US MotoTrials: Pat Smage Takes Double Win In Nebraska

Shan Moore | June 15, 2015
Pat Smage

Pat Smage won both days of the Aires AMA US National MotoTrials Series in Nebraska. Photo by Ryan Brehob

Pat Smage continued his dominance of the Aires AMA US National MotoTrials Series with an impressive double victory at rounds 5 & 6 of the series this weekend in Nehawka, Nebraska, giving the Sherco USA rider six-straight wins in the championship and boosting his lead in the series standings to a comfortable lead.

On Saturday, Smage topped up-and-comers Andrew Putt and Bryan Roper in an event that most considered the toughest round held so far this year. Rain the week before the event left the area saturated, which made the sections extremely slippery and difficult. Despite the circumstances, Smage coped with the conditions much better than his rivals and steadily pulled away from the field on each of the three laps, taking Saturday’s win by 44 points over second place in the high-scoring event.

“It was very slick with mostly technical lines and a few big hits thrown in, which made it tough,” said Smage. “It was easy to slide off the good line and get a five. I had a few frustrating five’s and sloppy points that I’m not happy with, but hopefully I can clean up my riding for tomorrow and stay consistent.”

Meanwhile, Putt and Roper faced off in a titanic battle for the runner-up slot, with Putt getting the nod by just four points over Roper after 36 sections of competition.

“The sections were very tricky and technical, and all rideable, but definitely the toughest we’ve had all year,” said Roper. “We had one huge up, but it rode way easier than it looked. Overall, I made too many mistakes on the first lap that kept me from second place. To score in the 80s and lose by five was pretty devastating.”

At the end of the day, Smage stood in the center of the podium after dropping 40 points. Putt was second with 84 points, and Roper third with 89.

Sherco riders Logan Bolopue (130 points) and Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (135 points) rounded out the top five with Gas Gas USA-backed Alex Niederer finishing sixth with 139.

Sunday saw another group of challenging sections – slippery and difficult, even though the forecasted rain held off.

Cody Webb, the 2010 US MotoTrials champion, was among Smage’s challengers on Sunday, flying in at the last minute after winning the Last Dog Standing race on Saturday in California. Webb crashed hard on the second lap of the trial, however, and DNFed the event after taking a trip to minor emergency.

Smage once again dominated the event, taking the lead from the first section and holding it to the finish.

Once again, Putt and Roper battled over second place with Putt taking his second runner-up finish in a row, and Roper once again rounding out the podium.

 

At the end of the day, Smage stood atop the podium after dropping 37 points on the day. Putt was second with 69, and Roper third with 88.

“It was another tough day,” said Smage. “Section three was a very muddy and difficult rock garden where a three was all I could manage. Section eight had a big waterfall with little run up to it and I was only able to make it though on the last loop. Overall I’m happy with the way the season has started but still not happy with the amount of small mistakes I’ve been making. I’ll work to minimize those the rest of the year.”

Putt turned in his most productive weekend of the series with a pair of seconds and moved to within three points of Roper in the standings, as the two riders sit second and third, respectively, behind Smage in the standings.

“Each section was a race on time due to the length,” said Putt. “Sunday was a little dryer and the sections were slightly easier. Pat was in his own but Bryan and I had a good battle for second. I was pleased with my riding both days though!”

Gas Gas USA’s Alex Niederer finished fourth on Sunday, with Blanc-Gonnet and Bolopue rounding out the top six.

The Aires AMA US National MotoTrials Series returns to action next weekend in Toronto, Ohio, for rounds 7 & 8 of the series. For more information on the series check out www.mototrials.com.

RESULTS

Saturday

1. Pat Smage (Shr)

2. Andrew Putt (Shr)

3. Bryan Roper (Shr)

4. Logan Bolopue (Shr)

5. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (Shr)

6. Alex Niederer (GG)

Sunday

1. Pat Smage (Shr)

2. Andrew Putt (Shr)

3. Bryan Roper (Shr)

4. Alex Niederer (GG)

5. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (Shr)

6. Logan Bolopue (Shr)

 

 

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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.

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