By Jason Sumner, Associate Editor
The dual slalom at NORBA national No. 1 will likely go down as the beginning of a youth movement. After years of seeing names like Brian Lopes and Wade Bootes at the top of the results sheet, it was a trio of under-21 kids who ruled the day at Snow Summit Resort in Big Bear Lake, California.
The winner was the youngest of them all, 17-year-old Mick Hannah of the Global Racing team. The Australian teenager was part of an all Global final where he squared off with Greg Minnaar, a 19-year-old from South Africa. Minnaar reached the final by knocking off Lopes (GT-Fox) and Bootes (Trek-Volkswagen) in back to back rounds, while Hannah took out Eric Carter (Mongoose-Hyundai) and Michael Deldycke (Schwinn).
In the first heat of the final round the two Global Riders were neck and neck until Minnaar slipped a pedal and missed the last gate. That gaffe gave Hannah the maximum advantage of 1.5 seconds, a bulge he would easily hold onto in the second heat.
“This is unbelievable,” said Hannah, who called his mother in Australia on a satellite phone just moments after his win.
Meanwhile in the consolation finals, it was the 20-year-old Deldycke taking down Bootes, the reigning world champion.
“We’re young but we’re fast,” said Deldycke, a native of France who hooked up with the Schwinn team during last offseason.
In the women’s race, it was Leigh Donovan putting a fitting conclusion to her long run of racing at Big Bear. The 29-year-old Schwinn rider, who says she’ll retire after this season, got her first career NORBA win at Snow Summit back in 1993. Saturday she got another win here, knocking off Katrina Miller (Jamis) in the finals.
“Out of all the races I’m going to do this year, this one was by far the most important,” Donovan said.
In the final Miller took the first heat by .343 seconds despite dabbing a foot right before the finish. But during the second run the stocky Australian’s number plate came loose and she said it was just enough of a distraction to cost her the race. Whatever the case, Donovan took advantage, putting more than a second on Miller to take the first dual slalom of the 2001 season.
In the women’s consolation round it was Tara Llanes (Yeti-Pearl Izumi) beating No. 1 qualifier Missy Giove of Global Racing.
Racing at Snow Summit concludes on Sunday with the men’s and women’s pro downhills. Check back to VeloNews.com for a full report.
NORBA NATIONAL NO. 1, Snow Summit Resort, Big Bear Lake, California, June 1-3
Dual slalom; Pro men;1. Mick Hannah (Aus), Global Racing; 2. Greg Minnaar (RSA), Global Racing; 3. Michael Deldycke (F), Schwinn; 4. Wade Bootes (Aus), Trek Volkswagen; 5-8. Kirt Voreis, Haro-Lee Dungarees; Brian Lopes, GT-Fox; Chris Kovarik (Aus), Intense; Eric Carter, Mongoose Hyundai.
Pro women; 1. Leigh Donovan, Schwinn; 2. Katrina Miller (Aus), Jamis; 3. Tara Llanes, Yeti-Pearl Izumi; 4. Missy Giove, Global Racing; 5-8. Melissa Buhl, ODI-KHS; Cheri Elliott, ODI-Azonic; Vanessa Quin (NZ), DD Inc.; Kathy Pruitt, Dirt Works.