May 24/08 5:49 am - US Open DH Preview & Qualifying
Posted by Editor on 05/24/08
US Open DH Preview
by Larry Ireland
The US Open of MTB at Mountain Creek in Vernon, New Jersey has become one of the most important events on the US gravity calendar. Not only is it an early season tune up for riders getting ready for an assault on the World Cup, but it is one of MTB racing's richest events, with the winner taking home a $5000 paycheck. In recent years the talent pool here has been deep, making it difficult to qualify for the finals. This year is no exception, with a start studded international field here to shred. World Champion Sam Hill, 2007 Open winner Bryn Atkinson, South Africa's Andrew Neethling, Filip Polc of the Czech Republic, Mitch Delfs of Australia, and an entire quiver of Canadians are all ready to give it their best shot.
Canada's hopes rest with Steve Smith (Cove Redbull), Tyler Morland (SRAM), Jamie Biluk (Orange Mojo) and the entire DH Racer squad. For the ladies it is Katrina Strand (Scott) and Marie-Eve Marcotte (Primary) who will be trying to get a Maple Leaf on the podium.
The course is dry and fast, with a technical upper wooded section, followed by a lower section consisting of the now famous back-to-back "US Open berms" and the final Redbull Finish line jump.
Sam Hill is looking to take revenge on a course that, last year, gave him not only a flat, but 7 stitches in his forearm.
1. Sam Hill (Aus) 2:39
2. Andrew Neethling (RSA) 2:42
3. Steve Smith (Can) 2:42
4. Bryn Atkinson (Can) 2:42
5. Filip Polc (Cze) 2:45
Women still to come.