Sunday, March 13th, marked the first race of the 2016 season at Thunder Valley Motocross Park (AKA Lakewood). Saturday’s track conditions led many to believe that the track was going to be mint come Sunday; unfortunately, poor weather conditions (mostly just wind) provided less than stellar conditions, especially in the morning motos. The track seemed to shape up pretty well after the lunchtime-prep though(or as they would refer to it as the awkward time between lunch and dinner-prep) and it made for some good racing. Here is our breakdown of the two major classes:
A’s (or Pro’s)(or Whatever the Hell):
The pro class is obviously one of the most intriguing classes we get to see from week-to-week. It’s plain to see that we are pretty spoiled with the pro class here in Colorado. There has always been such a talented crop of racers that show up to battle on a weekly basis in our local scene. This weekend was no different: with the likes of Derek Anderson, Trevor Whitmarsh, Cole Shondeck, Joey Olson and even Ian Blythe (legitimately coming out of the woodworks) all turning up to bang bars and have some fun. For the most part, Derek was pretty dominant in his motos. He got good starts and ran a solid pace all day, and the results definitely echoed that. We talked to him a little bit about his first outdoor race back since his torn ACL, here’s what he had to say:
I was pretty far from feeling good physically. My Vickery Motorsports/Privateer Performance Yamahas were working awesome. However, my body was struggling. I have been working a lot so I haven’t had any time to train or ride and I am still recovering from my ACL injury from last summer. My leg is super strong, just a little weak trying to pull my leg back since I opted to use my own hammy. Therefore, it is hard for me to use the rear brake in left hand corners. I just don’t use it in left hand corners now so it’s been tough adjusting to a new riding style. Other than all that, was super happy to survive the weekend and come out with good results!
Maybe it’s us, but it kind of seems like he has adjusted well to the new riding style. Before fabricating new riding styles, Derek spent his summers chasing nationals out of the back of his truck (so to speak), so we wanted to know how his mentality differs coming into local races when compared to the national level races, and:
Honestly I get more nervous for local races than nationals because I am expected to do good, don’t want to let anyone down and want to live up to my rep. The Nationals, it was just go do the best you can really. Not too many expectations other than to just make it to the mains right out of practice and put in two solid 30 minute motos. So the mentality aspect is pretty different.
Derek certainly has some pretty great speed wherever he races, but Trevor Whitmarsh, Joey Olson and Company certainly weren’t going down quietly. In the second Open Pro moto, there was a heated battle between Derek, Joey and Trevor. Trevor snagged the holeshot and opened up a pretty solid 2-3 second lead ahead of Joey in second. Joey’s speed showed early in the moto as there were times when Joey gapped Derek, and hooked on to Trevor. However, Joey wasn’t able to maintain and fell back, leaving the door open for Derek to put the heat on Trevor. In the second-to-last corner on the last lap, Derek made an aggressive move to the inside, and ended up taking Trevor out, which ended up
with Derek in 1st and Trevor in 2nd. The grinder of that moto would have to go to Cody Gray who, after a poor start, made a strong charge through the pack to steal 3rd from Joey. It was certainly a bummer to see Connor Olson go down early in that moto, as he could have made things even more interesting at the front.
B’s (or Intermediate’s)(or Whatever the Hell):
In the 250 B’s, there were 2 clear studs, Ryan Velasquez and Trae Dilley. The two both got out to hot starts and had a great battle for the majority of the race. Trae ended up edging out Ryan, which gave him a 3-1 moto finish, for (you guessed it) the overall. It was fun to see them racing with that intensity for 5-plus laps. In the 450 B class, it was more of the same story, Ryan and Trae battling for pit-supremacy, but Jesse Valdez put in a strong run in the second moto stealing 2nd from Trae. We caught up with Ryan to discuss how he felt his weekend went and these were his thoughts:
I felt good, in the past I would race tight and conservative but I tried to be aggressive and ride like it was any other day. Also, I’ve been riding with my second brother Vern O’shea and he’s helped me big time. On the other hand, Trae and I are best friends and we’re both going toward the same goal so it’s always fun to battle and push each other cause we have a lot of work to do for any kind of amateur national or the pro class. Lastly, they did a great job with the track. We all have to race the same thing so I try not to complain no matter the situation. Overall it was a great weekend and I had a lot of fun with all of my friends.
Kind of crazy how riding and battling with your best buds can actually elevate your game and intensity to levels you previously didn’t think were possible. All of us here at Elevated are certainly looking forward to the battles ahead in 2016 between these two and several others on the cusp of becoming pros.
The kickoff to the 2016 season was everything Colorado Motocross could have hoped for, with stacked gates and great battles across all classes. It was certainly great to see Derek Anderson back out there ripping, and the rest of the field keeping him consistently honest. And we’re sure that most of you are in agreement that our crop of amateur riders are going to make for some awesome racing all year long.
Cheers to one helluva season!
Photos by Tyler Johnson