I am a pro rider from Alvin, Texas but have recently been staying in California to get ready for the 2017 AMA AX and SX season. This past week I traveled back to my home state to race the 25th annual Texas Pro Challenge at Swan MX. This race is great for everyone from top national pros to beginner riders with a great turnout of spectators lining the bleachers, with an added bonus of a $25,000 pro purse for the weekend. The pro purse this year brought in multiple national level riders including: Kyle Cunningham, Jimmy Albertson, Zack Williams, Ben Lamay, John Short, Vann Martin, Chase Marquier, Sean Hackley, Cody Williams, Henry Miller, Brady Kiesel, and a handful of others.
Saturday was scheduled for open pro and Sunday was 250 pro. At 3:00 p.m. on Saturday came the first open pro moto. I got off to a good start, around 5th, but about half a lap into it Heath Harrison and I locked bars in a corner and that sent me back a few spots. By the half way point it was safe to say I was struggling with the early intensity, and moved back to 14th. With 10 minutes to go I turned it around and came back to 9th place with a few last lap passes on national numbered pro riders, Heath Harrison and Chase Marquier. In the second moto of the open pro class I got another good start and finished 10th, earning me some good cash, and more importantly, good racing experience battling all moto with Williams, Miller and Martin. Kyle Cunningham went on to a beautiful 1-1 dominant win ahead of his teammate Jimmy Albertson with Zack Williams, Ben Lamay and John Short rounding out the top five.
Sunday came the 250 Pro class. I was very excited about this as I ride the 250 much better than a 450. I came out with a 3rd place start with a Suzuki motorcycle superstore rider grabbing the holeshot. This moto didn't go quite well with me making some rookie mistakes and taking horrible lines in the opening stages. Albertson, Lamay, Marquier and Henry Miller all got me in one section when I missed a big jump in the pro section, finishing 12th in that moto. I had a lot to think about, study and make some changes to my bike. Second moto I thought I turned it around coming out with another 3rd place start with big names behind me. First lap I came around in 4th, feeling strong. I kept pushing and held a freight train of top riders off for a few laps. I finally cracked and Jimmy Albertson passed me 6 laps into the moto and then the chaos happened. I was sitting 5th, feeling strong, when I was taken out, ending my good moto in an instant. My bike was trashed, radiator spraying coolant, bars almost cut through the middle, shrouds mangled and more importantly my moto was a DNF, losing out on a solid overall and the cash payout. Kyle Cunningham did a full sweep in the 250 class going 1-1 again, claiming his top spot for the weekend and bringing home a good paycheck.
The weekend had come to an abrupt end, but it sure was a blast either way. I had nothing but compliments on my riding all weekend from everyone, good solid starts and a solid base to work with coming into the 2017 season. I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me this year and for the years to come: Thanks to JKopMx, Proven moto, Yoshimura, Works Connection, Enzo, Split Designs, Texas Yamaha/powersports, Dirt Tricks, Sidi, 100%, Hinson, MMW, Rk/Excel, Cycra, ODI, Motorex, Pivot works, Vertex, Cylinder Works, Twin Air, Braking, Atlas, Ride Engineering, my grandparents, my parents, Andrew and Jacki Short, Coach Seiji and all my family and friends who support me in this journey to the top!