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Fly Racing Steel Wheels Pro Challenge

December 16, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Tyler Whitfield wins the 2014 Pro Challenge

The last race of 2014 for many Midwestern BMXers was capped-off with some big-time action last weekend as the “2014 Fly Racing Steel Wheels Pro Challenge” was folded in to a last-day double-pointer at Steel Wheels BMX in Hobart, IN.

The race, previously known as the “Future Pro Challenge” was presented by Dan’s Comp and local-hero wheelbuilder, Dragon Wheels turned out nearly three-dozen high-wattage shredders from neighboring states, and wowed the crowd with a peek at how the up & coming expert talent might measure up once they hit the age requirement to turn-up. Pro-Ams like this really are a rare glimpse into that world, and give the heavy-hitters of tomorrow a gauge on how fast they need to be to hang.

Promoter Gene Bedinger has run the race since its inception in 2004, and brings a level of professionalism and purpose to the program that serves as a great example for other regional Pro-Ams looking to create a “dynasty” event. That, of course, needs to be coupled with a Track Operator who sees the vision. Jackie Altizer and her Steel Wheels crew has been a great partner for the race over the years.

We asked Gene to give us a speedy-recap of the haps on Sunday afternoon, along with a video of the main event. Producer Kimberly Parkinson of 189 Productions is finishing-off a proper edit of the whole magilla, that News will bring you on Friday morning.

Here’s what Gene had to say:

2014 Steel Wheels Pro Challenge

Zack Rothfahn, Seth Michalowski and Joseph Gerhartz rock the roll into turn one of first round.

The top amateurs and A-Pros in the Midwest stopped into Steel Wheels BMX in Hobart, Indiana to battle for $1,000+ in cash and prizes at the 11th annual Fly Racing Steel Wheels Pro Challenge presented by Dan’s Comp and Dragon Wheels.

After putting-down their $15 entry fee ($20 for the pros), the top talent in the region waited with anticipation to see who they would be matched up with when motos were posted.

Would they have Doublecross star Olijuwon Davis next to them? Or 2012 podium-topper Tyler Whitfield for Ssquared Answer? Or Answer/Rennen Michigander Markwane Billingsley, fresh off a third in 14X at the Grands? Or maybe some “Midwest Muscle” in the gate, in the person of 15x Answer/Rennen shredder, Erik Meyer? The cool part: everyone was a threat against all the others, which made for some amazing racing all day long.

The three moto “pro scramble” format is so much fun because the fans get to see those riders doing battle in a lot of different combinations during the day.

It was Ssquared Answer’s Brandon Ceslok that set the tone early and won his first moto, taking the lead in the points. The very next gate, teammate T-Whit got his first win, and the race was on to see who could get a perfect score and be awarded an all-important inside gate for the semis. Round three was the first time they would face each other and the Rockford rocket got the perfect!

Olijuwon Davis made the cut easily and Eric Meyer was fourth in points. Local pro Corey Ross had good time in the motos with a 2-2-3 to get into his semi, fifth in points. Alienation/BMX Mania/Dan’s Comp maniac, Shannon Taylor, had some solid laps in to earn seventh and get lane 4.

Semi 1 had OD, Meyer, Tony Claar, Michael Noble, Nicholas Tanzymore, Billingsley, Seth Michalowski and Josef Gerhartz line-up, in that order. Seth slid out in turn one, and his day was done. OD went a little high, and Meyer “Midwest-Muscled” under him, and held the line into the second straight, and beyond, to go on for the win (which was an amazing accomplishment for a 15x, or any expert, really). Awesome as the 1-2 finish was, the racing behind them had the whole building on their feet, as Noble looked underneath Billingsley in the third turn, to make a 4th-to-3rd attempt and slid out. Markwane and Claar both ran him over and crashed. Boom! The world had changed just-that-quick. Survivors Tanzymore and Gerhartz made it in.

Semi 2 had T-Whit, Big B, Ross, Taylor, Justice King, Richard Maldonado, Jason McMullen and the second of the Tanzymore twins, Tyler, looking for four more spots to move on to the payday lap. Ceslok and Tyler got out first and moved over a little to get a better line in the first turn. Ross clipped Brandon’s back wheel and went down, taking King and McMullen with him, with such force that it took 10 minutes to get it all cleaned up. Taylor and Maldonado were able to get through, after Whitfield and Ceslok.

The video (below) will tell the story of the main event, but it went off clean, with nobody on the ground (the first time in years). Tyler Whitfield became the first rider at this event to take the trophy home with his name already-on-it from his 2012 win.

I can’t wait to see the action in Hobart next year. Thanks to Fly Racing, Dan’s Comp and Dragon Wheels for helping us on such a great show.

BMX News 2014 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp

BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Here is the video of the main event.


Podium

Tyler Whitfield (center) – Ssquared Answer
Brandon Ceslok (left) – Ssquared Answer
Olijuwon Davis (right) – Doublecross Bikes
With race promoter Gene Bedinger

2014 Steel Wheels Pro Challenge Podium

Main Event Results
Tyler Whitfield – Ssquared Answer
Brandon Ceslok – Ssquared Answer
Olijuwon Davis – Doublecross Bikes
Eric Meyer – Answer/Rennen
Richard Maldonado – CCH
Shannon Taylor – Alienation / BMX Mania/ Dan’s Comp
Nicholas Tanzymore – Pit Stop / Tanzymanics
Josef Gerhartz – Star BMX Products

Check BMX News on Friday for the full-race edit. Meanwhile, here is the photo gallery of the full day’s racing.

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Photo Gallery: Steel Wheels Pro Challenge and Double-Pointer






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