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Another nail-biter
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Pat Smage and Marc Freixa traded wins for the second-straight weekend during rounds three and four of the 2016 SWM US National Championship MotoTrials Series held at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
 
Smage (Team RYP/Zip Express/Dunlop/Maxima/Sherco) kicked off the weekend by winning a nail-biter over Freixa on Saturday. Due to the threat of rain, the organizers set the sections on the easy side in anticipation of slippery terrain and when the rains didn’t come the result was a trial that saw the top two contenders, Smage and Freixa, finish all three laps with clean scores, although, Freixa was given a five point penalty when his minder moved a rock in section 10, which is against the rules. Smage would have won the event anyway had it not been for Freixa’s penalty, since in a tie situation the win goes to the rider who finishes the event with the fastest time, and the Sherco rider finished the 12-section, three-lap course 16 minutes quicker than Freixa.
 
“Ryan [Young, Smage’s minder] told me it was going to be a motocross today, to just go as fast as I could, and it turned out he was right,” said Smage. “I figured the sections would get trickier later in the lap, but we ended with the clean lap, and so did Freixa, so at that point it turned into a race. I had to go as fast as I could and concentrate on not putting a foot down at the same time. On the final lap I was getting a little nervous because there were a few places that were a little tricky and I landed on some loose rocks a few times and that almost cost me a point, but I’m happy I was able to put in a complete day.”
 
Although Freixa (US Montesa/Honda) didn’t take a dab all day, his penalty in section 10 left him with a score of five and second place.
 
“The trial was too easy for the top riders and we had to race around the course [due to the potential of a tie-break situation],” said Freixa. “It was disappointing but I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
 
Andrew Putt (Team RYP/Zip Express/Dunlop/Maxima/Sherco) got off to a rocky start with a four-point first lap, but came on strong midway into the event and claimed the final step of the podium after posting a two-point second lap and then cleaning his final lap for a total of six for the day. The Pennsylvania rider looked as solid as Smage and Freixa on his final circuit of the course.
 
Karl Davis Jr. (Team RYP/Zip Express/Dunlop/Maxima/Scorpa) had one of his best rides to date with an 18-point day and fourth overall. Meanwhile, Logan Bolopue (Team RYP/Zip Express/Dunlop/Maxima/Sherco) rounded out the top five with one point more than Davis.
 

 

Pat Smage took the win on Day One after cleaning the entire trial.
Marc Freixa dropped only two points in section seven, the toughest section of the weekend.

Freixa was fired up and came back with a vengeance on Sunday, taking just one point on each of his first two laps, both coming on the difficult seventh section.
The former number three in the world then cleaned the entire last lap, which included a perfect ride on the difficult seventh section.
 
“Section seven was good for me,” said Freixa. “It was the right difficulty and I was able to gain some ground on Smage there. It was possible to clean it but you could also take a five there, so it was challenging.”
 
Freixa’s total score of two gave him the overall win for Sunday and put him in a two-way tie with Smage in the series points standings.
 
“It is a good battle so far with Smage, and I am looking forward to the next round in Oregon,” said Freixa.
 
Smage was solid everywhere except in section seven, where he took two ones and a five. His seven-point total left him in second for the day.
 
“We did had one tough section that I wasn’t quite able to figure out, and I ended up taking all of my points there, so the entire day came down to that section. It dried out during the day and I just kind of spun and didn't get the drive to make it to the top,” said Smage. “But I’m pleased with how I’ve ridden in the series so far. To be honest, I really didn’t expect to be able to take a win from Freixa and so far I have two.”
 
Putt was third again on Sunday, and once again the Sherco rider was brilliant on his final lap. In section seven, Putt took a five on the first lap, but came back with a two and a clean on the final two laps. A three-point ride in section 11 of the first lap left Putt with a total of 10 points.
 
Karl Davis Jr. was solid again, but just can’t seem to crack the top three just yet. A 30-point day put the Scorpa ride in fourth, just one point ahead of fellow Floridian Alex Niederer (Gas Gas USA)
 
The 2016 SWM US National Championship MotoTrials Series resumes action on June 18-19 with rounds five and six in Portland, Oregon. For more info on the series check out www.mototrials.com.
 
RESULTS
Saturday
1. Pat Smage (Shr) 0
2. Marc Freixa (Mon) 5
3. Andrew Putt (Shr) 6
4. Karl Davis Jr. (Sco) 18
5. Logan Bolopue (Shr) 19
6. Alex Niederer (GG) 23
7. Sam Fastle (Shr) 37
8. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (Mon) 41
9. Quinn Wentzel (Sco) 81
 
Sunday
1. Marc Freixa (Mon) 2
2. Pat Smage (Shr) 7
3. Andrew Putt (Shr) 10
4. Karl Davis Jr. (Sco) 30
5. Alex Neiderer (GG) 31
6. Sam Fastle (Shr) 40
7. Logan Bolopue (Shr) 43
8. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet (Mon) 47

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