It was another hot and dusty race in So Cal at the Velocity Cross hosted by Team Velocity at Prado Regional Park in Chino. Mike Mcmahon and the crew at Velocity know how to design and build a great course. The course had the usual barriers, short stair run up, and lots off camber corners to make it a little more challenging not to mention the gopher hole riddled grass to rattle your teeth loose. Before the race started, racers were discussing how bumpy the course was and trying to decide what tire pressure to run in order to help smooth out the bumps yet still being able to handle the off camber sections without your tire folding.
The top 8 for the series were called up to the front row and after brief instructions, we were off. Kyle Gritters got a great start and was the first through the first corner followed closely by Gareth Feldstein, myself and the rest of the field. Not long into the first lap, Gareth thought it would be fun to crash in the first off camber sections. I got held up a little by the crash and lost a spot to Ty Hathaway but was able to hop on his wheel followed by Brent Prenzlow and Chris Jackson hot on my heels. About half way into the second lap, Kyle felt like he was loosing air in his rear tire so he headed into the pit for a quick bike change, using my back up bike while the pit crew, Jim Martin, swapped his rear wheel in time for him to get back on his bike next time he came through the pits. While that was happening, Brent got to the front and quickened the pace leading up to the stairs. On the remount at the top the stairs, Chris fell victim to the gopher littered grass and dropped his chain. That brief mechanical allowed myself and Brent to get a gap on the chasers. With Kyle’s bike changes and Chris’ dropped chain, junior racer Doug Hall was having a great ride and was now up into third. For the next couple laps I was happy to sit on Brent hoping that Kyle was going to be able to get back up to the front now that he was back on his bike. But that was not happening and Chris had passed Doug and was gaining on us. For the next few laps I started working with Brent and we were trading pulls to make sure that we maintained our gap on Chris. There was a fair amount of wind out there and the two of us were able to take advantage of our team work and increase our gap on Chris who was trying to stay away from Kyle and Doug. With 2 laps to go I started holding back a little while strategizing how to win the race. Brent took advantage of his years of cross experience and gaped me through the first off camber section and once he saw he had a gap, he turned on the gas. It took me about half a lap of going all out to get back to his wheel and I was just hoping that the effort hurt him a little because I was suffering. Back together with one lap to go. I wanted to make sure that I was leading this time through the first off camber section in order to prevent what had just happened the previous lap as I was not sure I would be able to close the gap again. We were side by side going into the stairs when I made a made a poor remount and was now chasing again to close down a small gap. All together with two corners to go. I was confident in my sprint and was happy to come out of the last corner in second wheel with plenty of time before the line. Out of the last corner and onto the pavement, we start our sprint and I immediately started moving up on the right side. As I start getting along side Brent he move to his right, I still have room to get by and then he moves right again and I have the option of going into the fence or sit up. I opt for staying on my bike and come in right behind Brent, but clearly frustrated. I am sure there are some pictures. Shortly after the line I make u-turn and head over to the officials and before I even said anything they said they saw what happened. Not exactly how you want to win but I will take it. With Brent and I both battling for the series overall I am sure there will be a few more tough battles out on the bike before the series wraps up. Shortly after our controversial sprint, Chris held on for third followed by Kyle and junior rider Doug held on for 5th.