View from Above: Monday at the Mini O’s

Captain Air Wheelie (@Checkerz448) checks in with some Mini O’s thoughts from the moon.

Just as much a part of Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and stuffing, another record-crushing turnout blessed the largest amateur motocross event in the world, the Thor Mini O’s at Gatorback Cycle Park in Florida. 

On Monday the heat races and LCQ action wrapped up and gates dropped for the first portion of the Supercross main events. RacerTV broadcast the action all day long allowing me to stay up to date straight from the Race Tech Marketing and headquarters before my family rolls to Sioux Falls, South Dakota this weekend for our Thanksgiving tradition: the annual Midwest Supercross!

Super(Rough)Cross Serves Up T-Bones for Thanksgiving Dinner

While the Mini O’s Supercross track no longer features traditional SX style whoop pad, a trillion laps around the track mean nearly any spot there isn’t a jump begins to form a whoop section and even some of the landings look more like a dragon’s back than a triple landing. Combine the gnarly rough and long ruts with hard Florida clay and you’ve created a challenging race course that requires the smooth beauty of a figure skater with a savage toughness of an NHL hockey player to capture Mini Olympic Gold.

The races are short, tight, and extremely intense on a track that is child’s play to many of the nation’s fastest amateurs. If you get a poor start your time is limited to get to the front, so it is no surprise that the wide-open bowl turns have Thanksgiving week in Florida serving up way more t-bones than turkey. If you are in front the fast line around the track is to carry momentum and sweep the turns up high to prevent wheel spin and lower your lap times but that means leaving the door wide open. Judge your gap wrong or leave the door open for the wrong neighbor and you might watch them walk straight out of your living room with the gold medal you had firmly in your grasp.

Jolly Green Giant

If your holiday feast featured green beans, peas, lettuce, broccoli and even brussel sprouts it still wouldn’t feature as many greens as the Pro Sport and Intermediate ranks under the Kawasaki tent. The Team Green squad is loaded up with elite talent in the A and B classes. Krystian Janik (250 A Supercross Champion), Drew Adams, and Reven Gordon are putting their mark in the Pro Sport divisions (also joined by NJ hot-shoe Ricci Randanella on his KX at the front quite often).

In the B ranks Landen Gordon looks incredible on the KX250 while Caden Dudney looks to be adapting to the big bikes well after skipping Loretta’s to make the transition. Don’t forget stand-outs Enzo Temmerman and Aden Keefer also have spots reserved at the Green table when the family reunion heads to Spring Nationals in Texas.

Black Friday Deals from the North

As sure as there will be lines across the parking lot and camping for hours to save a few bucks on that 65” TV is Avery Long’s trajectory to the head of the class. It wasn’t long ago that the Minnesota native would be putting the bikes away for the winter with the exception of a couple of days over Christmas break or a rare indoor ride, but since hitting the B ranks Long has elevated his program and the results have followed. Now aboard the NSA/Yamaha Factory amateur team ride, he has established himself as one of the contenders to capture the A and Pro Class championships. 

The 250 Pro Sport class kicked off the Supercross main events and Long came around with a third place start on a freshly watered Mini O’s SX track that looked more like ice than dirt. While the Team Green squad realized they didn’t have studs in their Dunlop tires, Long played it cool and moved to the head of the field. Managing the conditions and the race the checkers flew for him while Adams put in a valiant charge to finish a close second.  In 250 A, Long would round the first turn around 15th and end the first lap in 10th. Making passes in places most wouldn’t think is possible, the A-Train had its destination set for the podium. When the flag flew on the 10 lap moto Avery Long had passed everyone except class champion Krystian Janik. 

Avery Long is the real deal, but if you don’t get him during Black Friday the price will only go up on this rising star.

The hottest new item on the market at the Mini O’s might be Long’s fellow Minnesotan and now ClubMX training partner Ryder Malinoski. Fittingly, his bike and gear were outfitted to look a lot like a highlighter and Malinoski has been nothing short of a highlight reel thus far. On the podium in every race with a heat race win in the stacked B classes is a strong showing, but the real selling point had to be the 250 B Supercross Main Event. 

After pulling the holeshot Malinoski checked out on the field with blistering speed before tossing it away in spectacular fashion over the wall jump. Somehow his gap was so big Ryder remounted in second place and looked to salvage a podium finish or at least that is what most of us thought. Instead, while still over 7 seconds back Malinoski went after leader Luke Fauser like he was trying to steal the last TurboMan from his cart. 

Ryder Malinoski forgot all about salvaging a podium, playing if safe, or touching the backsides of the jumps (good thing for those Race Tech Gold Valves) and made it all the way alongside Fauser’s KTM with a lap to go. Fauser held on for the victory, but Ryder Malinoski looks like he’s established himself as the real deal this holiday season.

Mike Brown’s Thanksgiving Feast

If whipping up championships in the vet classes were a cooking competition, you better hope Mike Brown is prepping the turkey this Thanksgiving. The legend of what Mike Brown cooks up on the race tracks has written itself, but Mini O’s 2023 might need it’s own bonus chapter. Brownie has signed up for FIVE classes (30+, 35+, 40+, 45+, 50+) and through 9 of 10 heats and mains he’s won four championships and 8 of 9 motos (Steve Roman defeated him in the 35+ heat race). 

Tuesday Mike Brown will try to go 5 for 5 in Supercross as he battles Heath Harrison and the rest of the field in the 30+ Main Event.

Of course, Brown isn’t done there! The Munn Racing KTM pilot will toss on his fresh FXR gear for a run at FIVE more titles outdoors in the same classes. I would say it’s likely odds that Mike Brown wins more AMA Amateur National Championships than many hall-of-famers in a single week at Mini O’s with 10 possible Gold medals on the line. 

In true Thanksgiving fashion, we will just be thankful that Brownie didn’t decide to sign up for 25+ and feast on them too!

That’s all from Mini O’s Supercross on Monday. Good luck to all of the racers in Florida and Happy Thanksgiving to all of our motocross family. 

If you’re in the area, come check out an amazing show and 150% plus $4000 pro purse at the Peterson Racing Promotions Midwest Supercross in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this weekend. I’ll be there with a belly full of turkey pushing my kid’s mini bikes to the starting gate thankful for the memories we get to make on two wheels.

Main image: Jason Friberg

Written by Checkerz

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