Sherco USA’s 16-year-old sensation, Patrick Smage, claimed the opening two rounds of the AMA/NATC National Trials Series held in the mountains of Colorado near Cotopaxi. Smage was spectacular on the large granite rocks used for Saturday’s event, topping second place finisher Chris Florin (G-G) by 35 points. Smage’s teammate Cody Webb, of California, finished third, two points behind Florin, while South African Bruce LeRiche (G-G) and Montesa-mounted Keith Wineland rounded out the top five.
Sunday’s round was a lower scoring event and Smage nearly cost himself the win after he took a five for missing a marker. Webb actually led the event after two laps, but Smage turned in a blistering final lap to nip Webb by four points at the finish. Florin ended Sunday’s event in third, while Wineland and LeRiche swapped their Saturday positions, with Wineland this time in fourth and LeRiche in Fifth.
The retirement of 10-time US National Champion Geoff Aaron at the end of last year guarantees that this year will see a new and first time champ and, with his double win in Colorado, Smage now has the inside track to the 2007 title.