Sinz Racing Products once again provided products for the popular 'Sinz Mystery Moto' Program on Saturday and then on Sunday, Hyper Bicycles awarded an X-Games Motobike to the winner of the 12 Novice Motobike main event - won by Justin Richards of Florida.
It's no secret that the Derby City track was the main reason that the rider's had such a great weekend. The track, which received a recent makeover, served up the year's best racing with perfectly shaped jumps, awesome flow, and numerous passing lines. This year's track may go down as the 'Best Grands Track' ever - a bold statement that just might serve as the benchmark for all major National events. The 'Pro-section' kept the spectators on their feet and brought a level of energy to the event that drew a parallel to Big-Wave surfing and while some of the A-Pro's struggled to get through, the Elite Men's class put on an amazing show of skill and speed.
To kick off festivities, the NBL presented more than $11,000 in cash and savings bond awards to the Big-A Series champions, $10,000 to the NBL/UCI Elite Series winners,and various other team and sponsor awards. From there, the qualifying rounds started their day and culminated on Sunday with the elimination rounds and eventually, the main events.
A sign of a true champion is how they deal with adversity and Free Agent's Kyle Bennett showed his true colors by racing with a bone facture in his foot and didn't miss a beat. He and Formula's Donny Robinson, came into the Grands separated by a mere one point and GT's Randy Stumpfhauser was the long-shot to win the elusive Elite Men's title. All three contenders made quick work of qualifying but Robinson drew a tough semi and when he came out of turn two in 6th position, it looked as though Kyle Bennett would move on to the main and win the title uncontested. But 'DR' wasn't ready to concede and showed his true colors by storming back down the Pro section, blitzing past 2 riders to make the final cut.
As the Elite Men lined up for the main, both Robinson and Bennett had a equal shot at taking the title and Stumpfhauser, who needed the two to miss the main in order to win the title, had already clinched 3rd place overall. The holeshot went to Stumpy as they headed out of the first turn and GT's main man collected the Sun-Ringle $500 bonus with Nobles, Robinson and Bennett back a few positions. To the delight of fans, Nobles was a legitimate threat to win the main but once again Robinson once again turned up his game leaving Bennett behind as he moved his way though the pack. 'DR' took the lead from Stumpy on his way to winning the main and the NBL Elite Men's title ahead of Clayborn's Barry Nobles, who rode in for the 2nd - the best finish of his career, and Stumpfhauser who came in for third. The overall standings went Robinson, Bennett and Stumpfhauser.
The Elite Women's final would be decided in similar fashion and foreign riders would play a much larger role in their final scene. Redline's Kim Hayashi and Formula's Amanda Geving were set to stage an East vs. West battle with One's Rachel Smith acting as the dark-horse to win the coveted Elite Women's title. One's Gabriella Diaz took an early holeshot with Fly/Supercross's Krystal Hime in tow which left Hayashi tucked in behind the leaders trying to protect her lead over Geving. Geving, who could strike at any moment, struggled to move through the pack and she wasn't able to get passed as Lil' Kim won her 4th straight Elite Women's Title. Geving did earn herself a very respectable 2nd overall for season and Rachel Smith stood tall with the 3rd.
The Masters final also came down the main where Avent's Kiyomi Waller, Redman's Andrew Downey and Psykopath's Terry Tenette were all still in close contention for the title. Terry Tenette has had a strong finish to the season and he continued his winning ways by taking the win in the Elite Men's main but Waller, who is one of the smartest riders in the field, kept it close and rode in for the 2nd to capture his first NBL Masters title. Tenette would finish the season 2nd overall ahead of Andrew Downey, who finished 3rd, in a class that just keeps getting better with age.
The weekend was full amazing races, upsets, and come-from-behind wins and we would also like to congratulate Redline's Jeffrey Upshaw who tripled in the 3 toughest amateur classes of the weekend - 18-21 Expert, Cruiser, and 16-29 Open. Check out October's issue of BMX Today to read the full story and photos of the 'Best Grands Ever' and click here to visit the results page. Many thanks go out to the Derby City group, The City of Louisville and the many volunteers who made this weekend a huge success. Thank you to all the dedicated parents and riders who make the NBL the 'Best in BMX' - your efforts and energy are appreciated and we look forward to seeing you again next season.
The NBL Grand National was brought to you by Hyper Bicycles, Camp Woodward, Tangent, Sinz , Vigor, J&R Bicycles and Rite Bike Racing.
The 2007 NBL National Series kicks off at Camp Woodward, September 23-24.
TOP 5 - 2006 FINAL STANDINGS:
NBL Elite Men
1. Donny Robinson, Formula
2. Kyle Bennett, Free Agent
3. Randy Stumpfhauser, GT
4. Matt Pohlkamp, Kuwahara
5. Jarrett Kolich, Avent/Bombshell
NBL Elite Women
1. Kim Hayashi, Redline
2. Amanda Geving, Formula
3. Rachel Smith, One Bicycles
4. Amanda Carr, Hyper Bicycles
5. Kayla Gaddis, Bizzarro Racing
1. Kiyomi Waller, Avent/TLD
2. Terry 'Mr T' Tenette, Psykopath
3. Andrew Downey, Redman
4. Domingos Lammoglia, J&R Profile
5. Chad Roberts, Haro