NBL Prunedale

Last Friday, Robbie Miranda, Dwayne Taylor (DC Shoes) and I headed up to Prunedale (think NorCal, right around Monterey) to check out the NBL race that was going on.This was the weekend that they were having two UCI races (you know, the ones that count for the Olympics in ’08), plus their regular Pro series race. The bad news for the Elite guys was that moto count was only at 80, so recovery time between laps was pretty minimal (but I was psyched because I got to shoot double what I normally do, and with those guys on the track roughly every 20-30 minutes, things never got boring). What did you miss? You mean other than some insanely good racing? Check it out…

Top 5 Nominees As Voted by the Pros
(Listed in alphabetical order)

Number One Racer
Kyle Bennett
Javier Colombo
Mike Day
Donny Robinson
Randy Stumpfhauser

 credit: James Ayres

SATURDAY
Since guys like Redman/Yamaha Waverunner’s Steven Cisar were 19 or older, they got lumped into Elite Men for the UCI portion of the event, which meant those guys had quarters to get through both days. And speaking of Steven, if you’re wondering who the next big thing is going to be in Pro, look no further. Cisar was out front in plenty of motos and quarters (he beat Kyle and Paulie in his quarter), but couldn’t find his way out of a stacked semi.

The only bad part about running UCI mains with the regular Pro series ones is that you sometimes have no idea which one you’re watching. I’m pretty sure this was the Elite Men’s main on Sunday, although where Kyle was when I shot this is a total mystery. Did he really get by all four of these dudes for the win? That’s crazy!  credit: James Ayres

Robert DeWilde, Donny Robinson, and Jarrett Kolich all made it out of UCI semi #1, while Randy Stumpfhauser, Mike Day, Kyle Bennett and Paul Lange made it out of semi #2 (that was the one Cisar didn’t make it out of, but then again, neither did Pohlkamp, Romero, or Berkheimer, so it’s not like the kid was slacking).

Top 5 Nominees As Voted by the Pros
(Listed in alphabetical order)

Number One Racer
Kyle Bennett
Javier Colombo
Mike Day
Donny Robinson
Randy Stumpfhauser

By the time the UCI main rolled around, most guys were picking Stumpy-he had already won Elite Men earlier in the day, but Donny was in there, as was Kyle (who would be the only dude to make all four mains this weekend). Would Robert De Wilde live up to his “UCI Bob” nickname? Not today. Donny picked up a big win, with Afro in tow, and Randy coming in right behind him. This was how it went down at the line:
UCI Elite Men
1. Donny Robinson
2. Robert De Wilde
3. Randy Stumpfhauser
4. Jarrett Kolich
5. Mike Day
6. Javier Colombo
7. Paul Lange
8. Kyle Bennett

Steven Cisar is a name you’ll be hearing more of. He didn’t make any UCI mains this weekend, but he was definitely flying.

NBL Pro Series Elite Men
1. Randy Stumpfhauser
2. Donny Robinson
3. Robert DeWilde
4. Javier Colombo
5. Jarrett Kolich
6. Henrik Baltzersen
7. Matt Pohlkamp

Henrik Baltzersen is another dude who was on it in Prunedale; three out of four mains, with a nice second behind Caluag in UCI Elite.

SUNDAY
From the time we left the hotel, things didn’t look good. It had started raining and although it let up from time to time, track conditions were pretty sketchy. Still, with the amount of rain, it could have been much worse. The turns got pretty slippery, but the rest of the track held up.

Kuwahara’s Matt Pohlkamp had one of the most spectacular crashes I’ve ever seen on Sunday. I only turned and looked when I heard him screaming through the air, but it was just in time to see him completely upside down, about 12 feet off the ground. Somehow he front flipped over the first set of doubles and managed to walk away with just a few scrapes and a bruise on his lower back. You have no idea how crazy it looks to see a 6′ 4″ dude that high upside down.

Sunday’s Elite Men’s race was probably the best of the weekend. Stumpy holeshotted to win Sun Ringle’s coveted holeshot award (which hadn’t been done since ’01 – thanks for bringing that back Birk!) and picked up $500 for the fastest first straight, but had Kyle breathing down his neck. Going into the last turn, Kyle hit the nitrous and got Randy at the line for the win. It was seriously by inches… Here’s a look at Sunday’s results…
NBL Pro Series Elite Men
1. Kyle Bennett
2. Randy Stumpfhauser
3. Robert De Wilde
4. Donny Robinson
5. Jarrett Kolic
6. Jason Rogers
7. Henrik Baltrzersen
8. Greg Romero

Check out 5-foot-tall, 140-pound Donny (inside) giving 6-foot-tall, 210-pound Robert an elbow! Nice!

The Elite Women’s main was also one to watch; same story with Kim Hayashi and Sammy Cools; Kim led the entire lap, and Sammy turned on the gas to get her at the line. I don’t know if it was quite as close as Kyle and Randy’s race, but it was definitely tight.

Top 5 Nominees As Voted by the Pros
(Listed in alphabetical order)

Number One Racer
Kyle Bennett
Javier Colombo
Mike Day
Donny Robinson
Randy Stumpfhauser

The first UCI Elite semi was where things started to get crazy. Randy and Mike Day didn’t make it out. Semi #2 saw Donny, Kolich, Rogers, and Danny Caluag make the cut.

By the time the UCI main went down, it had already been raining most of the day, so the turns were pretty bad. Derek Betcher was leading his semi earlier, took a foot off going in to brace himself and still slid out! It was definitely a tough call – do you play it safe and half step it around the berm or pin it and risk it all? I guess it wasn’t that hard a call for “Easy Money” – Danny got the gate of his life and went into the first turn HOT. I don’t know how he managed to stay up, but traction held, and from there he was gone. It wasn’t even close. Here’s how everyone stacked up at the line:
UCI Elite Men
1. Danny Caluag
2. Henrik Baltzersen
3. Robert DeWilde
4. Donny Robinson
5. Jason Rogers
6. Jarrett Kolich
7. Kyle Bennett
8. Greg Romero

Kim Hayashi gets her nose down on Prunedale’s second straight. She had some great battles with Stephanie Barrigan and Sammy Cools (behind her) on Sunday.

It was just after 11:45AM by the time the race was done. 75 motos, semis, and mains done in less than four hours-nice! Robbie headed back with Pete Dylewski, so Dwayne and I hit up the Starbucks on the way out and pinned it all the way home, hitting every bit of traffic Santa Barbara, L.A. and every other place had to offer. If you want to check out all of the pro results from the weekend, head over to www.bmxmania.com and scroll down a bit; everything’s all right there.
Next weekend is ABA Lake Perris, and Redline’s Bubba Harris should be back for that one (he’s been out with a broken shoulder). If I know Donny, he’s probably training his butt off right now to make sure he hangs on to that points lead he’s built up these last few months. And with Kyle, Randy, and the rest of the crew there, this is shaping up to be potentially one of the best races we’ve seen yet. Stay tuned; things are about to get a lot more interesting…

Bennett
8. Greg Romero

Kim Hayashi gets her nose down on Prunedale’s second straight. She had some great battles with Stephanie Barrigan and Sammy Cools (behind her) on Sunday.

It was just after 11:45AM by the time the race was done. 75 motos, semis, and mains done in less than four hours-nice! Robbie headed back with Pete Dylewski, so Dwayne and I hit up the Starbucks on the way out and pinned it all the way home, hitting every bit of traffic Santa Barbara, L.A. and every other place had to offer. If you want to check out all of the pro results from the weekend, head over to www.bmxmania.com and scroll down a bit; everything’s all right there.
Next weekend is ABA Lake Perris, and Redline’s Bubba Harris should be back for that one (he’s been out with a broken shoulder). If I know Donny, he’s probably training his butt off right now to make sure he hangs on to that points lead he’s built up these last few months. And with Kyle, Randy, and the rest of the crew there, this is shaping up to be potentially one of the best races we’ve seen yet. Stay tuned; things are about to get a lot more interesting…