After a successful first season, the Northern California racing series we organize for kids ages 8-14 kicked off last weekend at Willow Hills Park in Folsom. This year’s series brings three new venues that expand the races around the region and outside of Folsom proper, so a slight name change to ‘Folsom Lake Grom Jr MTB Series’ was in order. And with the addition of Presenting Sponsor JGC Government Relations and other supporting sponsors, Groms were hooked up with t-shirts and Camelbak podium water bottles to go along with a Pro racing experience from our RFID chip timing company TimeYourRace.
For the first race this year, the short track format and course at Willow Hills was fitting for Groms, who would give it their all for 25 minutes on a track with the most elevation gain of the season. The .6 mile course had approximately 50ft of climbing per lap allowing most boys to get in 8 to 10 laps and girls 6 to 8 laps. The nervous excitement the Groms have before the race and exhausted smiles afterward is awesome to see. They, and their parents, are so proud of their accomplishment and perseverance.
This year’s series aims to provide an even better racing experience for girls, with separated start times for girls 8-10 and 11-14 age categories. At the first race, the youngest girls pulled in greater numbers, but with lap times up to a minute faster for the older girls, they’re deserving of a clear track.
The closest racing of the day came in the boys 13-14 category. These Groms are riding strong and gaining experience to prepare them for the Norcal High School League, with lap times approaching what the adults were ticking off in the afternoon Excuses Short Track Series on the same course. Eventual Grom winner Ben McGraw (Bicycle Guys) traded places with Travis Boucher (Roseville Cyclery) lap after lap until a last lap push from Ben sealed the victory.
As with last year, Groms receive a helmet sticker for each lap they complete, and the top ten in each category get a placing sticker to put on their race plate all season. This gives them a record of their accomplishments over the season and a trophy for their wall. Before long, they’ll be staking a claim to a portion of Mom and Dad’s garage wall with their own collage of race number plates!
Race 2 is set for April 1st at Maidu Park in Roseville. With more singletrack for the Groms to ride, we can’t wait to see them shred.