Sequatchie, TN – Rounds one and two of the 2022 AMA observed trials national championship took place this weekend in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains at the Trials Training Center. FactoryONE Sherco pilot Pat Smage picked up where he left off with a commanding sweep of the weekend. Smage would score just 11 points over both days compared to second place with 49.
“Today started out pretty shaky I would say!” exclaimed Pat Smage when speaking on day one. “I didn’t feel that confident or comfortable from the start as I hit my skid plate on one and my boot on a few rocks. After that, I started getting frustrated and wasn’t having fun,” continued Smage. “From there, I changed my mindset to have fun and not focus on the final placement. You never know how long you will have to ride nationals so I decided to just go have fun and not worry if I won or lost, and surprisingly, I didn’t dab from there, I cleaned the rest of the day. The sections were really good so I was happy to go clean from then on out. The competition has really stepped up their game, so I know i have to ride really well to stay ahead of them”.
Pat would finish with just four points from the first loop. He would not score another point on the day coming in with 34 “cleans”. Josh Roper and Alexander Niederer would round out the first podium. FactoryONE Scorpa rider Alex Myers would just miss the last step of the box with a P4 finish. Younger brother Willem woke with severe back spasms and wasn’t able to compete.
Round two saw a much tighter battle for the top two positions between Smage and Roper. Smage’s clean loop three would be the difference maker. The pair finished loop one with Smage on six points and Roper on seven. Loop two would remain equally close, but Smage would gain 2 points to the better over Roper with scores of one for Smage and three for Roper. The third and definitive loop saw Smage with a zero and Roper with a seven for a 10 point deficit to the 12 time champion. Scorpa pilot Alex Myers would better his previous days finish with a P3 podium finish. Willem Myers was able to compete on day two and finished P5.
Pat Smage on day two: “Overall it went really well but I started off with a big mistake in section six. There was a creek and I didn’t have much confidence in the line I was taking. I took a couple points early and I had a small line where I thought there was traction but I ended up behind it a bit and I spun (the rear tire) and ended up taking a five there. I took one more point on the loop so I was a bit frustrated but I knew what I needed to do to clean it up. I did have another dab there on the second loop but went clean on the third. I had some good rides and some shaky rides that I really had to work for to stay clean. In the end, I am happy with the result”
Alex Myers on his P3 finish on day two: “My riding improved from yesterday. It seemed like the first two loops I was on it, and then I wasn’t. It was a mental battle with that. My minder did a really good job keeping me calm and focused. I am happy to salvage the third, but I know I have some work to do to put pressure on Pat.”
Rounds three and four move to the west coast on May 14th and 15th. Pat Smage will be making a stop at the California Invitational Trial on April 20 and the 50th El Trial de Espana on April 23rd. Louise Forsley will be making her trials debut at those same two events.