Re-Cap and Photos: Derby City Nationals

September 2, 2014 by  

Sam Willoughby wins three days in Louisville

The 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals brought half of the North American BMX population to Louisville for the annual three-day national. The other half was in Reno for the three-day Blackjack Nationals. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, since there were plenty of local tracks running races for the hometown crowd, so forgive us if we freestyle it a bit. These races also serve as the Eastern and Western Division finals, respectively. Over the three days, points were accrued toward the final overall winner in each class, and those riders were recognized in a special podium presentation after Sunday’s race, complete with a championship jersey.

Our Labor Day trip to Louisville always promises sunshine, clouds, rain, heat and a world-class farmer’s tan. We got all that this year, but thankfully, no lightning strike, as was the case in 2013.

Three-day nationals add an endurance component to the festivities–for the riders, of course, but also for parents and us media types who, by Sunday afternoon, have shot every angle on the track two or three times. By semi time on Sunday, even many of the riders were saying they were ready to knock the rest of this weekend out and get on down the highway.

The rain came at the tail-end of the second round on Saturday, and persisted ’til the last main had crossed the line. And while it was a miserable way to end day 2, the wet weather added just the wildcard that some classes needed to not be on lock for all three days by the same rider. Not exactly good news for those hotshoes who ruled the realm in the dry, but for the spectators that braved the soaking rain to watch from the fenceline, it is nice to see some mixin-it-up action.

The Soiltac really helped keep the surface of the track in tact through all conditions. Rider feedback on the 2014 Derby City track refresh was overwhelmingly positive after the Thursday and Friday practices.

Saturday was the high-moto-count day, with 244 on the boards (221 on Friday and 188 on Sunday).

Here are some photo highlights of how it went in the classes:

Top: There is just no stopping Sam Willoughby this year (or last year, for that matter). Three Elite wins in Louisville, and over $6,000 in prize money going back to San Diego–along with three commemorative Louisville Sluggers that USA BMX gave as podium trophies.

BMX News Coverage of the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Friday Morning, 9AM–just as the first practice was hitting the track. The weekend is so full of promise at this point–everyone with their own plan to triple-up, and take home the Eastern Championship jersey. Regardless of how it ended up on Sunday afternoon, a great weekend of racing is in the books for Louisville 2014.

Justin Richmond at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

The Juice, with lots of pulp. Justin Richmond pounded the 21-rider 16x into submission, with three wins.

Hayden Fletcher at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

In 15x, Hayden Fletcher from Australia came-a-callin, and took two of the three wins. He was leading the Friday night main as well, but Bubba Gonzales got by him in the last turn. Nick Deters had the scores to take home the Eastern Division Championship jersey with two third place finishes and a second. (edited 08/04)

Anna Johnson at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Crupi clobberer Anna Johnson took home two of three possible wins in 14G in Louisville. The triple-treat was thwarted by Cassidy Crotty on Saturday (Anna was second). 13-14 Girls Cruiser was also some good racin, between Anna and Stephani Morin on the Star Products. Anna got the Saturday/Sunday wins and Stephani was on the top step on Friday

Eric Rupe at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Big Daddy going big. It seemed that 14x was the point at which guys started going left, to the pro set. Then, after 19-27x the number of riders hitting it tapered dramatically. We were shooting the am side of the third straight, when here comes the big wheels of Eric Rupe’s Extreme cruiser boosting it first round on Saturday. Aces across in 51-55 Cruiser.

Jeremy Thompson at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Jeremy Thompson had a fruitful trip to the Derby City. Five out of six wins in the books, save for a Saturday upset by Scott Moreland. Scotty used the old school foot-out-in-the-turn move to both protect the inside, and prevent a slip & slide in the rainy second-to-last main event on Saturday. It was a lap ridden very gingerly, and with great skill by all eight in that main.

Gavin Freewalt at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

The G-Man, Gavin Freewalt was on fire in Louisville. We spotted him on Saturday with such a wide lead that we could barely fit him and the second place rider in the frame. Here’s the Friday night 11x main event. Haro Promax teammate, Leo Hile, got the wet-weather win on Saturday, and it was G back up top on Sunday–with the Eastern Division Championship Jersey.

BMX News coverage of the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Speaking of those custom-made bats, here they are, from Friday’s podium presentation. All six of the Elite winner bats (three for Elite Men and three for Elite Women) went home to the same address—the San Diego homestead of Sam and Alise.

Austin Hiatt at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Austin Hiatt was rippin-up A-Pro on Friday. We knew he was only a few bucks aways from the big move up to AA, and this burly lead in the Main Event sealed it. He made the semis on Sunday, but wrecked in turn one.

BMX News 2014 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp

BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Todd Parry at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Todd Parry took home five of six possible wins 46-50 Cruiser and 46-Over Expert. Cody Smart got past TP in the final feet of Saturday’s Expert Main to disrupt the perfect.

Sean Gaian at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

Sean Gaian may-well have made it a triple-up weekend, having won 17-18x Friday and Saturday. Sean tells News that he did not plan on racing SUnday–to give him some rest-up time leading in to this weekend’s Argentina Supercross. After the drippy conclusion to Saturday’s racing, a lot of riders pulled out for Sunday as well (Saturday-Sunday moto count dropped from 244 to 188).

Aiden Otten at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

7x in Louisville had a bad case of the “Rottens,” in the person of Aiden “Lil Rotten” Otten. Triple-wins in class and an Eastern Division jersey to take back to Lakeside, CA. Dude has an air game as well, as you can see.

Jud Ciancio at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

2014 marked the 30th year that BMX racing was in Louisville over labor Day weekend. On that first Labor Day, in 1984, Jud Ciancio–then a 16-Expert–was asked to ride for Profile by company founder, Jim Alley. Jud stayed with Profile for a long time after that, and many of us who were around in the 80s knew Jud strictly as a Profile rider. To commemorate the occasion, Jud left his new-era Hyper kit back in New Jersey, and rocked the Factory Profile colors.

Muck in the mud i n the pits at Derby City

Various forms of tire self-protection were in use on Saturday and Sunday. From the old “carry the bike to the gate” to trash bags over the wheels, to some just saying “muck it!, I’m riding up there.” This was second round on Sunday, just as the drizzle was starting to put a fizzle on the dry conditions. Big prepper-props to Heather Parker, who pulled those sturdy red rain boots from her bag-o-tricks and kept on as though the bog was no biggie.

Jamie Staff at the 2014 USA BMX Derby City Nationals

If Vet pro were a movie, it would be “The Usual Suspects,” with Cristian Becerine or Javi Colombo trading wins, but usually locking out all others from the top-step. On Saturday, in Louisville, though, the rain brought a rare opportunity for Jamie Staff to get there before all others. Becerine got the Friday Win, and it was Javi on Sunday, so a good variety show for the fans. Doublecross dude, Beau Richards rode well in Louisville as well, hitting the podium all three days (3/2/3). Looks like Jamie is rockin Tyler Faoro’s helmet in this second-round shot from Saturday.

DK Bicycles Caroline Buchanan Signature Balance Bike

DK is introducing a Caroline Buchanan Signature balance bike later this year. Spec and pricing are still to be determined but they are aiming for $139 or below. Look for it in time to be under the tree for Christmas 2014!

Clayborn BMX Sharktooth chainrings

A few new products ready to launch over on factory row. Clayborn BMX is making its return to the market after being on a low-simmer the past couple years. Bossman Richard Bunt showed News their new sharktooth-style chainrings. Made in USA and available now.

A huge thank you to the Derby City BMX board for their always-awesome hospitality to all the BMXers who come from far & wide. We always get the real-feel impression they’re glad to see us, and we know that when we roll up, fresh from a good night’s sleep, chances are, most of them have already been at the track for a few hours to prep (if they went home at all). It does not go unnoticed, and the year-on-year professionalism of the crew, the facility and the local businesses keep this race a must-do on thousands of BMX travel calendars. So, until 2015…


2014 Derby City Nationals – Friday Photo Gallery

2014 Derby City Nationals – Saturday Photo Gallery

2014 Derby City Nationals – Sunday Photo Gallery

2014 Derby City Nationals – DannyD Videos, via YouTube