By Fred Dreier
California-based mountain bike race promoters have finalized plans for the 2008 U.S. Cup, a 13-race series set to become the premier cross-country racing series on American soil. The U.S. Cup is being sponsored by the Los Angeles-based shipping company Sho-Air, and will offer competition for both professional and amateur riders.
The news answers questions about the future of American off-road racing which were raised when the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) — North America’s premier off-road series since 2004 — closed shop at the end of 2008.
The U.S. Cup is comprised of previously established cross-country races, and is split into two six-race sub series, called the Kenda Cup East and Kenda Cup West.
The Kenda Cup East includes the SERC No. 5 race in Ducktown, Tennessee, Alabama’s Bump and Grind, Virginia’s Massanutten Hoo-Ha, North Carolina’s Cowbell Challenge, the Snow Shootout at Mount Snow, Vermont, and the Windham Cup in Windham, New York.
The Kenda Cup West includes all California races: the Bonelli Park cross-country race, Fontana National, Sage Brush Safari, Sea Otter Classic, Santa Ynez Valley Classic and Santa Barbara Bike Festival.
The East and West Cups will each award series championships to professional and amateur riders, as well as a yet unannounced amount of cash and prizes.
All 12 races will operate under the wing of the U.S. Cup series, which will hold a series championship on September 26 during the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.
Organizers, who wished to remain anonymous, said further information on the series would be available within the coming month. A released mission statement said the U.S. Cup’s goal is to help its races “showcase our finest riders while fostering the development of new talent in a way that makes economic sense for organizers and participants alike.”
More information can be found at the U.S. Cup’s website, www.mtb-uscup.com
2008 U.S. Cup
– Kenda Cup West
March 11, Bonelli Park XC Race. San Dimas, CA
March 28-29, Fontana National. Fontana, CA
April 5, Sage Brush Safari. San Diego, CA
April 15, Sea Otter Classic. Monterey, CA
April 25-26, Santa Ynez Valley Classic. Los Olivos, CA
June 6-7, Santa Barbara Bike Festival. Santa Barbara, CA
Kenda Cup East
May 3, SERC No. 5. Ducktown, TN
May 31, Bump and G.rind. Birmingham, AL
June 6, Massanutten Hoo-Ha. Massanutten, VA
June 21, Cowbell Challenge. Davidson, NC
August 8-9, Snow Shootout. Mount Snow, VT
August 15-16, Windham Cup. Windham, NY
August 26, U.S. Cup Unification Race. Las Vegas, NV