BMX riders break new ground in Reno |

BMX riders break new ground in Reno

Several South Shore BMX riders made a first-time trip to the 2003 World Championships Aug. 1-3, which had previously been held in Salt Lake City but came to Reno this year.

Brianna “The Bomb” Clinton took third place in the girls’ 7 division, while Lauren Thomaselli finished second in the women’s 41-45 Cruiser division.

“This was one event we haven’t done in our eight years of competing because it has been held all over the world,” said Thomaselli, director of the South Lake Tahoe BMX track. “Since it came right here to our own backyard in Reno, we thought we’d participate.”

Riders and organizers alike were surprised when confronted with an unexpected rainout that halted racing on Aug. 2, meaning the entire event of 209 motos (individual races) including qualifying had to be squeezed into the final day.

“It got rained out on the first day so they totally restructured the qualifying rounds,” she said. “On Sunday, they used kitty litter all over the track to keep the moisture down. What it ended up being for me was two laps in one day. That’s what makes it hard in these big events is staying loose and motivated.”

It also made for some tight racing.

“I was in the middle of the gate so I had two girls coming from either end,” she added. “We all came out together and it just bottlenecked in the first turn. Bikes were clanking. Some of the other racers behind me went down so I took second.”

Lauren’s husband, John, took seventh place in the cruiser 46-50 division and Patty Metzger finished second in the women’s 31-35 cruiser division.

Forest Clinton, mother of Brianna, noted that the World Championships provides a high level of competition but differs greatly from other events.

“They run according to age, not by ability,” Clinton said. “There are no novice, intermediate and expert races. You’re all just grouped into one class. It puts a little twist on things.”

For that reason, Thomaselli suggested that 7-year-old Jommy Smith may have actually been the top South Shore rider in the event.

“He was the only novice rider in his division and he transfered all the way to the semifinal round,” Thomaselli said. “I’d say he probably did the best of our local riders in terms of his experience and the level of competition that he was up against.”

South Lake Tahoe’s William Clinton, Jack Lyle, Josh Smith, Philip Jacobs and Michael Jacobs also participated.

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