Pat Smage Tops Minnesota MotoTrials
The Minnesota event featured a very spectacular “shootout” session on Saturday night, which attracted a big crowd. It also showed off the Pro rider’s talents and Smage stood out by cleaning all four sections. The Wisconsin rider also cleaned all three laps of Sunday’s round for the win, matching his performance from a week before in Nebraska. The Pro riders road two laps of 12 sections on Saturday morning and then four sections twice in the afternoon Shootout.
Smage got off to a good start on Saturday, taking only two points on the first two laps. FactoryONE/Scorpa’s Karl Davis Jr. came next with 17, followed by Vertigo USA’s David Avendano and GasGas North America’s Daniel Blanc-Gonnet, each with 18. FactoryONE/Sherco’s Josh Roper was fifth with 20.
At 5:30, the Shootout kicked off, and the first section was the most intimidating of the day, with a massive rock wall proceeded by a difficult run up.
Davis fived both of his attempts, failing to get up the wall. FactoryONE/Sherco’s Sammy Fastle and Roper also went 5-5. Avendano was the first to clean it and followed up with a one on his second attempt.
Alex Niederer was next best with a 1-1, that is until Smage also cleaned both rides. Beta USA’s Andy Niederer got through with a pair of threes. Meanwhile, FactoryONE/Scorpa’s Alex Myers and Blanc-Gonnet went 5-1.
“The shootout sections definitely looked difficult,” said Smage. “The first one was pretty scary even for me. The middle ledge there was really big without much of a run. Looking at it, I almost didn’t expect anybody to make it. The run we had was just so short, but David found a rock behind that that you could start on and get another foot of run, and that really made a huge difference.”
At the end of the shootout, Smage had cleaned all four sections to win the event with a total of two points.
Davis added 11 in the Shootout and finished second overall with 28. Avendano was third for the day with 29. Blanc-Gonnet was fourth with 30, while Roper rounded out the top five with 41.
On Sunday, Smage started reeling off cleans and never stopped, posting his second clean day of the season to take the win.
Blanc-Gonnet came out on top of a close battle with Davis and Alex Niederer to finish second.
“There was one launch on section ten that was pretty intimidating, so I knew the points were going to be really tight” said Blanc-Gonnet. “I was riding a little nervous on the first loop, but I improved every loop. I had a twelve, eleven, and a four. I didn’t launch that gap until the last loop. When I got to section ten on the last loop and I only had two points, I’m like, ‘I have to do it now’. So, I did it and it went easier than I thought. That made the difference for me.”
Davis was third for the day with 30 points, while Alex Niederer and Roper rounded out the top five with 35 and 37.
Avendano had a bad day and finished sixth with 42. Meanwhile, Myers was seventh with 44. Beta USA’s Andreas Niederer was eighth with 57, and Fastle was ninth with 65.
GasGas North America’s Maddie Hoover won both days of the Women’s Pro class, topping Sherco’s Kylee Sweeten 26 to 45 on Saturday, and 39 to 91 on Sunday.
There was an epic battle in the Expert class, with FactoryONE/Scorpa’s Alex Myers getting the win on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Micah Hertrich was second and Nigel Parker third. On Sunday, Parker was second with Ty Cullins in third.
The AMA/NATC US National MotoTrials Series returns to action on June 15-16 in Howard, Colorado for rounds five and six of the series. For more info on the series go to www.mototrials.com.
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 2
2. Karl Davis Jr. (Sco) 28
3. David Avendano (Ver) 29
4. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (GG) 30
5. Josh Roper (Shr) 41
6. Alex Myers (Sco) 48
7. Alex Niederer (GG) 49
8. Sam Fastle (Shr) 65
9. Andreas Niederer (Bet) 77
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 0
2. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (GG) 27
3. Karl Davis Jr. (Sco) 30
4. Alex Niederer (GG) 35
5. Josh Roper (Shr) 37
6. David Avendano (Ver) 42
7. Alex Myers (Sco) 44
8. Andreas Niederer (Bet) 57
9. Sam Fastle (Shr) 65