May 24/04 11:07 am - NORBA Big Bear: Short Track and DH
Posted by Editoress on 05/24/04
NORBA #3 Big Bear Lake, CA
Courtesy Andy Lee, USA Cycling
Best described as 20 minutes of pain, the short track event wrapped up the cross country events at the third round of the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series in Big Bear Lake, Calif.
In the women's race, Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.) left no doubt in the minds of anyone that she was the strongest rider in attendance. After winning Saturday's cross country event, Vanlandingham entered the day leading the overall classification by 2:15 over Jimena Florit (ARG) and had a dual focus of taking both the stage win and the overall by day's end.
As is customary in short track racing, the race was intense from the gun as the favorites pushed the pace hoping to thin out the field early on. Vanlandingham and her Luna Women's teammate, Katerina Hanusova (CZE) staked their claim at the front of the race along with other notables, Florit, Kerry Barnholt (Boulder, Colo.), and Dara Marks-Marino (Flagstaff, Ariz.). The Luna teammates kept the pace high and eventually the two had formed what would prove to be an insurmountable gap to the chasers behind.
For a moment it looked as though Marks-Marino would regain contact with the duo, but faded in the last few laps. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.), who won the stage one time trial, took over the chase and passed Marks-Marino in the closing laps, but up ahead the Luna women were simply too strong. Vanlandingham opened up a slight gap on Hanusova in the final couple of laps and claimed both the stage win and the overall victory.
"Katerina and I didn't really talk about it much before the race," Vanlandingham said afterwards. "We just planned on both getting to the front together and keeping the pace high until it split up a little. Once we were off the front, we worked well together."
In men's competition, it was Australian Paul Rowney who finally made a breakthrough winning his first-ever NORBA National Mountain Bike Series race despite being on the podium nine times in his career. In a contest that started just as furiously as the women's race, it first appeared as if Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif.) would avenge his near miss yesterday steadily forcing the pace at the front of the race early on. The only two riders that were able to match the pace at the front were Rowney and Chris Sheppard (CAN). Throughout the first third of the 20 minute affair, the three rode off the front together but eventually Trebon fell off the pace.
Rowney and Sheppard maintained their lead together until Sheppard suffered a slow leak in his rear tire. Riding the remaining three laps with a rear flat, Sheppard lost contact with Rowney who easily cruised in for the short track win despite desperate chase efforts from Sheppard, Trent Lowe (AUS) and yesterday's winner, Travis Brown (Durango, Colo.).
Stage 3 Short Track
1. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna
2. Katerina Hanusova (Cze) Luna
3. Heather Irmiger (USA) Tokyo Joes
4. Dara Marks-Marino (USA) Ford Cycling
5. Kerry Barnholt (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
6. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX Ralph Lauren
7. Tonya Laffey (USA) MTBChick.com
8. Jamie Whitmore-Cardenas (USA) Reebok
9. Gretchen Reeves (USA) Rocky Mountain-Business Objects
10. Sara Bresnick (USA) Minuteman
1. Paul Rowney (Aus) Yeti
2. Chris Sheppard (Can) Haro-adidas
3. Trent Lowe (Aus) Yeti
4. Travis Brown (USA) Trek-Volkswagen
5. Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona Clarks-Les Gets
6. Andreas Hestler (Can), Rocky Mountain-Business Objects
7. Max Plaxton (Can), Rocky Mountain-Business Objects
8. Tristan Schouten (USA) PCW Cycling
9. Frank Mapel (USA) Specialized
10. Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Clarks-Les Gets
1. Shonny Vanlandingham
1. Travis Brown
2. Trent Lowe (Aus) Yeti
3. Chris Sheppard (Can) Haro-adidas
4. Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona Clarks-Les Gets
The third round of the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series in Big Bear Lake, Calif. marked the introduction of "downhill mania" , the eagerly awaited downhill format that is a cross between traditional downhill racing and four-up mountain cross. And to help introduce the format were the world's best gravity riders as they went head to head down a treacherous downhill course.
With four riders exiting the gate at the top of the mountain together, the ensuing rush to the bottom resulted in only the top-two moving on to contest the next round. After yesterday's dual slalom that featured Eric Carter (Temecula, Calif.) and Australian Sam Hill in the men's finals and Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) and Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif.) in the women's finals, odds were that at least some combination of that foursome would reprise their roles in the finals in today's "downhill mania".
After the morning's qualifying round, Marla Streb (Los Osos, Calif.), Jonnier, Bernardita Pizarro (CHI) and Kathy Pruitt grabbed the top four seeds respectively in the women's event and Greg Minnaar (RSA), Steve Peat (GBR), Mick Hannah (AUS) and Jared Graves (AUS) posted the best men's qualifying times.
Seedings were insignificant however when it came to the final as Peat was the only top-four seed to make it all the way through to the finals. He was joined by Carter, John Kirkaldie (NZL), and American, David Klaasenvanoorschot. In a repeat performance from last year, Carter took the downhill win to sweep both gravity events on the weekend.
The women's final was a different story as the top four seeds in qualifying made it through to the final run. In the final, it was Jonnier who took the win completing a sweep of her own after also winning yesterday's dual slalom.
Following yesterday's dual slalom event which counted towards the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series overall Mountain Cross standings, Carter and Jonnier, propelled by yesterday's wins, lead the overall standings.
1. Eric Carter (USA) Mongoose-Hyundai
2. David Klaassenvanorschot (USA) Intense
3. Steve Peat (GBr), Royal Orange
4. John Kirkcaldie (NZl), Maxxis
5. Jared Graves (Aus), Yeti
6. Mick Hannah (Aus), Haro-adidas
7. Joel Panozzo (Aus), Progressive
8. Bryn Atkinson (Aus), Iron Horse-MadCatz
1. Sabrina Jonnier (Fra), Intense
2. Marla Streb (USA) Luna
3. Bernardita Pizarro (Chi), Chilean National
4. Kathy Pruitt (USA) Luna
5. Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS
6. Lisa Sher (USA) Chumba Wumba
7. Anka Martin (USA)
8. Tara Llanes (USA) Giant-Pearl Izumi
1. Eric Carter, 558pts
2. Wade Bootes, 531
3. Mick Hannah, 500
4. Mike King, 497
5. Rich Houseman, 430
1. Sabrina Jonnier, 584pts
2. Jill Kintner, 559
3. Tara Llanes, 552
4. Katrina Miller, 531
5. Melissa Buhl, 475