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Las Vegas Nationals Race Report

Filed under General on July 10, 2015 | Comment(s)

Photos and Story by Jason McGuire

For the second time in 2015, the USA BMX big rig rolled into the South Point Hotel and Casino for the Las Vegas Nationals. As some may remember, there was a big change after moving the season opener from Reno, Nevada to Las Vegas – which went down as one of the largest in the history of the sport. Now it is summer and we are at the halfway way point of the year. This race is one that nobody wants to miss as it is the biggest of the year besides the Grands, so both teams and riders are in full force while searching for big points. 

While the 155 moto Friday night pre-race was not the largest we have had here, it was certainly huge! The races kicked off with the Pro Open at 4 p.m., which is an hour earlier than normal. The Pro Open had a short list of A Pro contenders, as well as fellow Elite Men contender Corey Reid, hunting down Speedco's elite competitor Logan Collins. Chase, they would as Collins went 1-1-1 to take home the win. Luckily they will not have to worry about the elites tomorrow. 

With only 701 feet of real estate to work with, racing was, as usual, extremely tight with plenty of bar banging action – especially in the turns. For anyone that knows me, short track racing is probably one of my favorites. It is a constant close battle and anything can happen in a split second to change the outcome of a race, more so than on a big wide-open outdoor facility. 

When it came to the amateurs, there was definitely some stand out riders. The first was a young ripper we noticed last year, JET Racing's Evan Enserro. He was looking awesome in practice and grabbed a solid victory in the 9-10 Open main event. Unfortunately, he couldn't get the double in class, but he will be back in full force for tomorrow's event. 

In the 12 Girls class, another one of Alberto Ciari's secret weapons was large and in charge. Camarillo, California local Isabella Gutierrez was riding with a ton of confidence, almost like she was the only one in the gate and didn't have anyone chasing her down. Isabella has been on the scene for a while and has had some solid finishes, but this could be a big weekend for her and the Staats~Ciari crew. 

When we got on to the experts, there were plenty of fast guys, but the new Factory Extreme team rider Cole Bradshaw was really impressive. Bradshaw hails from Ely, NV and if you have ever been through there, you missed it if you blinked more than a few times as the population sits under 4,500. Nonetheless, this is one fast fifteen-year-old who made quick work of his competition. It will be quite interesting to see how he does against the top riders in one of the toughest classes in BMX right now. Stay tuned for part two. 

The final gate dropped before 8:30 p.m., much due to the earlier start time. There was no better place to be in Las Vegas than at the South Point arena where there were fantastic racing and plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Also new for this year was the addition of the live video stream. That is going to be great for all of the friends and family watching from home. So be sure to tune in live tomorrow from the first gate drop to the last. We will also be updating our social media outlets throughout the day, and as always the race report to come in the evening. For now, keep it on two wheels USA BMX Nation!   

SATURDAY:

Kicking off day one of the 2015 USA BMX Nationals with a solid session of morning practice had riders amped up for the actual races. With 350 motos on the schedule, all of the participants needed every ounce of energy in order to survive the gantlet from the first round to the main events. 

The stands were packed and energy was high throughout the entire arena. Per Saturday norm, the dinky dudes and gals stormed the track to tackle the competition on balance bikes. Each year it amazes us with how many of these little shredders sign up, and this was not different with 50 of them taking to the track. After a half an hour and the herding off the track, we were ready to get with the first two rounds of qualifying. After four hours of non-stop gate drops and paint scrapin’, we scooted into the remaining rounds to finally find ourselves entering the main events around 7 p.m.

The A Pro class was thick with 32 riders in attendance, and with the final eight loaded into the gate it was just a matter of time before we found out who would be the day’s victor. With how the entire day went, it was wide open for who could make the podium – especially with three rounds. Over the course of those rounds, it was Redline’s Hunter Pelham who shined bright. It wasn’t a walk in the park though as Ssquared’s Tyler Whitfield and Doublecross’ Kenny Gustafson were working hard to keep the Texas native off the top slot. In the end, Pelham scored two out of three wins and secured the lowest points for the overall win. Whitfield found a home in second place and this year’s most winning rookie Kenny G. slid into third. Day two should bring even more action, as the same crop of riders will battle again for the cash. 

The Vet Pro class was next on deck and Ssquared’s Cristian Becerine was looking on point all day long. For Speedco’s Derek Betcher and SE’s Javier Colombo, they tried everything in the book, but Becerine’s strong gate starts mixed with the short track gave him the advantage and the overall win. We did, however, notice that DB44 was rocking the new Speedco carbon frame. While it will still be a bit before available to the public, the new whip looks super clean and showcases a sleek and fast design. Good stuff to come out of the Speedco doors for sure.

Getting things started with the amateur championship classes, we find ourselves at the 10 & Under Girl Cruiser class. Probably one of the more underrated riders, Crupi’s Ryenn Capitani has ridden on top of her game all weekend long. She was strong in each round and took a big win in the class for day one. She has been extremely impressive over the last few months and is only continuing to improve. Watch out for this young lady as the year rolls on, she will certainly be in the NAG #1 title discussion.

It was nothing heartbreak city in the 11 Cruiser class for two of the top riders. All day long Ssqaured Bicycles riders Dylan Wood and Brody Cole had been running the show. They were at it again in the main event as Wood and Cole led Answer~Rennen’s Brandon Crain and company. The final turn approached and Wood had too much weight over the front and washed out. With his teammate Cole so close, there was nowhere to go but down as he stumbled. With the lead open, Crain slipped in and jetted across the line for the win. Hopefully, those two can keep the wheels rubber side down today. They will need it with Crain’s confidence booming after that win.

Being Vegas, the favorite in the 14 Girls class was definitely Redman’s Jordy Scott. I am sure it has nothing to do with this being her hometown, but that girl always seems to sweep the weekend here. Unfortunately, that was not the case as a newcomer (at least to me) came in and wrecked shop. Daleny Vaughn from Tucson, Arizona came out of nowhere and made a huge statement. Vaughn battled hard with Scott to take the lead, but once she had it there was no catching her. Where did Vaughn come from and why is she not on a top team? I was impressed to say the least. Now let's see if she can back it up with another victory over the world champ.

While there were countless expert main events that are worthy of being mentioned, there was one standout that had the entire crowd on their feet and cheering in excitement. That class would be 19-27 Expert and while many of the classes top riders have left to the pro ranks, it is still one of the hardest in BMX. Out of the gate and through the first turn Haro~Promax’s Dylan Vaughn was running the show – at least until turn two. With Robby Patterson, Corey Salas, and Zach Vankammen going three wide behind Vaughn, Salas found a sliver of a hole on the inside and shot the gap. After making one of the best turn passes we have seen all weekend, it was not long until the pressure of being out front got to Salas. Halfway through the rhythm, Salas got the whiskey throttle blues and blew up, his bike flipping almost into the third turn. Vaughn and Patterson slid by and Patterson cut the turn in his true world class fashion, rolled up next to Vaughn and the two came together. Vaughn got the short end of the bump and fell off the pace. Patterson would complete the pass and take the win. The entire arena was screaming with excitement from what had just happened in a few hundred feet. There is no doubt it was the race of the day with two of the best passes of the day. 

The final gate hit the deck right around 8:30 p.m. and that was a wrap for day one of the USA BMX Las Vegas Nationals. Day two is here and we will certainly see some more aggressive riding as many will be in the hunt for the last chance of big rider points and a win. You can watch all of the action live at usabmx.com/webcast and as always keep up with us on social media as we are updating live from the event throughout the day.

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Tags: bmx, USABMX
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