2022 Race Report: Winter Nationals

March 01, 2022 8 min read

2022 Race Report: Winter Nationals

Black Mountain always holds a special place in our hearts because it’s considered our team’s home race. There’s so much BMX history pack into that Arizona dirt which makes this race a great one. We’ve been coming to the Mountain for decades so This year was no different as we had nearly a full rooster in attendance.

You know the deal, it’s the first race recap of 2022. Let’s get into the action and see how everyone faired at the ‘hometown’ national.

Bella Hammonds Moves to 17-20

We already knew ‘Big B’ Bella Hammonds was a threat in the 15-16 expert girls class. But with her recent move up to 17-20 there’s always a bit of mystery as to how a rider will fit in. Bella made sure to stomp any chance of concern this weekend through firmly asserting herself as a top threat in 17-20! 

Just about every gate drop, Bella was up front battling for the lead. It was a close fight between Bella and her good friend Jacey Moore. Eventually, Bella would get the better of Jacey in an all out battle Sunday evening. Every corner, the girls were swooping and throwing bows. The two days prior, Jacey would eventually find a way around Bella. But on Sunday, Bella held strong and put on a stellar defense to take home P1! 

- Friday: P2

- Saturday: P2

- Sunday P1

Josh White Has the Moves! 

Long time Supercross rider, Josh White had some strong laps this weekend. The kid is an assassin around the track, snatching up positions each laps. There were multiple occasions where it looked as though Josh was swallowed up by 30ft. However, Josh’s patience and butter smooth track speed would help him pick off the competition one spot at a time. 

The most noteworthy main had to be Friday where Josh was about mid pack at the first jump. By the first corner, Josh slid his way into P3. From there he picked off the 2nd place rider down the 2nd straight. Then, down the final stretch, Josh motored around the lead rider from the OUTSIDE to take home a P1 results. 

It’s as if it doesn’t even matter where this kid starts because he’ll find a way around you! Passing people from the outside is one of the harder things to do in racing sport. But Josh knows how to make it look easy. 

Saturday saw Josh take control of the race right at the exit of turn 1. Once he grabbed the lead, there was no letting go. He pretty much checked out on the boys, leading them back to the stripe for another P1 finish.

Sunday was similar to Friday in that Josh was stuck in the mid field down the first straight. He managed to pick his way around the carnage in turn one to slide into P4. From there, he found his way around two more riders to grab a 2nd place finish. 

- Friday: P1

- Saturday: P1

- Sunday: P2

Strong weekend for Josh with two wins and a podium. And MAN, we can’t get over how smooth and composed this kid looks during the races. Keep up the work Josh because he’s definitely trending in the right direction! 

Close Pro Open Battles for Jonnie Vance

Strong weekend for Jonnie Vance in the Pro Open class. It was good to see him grab some Holeshots and win some laps. He was so close to the Overall win all three days but didn’t quite have enough to get it done! 

Day 1 featured a 3 round battle between Vance and Lucas Howes. Jonnie would win the first main wire to wire, followed by Lucas winning the second main in similar fashion. It came down to the last main with whoever winning round 3 taking home the overall.

Lucas grabbed the holeshot with Vance close behind. From there, Vance would look for ways around but couldn’t get anything to stick. The two nearly collided on a few occasions so it made for an exciting finish. But the eventually Lucas would get the better of Jonnie leaving him with a P2 for day 1. 

Day 2 saw a few new faces to the Pro Open class and a larger rider count. Jonnie Managed to win the first main again from the outside lane. After grabbing the holeshot he lead the boys back to the stripe and was sitting on low points. It looked as though today would be his day. However, a crash in the 3rd main event would take Vance from leading the overall points to settling for a 3rd overall.

- Friday: P2

- Saturday: P3

- Sunday: P2

Despite missing out on a win, Jonnie was the most consistent in the class all three days. He was the main guy battling for wins and definitely took home some confidence from the weekend. Just another small step towards improving and bettering his race craft. We look forward to seeing how these Pro Open races help Vance progress through the field at the Pro Series events. 

Dr. J Mix’s it up in Phoenix 

Dr. J, Aka. Justin Perkins is an AZ native so the Black Mountain race is always a staple on his race calendar. With the recent age up to 13 Expert, we get to see Justin back on the clip pedals. He was battling the big boys but still managed to stay in the fight all weekend. 

Day 1 & 2, Justin had good shots out of the gate but would get edged out into the first corner ever so slightly. Because of this, Justin would have a bit of traffic to work through before getting to the leaders. 

Day 1 Justin would taker home a respectable 3rd place finish. 

Day 2, Justin looked like he might be able to squeak around the outside in turn 1. Unfortunately, the inside rider was just able to jam Justin up. From there Justin worked to regain momentum and hunt the kid down. Justin would eventually run out of time but still better his day 1 score with a P2 on day 2. 

For Day 3, things seemed to just work out for Justin! At the exit of turn 1, the lead riders got tangled up which opened the door for Justin to take the lead. Once the Doctor got a hold of it, there was no looking back. He would end day 3 with his best finish yet, P1!

- Friday: P3

- Saturday: P2

- Sunday: P1

It was as if he got better each day. As the weekend progress the scores got better and better. Perhaps this is a trademark for what we will see this season! As the races continue, we might see more wins out of the Doctor! Great race for the kid and love the direction he’s heading. Plus he makes that Red-Rocket VISION F1 look pretty good too! 

Merki Sends it at the Mountain 

If you know the ‘Lego man’, Ryder Merki, then you know he’s always good for a send! The smallest ripper on the Factory team is know for ramping it up and having fun. This weekend was no different with Merki skying the lippy 2nd straight at Black Mountain. 

Things started off somewhat difficult for Ryder, but as the weekend progressed he got better and better! Despite making a few mistakes early on, Ryder learned from them so he could make improvements later into the weekend. That’s what we love about this kid, he’s always willing to learn and improve himself, but most importantly, he never quits! 

Looking at the whole weekend, Merki made 5 out of his 6 mains taking home podiums all 3 days in cruiser.

Cruiser

- Friday: P2

- Saturday: P3

- Sunday P3

Class

- Saturday: P5

- Sunday: P3

Sunday was arguably his best performance in class as he was hunting for the 2nd spot. He took a smart line into corner 1 which allowed the Lego Man to come out top 3. From there he chased down the lead riders and definitely had the speed to get around, but just couldn’t find the open door. Either way, a solid result for Merki and it showed his determination. Despite the weekend not kicking off the way he wanted it to, he still found the strength to keep pushing and end the weekend on a high note. 

The Return of The Hurricane 

After an injury riddled 2021, we knew Hannah ‘Hurricane’ Leakey was just itching to get back on track! With this also being the Hurricane’s home race, the excitement was high to grab some more gate drops. 

Despite this being Hannah’s first race back in 2022, she wasted no time by grabbing the win in 14 expert ladies. She pretty much lead the ladies wire to wire in the main as she snagged the holeshot and cruised to the finish! 

She also managed to score another podium on day 3 padding even more scores to the weekend. All in all, it was a solid return to racing for the Hurricane. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the season! 

- Friday: P1

- Saturday: P4

- Sunday: P3 

Deegan Styles it Out in BM

Deegan is one of the newer faces on the Supercross team with him joining the squad back in December of 2021. For those of you who are still unfamiliar with this kid, he throws down some mean style on the track. It’s a wonder he isn’t in the USA BMX style check every race! 

Style aside, Deegan came to the Black Mountain for some more racing and to live it up with the West Coast Supercross Fam! He managed to make it into the 15 Expert main on day two and threw some bows to fight his way back to the line. 

However in 15 cruiser, Deegan was going for it! He made the mains all three days and was fighting to pick up those cruiser wins. 

Cruiser

- Friday: P3

- Saturday: P2

- Sunday: P8 (crash)

Nick & George Battle for the “Gorgeous” Nickname

While the battles were heating up on track, action was still going on at the Supercross pit. Here, it looks as though Nick Valencia was attempting to steal the ‘Gorgeous’ nickname from George. For years, George has been known as Gorgeous George, but looks like this year Nick wants to content for the title! We think Nick says that George has more than enough nicknames to spare so Nick should get this one. 

we’ll leave this one up to you, the reader, to deem who is worthy of the Gorgeous nickname.

The Legend Lays it Down on Legendary Turf

The legendary ‘Tuni’ Turnell Henry came out to race the almost equally iconic Black Mountain track! So much BMX history packed into this one photo as Tuni pushes his advantage down the first straight. 

Keen eyes should check out Tuni’s sweet 26inch Envy RS7 Fastback. When you’re as legendary as Tuni, you get the good stuff! And according to Bill, Tuni hasn’t lost a crusier lap yet on that thing. Some say it’s Tuni, some say it’s the bike, either way they’re both Rad!

Both days Tuni managed to pick up podium results on the 20 inch and take home the win in Cruiser. They were pretty convincing performances with Tuni catching some air and throwing down a few manuals throughout the lap. 

- Saturday: P3 (20) P1 (24)

- Sunday: P3 (20) P1 (24) 

Chad Hill, Making Memories & Having Fun 

That’s right! You read the headline! Our very own Chad Hill comes out to Black Mountain and leaves with some Main Event Finishes. He made some memories, threw some bows, but most of all had a ball! That’s what BMX is all about, making memories, having fun, and doing your best. Chad Hill knows how to get it done and make it look good too! Good work Chad! 

- Friday: P6 (24)

- Saturday: P6 (24) 

- Sunday: P4 (24) 

Till Next Time

And that pretty much sums up the Winter nationals for the team! We’re just getting started so there’s still plenty of racing left for 2022. Stay tuned as next month, the team will be taking on Houston and Rockhill. Sparks are bound to fly and we’ll be right here ready to catch you up on all the action! 


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