Posted by Editoress on 05/26/08
US Open DH Report & Photos
by Larry Ireland
Canadian pinner Steve Smith (Cove Redbull) finally managed to stay on his bike for an entire run, and took home first place here at the US Open of Mountain Biking in Vernon, New Jersey. Smith set a blistering pace that couldn't be matched, with a time of 2:36.73.
The star-studded field included World Champion Sam Hill (Monster Energy / Iron Horse), who took home second, just over a half second back from the Canadian. Last year's winner, Australian Bryn Atkinson (GT Bikes), took home 3rd place.
Smith, who has had a string of bad luck resulting in huge crashes lately, managed to talk about his run while being mobbed by the other Canadian racers in attendance. "It went awesome this week. The course was sick and a lot faster than the day before. I just kept it smooth."
This year's Open course was a hit with most riders, as some of the rougher sections of the course were smoothed over to get speeds up. The infamous rock garden, which gobbled up many a racer this week, was filled with hundreds of spectators wielding airhorns and bottles of beer, urging riders on.
For the women, it was Fionn Griffiths (Norco) with a time of 3:03.333 who took home the gold medal. American Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) made her way down the course just about 3 seconds back from Griffiths. Joanna Petterson was third. Top Canadian was Marie-Eve Marcotte (Primary) in 4th place after a course hold forced her and country woman Katrina Strand (Scott) back up to the top for a re-run.
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