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Bishop, Sawicki win Oktoberfest

Written by: Fred Dreier

Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-Volkswagen) and Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) won the National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday. The eight-hour cross-country race was the final event of USA Cycling’s National Ultra Endurance calendar.

The elite event capped of a weekend of four different cross-country races. Bishop took the win by a slender 12-seconds over Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication), as both riders completed 14 laps around the course.

Sawicki, the 2008 solo 24-hour national champion, jumped into an early lead over Denelle Grant (Bike Factory Racing) and never looked back. Sawicki’s lead was big enough for the native Hawaiian to ride the final lap with her dog, Koa, sitting in her pack. The victory earned Sawicki the overall title in USA Cycling’s yearlong Ultra Endurance Calendar, a series made up of marathon, 24-hour and 12-hour events.

Nat Ross (Subaru-Gary Fisher), started strong in the elite men’s race alongside Tinker Juarez (Monavie-Cannondale), but faded to fifth place with 12 laps. The finish was good enough to secure the Subaru-Gary Fisher the overall Ultra Endurance points title.

National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest
October 25, 2008

Elite Men
1. Jeremiah Bishop, Trek-Volkswagen, 14 laps
2. Harlan Price, Independent Fabrication, 14
3. Tinker Juarez, Monavie-Cannondale, 13
4. Ernesto Marenchin, Speedgoat.com, 13
5. Nat Ross, Subaru-Gary Fisher, 12

Elite women
1. Pua Sawicki, Team Mata
2. Denelle Grant, Bike Factory Racing
3. Blakely Sapsford, Guy’s Racing

Lopes, Griffiths Win Final Jeep Event
Brian Lopes (Ibis-Oakley) and Fionn Griffiths (Norco) won the final event of the Jeep 48Straight series (formerly Jeep King of the Mountains), held October 25 in San Luis Obispo, California. Eric Carter (Mongoose) and Melissa Buhl (KHS) escaped with the overall titles, as well as keys to brand new Jeep Cherokees.

Lopes, the four-time world champion in the sport of Four cross, faced off against Carter in the finals of the event, which features a hybrid dual slalom/mountain cross course. Carter grabbed the national title in dual slalom earlier this year, and posted consistent finishes at the opening two Jeep 48Striaght races, held in Utah and New Jersey. But his longtime rival, Lopes, proved too much and grabbed the final win of the series.

“I felt really strong at practice on Friday and came in first in the qualifier, which gave me a lot of confidence heading into today’s race,” said Lopes, who was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame earlier this year. “I have really high expectations for myself, and was disappointed with how I did in the first race of the season. I wanted to redeem myself, and coming out here today against this caliber of athletes and getting the win feels really good.”

Buhl, who earlier this year claimed the world title in Four Cross, finished second in New Jersey and first in Utah. The Chandler, Arizona native wasn’t able to out duel Britain’s Fionn Griffiths in the finals in California, however the second-place finish earned Buhl her first-ever Jeep title.

“”I felt confident today because I really liked the speed and layout of the course, which matches my race style,” said Buhl. “This whole season has been amazing for me, and is by far the best I’ve ever ridden. I am having a great time, and I know that I’ll now have a target on my back and I’ll have to work harder and harder to stay at this level.”

Lopes and Griffiths pocketed $5,000, with cash earnings for each finisher through 16th place. The Jeep 48Straight event from San Luis Obispo will air on CBS on November 1.

Hannah Joins Carter at Mongoose
Downhiller Mick Hannah will join Eric Carter at Mongoose bicycles for 2009, bringing two of the sport’s most talented gravity racers together.

Carter, known as “EC” at Mongoose, will focus on supporting the sport and the Mongoose brand through his involvement with developing trails, backing events and helping to run bike demos and rides at shops around the country.

Hannah retreated from racing in 2008 following a brilliant 2007 season, which saw him win the opening round of the UCI World Cup.

“I’m really excited to start racing again in 2009. I enjoyed my year off but couldn’t stay away from racing. I did a race a few weeks ago and was very encouraged by the way I was riding. I’ve got my focus back,” said Hannah.

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