This year’s Grands was nothing short of spectacular.A ton of stuff went down there, so we’re going to take you through it as it happened. First stop: Greg Romero’s house.

Romero’s Race
At the end of last summer, Redman/Yamaha Waverunner’s Greg Romero put the word out that he was going to be holding a “Pros Only” 4-man race at his house on the Friday of the ABA’s traditional Race of Champions race. Rumor had it that some big prize money was going to be on the line, and that if the pros all agreed, it would also be a flat-pedals only race. Sure enough, Greg came up with a five grand purse from the race’s co-sponsors and everyone there was on flats. It was definitely starting to look good.

Pohlkamp leading one of the early laps at Greg’s house. Ruckus took home the win and pocketed $1,750 for his efforts.

For those of you who have never been to Greg’s place, he’s got a pretty dope house on a good size plot of land in a town called Sapulpa (about 15 minutes outside of Tulsa), which just happens to have his personal training track on it. Since it’s the same track he uses to teach kids at his clinics, the jumps were all pretty small, but nevertheless, it was a fun layout. I took an all-night flight to get there, and although I was running on about 15 minutes of sleep, I was ampted to be a part of it. After getting everyone signed up, the four man motos were posted and from the beginning, you could tell this was going to be a blast. Just listening to Redbone and Jason Richardson on the mic was half the fun; on the spot pro interviews and some good shit talking gave everyone there a good laugh. Greg might have had $5000 on the line for the top eight guys, but judging by the way everyone was joking around and taking each other out in the turns, you never would have known. It was almost like one big jam session. The final four survivors were Matt Pohlkamp, Dale Holmes (who seems to always do well at no-clip races), Neal Wood, and Kyle Bennett, (who was winning the main, but got sent over the second turn). As you can see from the photos, Ruckus took the win and the big $1,750 payday followed by Free Agent’s newest factory flyer Dale Holmes, who pocketed a cool grand.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone there had a great time; the vibe was totally laid back and everyone had smiles on their faces each time they rode. I don’t know if Greg’s going to try and do this again next year, but if he does, we’ll be there for sure. It was just too much fun to miss.

Winners from Romero’s race.

Results from Romero’s Race:
Matt Pohlkamp – $1750
Dale Holmes — $1000
Neal Wood — $600
Kyle Bennett – $500
Greg Romero — $400 (consi main winner)
John Purse – $300
Alan Foster — $200
Justin Loffredo — $200 (plus $10 from Moto Mag’s Carl Lein)

The NAG 5 Challenge

The NAG 5 Challenge main takin’ off

After Romero’s race I piled in the car with Sun Ringle’s Ryan Birk, Natarsha Williams, Jamie Lilly, Sean Dwight, and Derek Betcher and headed to the Grands to catch the last of the ROC mains and the NAG 5 Challenge. Although I think it’s lame that people have to pay to watch the NAG 5 race and the Pro Spectacular, I have to admit that the action was well worth the price of a movie ticket. Every year this is one of my favorite races to watch, and when Andre Ellison, Clint Lambert, Michael Hughes, Shane Vincent, JasoRogers, and a few other fast cats were mixed together, I couldn’t wait to see who was going to take home the sweet Yamaha Waverunner that was on the line for the win. My only complaint was that Staats’ Paul Lange didn’t make it in; a snapped chain first moto took him out of the running. Lame. When the gate dropped it was complete pandemonium; Andre got tangled up with Shane Vincent and crashed on the first straight, and there was plenty of bumping and passing down the second straight and into the second turn. Answer/Pro Concept’s Clint Lambert led out of the second turn and hung on for the win. Winning the NAG 5 Challenge pretty much guarantees you an interview, so I made it a point to track Clint down and throw some questions at him. Here’s a little about one of the fastest amateurs in BMX:

Answer/Pro Concepts Clint Lambert and fan.

Clint Lambert
Age: 18
Residence: Moreno Valley, California
Years racing: 7 years
What do you remember about that NAG 5 main? I asked Jimmy Hill what gate assignment I had and I was pretty bummed when I found out it was gate 8 – I’m out there quite frequently – and I had the best of the best inside me. I got a pretty good gate, but everybody else was there, and I just pulled my way through on the second straight. I guess Jarrett had a little problem with his wheel and I passed him in the second turn and won from there. I was psyched. How big of a deal is it to you to win that one race? A pretty big deal; I really wanted to win, I didn’t just want to make the main and do my best; I really wanted to win. Is that win as important to you as a win in Class today? Yeah, I would say so, but I’d really like to win and repeat NAG #1, that would be great. So how long have you been on Answer/Pro Concept? My first race for them was at the World Cup in San Antonio, Texas, and I’ve been riding for them ever since. What’s it like being on one of the best teams out there? Any pressure? It’s great; I could not have asked for better teammates. All these guys are cool; we all get along. It’s a lot of fun. Are you up for NAG #1 again on both bikes? Yeah, I’m sitting #2 in Class right now but I’m only behind by six points, so that’s nothing. I’m in first in Cruiser by like four points, so its all real close. Who is your toughest comp There’s a lot of them; Eric Meyer, Shane Vincent, Mike Hughes; all those guys are rippin’ right now. Where do you sit in national points? I’m #12 in Cruiser and like #29 in Class. Do you pay attention to points a lot? No, not really. Since I turned 17 my rider count has gone down a lot so I knew I wouldn’t have a shot at Number One Amateur anymore. What’s a typical day like for you? I work for a pool service, get off around 12 or 1PM, go home, ride, wait for Bobby (Siana) or Josh (Hult) to get home and then we either go to the track or ride some trails. We usually go to the gym in the evening. Do you have a trainer or do you just do stuff on your own? Back in ’99 I worked with Greg Hill a lot and that really helped me tremendously. I haven’t really worked with anyone since then, other than Bobby and Josh. Sometimes I’ll meet with Matt Hadan out at the track and we’ll ride, but nothing one on one. So do you have a set program that you follow? Yeah, kind of. I do sprints, free weights, stuff like that. Do you have to do that stuff to be competitive? Definitely; I don’t think you can just sit around and watch TV and eat pizza and smoke everyone. I think you’ve really got to work at it. What are your plans for next year? Are you going to turn Pro? Joey (Licata — Answer/Pro Concept’s Team Manager) and I talked and I’m going to turn in Reno. I’m super psyched about that; I think I can give it a go. What kinds of things are you into outside of riding? I golf a lot; I can’t go as much as I’d like to, but it’s a lot of fun. Mostly just ride though. I ride all the time, as much as I can. Describe your riding style I don’t think I’m really a power rider or a skills rider; I don’t have the skills like Mike Day, or the power like Warwick. I think I’m in-between. Who do you look up to? I like Mike Day and Kyle Bennett; they’ve got so much skill and they’re so fast. Do you think that’s where the Pro Class is going? Yeah, definitely; you’ve got to have the power and the trails skills. Some pros can’t even get through that pro section because all they do is ride tracks, they don’t ride trails. You need both. What kinds of music do you listen to? Pretty much everything; whatever’s on. Even country? Yeah, a little bit (laughter).

The Grands Track

This year’s Grands track was one of the best yet. The ABA hired Billy Au to come in and help build it, and he and the ABA crew did a great job of making something fun and challenging. The first straight had sort of a step-up-step-down kind of thing with a set of doubles going into the first turn. Most pretty much picked up and pumped the first jump, but some guys were bad ass enough to pedal the whole thing. The second straight started off with a small step up that most either tagged or over-jumped, followed by a table and three sets of decent sized doubles. Out of the second turn you could either take the amateur rhythm section, or stay wide and hit the pro section (which a lot of amateurs chose to do, but wasn’t any faster). The pro section had a pretty easy first set that a lot of guys flat bottomed, followed by a roller, to another slightly bigger step up. The next jump was another set of doubles, but the lip actually started on the backside of the previous set, so as soon as you were landing, you were pretty much taking off again. After that, it was one more good-sized set of doubles into the last turn. The last straight was pretty basic; a small table that most either nose-wheelied or over jumped, to a couple of rollers. I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone liked it. Good job goes out to Billy and the ABA crew.

Surprise, Surprise

As usual, Saturday morning started off with Pro motos, but things got interesting quick in single-A. While most of the top amateurs wait until after the Grands to make the move to Pro, Jarrett Kolich and Brandon Nicholls decided to do it after Friday night’s NAG 5 Challenge. When the gate dropped on each of their respective motos, both went right to the front and led the lap from start to finish. Bets were placed early that we’d be seeing both these guys in the single-A mains. We caught up with The Jet and asked him about why he made the move now, rather than in Reno at the beginning of next year.

Freshly turned A Pros Jarrett Kolich and Brandon Nicholls.

Jarrett Kolich
Why did you decide to turn Pro this weekend? A miracle would have had to have happen for me to get the amateur title. Was it your decision? Yeah, my dad and I talked to Joey Licata about it at Interbike. He was pretty psyched on it. He couldn’t tell anybody so it was pretty tough for him (laughter). You’ve got a couple of Pro motos under your belt. Is it any different than amateur? Everyone says it’s a lot different; I think it’s better. In your amateur race, you’re expected to win. In single-A, people just watch everyone; it’s nice. And, you get pro warm up in the mornings—that’s good (laughter). How do you feel about racing seasoned vets like Derek Betcher? Seasoned vets? I think he should have been double about that; I think I can give it a go. What kinds of things are you into outside of riding? I golf a lot; I can’t go as much as I’d like to, but it’s a lot of fun. Mostly just ride though. I ride all the time, as much as I can. Describe your riding style I don’t think I’m really a power rider or a skills rider; I don’t have the skills like Mike Day, or the power like Warwick. I think I’m in-between. Who do you look up to? I like Mike Day and Kyle Bennett; they’ve got so much skill and they’re so fast. Do you think that’s where the Pro Class is going? Yeah, definitely; you’ve got to have the power and the trails skills. Some pros can’t even get through that pro section because all they do is ride tracks, they don’t ride trails. You need both. What kinds of music do you listen to? Pretty much everything; whatever’s on. Even country? Yeah, a little bit (laughter).

The Grands Track

This year’s Grands track was one of the best yet. The ABA hired Billy Au to come in and help build it, and he and the ABA crew did a great job of making something fun and challenging. The first straight had sort of a step-up-step-down kind of thing with a set of doubles going into the first turn. Most pretty much picked up and pumped the first jump, but some guys were bad ass enough to pedal the whole thing. The second straight started off with a small step up that most either tagged or over-jumped, followed by a table and three sets of decent sized doubles. Out of the second turn you could either take the amateur rhythm section, or stay wide and hit the pro section (which a lot of amateurs chose to do, but wasn’t any faster). The pro section had a pretty easy first set that a lot of guys flat bottomed, followed by a roller, to another slightly bigger step up. The next jump was another set of doubles, but the lip actually started on the backside of the previous set, so as soon as you were landing, you were pretty much taking off again. After that, it was one more good-sized set of doubles into the last turn. The last straight was pretty basic; a small table that most either nose-wheelied or over jumped, to a couple of rollers. I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone liked it. Good job goes out to Billy and the ABA crew.

Surprise, Surprise

As usual, Saturday morning started off with Pro motos, but things got interesting quick in single-A. While most of the top amateurs wait until after the Grands to make the move to Pro, Jarrett Kolich and Brandon Nicholls decided to do it after Friday night’s NAG 5 Challenge. When the gate dropped on each of their respective motos, both went right to the front and led the lap from start to finish. Bets were placed early that we’d be seeing both these guys in the single-A mains. We caught up with The Jet and asked him about why he made the move now, rather than in Reno at the beginning of next year.

Freshly turned A Pros Jarrett Kolich and Brandon Nicholls.

Jarrett Kolich
Why did you decide to turn Pro this weekend? A miracle would have had to have happen for me to get the amateur title. Was it your decision? Yeah, my dad and I talked to Joey Licata about it at Interbike. He was pretty psyched on it. He couldn’t tell anybody so it was pretty tough for him (laughter). You’ve got a couple of Pro motos under your belt. Is it any different than amateur? Everyone says it’s a lot different; I think it’s better. In your amateur race, you’re expected to win. In single-A, people just watch everyone; it’s nice. And, you get pro warm up in the mornings—that’s good (laughter). How do you feel about racing seasoned vets like Derek Betcher? Seasoned vets? I think he should have been double-A by now! (laughter).

The Drama
Sunday was the day things got serious. After third round of motos, all 197 quarters were loaded up and the drama happened fast. Friday night’s single-A winner Robert “Fierce” Pierce failed to make it out of his quarter, which bummed me out because I, like a lot of other people, thought he would have been a contender for the main win. The kid was going fast. Crowd favorite Bubba Harris went down in his AA Quarter and had to watch the semis and mains from the sidelines, which sucked because he was also riding great. Josh “The Cheeta” Pendleton, who can usually be counted on for a win also didn’t make it out of what I think was his Open Quarter. I heard System’s Web’s Paul Johnson didn’t make it out of his 19-27 Open quarter, but that’s just a rumor. By the time semis rolled around, it was do or die for everyone, but it wasn’t until the first of the three AA Pro mains started that things really went berserk.

AA Pro
As everyone knew going into the weekend, the ABA’s Number One Pro title was between reigning champ and points leader Warwick Stevenson and Giant’s Danny Nelson. Danny’s teammate, Robert de Wilde was third in points and had a shot at it, but it was going to be a long one. For this year’s wonder kid, Kyle Bennett, the pressure was off; even if he won and Danny and Warwick had not made the mains, he still would have been a few points short. Tension was high in the first AA Main, but nothing compared to what it would be in the second and third. All three title contenders had made it through qualifying, along with Mr. Consistent, Jason Richardson, Donny Robinson, John Purse, and Alexis Vergara, who has been killing it lately.

Robert de Wilde leading Warwick Steveson down the second straight during qualifying.

By the time the third main was loaded in the gate, the crowd was on its feet and the amateur rhythm section was lined with guys waiting to see what would happen. You could have cut the tension in the air with a knife. The Number One Pro title would all come down to this one last main. Going in, Danny was up for the win with five points and Warwick was back in the pack with thirteen, but with a win and a bad finish on Danny’s part, the title could still be Warwick’s. Keep in mind that in the first main there had been some banging between Robert de Wilde and Warwick, which only added to the drama. Just like in Del Mar a month earlier, Robert had taken Warwick into the second turn and held him high on the outside, shutting down his line. Was it a dirty move? Team riding? Everyone had mixed opinions; the title was as much Robert’s at that point as it was Danny or Warwick’s; he was just going for the win – or was there something more to it? When the gate dropped on the third and final main, it didn’t matter; Danny pretty much led the lap from start to finish, putting an exclamation point on his win, while Warwick finished the lap in the back of the pack. Had the pressure simply been too much for him? With his last main win, Danny would take the overall for the day, as well as the 2002 Number One ABA Pro title.

Races To Watch
There were a ton of classes that were worth checking out, but these were some of the raddest battles of the weekend:

Redman/Yamaha Waverunner’s Jeff Pease wrecked shop in Tulsa. Keep your eye on this kid; he tripled at the Grands.

11-12 Open – Redman/Yamaha Waverunner’s Jeff Pease went head to head with Phat Matt’s Trae Proctor. Pease got the win, and pretty much proved that right now, he’s virtually unbeatable, especially after hitting the gate in 12 Cruiser and coming back to pass Crupi’s Andrew Churchwell, who’s a little ripper himself.

15-16 Open saw what was arguably the best amateur match up of the weekend between Staats’ Paul Lange and Intruder Bike’s Augusto Castro. After hitting the gate, Paul laid down the horses and passed Augusto down the second straight to get the win. Trust us, this was an amazing race.

Andre Ellison was winning 17-24 Open until he looped out by himself in the rhythm. Bobby Siana went on to get the win.

Answer/Pro Concept’s Sean Lechner doubled and won the ABA’s Number One Amateur title in the process. Congrats BoBo!

This time it was Trae Proctor going head to head with the ABA’s new Number One Amateur, Sean “Bobo” Lechner in 11 Cruiser. Bobo overjumped most of the second straight, but somehow stayed ahead of Proctor for the win. Amazing.

15 Cruiser had Augusto Castro going at it with Answer/Pro Concept’s Danny Caluag. Danny was winning, but Augusto somehow passed him in the second turn. How he managed that is still a mystery to us.

Redline’s Eric Meyer decided to double, winning both 17-20 Cruiser and a stacked 18 Expert Class main. If you’ve never heard of this kid, trust us, you will. Anyone who beats Mike Hughes deserves big props. Both of these guys are racing’s next hottest ams.

Haro’s Chad Roberts and Brent Lee had a great race in 26-30 Cruiser. Chad snapped and led the whole way, but not without a ton of pressure from PeeWee in every corner.

Maybe the biggest upset of the day came in 16 Expert when Spinner’s Justin Joy took the amateur section to pass Paul Lange and Steven Cesar (who jumped the Pro section) for the win.

Next Year
This year’s Grands were nothing short of epic; the title chase couldn’t have been any more dramatic and you can bet that both Danny and Warwick will be riding with something to prove next year. Personally, I can’t wait for Reno. Be sure to check out Transworld BMX’s March issue for further ABA Grands coverage. If you liked these photos, believe me, you haven’t see anything yet.

If you can’t wait until then, click the photos link to the left to check out some more Grands photos, or click here.by now! (laughter).

The Drama
Sunday was the day things got serious. After third round of motos, all 197 quarters were loaded up and the drama happened fast. Friday night’s single-A winner Robert “Fierce” Pierce failed to make it out of his quarter, which bummed me out because I, like a lot of other people, thought he would have been a contender for the main win. The kid was going fast. Crowd favorite Bubba Harris went down in his AA Quarter and had to watch the semis and mains from the sidelines, which sucked because he was also riding great. Josh “The Cheeta” Pendleton, who can usually be counted on for a win also didn’t make it out of what I think was his Open Quarter. I heard System’s Web’s Paul Johnson didn’t make it out of his 19-27 Open quarter, but that’s just a rumor. By the time semis rolled around, it was do or die for everyone, but it wasn’t until the first of the three AA Pro mains started that things really went berserk.

AA Pro
As everyone knew going into the weekend, the ABA’s Number One Pro title was between reigning champ and points leader Warwick Stevenson and Giant’s Danny Nelson. Danny’s teammate, Robert de Wilde was third in points and had a shot at it, but it was going to be a long one. For this year’s wonder kid, Kyle Bennett, the pressure was off; even if he won and Danny and Warwick had not made the mains, he still would have been a few points short. Tension was high in the first AA Main, but nothing compared to what it would be in the second and third. All three title contenders had made it through qualifying, along with Mr. Consistent, Jason Richardson, Donny Robinson, John Purse, and Alexis Vergara, who has been killing it lately.

Robert de Wilde leading Warwick Steveson down the second straight during qualifying.

By the time the third main was loaded in the gate, the crowd was on its feet and the amateur rhythm section was lined with guys waiting to see what would happen. You could have cut the tension in the air with a knife. The Number One Pro title would all come down to this one last main. Going in, Danny was up for the win with five points and Warwick was back in the pack with thirteen, but with a win and a bad finish on Danny’s part, the title could still be Warwick’s. Keep in mind that in the first main there had been some banging between Robert de Wilde and Warwick, which only added to the drama. Just like in Del Mar a month earlier, Robert had taken Warwick into the second turn and held him high on the outside, shutting down his line. Was it a dirty move? Team riding? Everyone had mixed opinions; the title was as much Robert’s at that point as it was Danny or Warwick’s; he was just going for the win – or was there something more to it? When the gate dropped on the third and final main, it didn’t matter; Danny pretty much led the lap from start to finish, putting an exclamation point on his win, while Warwick finished the lap in the back of the pack. Had the pressure simply been too much for him? With his last main win, Danny would take the overall for the day, as well as the 2002 Number One ABA Pro title.

Races To Watch
There were a ton of classes that were worth checking out, but these were some of the raddest battles of the weekend:

Redman/Yamaha Waverunner’s Jeff Pease wrecked shop in Tulsa. Keep your eye on this kid; he tripled at the Grands.

11-12 Open – Redman/Yamaha Waverunner’s Jeff Pease went head to head with Phat Matt’s Trae Proctor. Pease got the win, and pretty much proved that right now, he’s virtually unbeatable, especially after hitting the gate in 12 Cruiser and coming back to pass Crupi’s Andrew Churchwell, who’s a little ripper himself.

15-16 Open saw what was arguably the best amateur match up of the weekend between Staats’ Paul Lange and Intruder Bike’s Augusto Castro. After hitting the gate, Paul laid down the horses and passed Augusto down the second straight to get the win. Trust us, this was an amazing race.

Andre Ellison was winning 17-24 Open until he looped out by himself in the rhythm. Bobby Siana went on to get the win.

Answer/Pro Concept’s Sean Lechner doubled and won the ABA’s Number One Amateur title in the process. Congrats BoBo!

This time it was Trae Proctor going head to head with the ABA’s new Number One Amateur, Sean “Bobo” Lechner in 11 Cruiser. Bobo overjumped most of the second straight, but somehow stayed ahead of Proctor for the win. Amazing.

15 Cruiser had Augusto Castro going at it with Answer/Pro Concept’s Danny Caluag. Danny was winning, but Augusto somehow passed him in the second turn. How he managed that is still a mystery to us.

Redline’s Eric Meyer decided to double, winning both 17-20 Cruiser and a stacked 18 Expert Class main. If you’ve never heard of this kid, trust us, you will. Anyone who beats Mike Hughes deserves big props. Both of these guys are racing’s next hottest ams.

Haro’s Chad Roberts and Brent Lee had a great race in 26-30 Cruiser. Chad snapped and led the whole way, but not without a ton of pressure from PeeWee in every corner.

Maybe the biggest upset of the day came in 16 Expert when Spinner’s Justin Joy took the amateur section to pass Paul Lange and Steven Cesar (who jumped the Pro section) for the win.

Next Year
This year’s Grands were nothing short of epic; the title chase couldn’t have been any more dramatic and you can bet that both Danny and Warwick will be riding with something to prove next year. Personally, I can’t wait for Reno. Be sure to check out Transworld BMX’s March issue for further ABA Grands coverage. If you liked these photos, believe me, you haven’t see anything yet.

If you can’t wait until then, click the photos link to the left to check out some more Grands photos, or click here.atable, especially after hitting the gate in 12 Cruiser and coming back to pass Crupi’s Andrew Churchwell, who’s a little ripper himself.

15-16 Open saw what was arguably the best amateur match up of the weekend between Staats’ Paul Lange and Intruder Bike’s Augusto Castro. After hitting the gate, Paul laid down the horses and passed Augusto down the second straight to get the win. Trust us, this was an amazing race.

Andre Ellison was winning 17-24 Open until he looped out by himself in the rhythm. Bobby Siana went on to get the win.

Answer/Pro Concept’s Sean Lechner doubled and won the ABA’s Number One Amateur title in the process. Congrats BoBo!

This time it was Trae Proctor going head to head with the ABA’s new Number One Amateur, Sean “Bobo” Lechner in 11 Cruiser. Bobo overjumped most of the second straight, but somehow stayed ahead of Proctor for the win. Amazing.

15 Cruiser had Augusto Castro going at it with Answer/Pro Concept’s Danny Caluag. Danny was winning, but Augusto somehow passed him in the second turn. How he managed that is still a mystery to us.

Redline’s Eric Meyer decided to double, winning both 17-20 Cruiser and a stacked 18 Expert Class main. If you’ve never heard of this kid, trust us, you will. Anyone who beats Mike Hughes deserves big props. Both of these guys are racing’s next hottest ams.

Haro’s Chad Roberts and Brent Lee had a great race in 26-30 Cruiser. Chad snapped and led the whole way, but not without a ton of pressure from PeeWee in every corner.

Maybe the biggest upset of the day came in 16 Expert when Spinner’s Justin Joy took the amateur section to pass Paul Lange and Steven Cesar (who jumped the Pro section) for the win.

Next Year
This year’s Grands were nothing short of epic; the title chase couldn’t have been any more dramatic and you can bet that both Danny and Warwick will be riding with something to prove next year. Personally, I can’t wait for Reno. Be sure to check out Transworld BMX’s March issue for further ABA Grands coverage. If you liked these photos, believe me, you haven’t see anything yet.

If you can’t wait until then, click the photos link to the left to check out some more Grands photos, or click here.