This week, the TPJ Fly Racing team travelled to Las Vegas to compete in the Monster Energy Supercross finals at Sam Boyd Stadium. It has been a long and wild ride to get this far, and we are extremely grateful for every individual who made it possible.
The TPJ Fly Racing team had another busy week of press opportunities. On Thursday, our riders were invited to ride the track for television. Tyler Enticknap, Nick Schmidt, Dylan Merriam and Chad Cook arrived bright and early and spent hours doing interviews and riding for local stations. The TPJ Fly Racing crew was featured on local television nearly every round, and we are very thankful to the PR crew at Feld Entertainment for those opportunities.
On Friday, John Short was invited to speak on 90.5 SOS radio, the local Christian music station. Short shared his story and encouraged people to come out to Supercross on Saturday.
On game day, the riders were excited to prove their progress in the final round. In qualifying, five of our seven athletes qualified for the night show.
After qualifying, the TPJ Fly Racing team gathered for its last Supercross meet and greet of the season. It was bittersweet, but the athletes had a great time meeting their fans and signing posters. We have been fortunate to see thousands of fans come by just to see TPJ Fly Racing athletes this season.
By the time the night show rolled around, anticipation was high. Our 250 east coast riders Merriam and Short were riding great in the heats, but the mix of east and west coast riders made for a stacked class. They both found themselves in the LCQ, and while Short made his way through the pack quickly, it just wasn’t quick enough to nab a qualifying position.
In the 450 class, hopes were high for Tyler Enticknap, who came so close to qualifying in New Jersey. He had been looking fast all day long in practice and qualifying, and fans were cheering him on. He rode amazingly in the first heat, but didn’t quite get close enough to qualify. In the semi, he was nearly there when he cased a jump hard. He rode off the track and was treated by the Alpine Stars medical team. Unfortunately for Enitcknap, he has broken his tibia/fibia, and may need surgery sometime this week. It was a heartbreaking moment for him and the team. His progress this season has been undeniable, and he has worked very hard. We are extremely proud of his work, and hope he comes back stronger than ever.
Both Nick Schmidt and Adam Enticknap ended up in the 450 LCQ after the semi. Schmidt was on his way to a qualifying position until an altercation with Raper that put him down several positions. Schmidt was heartbroken by his luck at the final round. He has made almost every single main event of the season, which is unheard of for an athlete who is considered a privateer. We hope that as he continues to improve, that he will be moving up to the big leagues sometime soon.
As for Adam Enticknap, due to the altercation between Schmidt and Raper, he was able to sneak by into the final transfer spot and on to the main event. In the main, while he battle for the championship was going on in front of him, Adam Enticknap pushed to make passes and work his way through the pack. He rode steadily until he crashed in the whoop section, and was hit by Jake Weimer. He sustained broken ribs, two broken collar bones and a collapsed lung. Even with his crash, he collected 18th overall. We are praying for a safe and speedy recovery for both of the Enticknap brothers.
We are dedicated to boosting our riders to the next level, and this season we celebrated several milestones with our athletes. Nick Schmidt qualified for nearly every main event, and celebrated a 15th place finish in the main. Adam Enticknap qualified for several main events throughout the year. Broc Shoemaker qualified for his first career main event. Dylan Merriam celebrated several main events and holeshots this season and John Short celebrated several main events.
Our team of athletes has worked very hard this season to prepare themselves to battle against the top riders in the world. Many of them still balance jobs and schooling back home. It’s not an easy task, and we are very proud of all they have accomplished this year.
Our celebrations would be short-lived without the help of our sponsors. Each weekend DSC Construction helped cover our top 20 qualifiers’ entry fees, and fuel costs. Dunlop helped our top 20 qualifiers’ with fresh tires. As always Fly Racing is one of our biggest sponsors, they have provided these underdogs with lots of support and the best looking gear on the track. Karcher Pressure Washers was a major sponsor to the team this season, and their pressure washers were truly a big help in the pits. Lucas Oil was a big help to our program, and kept us stocked with the products we needed. Boyce Excavation has been a big supporter, and even provided helicopter rides over New York. Engine Ice has provided us with big support and the best engine coolant on the market. We have too many incredible sponsors to list in one release, but each and every one of these companies has brought something important to the table and our team in 2017 – thank you.
Now, the TPJ Fly Racing team shifts its focus to the outdoor season. Stay tuned for updates on the 2017 team, to be released shortly.