Boston-based, electronic music artist Ali Berger will entertain visitors at the BMX Memorial Classic in Memorial Park tonight, beginning at 6 pm. Full disclosure: This is my kid!
Bring a lawn chair and come hang out near the BMX track, where Gruber Pool used to be. HUGE shout-outs to Cathy & Glen Knapper for organizing the Memorial Classic and for letting Ali play, and to the Pottstown Parks & Rec Department for the sound equipment.
Ali’s Facebook page describes his music as, “sometimes chilled out, sometimes heavy, but always glitchy, electronic, and above all, funky. His live shows incorporate on-the-fly mashups and remixes of his own original tunes, which range from glitch-hop to electrofunk to drum & bass. You can catch him rocking shows around Boston and on Lost in Bass on Glitch.FM every Monday night.”
Did you know that Pottstown is the home of a current national BMX champion?
Meet Justin Knapper, #1 in the nation in the Boys’ 14-year-old Expert class of the National Bicycle League (NBL). Oddly enough, because there are not very many BMX facilities in southeastern PA, Justin is also the 2010 New Jersey State Champion.
In order to compete in the 2010 Grand Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky last September, Justin had to compete in a minimum of six national races and place high enough to earn enough points to even qualify for the title of national champion. That was no problem because over the past two years, he’s gotten to the finals of every event he’s entered. Last year, that amounted to about 15 national events. So, how does he do it?
“I’ve been racing since I was three years old,” he said, rocking back and forth on his bike at Pottstown’s Trilogy Park. “I bike every day, mainly doing sprints in a parking lot, or going to the gym and lifting weights.”
Justin, who is sponsored byRennen/Intense, can often be seen working out with his older brother Jeremy, who placed 12th in the nation in the 19-25 Expert class and is also the reigning 2010 New Jersey State Champion in his age bracket.
For those who have never seen a BMX race, eight riders line up in a standing position at the top of a hill. When a green light goes on, a gate drops and the riders take off, sprinting over small hills and around a few curves before crossing the finish line. The whole race is over in about 30 seconds. The qualifying heats in an event are called “motos,” and the top 8 finishers from the motos end up in the main event or final. There are three levels – Rookie, Challenger and Expert. A rider can’t move up to the next level until they have a minimum of 15 first-place finishes in a main event.
Unfortunately, area residents attending this weekend’s Memorial Classic at Memorial Parkwill not get to see their hometown champion in action. This past March Justin took a spill and broke one of his legs in 5 places. But he’s still in the hunt to defend his title inLouisville on Labor Day weekend. He’s been doing physical therapy three times a week, and hopes to compete again in New Paltz, New York in mid-June. We’ll be rooting for you, Justin!
Did you know that Pottstown is home to Trilogy Park, a BMX, inline, and skateboard park that hosts a national event each Memorial Day weekend?
Trilogy Park is in Memorial Park at the site of the former Gruber Pool. This year the Memorial Classic is expected to bring between 3,000-5,000 visitors, depending on weather, from as far away as Florida and the Midwest. Each year this event has grown because of the tireless efforts of Pottstown residents Cathy and Glen Knapper and other parent volunteers, and it has gained a reputation as one of the premier events on the National Bicycle League (NBL) circuit.
BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross Racing. It involves biking over a dirt course with jumps and turns. Riders wear a helmet, long pants, long-sleeved shirt and closed-toe shoes. Bikes are inspected before each race for safety. Competitors practice the course as much as they can before the race so they’re familiar with the starting gate, obstacles and the turns. Each track posts moto-sheets on a moto-board; this is where riders can find out their number and gate lane for a race. BMX is open to all ages, from toddlers to the over-55 crowd.
The schedule for the Memorial Classic can be foundhere.
In general, bike inspections and practices by age group begin at 1:30 pm on Friday. A pre-race for local riders who will not be competing in the national races will take place at 6:30 pm.
On Saturday, inspections and practices begin at 6:30 am; opening ceremonies take place at 10:45 and races begin at 11 am and will run until about 4 pm.
On Sunday, there will be NO bike inspections or registrations. There are a few practices scheduled by age group, beginning at 7:30 am. Then racing gets underway at 8:30 am and will run until about 1:30 pm.
A really special part of this year’s event will be the arrival of the Warren family from Florida in Pottstown on Thursday, May 26th. Neva“The BMX Diva” and her parents, Tammy and Jay, are biking to all the National BMX events this year and blogging about it atwww.ridethenation.org. They started their journey on April 20th inTampa and will keep going until they get to the Grand National Championship inLouisville, Kentucky on Labor Day weekend. We’ll be featuring them in an upcoming post and talking about BMX and the Memorial Classic for the rest of the week, so stay tuned! “Like” Trilogy Park on Facebookto keep up with all the latest news, or call the TRACK HOTLINE at 484.363.0592.
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