Hayden Robinson: My Night at JFK Airport

October 26, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Hayden Robinson's night at JFK

Tell most 14-year old boys flying alone that their late-night connecting flight has left, so they are going to need to spend the night sleeping in New York’s JFK airport, and you are sure to set-off a serious panic in the stranded flyer.

But BMXers are different. BMXers pick up the way of the worldly traveler, often before they’re in middle school, so when this kind of thing happens once they are flying solo, it’s a shrug and a search for the comfiest place to set up camp for the night.

Such was the adventure of 14x Factory Ssquared ace, Hayden Robinson on his way back to upstate New York from Oldsmar a couple weeks back.

Was it a “Night at the Museum” experience, or something more hum-drum til the next morning’s schedule started up? We had to know, and hit-up Hayden to tell us the story, in his own words.

They say all good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This one begins with me lying face down in the dirt. I have to give John Sawyer props on the new Oldsmar track…that dirt is packed pretty darn good. It was like hitting a brick wall. That first jump had me screwed up all weekend and it took me until the 13-14 semi opens on Sunday to finally meet my enemy face-to-face—literally!

As the medics helped me off the track all I saw was RED! I was covered in blood head to toe. My jersey was red, my pants were red and my brand new helmet was red – sorry Jim Buchanan. I got checked out at the medic tent, my nose stopped bleeding and as Jim and I started walking back to the trailer, we realized I still had time to get back up there for my class semi. People were in dis-belief that I made it back up there after such an awful wreck. Everyone said how tough and strong I was to race that soon after the wreck but to me, I did what any good team member would do, I got back up there to do my job. I had to do what I could to help my team win. It wasn’t pretty but I made the main.

The middle of my story starts when Jim drops me off at the Tampa International Airport. We got checked in, plane was scheduled for an on-time departure, we said our goodbyes and I was off to my gate walking a little slower than normal because of my road-rashed knees. It was at that time I realized how much my nose hurt.

I thought to myself, “all I want to do is get home and take a hot shower.” That didn’t happen-at least not that day. My flight out of Tampa was delayed, and by the time I got to JFK my connecting flight had already left, despite my mom’s frantic calls to JetBlue representatives, they just couldn’t hold the plane for me any longer.

There I was, stuck for the night at JFK airport. The JetBlue representative said they could get me a cot, if you want to call it that. It was this hard plastic thing that was raised off the floor. I didn’t have a pillow or blanket so I used my sweatshirt to lay my head on. I really wasn’t mad, sad, afraid, nervous, or anything– it was just something that happened and I had to go with it. When things don’t go as smoothly as planned, our family motto is, “It’s all a part of the experience!” And that’s how I viewed this…just another experience.

Finally, the end of the story. Halfway through the night I ditched the cot and I ended up on the floor, not too different from how my story began – lying face down! I think I got, at the most, two hours of sleep. Around 4:00AM people starting coming into the terminal for their early flights. I got up, and man did my body ache all over! I started walking. I was looking for a place that was open to get something to eat. I finally found a pizzeria and ordered an egg and cheese Stromboli.

It was one of the best things I have ever eaten. I went back to the terminal, my home away from home, and waited for my flight, thank goodness it was on time today. I made it to Rochester and I finally felt a little emotional when I saw my mom. Even though we still had a two hour drive, I felt like I was finally home. I slept most of the ride and the first thing I did when I got home was take that hot shower I had been dying for since the day before. I slept the rest of the afternoon and when my dad came home from work, he said, “You ready to do some sprints?” And just like that, we were back to our normal routine!

My parents keep telling me that I am wise beyond my fourteen years and that I am gaining so many skills and qualities through these experiences that I don’t even know I have: determination, self-discipline, responsibility, adaptability blah, blah, blah. I’m fourteen! All I know and care about right now is that I’m gaining great friends all around the country and the world and I am having the time of my life!

I am grateful for having the opportunity to travel because of BMX and the overnight in JFK was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life! I am on the best BMX factory team there is!

Go VOTE for SSquared for factory team and bike of the year, Tyler Whitfield for A-Pro of the year, and Justin Posey for Pro of the year for the 2015 Golden Crank Awards!!

—Hayden Robinson

This story is a great example of the life skills BMX Racing brings, off the track. Way to go, Hayden— thank you for taking the time to bring it to us. The good news is that the website rates Jet Blue’s Terminal 5 as “The cleanest and most modern of all the terminals (at JFK).”



2015 Golden Crank Awards Voting

Ssquared Bicycles Website

Full Webcasts from the 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals

October 20, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Full Webcasts from the 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals

We hope you enjoyed our recap of the 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals in Oldsmar, FL. USA BMX has posted the full webcasts of all three days in Oldsmar, and we are happy to bring them to you here, for your viewing pleasure. G-MO and his crew put some serious time into getting all the angles of the race action, from the first gate on Friday to the final stripe on Sunday, including post-race interviews with the Elite winners. Big props for a job well done, guys!

These shows give every BMX fan the best seat in the house for all the action off both the SX hill and the five-meter Challenge hill.

2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals Pre-Race and Supercross Day 1

2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals Day 1

2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals Day 2


USA BMX You Tube Channel

Latest BMX Edits on, Presented by Yess BMX

Recap: 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals

October 20, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Recap: 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals

The 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals was pushed down the schedule in 2015 in order to accommodate the construction schedule on the new multimillion dollar, dual-hill rebuild at Oldsmar BMX. Set back-to-back with the Fall Nationals in the Orlando area, we have been seeing lots of social media posts from BMXers lounging by the pool, kickin sand at the beaches, doing Disney World, Key West and other Florida fun spots, as they while-away the week between the races.

And WOW, what a job John Sawyer and his crew did on the new facility! If you’re a regular BMX News reader, you have seen some of our posts, including the initial podcast with John, announcing plans for the facility on June 6, 2014. If you click on the link (will open in a new window) you will see the old footprint, outlined with the final footprint of the new facility. The last straight now takes up the length of the bottom of the diagram, and the dual starting hills are about where the finish line used to be. The concession building stayed the same, and cranked out some amazing grilled grub for BMX crankers flying and driving in from sea to shining sea.

Friday was the very-first day of racing operations at the new facility, and it all came off remarkably well. That said, John and new BMX Director for the City of Oldsmar, Donavon Long, got to work right away to fine-tune this dream facility, so it’s even-better when the 2016 National Series touches down in Oldsmar next February.

The race tipped the scales at 185 motos on Saturday, which was a little smaller than some expected. But the on-track action was full-on from the first gate of the weekend, right up to the very-last. The new facility was a real draw for riders from the far-reaches of the map, and it made for some solid battles among competitors who may not normally “see” each other til the Grands.

Oldsmar was also the finale for the inaugural running of the USA BMX North American Supercross Series. Elite Men was stacked to the rafters, with 40 entries on the sheets Friday Night, while Elite Women had a smaller set, with nine and 11 riders, but most of the big players in the house, with a healthy crowd watching the action. The big checks hoisted on the podium in this year’s series were a major statement on how USA BMX has accomplished its mission of stoking the riders to new levels, and raising the bar of competition within the USA BMX Pro title contest.

News pulled together the following recap of some of the finer points of the racing, and the festivities that surrounded the opening of the new track.

Dual starting hills at Oldsmar BMX in Oldsmar, FLThe dual starting hills at the new Oldsmar BMX, set against an incredible Tampa sunset on Friday night.

Ronalds Rittins at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsLatvian Ssquared shredder Ronalds Rittins tore it up in 13x on Friday and Saturday, acing the main both times out. He was not on the sheets for Sunday, but will be in Orlando this weekend for more Sunshine State action.

Carson Leet  at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsSpeaking of 13x, it was happy birthday to Carson Leet on Sunday. Carson took second to Leo Hile in 12x on Saturday, and came into his new class loaded for bear. He scored the first round get-out, then proceeded to take the main. Double celebration in the Factory Ssquared pit.

Anabella Hammonds at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsBella Hammonds got busy for Smilin Bill Ryan and the Supercross crew with double-deuces in 10G. The W3 of Silvana Jimenez doubled up on the weekend.

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

Bubba Gonzales  at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsIn Friday night’s SuperX Open Main, Zaithyel Soekandar from Aruba put a chill on the rest of the group, most specifically Bubba Gonzales. Bubba was on him to the final feet, but the stripe call went to Soekandar. Bubba came out spinnin on Saturday, and turned in a winning main event lap later in the day that was truly one for the books. Oh, and Bubba got the win both days in 16x.

Valentina Velasquez at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsGreat shot of first round action in 12G. W2 Valentina Velasquez leads it here, and took the main event W on Saturday. Hailey Sinclair (ROC 1, at right) took the win on Sunday. Valentina also put a whoopin on the boys, winning 11-12 Mixed open both days.

Ryan Pettigrew at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsRyan Pettigrew was riding great Friday night, until a major wreck on the second straight of the Friday night Super X Open semi took him out for the weekend. Here’s what Ryan told News about his situation:

I came out of the first turn on the bubble in fourth, and when I landed on the first pro landing my body weight was on the rear end of my bike, causing me to land in a manual. Next thing I know I’m going off the next lip, still in a manual (At one point I thought I was going to ride it out lol).

When I landed that next pro landing I cased it pretty hard and my hands blew off and I went into the next lip, but at that point I was in about third, so I had the majority of the pack still behind me, luckily only a couple hit me. I walked off the track but after I started having some pain in the back of my calf and realized I broke off off my brake lever in my calf! I got some stitches and staples and I’m all good now!

Yeowch! Thanks for the update, Ryan…we’re glad you’re doing better.

Jack Bakken at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsJack Bakken and Jacob Trujillo battled big all weekend long in 10x. Jack rode the last straight like a pro and got the Saturday win. Jacob came back for the W on Sunday, with Jack in the two-spot.

Donavon Long is the new BMX Director for the City of OldsmarDonavon Long started off the week as a Californian and finished it as a Floridian, truckin across the country and reporting for duty as the new BMX Director for the City of Oldsmar, just in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday. About the new gig, Donavon told News:

My role with the city is to help bring in outside riders, federations, groups, schools clubs and teams to come and train at the Oldsmar track. Our goal is to help create a better and more useful/functional facility for both the youth and Olympic athletes of our sport.
John Sawyer stays on as the Track Operator of the facility, and the two BMX giants have some great ideas on plussing-up the facility, building on the big success of opening weekend.

Tori Hopperdietzel at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsIt’s been a while since we’ve seen the Extreme Team ride of Tori Hopperdietzel. But she was back in her old place–up front–in Oldsmar, topping 21-25 Women both days. The class had five riders on Saturday, and four on Sunday, after Meredith Lidstone wrecked pretty hard on the first straight. We see the immediate aftermath of that in the background of this first round shot from Saturday.

After the race, we asked Tori what she’s been up to since last we saw her. Here’s what she told us:

After I graduated from high school, I found it hard to budget time for my racing, with full-time work and school schedules, plus the hockey coaching I was doing on the side, so my pedaling got put on the back burner while I established my direction in the adult world.

Three years went by, and local races just weren’t cutting it anymore. So, with some inspiration from a local BMX family, I ventured back into the national circuit hitting New Mexico, Minnesota and Washington in addition to this weekend in Florida.

There is a unique feeling that’s generated from national competition and in my opinion once that fire is sparked it isn’t easily put out. Getting out there after a hiatus was well….just like riding a bike :), it was great to feel the rush again and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring!

Triston Judd at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsTriston Judd was nuclear in Oldsmar. He’s been bakin those cakes in 15x almost every trip this year, but this weekend was one-up on the usual speed setting. Chalk-up twin wins at the Gators, for those of you keeping score at home.

Local Political leaders at the opening of the new Oldsmar BMX facilityFriday night was the first race on the new track, and things went perfectly to plan. Saturday saw an impressive turnout of city and county government officials, as well as US Rep. Gus Bilirakis from Florida’s 12th Congressional District. This turnout was among the highest “wattage” of politicians attending any BMX track opening, ever. It goes a long way to prove how much the community leaders in the area care about BMX Racing as a centerpiece of their youth sports and sports tourism programs. Pictured at the Saturday recognition ceremony: USA BMX CEO BA Anderson; Oldsmar BMX Track Operator, John Sawyer; Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis; City of Oldsmar Leisure Services Director, Lynn Rives; Oldsmar City Manager, Bruce Haddock, and USA BMX COO, John David (not pictured: Kevin Smith, Director of Sports, St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Commission).

Anna Johnson at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsAnna Johnson has been jammin lately, and put a few more aces on the board in Oldsmar. Double in 15-16 Girl Cruiser and a win in 15-16 Girls on Sunday. She dropped the double double to fellow Texan Korie Gilbert, with a second in class on Saturday.

Hunter Brown at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsThe Tampa Bay salt air kept Salt Lake star Hunter Brown runnin smooth in Oldsmar. Double wins for the Rocket in 14x, against a stacked class. Jesse Welch got the deuce on Saturday and Hunter’s homie, RadRo Jaworsky, got it on Sunday.

VIP Platform at Oldsmar BMXBest seat in the house: the VIP platform behind the second turn gives the well-connected the full view of all the crunchin and munchin on the track, while gourmet munchies are served–all under Old Glory.

Alise Post and Mariana Pajon at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsMajor moments with major names on day two, in turn two. Saturday’s Elite finals both had major turns-of-fortune in the second turn. First, it was Alise leading to deep into the second straight, when Mariana railed the outside, and got by her, and on to the day two win.

Connor Fields, Joris Daudet and Sam Willoughby at the 2015 USA BMX Gator NationalsThen, in the next main, Sam led it to about the same point as Alise did, when Joris came through the inside and led Sam high on the turn. That gave Connor the open door to cut hard to the right and swoop both of them from his third place position. This is the moment it happened. Connor took it on home from here.

Looking back at the Women’s race for a second, it’s interesting to note that Mariana tripled the entry into the first turn on Friday night, and Alise got the win. Alise tripled it on Saturday, and Mariana got the win. It didn’t really have any bearing on what happened down-range, but still…interesting.

Here are all four of the Elite finals, courtesy of USA BMX:

Elite Final Videos

Elite Women Day 1

Elite Men Day 1

Elite Women Day 2

Elite Men Day 2

With the first big success in the books, the table is set well for Oldsmar BMX to continue it’s long tradition of great racing–both in the local program, and when the world comes to town. Everyone we talked to is inking in the three-day 2016 Gator Nationals (February 19-21) on their schedule. We’ll be there, and hope we’ll see you in the viewfinder as well.

—Mike Carruth

Photo Galleries

Friday Photos: 2015 Gator Nationals/North American SX

Saturday Photos: 2015 Gator Nationals/North American SX

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Photo Galleries: Oldsmar

October 19, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Photo Galleries from the 2015 Gator Nationals

It was an incredible weekend of fun, sun and sizzlin race action in Oldsmar, FL for the annual USA BMX Gator Nationals. The 2015 installment took on a bigger, bolder footprint than in recent memory, in that it was debut event for the new multimillion dollar dual hill facility we have been writing about for the past year or more. Plus, it was the finale for the 2015 USA BMX North American SX series…AND the final two-score opportunity for the pros before heading to the big showdown on Friday/Saturday at the 2015 USA BMX Grand National in Tulsa next month. Tulsa has two scores up for grabs: one at Friday’s Race of Champions (which counts toward the best-of-10 season scores), and one for the Grands, itself, which is double points.

Elite Men had a strong showing, with 40 riders–including the trio who is taking the title hunt right down to the final laps in Tulsa: Sam Willoughby, Connor Fields and Joris Daudet. Oldsmar had some added international flav in the elite classes, with quite a few names we don’t normally see on US moto sheets: Sylvain Andre, Amidou Mir from France were two who American fans have not seen live, and in person, very much. Sylvain wowed the crowd, with the Friday night win, flanked by Connor Fields and Joris Daudet.

There was also a crush of South Americans we do not see all that much, putting down impressive laps against the biggest stars American BMX has to offer. This was solid proof that USA BMX is accomplishing what it set out to accomplish via the NASX series: attract the best riders in the world to US shores to race for the richest purses in the sport.

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

Elite Women had a much thinner presence, with only nine entries on Friday night and 12 on Saturday (men dropped to 34 on Saturday). Brooke Crain was out resting a concussion from last week in Chula Vista, but aside from her, the others making up the top five in points were there.

Alise went in to Oldsmar with a season points lead of 515 points. Waiting for the podium presentation, a few stats junkies did some quick iPhone math and proclaimed Alise with having an all-but-certain lock on the title. But, alas, their calculations may be flawed, since they almost-certainly relied on the posted points on the USA BMX site, which did not take into account the Chula Vista scores last weekend. Alise is, obviously still way-out in the points lead, but we’re not sure about it being “mathematically impossible” for Felicia.

All that aside, the two Elite Women wins of the day were hotly contested between Alise and Mariana Pajon (above), who traded top-spot honors from Friday to Saturday–both of which were decided in the last half of the track, which helped the crowd get loud.

We will have more from the Gator Nationals tomorrow in our full recap. Meanwhile, check out the photo galleries of pro and am classes, linked below.


Friday Photos: 2015 Gator Nationals/North American SX

Saturday Photos: 2015 Gator Nationals/North American SX

BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Virtual Flyover: Oldsmar BMX/SX

February 5, 2015 by · Comments Off 

A virtual fly-over of the new Oldsmar BMX
John Sawyer and the Oldsmar BMX crew are making progress out at the site of the future dual-hill BMX and BMX Supercross facility they will unleash on the world this year, in plenty of time for the 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals in October.

The latest glimpse is a virtual fly-over of the track layout, showing how both tracks will flow when you go.

Looks awesome, guys! We’re already scoping out the perfect camera positions (any chance for some “media steps” on the berms?).

Latest BMX Edits on, Presented by Yess BMX

Fresh Oldsmar Rendering

December 5, 2014 by · Comments Off 

New Oldsmar BMX Rendering

The dual-hill do-over of the Oldsmar BMX track is nearing its groundbreaking phase. We found this recent rendering on Facebook this morning, showing a bit more detail of how the facility will be arranged, and how the starting hills will interact with the first straight. Read more