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Photo ©: Swift

MTB news & racing round-up for February 16, 2006

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in MTB. Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to

World champions to ride Oceania MTB Championships

In a major boost for the event, a host of world-class riders will ride the New Zealand Community Trust Oceania MTB Championships in Rotorua on March 3-5. French downhill legends Fabien Barel and Cedric Gracia will compete, along with Canadian Geoff Kabush plus Australians Sid Taberlay and Chris Jongewaard, who'll ride the cross country race. The course will be the one used for this year's world championships, and with most riders competing at the Commonwealth Games using the event as preparation for Melbourne two weeks later, competitive racing is guaranteed.

Barel, the reigning men's down hill world champion, should be competing against Australian Sam Hill, who was second to Barel at the 2005 World Championships in Italy. Barel's countryman Gracia, along with New Zealand's new national champion Nathan Rankin, Justin Leov and Glenn Haden will join riders from New Caledonia, Austria, Israel and Britain in the men's downhill competition. In the women's event, New Zealand's former world champions Vanessa Quin and Scarlett Hagen will ride for an Oceania title.

In the elite men's cross country race Canada's Geoff Kabush will push Australia's three Commonwealth Games riders Josh Fleming, Chris Jongewaard and Sid Taberlay all the way, and with New Zealand's Kashi Leuchs competing, a podium place will be a hard task. The women's cross country race has also attracted a big field, with New Zealand's national champion Rosara Joseph facing Kiara Bisaro (Canada), former world champion Lisa Mathison (Australia), Australian Commonwealth Games riders Claire Baxter, Emma Colson and Dellys Starr, plus Switzerland's Nathalie Schneittel and Eva Lechner from Italy (silver medalist, 2003 world championships) all featuring in Rotorua.

Kona Les Gets gets ready for 2006

After the most successful season in team history, the Kona Les Gets Factory Team is in preparation for another championship winning year in 2006. Kona Les Gets is the home of Men's World Downhill Champion, European Downhill Champion and French Downhill Champion Fabien Barel, the UCI number one ranked Women's Downhill racer Tracy Moseley, top XC racers Barry Wicks, Ryan Trebon, Kris Sneddon and with Kamil Tatarkovic coving 4X.

The team will be riding Kona's lightweight, durable and purpose built bikes, ranging from Barel and Moseley's World Championship winning Stab Supreme downhill bike, Tatarkovic's new Howler 4X bike, to the King Supreme and Kula Supreme XC for Trebon and Wicks.

The team will be contending the UCI World Cup & NORBA Series along with appearances at other major events around the world; including the season opening Sea Otter Classic.

The 2006 Kona Les Gets MTB team is sponsored by Marzocchi shocks, Maxxis, Hayes, Sun-Ringle, Shimano, Fox Racing Shox, Race Face, Verge, WTB, Paligap, Heinz, E13, Sombrio and not forgetting Dan & Jake! Keep up to date with the team through out 2006 here –

LUNA Chix for 2006

The LUNA Professional Mountain Bike Team goes into 2006 with an expanded roster that includes the addition of two-time Olympian, Jimena Florit (ARG) and rising star Georgia Gould. Shonny Vanlandingham, Katerina Hanusova, Marla Streb, and Alison Dunlap will return for another season in varying capacities. The competition squad—Vanlandingham, Hanusova, Florit and Gould—will focus primarily on cross-country racing in defense of their NORBA National titles. They will also attend selected World Cup and X-Terra events in 2006.

Alison Dunlap and Marla Streb remain on the team as Ambassadors to the program. Dunlap will attend events conducting women's rides & clinics. She will also provide coaching advice to LUNA's pro athletes and Ambassadors. Marla will preserve the gravity aspect of the program as she continues serving as LUNA's one-woman PR machine and part-time racer. (Pregnant at the time of this writing, Streb has vowed to return and win the U.S. National Downhill Championship later this season!)

The LUNA Pro Triathlon Team has been integrated into the Team LUNA Chix fold for 2006, aligning management, sponsorship and visual presentation with that of the Pro Mountain Bike Team. This three-woman squad will attend national events including the Ironman World Championships, Wildflower, and The Escape From Alcatraz Triathlons.

The 2006 LUNA Pro Triathlon Team will see the return of Terra Castro, a proven winner in elite triathlons, accompanied by swimming ace Linda Gallo, winner of three races during in 2005. They will be joined by Katya Meyers.

Georgia State Single Speed Championships announced

Preparations are underway for the Georgia State Single Speed Mountain Bike Championships to be held on March 19th.  The race builds upon a growing movement in mountain bike racing. “With an increasing number of riders switching to single speeds, a state championship event seemed natural,” said race director Shey Lindner.

The event is part of a single speed festival being promoted by Shey Lindner, a racer on the Cannondale MTB team, and Scott Hodge and Grant Lockwood, owners of Addictive Cycles in Braselton, Georgia. “This event is the brainchild of Craig Henderson, one of the shop's good customers,” Hodge said in a press release. 

The event is permitted and sanctioned by USA Cycling as an official State Championship event. Only racers from Georgia are eligible for the GA State Champion title and jersey, but all riders are welcome and are eligible for prizes. Mr. Lindner is encouraging anyone with a bike to try out single speed racing, “Anyone can race as long as they only use one speed. Their regular bike can be locked into one gear, a single speed, and the shifter cables removed making them eligible to race.” Other contests over the weekend include: a track stand competition, longest skid, longest wheelie, drag race, foot down and bike toss. Also, the racers and spectators will get a chance to check out some of the nicest single speed bikes in the country, at the bike show, throughout the weekend.

“This will be a one of a kind festival with sponsor booths, a band, a tattoo artist or two, massage chairs, food, and more,” said Addictive Cycles Owner Scott Hodge. “With sponsors like Maxxis, Thomson, Surly, PZ Racing, Cannondale, Park Tools,, Braselton Grill, and, this event is sure to be a success that centers on fun competition…like it should be.”   

For more information go to

IMBA looking for grant applicants

Thanks to an outpouring of support from the trails community, the 109th Congress of the United States dedicated $370 million to the it's Recreational Trails Program (RTP); a funding mechanism to assist communities to build and maintain recreational trails in the United States. Interested clubs and organizations actually need to apply for the money though. With that in mind, IMBA has put together a comprehensive guide to applying for RTP funding; now available on their Web site.

"This online toolkit is designed to make it easy for your club to apply for funding," IMBA said in a press release this week. On their Web site are documents outlining the process which include tips on finding the right agency to apply to and hints on writing a successful application.

Forms and additional information is available at

Marin partners with Mad March Downhill and Freeride Camps

Marin Bikes, manufacturer of performance bicycles, recently announced its signing and support of Mad March Racing Camps. As partners and principals of Mad March Racing, Shaums March and Mike Jones will exclusively conduct Downhill and Free Ride camps and compete on Marin bikes this upcoming season. Mad March Racing has teamed up with Marin to promote mountain biking in a new way throughout North America, sharing their passion, knowledge and skills with riders of all levels.

With a renewed commitment to develop performance full suspension systems, the partnership with Mad March Racing will creatively promote the QUAD XLT line to resorts, Bicycle dealers and most importantly, riders interested in improving their skills. March and Jones will be riding Quake models, a suspension system that operates on Marin's QUAD-LINK design. Developed in conjunction with Fox DHX rear shocks, the suspension can be set up firmly for big hits and jumping, or supple for maximum traction, making it the ideal Free Ride bike.

“Marin's energy behind our camps will enable us to reach more people who are interested in becoming better riders," said Jones. "We hope to promote Marin with the same kind of enthusiasm and commitment they have shown to us.” Jones has raced and ridden mountain bikes for over 15 years throughout North America. In this time, he has been a fixture in the Canadian riding scene and has represented Canada five times on the National Team as well as being the National Downhill Champion three times and BC Champion numerous times. He has also been the host of the internationally aired Ride Guide TV show for the past three years and looks forward to riding, teaching and competing on a Marin this upcoming season.

March and Jones will be present for the debut the new QUAD XLT, Marin's innovative Free Ride platform, at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey.

For more information on how to participate in an upcoming Mad March Racing camp, please go to For more information about Marin and the QUAD XLT suspension system, visit

New MTB trade team announced

Gravity Group, a new-for-2006 international downhill and four-cross mountain-bike team, announced it's roster this week. Planning on a schedule of World and European Championships, World Cups, Maxxis Cups and other international events in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the team is made up of four european racers:

Filip Polc from Slovakia finished ninth overall in the 4X World Cup in 2005. Leiv-Ove Nordmark, a former BMXer from Norway, won the 4X World Cup final last year 2005. Sam Blenkinsop from New Zealand has his eyes on the downhill junior title at the Worlds. German Lorenzo Suding rounds out the roster.

The team is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, Turner, A-Class, Formula, FSA, Fi`zi:k, Giro, Kenda, MRP, Novatec, ODI, Rock Shox, Sram and Time.

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