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MTB News & Notes

Jeremiah Bishop (Monavie-Cannondale) and Jamie Dinkins (Motor Mile Racing) won Virginia’s Massanutten HooHa! cross-country race on June 7. The event was the third race of the Kenda Cup East, the east coast wing of the ShoAir-Specialized U.S. Cup of mountain bike racing, and was held at Massanutten Resort. The Massanutten race was a hometown event for Bishop, who hails from nearby Harrisonburg and trains extensively on the resort’s network of trails. The hilly area sits in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

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By Fred Dreier

Jeremiah Bishop (Monavie-Cannondale) and Jamie Dinkins (Motor Mile Racing) won Virginia’s Massanutten HooHa! cross-country race on June 7. The event was the third race of the Kenda Cup East, the east coast wing of the ShoAir-Specialized U.S. Cup of mountain bike racing, and was held at Massanutten Resort.

The Massanutten race was a hometown event for Bishop, who hails from nearby Harrisonburg and trains extensively on the resort’s network of trails. The hilly area sits in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

Bishop won by a sizable gap over Kenda Cup East series leader Sam Koerber (Gary Fisher 29er Crew), with fellow Harrisonburg resident Jeff Schalk (Trek) finishing third.

“It went pretty much to script. It’s my home course, and it’s very technical. The stream crossings made for a slippery course,” Bishop said. “It allowed me to really settle into a good groove.”

Dinkins, who won the Kenda Cup East opener, held May 3rd in Ducktown, Tennesee, took the win ahead of Anina Aaron and Jane Pearsons.

World Cup Gravity continues in Fort William

Fort William, Scotland — home of the 2007 UCI mountain bike world championships — hosted the fourth round of the UCI gravity mountain bike World Cup June 6-7. The world’s top downhillers and Four-cross racers competed on the same courses used for the ’07 worlds, and the 2009 event produced two similar victors.

American Jill Kintner (Red Bull-Intense), who took the ’07 world Four-cross title, emerged on top in Fort William, beating Australian Caroline Buchanan, Brit Fionn Griffiths and reigning world champ Melissa Buhl (KHS) in the finals. Noticeably absent from the final round was reigning World Cup champion Anneke Beerten, who was eliminated in the quarter final round. Beerten saw her overall lead in the World Cup series taken away by Kintner.

“I really wanted to win here,” Kintner said after the race.

Fort William also smiled on French downhiller Sabrina Jonnier, who won the world downhill title at the Scottish venue back in 2007. Jonnier (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) smashed the women’s field, taking a nine-second win ahead of countrywoman Emmeline Ragot. British rider Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing), the only other woman to win a World Cup so far this year, crashed during the finals and had to settle for 9th.

Winning the men’s downhill was South African Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), who also won the World Cup opener on April 12 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

In Fort William, Minnaar was second fastest in qualifying behind ’07 world champion Sam Hill (Monster-Specialized). But the South African put more than one second into Hill in the finals, and he clocked a top speed of nearly 70 kilometers per hour.

“I gave it my all,” Minnaar said. “Sam Put up an amazing time, and I really had to pull out all the stops at the bottom of the course.”

Australian rider Jared Graves took home the victory in the men’s Four cross. Graves is three for four in 2009 World Cup racing, and his victory in Fort William came two years after he nearly claimed the world title on that course in 2007. Graves looked to be the fastest man in the qualifying rounds, however the Aussie suffered a rear tire blowout in the final corner of the quarter finals, and did not advance to the finals, which were won by American Brian Lopes.

“For me, Fort William is the best World Cup of the series, and to win here for the second year in a row is pretty special,” said the Australian, who won at Fort William in 2008.

Granby, Colorado, promotes national championships with billboard

Granby Ranch, the real estate community that owns Sol Vista ski resort, is erecting a billboard advertising its hosting of the July 16-19 USA Cycling mountain bike national championships. The billboard will measure 10X24 feet, and will be placed north of Winter Park ski resort along Highway 40.

“(The area) gets three million visitors a year, so we’re thinking at least one million people will come by in the summer and see the billboard,” said Jim Houston, Granby Ranch’s senior director of marketing. “We wanted to do something to get the word out that this event is happening, and people should come check it out.”

Sol Vista is in the process of expanding its mountain bike park, and Houston hopes the national championships event will bring more awareness to the area’s trails and terrain. The area first hosted regional mountain bike races in 2007, and last year Sol Vista hosted the Colorado state championship, called the Sol Survivor race, which was part of the Mountain States Cup.

“This is a way for us to have (the national championships) in Colorado, to bring it off of the notion that it has to be on one of the coasts,” Houston said.

The area will host the national championship race through 2010.