Youngster Hannah, Vet Donovan Prevail at Big Bear, CA|
Thursday, June 07, 2001
BIG BEAR LAKE (Calif.), 2 June, 2001 - The 2001 SoBe Dual Slalom held at Snow Summit Resort in Big Bear, California, hosted one of the largest and most exciting mountain bike slalom races ever! Australia's Mick Hannah and Leigh Donovan of Mission Viejo, Calif. came out as the winners. As the first stop on the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series, over 3000 spectators lined the side fence along easily the most challenging and technical race courses Team Big Bear has ever put together. A tight twisting course that left little opportunity for pedaling, and enormous opportunities for cornering, jumping, and berm shots.
Narrowing the huge field of over 100 of the world's top Pro men into a mere 32 qualifying slots set the stage for an exciting afternoon of heated action. From among the biggest names on the circuit, the newest faces on the scene would steal the limelight and stake themselves the top slots on the podium.
The Global Racing Team riders Mick Hanna and Greg Minnaar (Republic of South Africa) outraced names like Brian Lopes, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Team GT), Eric Carter, Temecula, Calif. (Mongoose Hyundai), 2000 world champion Wade Bootes, Australia, (Trek Volkswagen), and Dave Cullinan, (Oakley) on their way to ultimately facing each other in a final match that was decided inches from the finish lights. Mick taking the Championship round, with Greg in second, France's Michael Deldycke (Schwinn) placed third, and Bootes took fourth.
The Pro Women's field was led early on by another lightening fast green Global Racing jersey and an Orange mountain bike. Missy "The Missile" Giove came out fast in the early heats but took a hard crash in the semi-finals against Schwinn's Leigh Donovan.
Donovan advanced into the finals to meet Jamis's fastest woman racer, Katrina Miller of Australia. Miller had overtaken Tara Llanes, Brea, Calif. (Yeti) in the semi and was well matched against Leigh going into the finals. Miller and Donovan took a win each, but it was Leigh who edged Miller by nearly a full second to the finish in the final run of the competition.
It was a full afternoon of racing action that was full of thrills, surprises, and upset as the sport's fastest and most well known men were skillfully eliminated by relatively unknown faces on a course that demanded all the handling a rider could reach inside and pull out. On the courses this sport has come to know it could have easily been Brian Lopes and Eric Carter in an all American final - instead today it was a 17 year-old Australian and a 19 year-old African who would raise the bar another notch for the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championships Mountain Bike Series.
Pro Men Slalom:
1. Mick Hanna, Australia (Global Racing Team)
2. Greg Minnaar, Australia (Global Racing Team)
3. Michael Deldycke, (Schwinn)
4. Wade Bootes, (Trek/Volkswagon)
1. Leigh Donovan, (Schwinn)
2. Katrina Miller, (Jamis Bicycles)
3.Tara Llanes, (Yeti/Pearl Izumi)
4. Missy Giove, (Global Racing Team)