For two first-time visitors to the Hub City, the trip was well worth the while.
Anthony Dean made the longest trek to participate in the Aberdeen BMX Exchange's Pro-Am event -- coming from Australia -- and took home $5,000 for his main event win. Mika Shaw of Bailey, Colo., won the women's event and earned $1,500 for her efforts.
Dean emerged the winner following the main event motos, in which he ran fourth, third and first.
"Five thousand dollars for first place in one day's racing, for 45 seconds around the track is a pretty good payday," he said. "BMX doesn't see that too often."
Incoming rain forced the track managers to move up the pro-am main event races and shorten the time between heat runs. The long track and short rest proved to be a challenge for the racers.
"It was definitely a very mental challenge. The body is ready for it, but mentally we don't race this long, so it was a good mental challenge for me. I'm glad I got it done," said Dean, who is using the race as fine-tune training for the World Cup in San Diego in two weeks. Dean was in San Diego when he found the local race and decided to make the plane ride out.
"One of my coaches mentioned it to me -- that it'd be a good race to come to before the event," he said. "And here I am."
The $20,000 total payout for the pro-am races was enough of a draw for Jeffrey Upshaw to add six hours to his trip. Upshaw was three hours into the trek from Dayton, Ohio, when he realized he forgot his bike and had to go back to get it.
Upshaw finished second for a $3,500 paycheck, making the extra six hours worth his time.
On the women's side, Shaw's win came at the expense of the then-event-leader Dominique Daniels, who got caught up with most of the rest of the field in a big crash in turn two of the final heat race of the day. Daniels won the first two heats of the three-heat event and looked to be headed for a strong start to the third. After the crash, she was able to continue, but finished seventh and slipped to second-place overall.
"It got a little squirrelly," said Daniels, who is on a full-ride scholarship to Grand Canyon University for BMX racing. "It's hard to race when you're tired. The body just doesn't fly the way you want it to. I rolled over on my left wrist wrong and my front tire got a little crooked, so I couldn't get back up and recover like I would have liked."
That left the door open for Shaw to slide into the winner's spot.
"I got lucky with the big W," she said. "It was really tough. I just had to keep pushing myself at the end."
Shaw got caught up in the big crash, but was one of the first back on her bike after things sorted themselves out. She finished third in the heat.
Aberdeen Central senior Shayna Lier missed the big pile-up in the third heat and pulled away late for the win. Lier finished third on the podium.
"I just got pushed up and kind of hit my brakes and went around it," said Lier. "Wish I could have done a little more, but it's good."
Men: 1, Anthony Dean, Australia; 2, Jeffery Upshaw, Dayton, Ohio; 3, Tanner Sebesta, Manchaca, Texas; 4, Nic Long, Lakeside, Calif.; 5, Elliot McGrath, Tempe, Ariz.; 6, Denzel Stein, Desoto, Texas; 7, Olijuwon Davis, Rockford, Ill.; 8, Joey Berthiaume, St. Paul, Minn.
Second Chance Winner: Derik Bergh, Fergus Falls, Minn.
Women: 1, Mika Shaw, Bailey, Colo.; 2, Dominique Daniels, Gilbert, Ariz.; 3, Shayna Lier, Aberdeen; 4, Kaitlyn Larson, Stacy, Minn.; 5, Bailee Enlow, Grand Forks, N.D.; 6, Emily Mundahl, Bismarck, N.D.; 7, Allison Tate, Lake Park, Minn.; 8, Brelyn Swendseid, Grand Forks, N.D.
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