Report by: Quinton Spaulding
Photos by: Monique Spaulding
It’s always exciting to get to the first National Race of the year. Everybody has been training, testing equipment, getting their heads in the game – just all round zooming in…keeping their “eye on the prize” and hoping to do well at the first “BIG race” of the year.
Setting up is always fun at the Nationals!
We arrived in Fontana, California Wednesday evening to some beautiful weather. Immediately we got to see familiar faces, faces that we see year in, and year out, people that become your family away from home.
Team Big Bear Race Promoter Tom Spiegel Checks in with his MOMMY!
Southridge Park was bursting at the seams this past weekend! I was told the numbers were up 35% from previous years and that this was the busiest Fontana National to date. This is inspiring news for Team Big Bear , Southridge USA and for the mountain biking community all round. We all love what we do, and go to the races because we want to be there, and to have the stats looking bright for the future is AWESOME! This goes to show that we do matter at ground zero!
Melissa Buhl took the 1st place qualifying spot in the Women’s 4X Friday evening, and ran a time that none of the other girls could really compete against. Despite the fact that Buhl was racing seasoned World Cup 4X pro’s, she went on to win without anyone coming close at all, on what was an exciting Fontana 4X course…well done Buhler!
Logan Binggeli qualified in 9th place amongst an extremely competitive Men’s 4X field. Some of the best in the world had showed up to do business. Binggeli went on to earn a very respectable 7th place overall, and remember this kid is just getting started.
Dale Holmes qualified 12th in the Men’s 4X, however as we have come to know with Holmes…when you have a “World Class” gate start like him, qualifying spots do not always mean that much. Holmes raced a fantastic 4X, and won every one of his heat races like he always does…all the way to the finals. Unfortunately he’s gate start in the final was not a 100%, yet he still fought back from 4th to take the overall 3rd place finish and most importantly a 3rd place podium spot for KHS Bicycles and all it’s sponsors.
After 4X Saturday evening, some “CRAZY STUNT PEOPLE” put on a fantastic demonstration of “skill and confidence” whilst throwing their crotch rockets around the Southridge parking lot. These guy’s and their “SUPER BIKES” put on quite a spectacular show for all those in attendance.
Sundays Downhill went well for us. This was definitely a World Cup top ten in the Men’s Pro Final. This is a really tough course to run a qualifier on and then race. By the time you have done both, your legs are DONE! I mean DUN! Sprinting the infamous wall is an incredible case of “mind over matter”, your legs and lungs say “no” but the brain overrides them and you continue to sprint, some racers have even complained of blacking out before crossing the finish line. What made this even more difficult was that we had to race the California State Championship Downhill race right after the National on the same course. Once done with the national, I was in disbelief that I had to go up and do it again for the Cal State!
Melissa Buhl topped the podium again, Buhl had a good enough run to separate herself from 2nd place by a whopping 8 seconds. Melissa’s training is definitely paying off, because like I have mentioned before there is nothing more physically demanding than sprinting the wall in Fontana
Chuck Valenzuela also got on top of the podium for KHS in the Cal State Vet Pro DH race. Valenzuela is always a feature on the Vet Pro DH podium. He also placed 17th in the Semi Pro class for the National.
Logan Binggeli placed 29th in the Pro DH National and 7th in the Pro Cal State Pro DH.
I ended up 40th in the Pro DH National, one place behind Eric Carter who was 39th and I took 9th in the Cal State Pro DH.
KHS Factory Team mechanic G-Money had his hands full at this race! He worked on bikes 24-7 all 4 days, and I know he was happy to see his work turn into podiums for KHS. “You can be the best athlete in the world but if your equipment is not ready and reliable you’re not winning the race” says Gavin on Sunday afternoon after all was said and done.
KHS has been the Presenting Sponsor of the Downhill at the Fontana National for the last 3 years. We gave away 15 bikes…yes I said 15 bikes to some lucky winners throughout the entire weekend. Here are some pictures of a few winners.
The KHS Factory Crew will be at the Sea Otter Classic next. Hope to see you there! Please stay posted for more updates and photos as they become available.
All the best!