Valley View, Pennsylvania (June 21-22, 2014) – Pat Smage claimed a pair of wins at rounds five and six of the 2014 Aires AMA NATC MotoTrials US National Championship Series in Valley View, Pennsylvania, leaving the Sherco USA rider undefeated after six of the eight rounds held so far in the series.
Finishing in the runner-up slot each day was Gas Gas USA rider Martin Matejicek of the Czech Republic, who solidified his runner-up status in the series standings with a pair of solid finishes.
On Saturday, Smage overcame a mechanical issue on the first loop to take a solid win. Discovering the problem was a sheered flywheel key before the start of the second lap, Smage re-gathered his focus and finished the extremely tough event with a total of 35 points to take the victory over Matejicek, who finished the day with a total of 65 points. Sherco USA’s Bryan Roper, who missed the first four rounds of the series to compete in Europe, made his 2014 US national debut at the event and came home with a solid third place finish after posting 98 points for the day.
Sherco USA riders Logan Bolopue and Daniel Blanc-Gonnet rounded out the top five on Saturday, with Bolopue logging 108 points for the day, while Blanc-Gonnet dropped 127.
After the podium presentation Smage called the event the toughest of the year.
“There was just a little bit of moisture in the soil and every rock mud tracked up on them and then everything keeps getting slicker and slicker, and with other classes lines cutting in on ours it makes the ruts worse and overall it makes the sections a lot more difficult,” said Smage. “I felt like I struggled a little in these conditions, it’s not what I’ve been riding all year. It’s tough to come to a place like this, especially when it’s slick, and be able to have a perfect day. And then to have bike problems on the first loop was rough. Also, I knew Martin was going to be tough today, and he had a good day, so that was another factor.”
On Sunday, Smage was solid on the opening lap, dropping just seven points for the lap, compared to 21 for Matejicek and 25 for Roper.
On lap two, however, Smage picked up his game and dropped just one point for the entire lap, an amazing feat considering the difficultly of the sections.
Matejicek completed lap two with a loss of 17 points, while Roper held his third place slot with a 25-point lap.
The last four sections of the final loop were costly for Smage, as the Wisconsin rider dropped 10 points, more than he had all day in the rest of the event. However, his total of 19 points for the day was more than good enough to claim his sixth win of the series and beat out Matejicek by 41 points.
Matejicek finished out the day with 60 points for second, with Roper grabbing the final step of the podium with a total of 81 points.
Bolopue and Blanc-Gonnet rounded out the top five with Bolopue finishing out the event at 91 points, while Blanc-Gonnet finishing with 119.
The Expert class saw a new winner for 2014, with Florida rider Alex Niederer getting his first win of the season on Saturday over Beta USA teammate Ray Peters and Sherco USA’s Andrew Putt. Niederer helped his cause with an excellent first loop on Saturday, and then held on over the last two laps despite suffering fatigue from the extraordinarily rugged conditions to take the win by 10 points over Peters, with Putt finishing third another four point back.
Putt came back strong to take Sunday’s win, holding off a last-lap charge by Ray Peters to claim his third win of the series. Peters was second on Sunday with Saturday’s winner, Niederer, finishing third.
After six rounds, Putt holds a one-point advantage in the overall Expert standings, 161 to 160, with Niederer in third with 132.
The series now moves to the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee, for the final two rounds on the schedule on June 28 and 29.
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 35
2. Martin Matejicek (GG) 60
3. Bryan Roper (Shr) 98
4. Logan Bolopue (Shr)m 108
5. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (Shr) 127
1. Alex Niederer (Bet) 48
2. Ray Peters (Bet) 58
3. Andrew Putt (Shr) 62
4. Jerome Gregorowicz (Bet) 82
5. Quinn Wentzel (Shr) 100
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 19
2. Martin Matejieck (GG) 60
3. Bryan Roper (Shr) 81
4. Logan Bolopue (Shr) 91
5. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (Shr) 119
1. Andrew Putt (Shr) 34
2. Ray Peters (Bet) 40
3. Alex Niederer (Bet) 42
4. Jerome Gregorowicz (Bet) 77
5. Nick Fonzi (Bet) 90