Another amazing weekend at our eternal stomping grounds of Silver Dollar is in the books. From racing here in the early 2000s to a handful of our Vurb Classic events a decade later, we were excited to once again show up to the south Georgia countryside for what would be quite a unique weekend with our friends from SwapMoto Live, Seven MX, 6D Helmets, Amsoil, and Custom Upfits.
While this event may be brand new to the East Coast, the Mini Major concept and race series has been thriving in California for the past few years, and it was inevitable that they’d finally come to their senses and bring some spotlight to some epic Southeast shredders. And we’re glad they did, because the Silver Dollar Mini Major East delivered big for quite a few very talented rippers on this side of the United States. Besides the riders, there were quite a few other things that stood out to me about this event.
For full results from the weekend, click here.
1. The Format
I’ll be honest, this format would’ve scared the crap out of me if our checkbook had the pen at its grasps. It’s hard enough to have a profitable race, but when you 86 every amateur and vet class in the lineup, it certainly has to make the prospect of finances a stressful thought. Outside looking in, it’s certainly a big gamble, but Matt Walker told me they pretty much pulled their anticipated turnout… which is great.
But on to the format. It’s Minis only. Yes, that’s right, P-Dubs up through Supermini WITH 15 MINUTE MOTOS for every class. I can tell you from a media creation standpoint, this is epic. I think from a rider perspective it’s also a huge plus. Since it’s only minibikes, that means there’s a handful of classes none of us have ever heard of (i.e. Supermini 3) but it gave every racer a chance to line up as much as they wanted to get an amazing amount of track time. With 26 classes in total, and running one moto per day for each, it made for a perfectly paced race weekend. I say this in naivety, but I would love if more promoters explored how to make something like this work on a more frequent basis. Props to Aaron Cooke and the SwapMoto Live team for stepping outside of the box and delivering something extremely unique to the world of amateur moto.
2. Cash Purse for the Women
Another honesty moment. I had no idea they had a purse for the girl’s classes until I was out on the track shooting and heard them talking about it over the intercom. As Katie Benson flew by me, I heard them talking about $3,000 this and $3,000 that. That’s right, 3K for EACH girl’s class. Unreal! While current AMA rules state you can’t pay amateurs cash, Matt Walker made sure to abide by the rules and pay in Zaxby’s and MotoSport gift cards. Chicken fingers and sprockets for years… doesn’t get much better than that.
And what was even cooler, it was none other than Jordan Jarvis giving the play-by-play, talking about the many times she has raced at Silver Dollar for the Vurb Classic’s. With the state of affairs in women’s motocross right now, it was cool to hear her perspective on the future and be there to support the next crop of female talent on the track. And it was cool to see Walker and crew throw so much weight behind making these classes what they were. It’s needed and much respect!
3. New Names, New Faces
What’s cool about such a uniquely formatted event, it allows some kids that have never seen the spotlight to, well, get in the spotlight. And you all know there’s nothing more we love here at vurbmoto than giving young rippers some much needed attention.
Jaydin Smart (pictured above) is one of those standout kids to me. He’s only in the younger 50cc class, but I noticed him earlier this year at the Millcreek Summer Classic donning the legendary #4 and holding his cobra 50 full wicked. Silver Dollar proved no different and the kid was on absolute rails. With ALMOST a perfect weekend, he won all four of his classes, and if it weren’t for some muddy mess Saturday afternoon he likely wouldn’t have lost a moto. I watched him get stuck in the mud a few times, and let’s just say he wasn’t a happy camper. But this little dude is a mini star in the making. It’s not often you want to go watch every 50cc moto, but Jaydin definitely makes you walk to the fence line every time you hear that bike of his topping out and scrubbing (yes, I’m serious) over all the jumps on the course.
I’ve sang his praises a million times and talked to his mom for just as many minutes at Silver Dollar, but this kid Drew Adams literally blows my mind everytime I see him at a race. It’s obvious whatever milk he’s drinking at the MotoX Compound is the good stuff, and the #300 Kawasaki Team Green machine is one you’ll be hearing about for the next few decades. While he didn’t have a perfect weekend, watching him battle with the supermini class on an 85cc was a blast.
Noah Viney (above) is another face I met at Millcreek earlier this year, and believe it or not, he’s actually California based. His father told me he keeps a van and a couple bikes on the East Coast, and they try to get in as much racing experience as they can, which means racking up United Airline miles on the reg and getting the race the best talent west to east whenever they desire. It’s a very unique approach, and Noah is very, very fast and has the race craft to match. I anticipate him being a supermini standout in 2021.
If this was a Vurb Classic though, my top honors most likely would have gone to another supermini shredder by the name of Leo Tucker (above). His dad told me he’s never really had a breakout race, so this would certainly be the one that could put this kid on the map. Leo battled with Noah Viney and Drew Adams all damn weekend and never cracked under the pressure of the speed and aggression of those seasoned racers. He walked about with a #1 plate and two second overalls. Back in 2015 at the MX207 Vurb Classic, I remember spotting a kid by the name of Seth Hammaker in a similar fashion. A little confidence boost can go a very long way for a young racer, so I guess we’ll see where Leo is able to take if from here.
4. Seven Branding
Seven MX ringleader, Roger Larsen, thought I was blowing smoke when I was telling him how much I loved what Seven and Mini Major do from a branding standpoint. I assured him that I was not being facetious, and straight up, it pisses me of how good they are. I swell in envy with the thought of how talented they are when it comes to the look and feel everything from their clothing, gear, to the events themselves. Mad props to you guys for making this feel like a pro national caliber race. I don’t think it goes unnoticed by anyone.
5. Media Coverage
From Michael Antonvich out shooting photos, to Chase Curtis blasting around the track with a video camera, and Swap himself onsite doing podcasts, the SwapMoto Live crew did what they do best, and that’s damn good coverage from a media standpoint. On top of that, they brought in Lucas Oil’s Scotty Mac to do an all-day live broadcast on Sunday. For those of you who are unaware, the costs of facilitating everything mentioned above it sky high. It proves that this entire team is more than dedicated to giving the spotlight to the racers investing in their series.
All in all, SwapMoto Live, Aaron Cooke, and Matt Walker blew my expectations out of the water. I always, always harp that many high-end promotors don’t reinvest into the sport (and they don’t and IMO it’s a real problem. But that’s another conversation entirely). But what I can say is this group is one that I will continue to support forever because of what they showed me at Silver Dollar, and I encourage every one of you to do the same when they swing back east in 2021.