Photos by: Monique & Brittany Spaulding
Report by: Quinton Spaulding
Professional Mountain Bike racing in the US has been given a face lift for 2009. SHO-AIR has stepped in and provided the sponsorship we have so dearly needed to put on a competitive race series.
“The Early Bird gets the Worm”… we arrived early Thursday morning grabbing ourselves a “primo spot”.
Most of the vendors and bicycle companies were there too for an early morning set-up.
Once all our “ducks were in a row,” we took off on a quick trip to Lake Elsinore to get a few runs in on Sam Hills local test track ...nothing but fun!
KHS Bicycles was the presenting sponsor of the Mountain Cross event for the Fontana City National.Â With all our signage and 4X specialists, it was becoming apparent that we might own that track once Saturdays finals rolled round.
Some fine tuning on Dale Holmes’s 4X bike before Fridays practice.
Holmes looked flawless in 4X practice, attacking the newly built track (thanks to Eric Carter), with nothing but confidence and total commitment.
Dale showed everybody why he is the Multi UK 4X National Champion, and surprised all the young guns with his unique and somewhat daring line choices.
Melissa Buhl showed her skills on the track too. Buhl who isÂ always in perfect form on any given day, is looking ready to tackle the 2009 World Cups and will be adorning her World Championship jersey for the 4X events.
Our pit area overlooked the 4X track, which was fitting as we were the presenting sponsor.
We were also situated right at the “start / finish” of the Cross Country event, which allowed us to always be right in the thick of all that was going on.
Saturday afternoon brought some great family entertainment when the Independent Ridas showed up and put on a great stunt show.
These guy’s work hard at perfecting their craft, however, I am not sure if their training is as intensive as ours… but their skill level definitely compares!
Right after the stunt show came the 4X finals.
Buhl was the number 1 qualifier in the woman’s elite field.
Left to right: Ashley Verhagen (BOS), Jill Kintener (RedBull / Intense), Melissa Buhl (KHS)
Jill Kintner (RedBull / Intense) is backÂ from her BMX Olympic bid in Beijing and showed that she will be tough to beat in 2009 on the MTB World Cup Circuit. Melissa took a 3rd place finish on the podium for KHS, not exactly how she wanted to start her 4X season, but still a very respectable performance.
PRO WOMEN 4X RESULTS
Holmes had everything fall into place for him at this 4X National. He won every heat race and simply killed his competition in the Final… taking the win in commanding fashion.
Left to right: Blake Carney (YETI), Dale Holmes (KHS), Eric Carter (GT)
Dale in his Championship jersey at podium presentations.
PRO MEN 4X RESULTS
The Downhill went well for our team in Sundays Finals.
I felt good all weekend, even after a really big crash n my last practice run on Friday afternoon.
Photo by: Craig “STIKMAN” GlaspellÂ (www.craigglaspell.com)
I managed to have enough fuel in the tank to pedal the entire wall during my final and ended up taking 19th place overall. Obviously I would like to win every race I enter (I am very competitive by nature), but I am grateful to finish in the top 20 at a National Level with International riders in the field and unscathed!
Naish Ulmer keeps building on the foundation he has created thus far in the 2009 race season – he placed 16th overall in the Final.
Ulmer has an enormous amount of raw talent, and with the right direction and training he could definitely be a contender at any race. I expect he will do well on the bigger courses later on in the season… the US Open in Vernon, NJ should be a great test for him.
PRO MEN DH RESULTS
KHS “B TEAM” rider Scott Johnston on the podium again. He took 2nd in the cat 1 Downhill, and a 3rd place finish in Saturdays cat 1 Super D. These are great results and enough for him to submit a petition to USA Cycling to upgrade to Pro. I think Johnston has a substantial chance at some bigger Super D finishes in 2009.
Left to right: Michelle Rivera, Kathy Pruit (JAMIS), Melissa Buhl (KHS), Sabrina Jonnier (MAXXIS / Rocky MTN), Jennifer Wolf (VIXXEN)
Melissa Buhl scorched the Downhill track on Sunday. She dominated the women’s field taking a win with a 5.8 second gap on second place finisher, Kathy Pruitt.
PRO WOMEN DH RESULTS
The Pro Cross Country was the final event Sunday afternoon, and excitement levels were elevated for the start.
The pro men class had a huge field of riders and it took almost a half hour just to stage them!
It was a great way to cap off the weekend. Sometimes it takes an event like this one at Fontana to remind people just how ALIVE Mountain Bike Racing really is. This was a busy weekend, full of action and excitement.
IN-N-OUT was in attendance on Sunday, providing free burgers and fries to the first 150 pre-registered riders, (which was enjoyed by all). What a good way to cap off a great weekend!
Without our AWESOME group of sponsors none of this would be possible… Thank You all.
Next on our agenda is the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA April 15th – 19th, the KHS Factory Team will be there looking to win some titles. If you happen to be there, please drop in and say Hi.
Stay tuned for more updates and photos as they become available.
All the best!