2021 Race Report: The Grand Nationals

December 02, 2021 12 min read

2021 Race Report: The Grand Nationals

Another action-packed season of BMX racing is in the books! As per tradition, the entire BMX community migrates to Tulsa, Oklahoma on a thanksgiving weekend for Turkey legs and Racing. It’s the Grand Nationals and The Greatest Race on Earth so sparks were bound to fly!

Moves were made, titles were won, hearts were broken, and a few dreams came true!

An absolutely monumental moto count made the 2021 Grand Nationals the biggest event in USA BMX history. Even the ROC pre-race bested the moto count of the past largest Grand Nationals. With that many racers and motos to be ran, the level of excitement was surreal! 

Every year at the Grands, the team does it big with nearly a packed house and a super pimped pit space. Even the legendary Bill Ryan made an appearance along with a few other faces we’ll get to later on.

All of our riders gave it their very best this weekend. Let’s recap the action and spotlight the results from the huge weekend! 

Moore Takes Command Of The B-Main

Earlier this year, Cameron expressed to us that he wasn’t too stoked with his season. While his riding was strong and he looked good during the qualifying rounds, he was somewhat disappointed with his season.

The Tulsa Expo Center is known for being a pressure cooker with only the strongest minds prevailing. With all the pressure on, and under the watchful eye of TM, Bill Ryan, Cam saw this weekend as an opportunity to really leave a mark on the class. 

And boy did he!

Cam was firing off fast laps throughout each qualifying round and even took home a first place in his 3rd moto. Things got a tad hairy in the Quarter with Cam sitting 5th at the exit of turn one. But after taking a bold inside line down the pro set, he managed to snatch the bubble spot (4th place) away from the defending rider and punch his ticket into the night show. 

Forced to chose an outside lane for the semi main event, Cam wasn’t able to gain favorable positioning going into the first turn. Unfortunately Cam was unable to make it into the A main but he still had a shot at some cash in the B main final.

With a lightning quick snap, Cam led the boys wire to wire in the B Main picking up the Holeshot check and the win! This would leave Cam with an overall result of 9th place for Friday’s Pro Grand National. 

We know he really wanted to get into that A main, but there’s a lot to take away from this race weekend. Cam looked strong and prepared, but also showed that the speed is there! If things went differently in the quarter and he managed to grab an inside gate pick for the semi. We could have seen him run a tear in all three A mains.

We look forward to seeing Cam attack the upcoming offseason as he begins to prep for 2022. We have a feeling we’ll see him out front a LOT next year! Way to end the year strong Cam!

Dr. Perkins Check in to Tulsa, Oklahoma

Man, this kid was rolling all weekend long! But really, when has the Doctor not been fast this year?

On Sunday, he looked nearly untouchable. Justin managed to find his way into the Grands main event in both class and open. From there, he put on a real show while having a blast doing it. 

Coming hot out of lane 5 in the class main, Justin took off from the pack and scored himself another holeshot. From there, it was smooth sailing for the Doctor. Justin took home another win for the year, along with another NAG 1 plate to add to his collection!

He even scored himself a National #5 plate too! Gonna be a hard to decision between which plate to run. Both plates are extremely difficult to obtain as you have to be so consistent throughout the year. 

At the conclusion of Sunday’s racing, he got to take home two larger than life trophies. These bad boys were so large that he had to stand on the top-step of the podium to look them in the eye. Good thing the Doctor knows a thing or two about standing on a podium!

Great work Justin! We’re so proud of you here at SX HQ as this result was well deserved.

Hannah Fulfills Her Dream

2021 wasn’t the easiest of years for our girl Hannah Leakey. The injuries continued to pile on as the year progressed. But she didn’t let that keep her down. Hannah is extremely resilient and continued to face each challenge head on!

Less than a week before the Grands, Hannah worked with her doctor to construct a cast that allowed her to grip the handlebars.

It’s been a long time dream of her’s to race in the NAG 5 challenge. Thanks to her strong performances earlier this year, she was able to secure a spot in the race. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the Hurricane made her dreams come true as she managed to roll the first lap of the NAG 5 challenge. 

We are gutted for her because she worked so hard to get to into the show. And we know she was really looking forward to rubbing elbows with some of the fastest ladies out there.

But I think the main takeaway from this season is that a healthy Hannah is a dangerous Hannah as she scored an onslaught of wins whenever she was at 100%. 

After a few weeks of healing and rest, we know that 2022 will be Hurricane season once again with Hannah scoring up even more wins than ever before! Get well soon Hannah, we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next year. 

The Lego Man Scores a Top 10 NAG

The Lego man, Aka Merkisaurus, Aka Ryder Merki was looking race-ready this weekend! The youngest ripper on the team did the most laps out of anyone in the pit. He was doing triple duty for the ROC and Grands racing Class, Cruiser, AND Open!

He managed to put down some of his best laps of the year this weekend!

He rode strong to make his was into the class semi main event. However, a bad stoke of luck had him tangled up with another rider causing them both to go down. This event would end his night early for class, but he still had a few more laps to lay down.

Ryder pushed through the pain from the semi crashed and scored a 6th place in his open main event! He still took home some hardware from the Grands and even scored a top 10 NAG Plate for 10 year old boys! Great work Ryder, cheers to another year in the top 10!

Emily Hayes Punches Her Ticket Into The Night Show

Emily Hayes, joined by twin sister, Ashley Hayes made their way out to Tulsa, Oklahoma! Ashley Hayes was still recovering from her leg injury sustained at the Derby City Nationals this year. But she still came out to cheer on the team and support her sister’s racing!

But for Emily, she was primed and ready to go!

Emily looked sharp as she made her way through the motos and onto the semi. The semi was a close one with Emily battling for the 4 spot for most of the lap. However, in turn 2 she was put up by another rider for the transfer spot which set her back to 6th.

Even though she didn’t make it into the A-main, Emily showed that she has the speed to be in that A main. Unfortunate track positioning is what kept her from making it out. But the night wasn’t done yet! She still managed to pull out a 4th place finish amongst some fast ladies in the B main event!

Bella Hammonds Battles It Out In Tulsa

‘Big B’ Bella Hammonds had some strong laps this weekend. She made her way through most of the qualifying rounds and managed to get into the semis for both ROC and Grands. With the deep field and high rider count, it was a battle every lap to keep those transfer spots. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make it out of either semi main event. But she rode hard every lap to stay in the fight. 

It was tough coming from the outside down this particular first straight. In both semis it looked as though she wasn’t able to get the pop on the other ladies for favorable positioning into the first turn.

Regardless of her Grands result, this was a strong season for Bella. She took home multiple wins this year and established herself as a threat.

The ‘Big B’ will be ready to go in 2022 to continue battling it out with the super fast 15-16 Expert Ladies!

Mikkel Guns For The NAG 1 Cruiser Plate

Mikkel Devore came into Grands looking to defend his NAG 1cruiser plate. He managed to make his way into the 17-20 Cruiser ROC and Grands mains!

He looked quick earlier in the day, but as we know, the 17-20 class is deep for both Cruiser and 20”. Mikkel wasn’t able to hold onto his NAG 1 cruiser plate for another year but he gave it his best go. Even though Mikkel didn’t get the result he was hoping for, we still think Mikkel rode strong and looked stylish as ever. There’s more work to be done as he preps for the 2022 season, and we can’t wait to see the fruits of his labor! 

Swifty Styles It Out 

Shawn O’Gorman, one of the many BMX legends on the Supercross team, laid it down this past weekend. He was just INCHES away from a Grands win in the 50 & Over Experts!

Swifty entered turn 1 in P3, but took a low line to stuck the move for 2nd. After hunting down the lead rider, Shawn showed him a wheel in the last turn. Just when it looked as though he landed the move, he lost traction and was forced to checked up. This caused Shawn to loose a bit of steam but it was still a drag race to the line with Shawn getting edged out ever so slightly for the win. 

It was awesome to see the legends battle it out in the 50 & Over Expert class. Decades later, and these dude still love to have fun on their BMX Bikes. That’s what racing is all about, and nobody has more fun than these guys. Congrats to Shawn on the 2nd place. It was a close and exciting battle right to the end.  

KJ’s Bar Humps Go Viral

Incase you missed the multiple stories and instagram memes, KJ was throwing some pretty wicked style into turn 2. Social media was flooded with videos of KJ throwing bar humps and look-overs on the big set. It was a real show every time KJ locked into the gate. 

While not everyone was a fan of his antics, we sure were! BMX is about having fun as that’s why we all started racing in the first place. For a very small minority, racing has turned into a career. But for the masses, we started in this sport for the fun. KJ reminded us all this weekend to hang loose and keep racing fun. 

But that wasn’t all!

He also showed us the importance of speed and style. That’s right, while keeping it fun, he still accomplished the goal of taking home his first ever Grands win!

See kids? You can still have fun and win races at the same time!

Rumor has it, we may see KJ and his sleek VISION F1 in the vet pro ranks sometime in April. But hey, it’s just a rumor! Only time will tell…

Mikey Swearingen Battles The Vets

It’s been a whole 12 years since we last saw Mikey in the Tulsa building. Last time around he was racing AA Pro and battling it out with the Elites of his era. Over a decade later and Mikey is still smooth as ever while also racing some familiar faces.

It’s pretty wild to watch the veteran experience of this guy as he found his way into both Main Events on Thursday and Friday. Mikey picked up a 2nd in the ROC main event while still airing out the big side all day long! Despite it being the ‘slower’ line, Mikey showed off his silky smooth bike control as he aired it out for the fans and kept the racing interesting.

Friday, Mikey found his way into the night show for the 3 round A mains. However, 2 out of the 3 mains Mikey got tangled up with another rider resulting in a few tumbles. This would keep Mikey from having a shot at the podium as he was sitting on high points going into the third round. 

Still, it was great to see Mikey back at the races and banging bars with the top Vets. We love to see some of the old faces return back to the scene. Can’t wait for next year to see Mikey shred a full season of Vet Pro. We’re bound to see quite the show as the Vet Pro class gets more interesting every year! 

Josh Withstands The Bumpy Road To Grands

It wasn’t the easiest road to Grands for our man ‘lil bub’. He spent nearly half of 2021 in either a cast or a brace. 2 broken hands and a broken wrist limited the amount of nationals he was able to compete in this year. Because of the injuries he was pretty far back on NAG points coming into the weekend. 

The challenges were real leading up to Grands. Still, Josh prevailed and continue on with his training. He looked quick and very impressive despite the small amount of track time he got. Even with all of these challenges, Josh still managed to make it into his quarter final. After unclipping he charged back into a transfer spot, however he went down in the last turn. We’re bummed for the kid as he already had so much to battle this year. 

Josh remained in good spirits throughout the whole process. He even went on to make his Open main where he would air out the pro set on his final lap of the weekend. Similar to KJ, Josh was out to make BMX fun again! That’s what it’s all about, having fun with your buddies and doing cool stuff.

Even though this wasn’t the year Josh wanted, we are still very happy with his ability to cope with the situation and keep pushing. This is a good sign for next year as clearly Josh can handle whatever is thrown at him. Strong character and even stronger bike skill makes Josh an ideal example of what a true racer is. Keep it up Josh!

Valencia’s Slick Rigs and Close Battles

I’d say it’s a pretty close tie between KJ and Nick Valencia for the title of ‘Most Dialed Rig’ in the Supercross pit. Nick came into Tulsa with his beautiful new Launch-Edition Navy VISION F1 Frame and had it on full display for all the fans. The rig was an absolute beauty, and of course, only equipped with the finest components. 

But Nick was there for more than showing off his new VISION F1 and Hi-Vis BLK 2 Cruiser. He was there for some racing as well!

In the 36-40 classes Nick managed to make it into the quarter final on both bikes. Unfortunately, a crash in turn 2 during his cruiser quarter would end his day early. 

We’re still super proud of Nick and his riding. He’s a class act and represents the Supercross brand so well. There’s so much that Nick does for his local BMX community outside of racing. Not only is Nick training during the week, but he’s also running his very own track out in California!

Thank you for everything you do Nick and helping to keep the local BMX scene alive and well! We need more people like Nick in the world to continue growing the sport so we can grow our community year after year.

Shealen Reno Makes an Appearance in Tulsa 

When we say that it was nearly a packed house, we meant it! Nearly all of the Supercross BMX family came out to Tulsa. While Shealen wasn’t able to race this year due to an injury sustained while ripping some MTB laps. She still made it out to sign some autographs, handout stickers, cheer on the team and even give away a jersey! 

Good to see Shealen around the pits again. We’re wishing her a speedy recovery and hope to see her back on track next year! 

Bramer Lays it All Out

The ‘New Guy’ Cam Bramer had a really strong 2021 season. He won a slew of races and became a top threat in the stacked 17-20 Expert class. His performances throughout the year put him into a strong position coming into Grands.

However, in BMX, nothing is guaranteed. With the laps being so short and the class being even more cut throat, anything can happen!

He rode strong all weekend but bad steaks of luck would keep him from achieving his goals. It was clear to see that the speed and mental fortitude was there. But sometimes things just don’t work out like how they should. 

Despite the tough weekend, Cam was still in great spirits. He was signing autographs and handing out stickers all weekend. What we love about this story is Cam’s ability to continue fighting even when he gets knocked down. It wasn’t the weekend Cam wanted, but he’s still willing to fight it out and continue progressing each year. We love ya Crazy Cam and can’t wait to see what 2022 brings for you. 

Vance Completes Year One of Elite Racing

Coming into 2021, it was Jonnie Vance’s first experience with Elite-level racing. With no more A-pro racing to act as a stepping stone, the learning curve for new Elites is rather steep.

All year Vance competed against the top Elites learning from each race weekend. There’s still a long way to go and lots of learning to be done. But with consistent effort and continued progression he’ll get towards the front of the elite pack with more time. 

SX Named Team & Bike of the Year!

We truly can’t thank you all enough for the continued support of the Supercross Brand. Yet again, you helped us make history by naming us the Team and Bike of the year for another record breaking time.

It’s always been our mission to continue brining you the latest and greatest advancements in BMX Racing technology. It’s hard work, but moments like these make it all worth the effort.

Thank you again for naming us the best because without you it wouldn’t be possible! We hope you continue to enjoy our work and stay apart of the Supercross family for years to come. 

Written By: Jonnie Vance

Photos By: USA BMX


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