Photos by: Monique & Quinton Spaulding
Report by: Quinton Spaulding
Upon our arrival in Santa Ynez Valley early Thursday morning, we were directed to the courtesy truck and trailer wash. After cleaning up we proceeded to set up our pit area in what were very hot conditions, giving us a clear indication of what was to come…heat and more heat!
Setting up is not as bad as it seems unless you are in the middle of nowhere in 100+ degree temperatures,however, we did get it done …just a little slower than usual!!
KHS Factory racers Melissa Buhl and Logan Binggeli worked hard to stay cool before their first DH practice session. What really made it difficult was the 3000 yard hike to the start gate of the DH course. This was somewhat disappointing for a National from my prospective and I am sure many others felt the same way.
Melissa Buhl showed up ready to take care of business as always. She qualified 1st Friday evening in the Women’s Slalom and then went on to take the win beating out a legend and former NORBA Champion Leigh Donovan in the final heat Saturday evening. Let me add that Leigh Donovan looked really good, she hasn’t lost any of her speed and power!
Young KHS recruit Logan Binggeli displayed how his training is paying off! He went on to qualify 6th amongst the strongest the U.S.A. has to offer. He railed the berms during qualifying and looked really comfortable on his KHS 4X bike.
Here is a shot of Logan Saturday evening in his first heat going up against Brodie rider Ian Odom. Binggeli beat Odom in this heat and went on to finish 5th overall for the evening. This is Binggeli’s best Slalom finish yet as a pro racer.
Dale Holmes looked really good during practice and qualifying, even though Dual Slalom is not his favorite, he still did really well and qualified 9th. Unfortunately he crashed out on Saturday evening during the finals, but still finished a respectable 10th place in a format he is not quite used to.
Normally a downhill race requires a downhill bike, but sometimes we have to race smaller bikes that do not need as much travel, bikes that are lighter and easier to pedal…well this was definitely the case in Santa Ynez, it was all about “the short travel bike” at this event.
The KHS crew heading UP THE HILL to get in some DH practice, let me also mention it was about 104 degrees right about then? Our team consumed more ice and water at this event than we have the entire year!
Melissa Buhl on the podium again, she is comfortable here and expects to be on top at every race she attends…well done Buhler!
A “Flight for Life” chopper was on hand every day, which is always comforting and reassuring for any athlete who is partaking in an extreme sport. The only person in need of this service was air lifted for heat exhaustion.
Binggeli during his Pro Qualifier, even though it is hard to tell in this picture that he is “on the gas”!
Binggeli had a great weekend for KHS, he acquired his first DH podium at a National, and did it on a KHS. Well done Binggeli!! This should be a great confidence booster going into Angel Fire New Mexico this weekend. Angel Fire sports a World Cup downhill course, and it is this type of course that Binggeli really excels on.
Melissa went on to win the womens downhill. This secures her a second consecutive double in 4X / dual slalom and downhill for 2008, giving her an overall points lead in both disciplines for the National Series.
We are on our way to Angel Fire New Mexico to attend the Chile Challenge which is stop # 3 of the Mountain State Cup Series this weekend. Please stay tuned for more updates and photos as they become available.
All the best,