If you scroll down through the photos, you can kind of get an idea of how this race went off.Obviously, it’s nothing like a regular NBL or ABA national; there aren’t any 5 Novice classes to sit through, or 46 & Over Mixed Ladies Cruiser mains to endure. Simply put, it was roughly 20 guys going head-to-head on a two-man, dual slalom type course. Beat the clock to qualify, then beat the guy next to you and you advance to the next round. Was it easy? Hardly. Ask just about anyone (other than Randy) and they’ll tell you that the track was tough; not in the sense that it was full of big jumps or particularly long, but from the standpoint that you had to have skills to make it through. With the exception of Randy (and local Phillip Castro), pretty much everyone at one point or another got loose, launching themselves off a jump or berm. Most of the guys had it dialed by race time, but going into Saturday’s time trials, I’m sure there were a handful of dudes who were simply hoping to make it around. Here’s a look at a few of the highlights as they went down…

If you’ve never been to Randy Stumpfhauser’s house before, the next three photos will give you an idea of what the place is like. Welcome to Casa De Stumpy’s.  credit: James Ayres

A bird’s eye view of the start hill and first straight. See that big blue thing under the DC tent? That was a gigantic air conditioner and believe me, it put smiles on a lot of dude’s faces. It had to have been 85 at Randy’s…

A little more of the front yard… As you can see, the first and second straights were side-by-side, then you went into that 90-degree left hand turn. If you look to the far right of the photo, you can see a bit of the last straight and the finish line.

Saturday morning staging…

Time Trials
Nothing too crazy was happening just yet; of the 22 guys that entered, six had to go, and most of them were in the form of Psychopath riders. The Psychopath guys brought out what looked to be their entire team sheet (minus Damien Lopez), and while I think one might have made the cut to the next round, it definitely wasn’t a pretty sight. The big surprise was that Mike Hughes didn’t make it out and was eliminated before things really got going.

Dwayne asked J-Rich if he’d announce, and what a good call that was. Jason fully kept everyone entertained all day long. If you got loose on the track, he’d let you know about it. Even if you were the one getting clowned, you couldn’t help but laugh. The atmosphere was just that chill all day long.

Rider’s meeting time Saturday morning. See that girl holding the big “10” sign? That was to tell the riders when the gate was about to drop – it was completely random. Once she held the sign sideways, the gate could drop anywhere between immediately and 10 seconds. It definitely kept everyone on their toes.

Rou One
Here was where you stopped racing against the clock and started racing the guy next to you. Since it was a two man gate/track, each group did two laps; one from each lane. If your overall time was faster than the guy next to you, you advanced. If not, you found yourself some shade under an Easy-Up and watched the rest of the action unfold. The action started quick with ninth-seeded Robbie Miranda knocking out eighth-seeded Donny Robinson to advance. Phillip Castro went head-to-head with X Games Gold Medalist Corey Bohan and showed him that being a local here definitely had its advantages. Even though Bohan was out of the running early, everyone was psyched that he showed up and raced. (And trust me, watching some of his practice laps, he had dudes sweating him). Tyler Brown knocked out Jason Rogers, Afro Bob beat Mike Martinez, an almost fully recovered Brandon Meadows got by Ryan Garcia, Mike Day beat Volume’s Bogi Givens (yup, Bogi was there getting his race on), Aaron Johnson knocked out Jessy Langland, and Stumpy smoked Chris Goal (didn’t know who that guy was, but he had some good laps).

When Robbie Miranda’s first three warm up/practice runs ended in crashes on Friday, I knew this track was going to eat some guys alive. Robbie got it dialed Saturday morning, cruised through his time trial, and knocked current NBL and ABA points leader Donny Robinson out in the first round.

X Games Gold Medalist Corey Bohan came out and definitely put in some hot laps. He got matched up with super local Phillip Castro in the first round and didn’t make the cut, but had it been pretty much anyone else, he would have advanced. From what we hear, he’s talking about bringing Biz and Heath Pinter next year. Man, that would be rad…

Aaron Johnson, inside line carve.

Robert DeWilde, (a.k.a. Afro Bob, a.ka. UCI Bob, a.ka. “Doc” – think Back To The Future) was the only guy to ride fully kitted up. He made it to the round of four but couldn’t get by Johnson for third. He rules on regular national tracks, does great on Supercross-style tracks, and even had this place wired. Is there any track this guy can’t go fast on?

Round Two
So now things are getting interesting; in less than 20 minutes, the field of 16 was down to eight guys, and maybe 10 minutes later, it was down to four. Randy knocked out Robbie, Aaron Johnson gave Tyler Brown his walking papers, Mike Day finally eliminated super local Phillip Castro, and Afro Bob edged out Brandon by .081 of a second to make it to the next round.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone was really happy to see Brandon Meadows riding again. He said he wasn’t 100% yet, but that the leg was feeling stronger every day and making good improvements.

This isn’t the most in-focus photo in the world, but I had to run it; forearm pump to Greg Hill tuck out of the last turn, courtesy of Stumpy. You simply had to see him ride to understand how fast he was going…

This was one guy I was definitely not expecting to see; Volume’s Brian “Bogi” Givens. Bogi got paired up with Mike Day in the first round, but managed to crack a smile on the gate when J-Rich said, “Just pretend like it’s 1989.” For those of you who don’t know, Bogi was a super good amateur and single-A Pro back in his S&M/Schwinn days.

Tyler Brown made the trip out from San Clemente and had a blast riding Randy’s.

If this wasn’t the position your bike and body were in going into the inside first turn, you were done. Mike Day and Aaron Johnson going head-to-head in the third round. Talk about getting every inch of backside…

Round Three
Randy got paired up with Robert and while it was a good race, Randy had it on lock down from the get go. The race between Mikey and Aaron was a lot tougher to call. Aaron held off Mike in their first match up, but Mike came back in the second round and beat Aaron by enough time to go head to head with Randy for the $1,500 first place prize money. That match up was probably the best of the day (and believe me, there was no shortage of action).

I feel like there should be some kind of “king of the jungle” reference here just with the look on Stumpy’s face… This was probably the biggest weekend of Randy’s life – not because he killed it every lap and pocketed $1,500 of the prize money, but because he and his wife Carrie became new parents Friday afternoon. Big congrats to the Stumpfhauser family!

Aaron and Mike going at it third round. You want to talk about a close race? This was one of the closest all day. It’s hard to tell from this angle, but they couldn’t be more even right here…

The Finals
First it was time to figure out who was going home with the bronze. Aaron and Robert went at it, and Aaron got him by almost a full second. I’m pretty sure this was the only time in race history where a kid wearing a t-shirt and a Pro Tec beat a former UCI World Champ. And that’s not a dis on Robert; Aaron simply had the place wired.
Next up was the match up that everyone was waiting to see; reigning front yard champ Randy would face Mr. 365 (just like last year) for the overall crown. And just like last year, Randy got it done. There’s just no one that carves these kinds of turns like Stumpy; watch the video on www.bmxnews.com and you’ll see what I mean – he actually picks up speed going through them.
As you can see by the awards photos, it didn’t take long for things to get rowdy. Once the corks came out of the champagne bottles, all bets were off. I haven’t talked to Mike or Robert since leaving Saturday afternoon, but if they got pulled over, they were going to have a tough time trying to explain that they hadn’t been hitting the bottle; no one in the top four went home m pump to Greg Hill tuck out of the last turn, courtesy of Stumpy. You simply had to see him ride to understand how fast he was going…