Kovarik, Miller tops in Gravity opener
For 2003, Sea Otter promoters decided to add a new twist to the off-road gravity events. Chief Operating Officer Rick Sutton felt there was a need to reward those riders who take on all events with an overall goal of their own, thereby creating the "Gravity Omnium" a collection that includes mountain cross, downhill and dual slalom. It’s a sort of gravity variant of the “Iron Otter” that reserves a special prize for riders who take on both road and cross-country events at Sea Otter. Sutton explained, "we saw there were some riders who placed consistently well in all three events, but never
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By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor
For 2003, Sea Otter promoters decided to add a new twist to the off-road gravity events. Chief Operating Officer Rick Sutton felt there was a need to reward those riders who take on all events with an overall goal of their own, thereby creating the “Gravity Omnium” a collection that includes mountain cross, downhill and dual slalom. It’s a sort of gravity variant of the “Iron Otter” that reserves a special prize for riders who take on both road and cross-country events at Sea Otter.
Sutton explained, “we saw there were some riders who placed consistently well in all three events, but never won. This [Gravity Omnium] gives those consistent finishers a goal.”
Friday afternoon’s mountain cross qualifying kicked-off both the schedule of gravity events as well as the bid for the Gravity Omnium.
Held on a new course designed by rider Kyle Ebbett, the “trails-style” course provided riders with ample opportunity to pass with its freeway-size width, generous berms and ample start line stretch. A succession of increasing-size double jumps (for the men, the women were routed through a separate more-tame course) provided spectators thrills-and-spills with mistimed landing and over-shot trajectories.
Riders are universally praising the course as an ideal mountain cross course. Haro/Lee Dungarees Mike King commented that, “with their steep faces, the jumps are a lot like the “trails” jumps we ride back home. Make one mistake on the take-off and you’ll overshoot the landing. They certainly reward precision in take-offs and landings.”
A strong BMX contingent turned out today in men’s qualifying with riders such as Robbie Miranda and Todd Lyons qualifying 22nd and 30th respectively. Their bar-to-bar experience might just be winning formula to the four-abreast finals.
Friday’s men’s qualifying allowed riders to individually attack the course with the 64 lowest times (out of 92 competitors) to advance to Sunday’s course.
The women’s event saw 16 qualifiers. Giant’s Tara Llanes commented that she “loved the course, and is feeling pretty good about her confidence level going into the main event” with her third place qualifying time.
GT’s Brian Lopes was not able to race because of a still-mending broken thumb. According to Lopes’ mechanic Craig “Stikman” Glaspell, Lopes broken his thumb four weeks ago while he was visiting his friend, 125cc Motocross superstar James “Bubba” Stewart in Florida. In order to clear a “massive” double jump for an upcoming Oakley advertisement photo, Lopes found it necessary to get “towed in” via a quad. Glaspell reported,” he came up short on the landing, and the massive impact broke his thumb.” No surgery was needed, and Lopes is expected to fully recover for the upcoming Big Bear National.
Results Mountain Qualifier
1. Chris Kovarik in 34.32 sec
2. Eric Carter @-.05 sec
3. Wade Boots @-.3 sec
4. Rich Houseman @-.92 sec
5. Mick Hannah @-.93 sec
6. Kirt Voreis @-.94 sec
7. Greg Minnaar @-.98 sec
8. Nathan Rennie @-1.05 sec
9. Brian Schmith @-1.13 sec
10. David Klaassenvan @-1.18 secPro Women
1. Katrina Miller in 39.19 sec
2. Jill Kitner @-.24 sec
3. Tara Llanes @-.49 sec
4. Leigh Donovan @1.51 sec
5. Jamie Lilly @-2.4 sec
6. Melissa Buhl @-2.64 sec
7. Tai-Lee Muxlow @-2.92 sec
8. Mio Suemasa @-3.92 sec
9. Lisa Sher @-4.23 sec
10. Marla Streb @-4.69 sec