Pizzitola Cleans Up At Winter National Olympics

Shan Moore | December 1, 2008

For the 37th year, amateur racers and their families from around the country trekked to Gatorback Park in Gainesville, Florida, to spend the Thanksgiving holidays at the Winter National Olympics. More than 2200 riders, some from as far away as South Africa, competed for 70 overall class championships during the week-long event. Additionally, a handful of riders scored the ultimate achievements by claiming the coveted industry awards that are given to the event’s top performers. After a week’s worth of racing, Andy Pizzitola (pictured), Les Smith, Jordan Smith, Brandon Mays and Malcolm Stewart received special recognition for their performances during this year’s Winter National competition. Pizzitola swept all of his classes in the Supercross division and won two motocross divisions, earning him the coveted Pro Circuit Platinum Pipe Award, which goes to the top overall-scoring rider from all divisions in both Supercross and Motocross competition. He also added the Scott Golden Goggle Award, which goes to the top-scoring rider in the Amateur Divisions. In all, Pizzitola scored 150 championship points and was impressive en route to individual titles in the 250cc C Stock MX, Open C Modified MX, 250cc C Stock SX, Open C Stock MX and the 250cc C Modified SX classes. “This really means a lot to me to win these awards,” said Pizzitola. “I trained really hard coming in here and that gave me a lot of confidence. I came in here knowing I could do it and at the start of the week I got wins right away and that boosted my confidence even more.” Pizzitola might have swept all of his races had it not been for a bit of bad luck during motocross competition. The Kawasaki rider from Texas was leading the 250 C Modified race and easily on his way to a sixth title, but fell over on the final lap. One of the most consistent performers of the week was Les Smith. The Honda rider from South Carolina won just one individual championship at this event with an impressive ride in the Open A Pro Modified Motocross division, however, his 140 championship-point total was enough to earn him the Dunlop Silver Tire Award for accumulating the highest number of Olympics points. The Fox Bronze Boot, which is given to the top-scoring rider in the Youth Divisions, went to Jordan Smith. Smith, who is from Belmont, North Carolina, rode a combination of KTM and Suzuki machinery throughout the week and claimed titles in the 65cc (10-11) Stock Supercross and 65cc (10-11) Modified Motocross classes. Perhaps the most popular award given at the event was the CTI Iron Man Award, which is given to the rider who displays exceptional strength and determination, both on and off the track. The award was given to Malcolm Stewart because of the problems he overcame during the Supercross portion of the week. Stewart repeatedly suffered bad luck during the early part of the week, but he came back strong to sweep his motocross classes, winning all eight of his races and claiming four motocross titles. Thor/Parts Unlimited Special Achievement Awards went to Bradley Esper in the Mini class (Ester won two championships), and the Big Bike award went to Brandon Mays, who ended the week with four titles. Justin Barcia (51) turned some of the fastest lap times of the week. The Georgian was making one of his first rides for his new team, Geico Powersports Honda/Factory Connection, and he absolutely blazed a trail in the Pro divisions, especially in Supercross, where he won titles in the 250 A Pro Stock and Modified classes. Barcia also added a motocross title in the 250 A Pro Stock division.

Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.