Author: Brent Stallo
It seems impossible to choose one rider out of literally hundreds to highlight as the Rider of the Week. It's a difficult task when you're at any amateur nationals, but at Loretta's - the granddaddy of them all - it's that much harder. Or at least that's what we thought before watching the second moto of Supermini 1 on Wednesday. Adam Cianciarulo may be the most heavily covered amateur rider in the U.S., but there's a reason for that - as we so blatantly found out on Wednesday.
Cianciarulo has won over 90 amateur titles in his career and will go down in history as one of the greatest amateur riders to ever line the gate, regardless of what he does in his pro career. While he's got over 90 titles to his name - seven of which have come from Loretta's - not one came from his assault on Loretta's in 2010, a year most would like to forget, but for Adam, it was a learning experience. "We had some freak bike problems, honestly. It was getting to the point where it was kind of just not meant to be, so I pulled out of the last motos, but I stayed at the race until Saturday to watch my friend Zach. It was actually a good learning year. I had to come from the back sometimes and I had a couple falls and some bike problems, but overall it made me a better rider and a better person, so I wouldn't change it."
After taking the first moto win over main rivals Jordon Smith and Cooper Webb, AC - as most refer to him - got off the gate in first with Webb and Smith close behind. Then it happened, AC's title hopes were dashed with a crash in the sixth turn. Or at least that's what one would have thought. Even AC can't slice through a pack of 40 of the best riders in the country and salvage his title hopes, right? Wrong!
AC went on a tear that will be etched into Loretta Lynn history books forever. Picking off riders two and three at a time AC began a sprint that would last the entire moto. From 40th to 30th and then to 20th, AC was relentless in his quest. From 20th to 10th, and then to 5th, it seemed almost inhuman. AC wouldn't stop until reaching Jaisaac Sloan and passing him for the number three spot. Sure, Webb and Smith were gone, but AC was able to salvage a title hope. He now sits tied with Jordon Smith going into the final moto.
Adam is expected to win the final moto. The pressure is immense for him to perform every time the gate drops and never will that be more true than the final Supermini 1 moto on Friday. While most would be kept up at night trying to cope, AC finds serenity through pressure. "Really, the pressure is just something that comes along with winning to me. I'd rather be winning and have pressure than to be not winning and not have any pressure - so, actually, I use it to get better. I thrive off knowing that people expect me to win, which is awesome. I've been fortunate to win enough times that people expect me to win now. I thrive off of it and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Log back on Friday as we breakdown what happened in the final Supermini 1 moto, as well as every other moto where a champion is crowned.