THE ABA FALL NATIONALS
Where do I even start? So much stuff went down this weekend it’s hard to know where to begin. Do I start with the fires that have been sweeping through Southern California destroying thousands of homes? Or how about with something more specific, like the kick-ass retirement party Taylor Wells and his family had for Danny Nelson on Saturday night? Or do I start with Warwick Stevenson and how he could be the first pro in ABA history to have the #1 Pro title won before anyone sets foot in Oklahoma for the ABA Grands? Guess I better just dive in…

FIRE CENTRAL

I shot this early Sunday morning before I drove to the track. This is what the sky looked like for most of the day. Believe me, the photo doesn’t do it justice as to just how gnarly it was.  credit: James Ayres

For those of you who aren’t from around here, fires have been sweeping through huge parts of Southern California destroying everything in their path. Sunday during the race, it was rumored that Synergy/Bombshell/Avent’s single-A Pro Kevin Jones lost his house in the fire. Can you even imagine being at a race and learning that your house just burned down? The cool thing was, Mike Redman got on the Mic and immediately got a collection going. Although I don’t know what the final total was, I heard it was somewhere in the $5,000 range. Jason Richardson even pledged to donate half of whatever he won this weekend to help out. Too bad he crashed insanely hard during the first AA Pro Main and knocked himself cold. All weekend long, it was literally raining ashes. Cars were covered in it, and it blanketed everything for hundreds of miles. You should have seen Kyle Bennett trying to make a sandwich between rounds, just getting pissed that ashes kept falling on it. Kind of funny, but creepy at the same time. It seriously had some weird Armageddon feel at times…

FAREWELL RETIREMENT PARTY
I’m only going to mention it now, since I want to do something bigger on it for Transworld BMX, but on Saturday night, Danny Nelson said his farewells and officially retired from BMX, ending his 23-year career. It was definitely a sad sight hearing him on the Mic out on the infield (he even got Redman all teary-eyed), but the BBQ the Wells family threw for him was awesome. They decorated the walls with old magazine shots of Danny throughout his career, and one of the guys from Danny’s local track (Simi Valley BMX) presented him with a photo of all the locals there holding a sign that said “We Love Danny Nelson.” I managed to do a mini-interview with him that night, and I got some pretty good shots of the party, so keep your eyes open for it in the next issue or two.

Jason Richardson and Bubba Harris going at it over the pro section. Bubba had to miss Saturday because he was the best man at a friend’s wedding, but he made up for it on Sunday. Jason was his usual consistent self, and might have gotten the win on Sunday if he hadn’t knocked himself cold in the first AA Pro main. By the way, anyone who was stoked on the pro section has J-Rich to thank; he put in a lot of hours on it.  credit: James Ayres

THE PROS
Class
By now you probably already know that Kyle won on Saturday and Warwick won on Sunday, but that’s only a fraction of the story. Nate Berkheimer, Alexis Vergara, Christian Becerine, and freshly turned AA Pro Tyler Brown were all flying this weekend, leading laps left and right. Ion’t have the results in front of me, but I do know some very significant things happened. First, John Purse didn’t make Class mains either day, which he needed to do to have even a remote chance at the title. Now (unless my math is off), it’s impossible for him to make up ground on Warwick, and with Danny retired, the title is pretty much locked up. For possibly the first time in ABA history, the #1 Pro title could be decided before anyone steps foot inside the Convention Center in Tulsa. Crazy.

Pro Cruiser
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times; Pro Cruiser is definitely one of my favorite classes to watch. Ever since Ian Stoffel, Donny Robinson, and Paul Lange started racing it, it’s been awesome. Watching the new kids battle with Randy Stumpfhauser and Dale Holmes has been super rad. On Saturday, Pauly holeshotted Pro Cruiser and was killing it…that is, until his legs gave out and he got balled up in the pro section. On Sunday, Ian sent him over the first turn (then proceeded to get passed by Randy), so when it was said and done, Randy added two more wins to his list, stretching out his points lead for the Pro Cruiser title. For the record, I think Tyler Brown got second one day with Donny Robinson getting two thirds.

Single-A Pro
Single-A had a great battle between Heinrick Baltzersen and Kenth Fallon. Both guys were blazing all weekend, but to be perfectly honest, I can’t remember which one got the win. All I do know is that Kenth was leading one of the mains, went for the pro section, and somehow went from first to second with Heinrick passing him in the rhythm; it was one of those laps you just had to see…

Girl Pro
I don’t know if it was just me, but it seemed like crashes plagued Pro Girls this weekend. Definitely more than once I looked up to see Jamie Lilly, Alice Jung, and Kim Hayashi all dusting themselves off. But, I also got to see Jill Kitner win Girl Pro at least one day, which was pretty cool.

Vet Pro
Matt Hadan showed up in Crupi colors and led motos both days. I don’t know if Carnes or Eric Rupe got the win, but Matt definitely had some good laps under his belt. Todd Lyons was also seen boning out, proving that the new training program is actually sticking. “Hey Todd, you’re about ten years late” —Dale Holmes commenting on Todd getting serious about his racing at this stage in the game…

Nate Berkheimer and Paul Lange dicin’ on Saturday night. Both had it pinned all weekend long.  credit: James Ayres

THE AMS
The Falls are always top notch for good Amateur battles and this weekend didn’t disappoint. There were a number of kick-ass races, so I’m just going to tell you what I had on my tape recorder.

15-16 Open had a crazy pile up in the first turn; Mike Moeller was charging the inside line and his tires just wouldn’t stick. Mike washed out and the whole pack self destructed in the blink of an eye.

Kirk Chrisco owns 36-40 Cruiser. Is that because he used to be double-A back in the day on Powerlite and an official member of the BMX Action test team? Believe it.

Jacob Fitzgibbons and Mike Moeller had a killer race in Class on Sunday; Moeller got the win, but not without a TON of pressure from Jacob. Come to think of it, I think that’s the lap that Caluag was in also, and if I’m thinking of the right one, somehow Danny passed Mike for second.

Speaking of awesome races, Mike Moeller was also part of the Moeller/Danny Caluag battle in Open. Anytime these two are on the track together, it’s guaranteed to be one of the best races of the day; especially if they both stay up.

When you’re talking older amateurs, you have to give props to Steven Cisar; the kid wrecked shop this weekend winning just about every lap I saw him in. If he makes that NAG 5 Challenge main, watch out. Especially when you throw in Mike Hughes, Chris Burke, and Andre Ellison, who’s hopefully healing up from a gnarly stomach surgery. Get well soon, Dre!

Some people think that you have to wait until 12 or 13 Expert before you start seeing rippers, but I’ve got a newsflash; if you haven’t watched Jared “The Jett” Garcia and Corben Sharrah ride then you’re missing out. Corben’s the little Redman kid who races on flats, and happens to be one of Neal Woods’ favorite riders. In fact, Neal was so stoked on this kid that he actually talked about sponsoring him for S&M bars and trying to get him hooked up with Airwalk last year.

Michael Hughes and Mike Lundy had a full on war going in 17-20 Cruiser. Lundy was winning it and went for the pro section, but didn’t make it, and Hughes passed him through the rhythm like he was standing still.

TJ Johnson told me a super funny story about his cruiser main. He was behind Efriam Miranda and actually heard Efriam say, “Oh s**t!” as he pulled up along side of him. TJ’s still got some mad rhythm pull and smoothed his way on by for the win, all on Tyler Brown’s cruiser. Nice.

Andrew Mayfield breezing through some early morning qualifying… When he and Josh Oie go at it, it’s every bit as exciting as some of the pro mains.  credit: James Ayres

It’s rare that Josh Oie doesn’t triple-triple, but that was the case on Sunday when he crashed in Class. Andrew Mayfield got the win and looked pretty darn good in the process. If Josh has rider count at the Grands, he’s going to be breathing down Sean Lechner’s neck for his Number One Amateur title.

And speaking of Number One Amateur title, Mike Brabant added another win to his list and could be leading the Amateur point’s race right now. Keep your eyes peeled for a Spotlight on this kid in the next week or so…

With the ABA Grands coming up in about a month, I can’t wait to see what happens. Is the title all Warwick’s? Is Randy going to add yet another Pro Cruiser title to his collection? Who’s going home with that boat for the NAG 5 Challenge? We don’t have long to wait…

u’re talking older amateurs, you have to give props to Steven Cisar; the kid wrecked shop this weekend winning just about every lap I saw him in. If he makes that NAG 5 Challenge main, watch out. Especially when you throw in Mike Hughes, Chris Burke, and Andre Ellison, who’s hopefully healing up from a gnarly stomach surgery. Get well soon, Dre!

Some people think that you have to wait until 12 or 13 Expert before you start seeing rippers, but I’ve got a newsflash; if you haven’t watched Jared “The Jett” Garcia and Corben Sharrah ride then you’re missing out. Corben’s the little Redman kid who races on flats, and happens to be one of Neal Woods’ favorite riders. In fact, Neal was so stoked on this kid that he actually talked about sponsoring him for S&M bars and trying to get him hooked up with Airwalk last year.

Michael Hughes and Mike Lundy had a full on war going in 17-20 Cruiser. Lundy was winning it and went for the pro section, but didn’t make it, and Hughes passed him through the rhythm like he was standing still.

TJ Johnson told me a super funny story about his cruiser main. He was behind Efriam Miranda and actually heard Efriam say, “Oh s**t!” as he pulled up along side of him. TJ’s still got some mad rhythm pull and smoothed his way on by for the win, all on Tyler Brown’s cruiser. Nice.

Andrew Mayfield breezing through some early morning qualifying… When he and Josh Oie go at it, it’s every bit as exciting as some of the pro mains.  credit: James Ayres

It’s rare that Josh Oie doesn’t triple-triple, but that was the case on Sunday when he crashed in Class. Andrew Mayfield got the win and looked pretty darn good in the process. If Josh has rider count at the Grands, he’s going to be breathing down Sean Lechner’s neck for his Number One Amateur title.

And speaking of Number One Amateur title, Mike Brabant added another win to his list and could be leading the Amateur point’s race right now. Keep your eyes peeled for a Spotlight on this kid in the next week or so…

With the ABA Grands coming up in about a month, I can’t wait to see what happens. Is the title all Warwick’s? Is Randy going to add yet another Pro Cruiser title to his collection? Who’s going home with that boat for the NAG 5 Challenge? We don’t have long to wait…