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Pat Smage Wins US MotoTrials Opener in Nebraska

NebraskaFactoryONE/Sherco’s Pat Smage won rounds one and two of the 2019 AMA/NATC US National MotoTrials Series in Nehawka, Nebraska, taking the initial lead in this year’s series standings. With the double win, Smage put himself in good position in his pursuit of an unprecedented 11thUS National MotoTrials Championship.
 
The Nebraska event featured two foreign riders who were new to the series: Jan Peters of Germany (TRS) and seven-time Venezuelan champion David Avendano (Vertigo). The Pro class also featured two riders new to the Pro class: FactoryONE/Sherco’s Josh Roper and FactoryONE/Scorpa’s Alex Myers. 
 
Rain showers earlier in the week made the Nehawka rock quarry slippery and the sections were somewhat deceiving, however Smage managed Saturday’s 12-section, three-lap event with a total of eight points for the win, while Peters score 40 points to take the runner-up slot. Avendano challenged Peters early in the day but settled for third in the end with 48 points. North America GasGas rider Alex Niederer was fourth with 50 points, while rookie Pro Josh Roper finished fifth on a FactoryONE-backed Sherco with 53 points. FactoryONE/Scorpa’s Karl Davis Jr. was sixth while Alex Myers was seventh. 
 
With the confidence he gained on Saturday, Smage nailed his feet to the pegs on Sunday and produced a rare clean trials, zeroing all 36 sections en route to an emphatic win. 
 
Perhaps the surprise of the day came from one of the rookies, Alex Myers, who snuck up on a few pros to claim the runner-up slot behind Smage in only his second event in the Pro class. Myers dropped 8 points on his first lap and 13 on his second, but turned up the heat on the final lap to produce a stunning 2-point lap for a total of 23 for the day.
 
“This kind of surprised me,” said Myers. “Yesterday I had a seventh place, which wasn’t where I wanted to be on my first ride in the Pro class. But today I just gathered what I learned from yesterday and put it all together. At the end of the day, I worked all the kinks out and I’m super happy to get second. “
 
GasGas North America’s Alex Niederer rounded out the podium with 27 points despite suffering an unlucky five in the final section. Avendano was fourth with 29, while Roper once again finished fifth. 
 
Smage was happy to get the first rounds of the year out of the way. 
 
“I put a lot of pressure on myself just knowing everybody is stepping it up and I feel pressure to ride the best I can,” said Smage. “Section four was the toughest for me, but I was able to clean it on the second loop, which I was surprising myself what I was holding onto and saving because that stuff is just so hard to ride when it’s this slippery. But overall I felt pretty solid on the bike.” 
 
After finishing second on Saturday, Peters struggled on Sunday and dropped to seventh. Despite having off days, GasGas North America’s Daniel Blanc-Gonnet, Beta USA’s Andreas Niederer, FactoryONE/Scorpa’s Karl Davis Jr. and FactoryONE/Sherco’s Sam Fastle turned in solid performances and will no doubt be fighting for podium positions as the series progresses.
 
In the Women’s Pro division, GasGas North America’s Maddie Hoover won both days, with Donna Fox of Great Britain finishing second on Saturday. Kylee Sweeten was second on Sunday. Hoover also topped the ES line on both days. 
 
“I feel like I was riding really well. Very solid and no big mistakes. A little here and there,” said Hoover. “The sections weren’t too difficult and I’ve been working on consistency and keeping my head in it and doing it section by section all year, so I think that really helped.”
 
In the Expert class, Alex Myers’ brother, Will, took the win on both days, with former Pro rider Jess Kempkes finishing second and Ty Cullins finishing third on Saturday. On Sunday, Beta USA’s Jerome Gregorowicz was second with Cullins third again.
 
The AMA/NATC US National MotoTrials Series returns to action on June 1-2 in Gilbert, Minnesota for rounds three and four of the series. For more info on the series go to www.mototrials.com.
 
PRO RESULTS
Saturday
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 8
2. Jan Peters (TRS) 40
3. David Avenado (Ver) 48
4. Alex Niederer (GG) 50
5. Josh Roper (Shr) 53
6. Karl Davis Jr. (Sco) 57
7. Alex Myers (Sco) 58
8. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (GG) 59
9. Andreas Niederer (Bet) 86
10. Sam Fastle (Shr) 94
 
Sunday
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 0
2. Alex Myers (Sco) 23
3. Alex Niederer (GG) 27
4. David Avenado (Ver) 29
5. Josh Roper (Shr) 34
6. Sam Fastle (Shr) 39
7. Jan Peters (TRS) 43
8. Karl Davis Jr. (Sco) 45
9. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (GG) 52
10. Andreas Niederer (Bet) 54

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