The 40th Annual Thor Winter National Olympics, better known at Mini O?s, kicked off yesterday and we?ve already been privy to some of the best racing of the year. While Mini O?s is technically the final amateur national of the season, for those in the know, it?s more of a preview of what?s to come for 2012. It ultimately marks the end of Silly Season for the amateur community and is the proving ground that sets the stage for the 2012 calendar. The first part of the week is spent on the supercross track with the second part moving over to the outdoor track. A truly unique event, Mini O?s is one of the most prestigious amateur races in the world.
The first part of Monday consisted of practice, but racing ripped off the gate around 1pm with over 20 qualifiers being run before the sun set behind the evergreens that line the supercross track. Monday and Tuesday are devoted to qualifying, with main events being held on Wednesday. And while a qualifying win won?t do much for your overall, it can definitely set you up for a title run in the main events.
In the Pro class an unlikely hero made himself known. Dillan Epstein has been a force over in amateur motocross throughout the years, but injury has kept him from reaching his true potential. Healthy and ready to roll, Epstein lined up against the likes of Zach Bell, Jeremy Martin, Justin Hill and the rest of the stacked pro class and never looked back. A holeshot and a moto win to kick off the week should give Epstein the momentum.
In the Open Pro class it was the return of Jessy Nelson that made headlines. Nelson, who originally had plans to race supercross in 2012, has decided to keep his amateur status for one more season with the hopes of going pro aboard a Troy Lee Designs Honda following Loretta?s. The pressure is on Nelson this week as he is expected to win or podium every time he?s on the track. So far, he?s handling the pressure with ease.
Cooper Webb and Jace Owen went to war in the first 250 B Stock moto of the week. Webb came out on top, but not before being passed twice by Owen. Keep an eye on the podium for these two once the gate drops for the main events on Wednesday.
Thomas Covington took a third in 250 B Stock but has the speed to win titles if he can get a good jump off the gate.
Blake Green and Austin Forkner put on a show for the Division win of the Supermini 1 class. Forkner led early, but was eventually pressured and passed by Green. Both looked solid, but we don?t think anyone will be able to match up against Adam Cianciarulo in the main events.
Jeremy Martin is debuting his Star/Valli Yamaha?s this weekend and while he?s yet to reel in a moto win, he?s been up front every moto so far.
Gage Linville is owning the 51cc classes. This kid is on another level.
Schedule of Events:
Nov 21-23 / Supercross
Monday: Practice Starts ? 8 a.m.-Supercross Qualifying begins ? 1 p.m.
Tuesday: Finish Supercross Qualifying-Begin Supercross Mains
Wednesday: Remaining SX Finals
Nov 23-26 / Motocross
Wednesday: MX Practice begins in the afternoon
Thursday: Finish MX Practice-Begin MX Racing-End the day at 4p.m. to begin the Thor?Thanksgiving Feast
Friday: MX Racing
Saturday: Finish MX Racing-Awards Ceremony