On The Pegs Vol. 2 Issue 8 - August 2017 P 115 Alex Niederer on a slippery off-camber that bacame almost impossible to clean on Sunday because it was so slick. season for his success in win- ning this year’s title. “Overall, I was surprised and happy with the outcome this weekend and it was kind of emotional because of all the hard work I put in over the winter,” said Smage. “The feeling you get is something you strive for, but it doesn’t always go that way, so when it does it’s espe- cially satisfying. I put in a lot of extra effort over the winter and struggled through some frustration and adverse weather conditions and to have it pay off here in some of the muddiest of conditions is really rewarding.” On Saturday, Smage estab- lished an early lead on lap one when he managed to get through the difficult third sec- tion with just a one. This was especially impressive since no other riders even saw the exit cards on this section during the first lap. Section 10 was another near- impossible section, and none of the riders made it through on lap one. At the end of the first lap, Smage held a commanding lead with 14 points, followed by Freixa with 22. Sherco USA’s Andrew Putt was breathing down Freixa’s neck at 26 points, while Gas Gas North America teammates Alex Niederer and Bryan Roper rounded out the top five with 40 and 41 points, respectively.