloud National last year, putting a whooping on the A-Pros. Answer Rennen was in full effect at The Rock as previouisly noted, and Max Egdorf flew directly from Vegas to Chi-Town to post a second on the day. The aforementioned OD hit the podium for third.

Vet Pro had one rack at The Rock, and it went pretty much the same way all day, with Javi Colombo’s SE ride getting the 1-1-1-1, Free Agent/Rockstar flyer, Cristian Becerine in the 2-2-2-2, and Dan’s Comp destroyer, Matt Pohlkamp taking his #1 to a 3-3-3-3. Redline pal, Jason Carne$ was off-podium, but still looking strong, with a fours-across.

Jr. Devo was once a class where experts did their business to get in to the much-coveted USAC camps. It’s that way now, but with the addition of stepping-up-their-game types like Sean Gaian (GT), Cole Tesar (Felt), Hunter Pelham (J&R), Josh Banuelos (Phoenix) and Collin Hudson (Crupi), their skills have the fans shouting from the fence line! Seany-Sean bested the class in the main, with Cole in the deuce and Hunter with the tre.

Junior Women made a class at Rockford, which was a bit of a bummer for Felicia Stancil and Supercross BMX dame, Dani George. These two hopped a big bird from Chula Vista, where they were part of USA Cycling’s “U23″ camp, and making some strong moves on the London-replica track…so they were more-than-ready to serve some of that confidence up on the Elite Women class, if it was combined like it was in South Park. But, five on the sheets put them in a class, owning 1-2 spots for Junior, respectively, and it was Lauren Whisler of J&R rounding out the podium.

Speaking of the U23 camp, Tyler Whitfield and Maliek Byndloss were also at the OTC just before Rockford. In the Jr. Men main, Rusty Nesvig had a quick trip to the first turn, and Maliek closed, then passed him in the second turn…but Rusty put the Razzle-dazzle on, down the last straight, and made the pass back to the top-spot before the stripe. Dylan Cooley, who was racing with a broken hand (thanks, Vegas :( ), got the third, with T-Whit in fourth after a last-turn pass on Ryan DeRoche.

Elite Women was owned, full-on, by the Doublecross of Dom Daniels in Rockford, with 11 ladies on the sheets. 3D took it 1-1-1-1 for the win on Saturday, with the Felt ride of Alaina Henderson in the second, and Baylie Kortman on the podium for third.

With three racks of six in the chutes, Elite Men was a bit stronger than one might expect, only two weeks away from the Olympic Games. Marc Willers was the only Olympian in attendance, and when News said “surprised to see YOU here,” Marc said, with a totally straight face, “why?…I’m racing.” Which we thought was oh-so-cool!

In the motos, Kyle Bennett won the first and third rounds over Marc, with the reigning ABA champ acing the second round. And it was Denzel Stein and Barry Nobles taking a 1-1-1 in their respective racks. Come Main time, though, Marc came out of lucky gate seven to battle KB for the early lead. It was Willers into the first turn, with Barry up-high in the two-spot, and Bennett in a solid third. Down the second straight, Donny Robinson vectored himself to the inside, for a pass on KB to take up the third spot as they railed into the third straight. Through the last turn, and down the last straight it looked like that would be the podium, til Kyle mounted a megawatt, final-feet, charge to nip dR at the stripe for the final podium spot.

Now, check out Part Two of our Rockford 2012 Re-Cap


USA BMX Midwest Nationals Photo Gallery

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