The Silver Dollar Nat’s in Reno, Nevada are always a telling event when it comes to who is looking hot on the track, as well as off the track in new gear and on new bikes. 2011 was no different, but with the Olympics looming in 2012, the race action in Reno’s Event Center was no joke.
Our goal in Reno is generally to get a handle on who has changed sponsors and what factories changed the look of their gear so we know what we are looking for when the race action heats up. With so many changes this year and new gear across the factory lineup, it made things a bit tough to follow for a few rounds, but the confusion didn’t stop there. In years past we have always been able to walk from the event with a solid idea of whom the riders were going to be to watch in all the key classes, but for 2011, it is truly any riders game.
For example, in A Pro, Tommy Zula was blowing the doors off the class all day Saturday, but come Sunday, Dennison Smith found his legs and was an untouchable force. Which rider will be the hot ticket this year? Your guess is as good as ours.
About the only consistency came in the Jr. Elite classes where Brooke Crain, fresh on the Haro team doubled, along with Rusty Nesvig for Intense. While neither rider had it easy, they consistently fought their way to the front of the pack, putting them on our watch list.
Dominique Daniels also walked with a double for the weekend but her nickname; the “Dominator” might be on shaky ground as she was handing over leads all weekend. It was common to see Ariel Martin, Amanda Geving and Ashley Verhagen at the front of the pack, meaning a change may be in the wind, but with a pair of wins to start the season out, she may already have the head start she needs to start slipping away in the points.
Vet saw a shocker when Dale Holmes came out of retirement, to the surprise of no one, and with the help of John Purse managed to bump Kenth Fallen off the top of the podium, if only for a day. Kenth returned to take the top spot on Sunday but with Matt Pohlkamp and Javier Colombo scheduled to race the class this year; Kenth’s “free ride” may be coming to an end.
For the Elite Men, all we can do is throw our hands up and shrug at a top pick. Mike Day was looking fast at his first race back, as were Kyle Bennett, Bubba Harris and Donny Robinson, all four of who are back in action after lengthy recoveries. But what about those who have nothing to recover from but a few weeks off, like David Herman, Corben Sharrah, Denzel Stein or Gavin Lubbe? They were all on fire. Jason Rogers didn’t even have factory colors to fly and he was in the mix every lap. If there were any consistency in the Elite class it would be from Khalen Young, Nic Long and Marc Willers who all seemed to be pulling first straights and still driving strong at the line. Give the wins to Marc Willers and Nic Long in Reno, but our only prediction for the Elite Men is that it is going to be a very long, hard fight when it comes down to title time.
To all the Elites and Am’s that came out to Reno to help the ABA kick off their Race season with record numbers, we say good luck in 2011 as this could very well be the biggest year for BMX Racing, ever.