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NORBA Series #1 - E1
Big Bear, California, USA, May 17-18, 2003
Race 4 - May 18: Downhill
Downhill event dedicated to memory of Haruko Fujinaka
By Andy Lee
Today's Downhill competition was dedicated to fallen Professional Japanese competitor, Haruko Fujinaka, who died as a result of her injuries sustained in a crash while practicing on the downhill course on Saturday. The 33-year-old from Kyoto, Japan was transported to a local hospital yesterday after her crash, where she was pronounced dead at 11:51a.m. PST. This was the first such reported fatality in the 25-year history of NORBA racing at Snow Summit Mountain Resort. Prior to the start of today's competition, a moment of silence was observed in Fujinaka's memory.
The action itself in today's downhill race exhibited all the passion and determination characteristic of the sport as the field was full of top-notch talent all seeking victory in the season opener. The tactics today were simple: be the fastest one down the mountain. In the riders' way, however, was a challenging course that included more features that made for a smoother and faster course than past years.
On the men's side, Eric Carter (Mongoose, Hyundai) was looking to double up on his successful day yesterday which saw him win the Mountain Cross event, but standing in his way were Mick Hannah (Haro Lee Dungarees) who snatched the number one seed in qualifying, and perennial favourite, Steve Peat (Royal Orange). The top seeded riders had an added element of difficulty as the course conditions deteriorated throughout the day due the amount of wear and tear on the course, but that didn't seem to bother Carter as he blitzed down the mountain in a time of 3 minutes, 22.77 seconds, to best Peat by a slim .14 second margin. Chris Kovarik (Intense Cycles) was good enough for third, just another .2 second off the pace.
When asked about his winning run, Carter responded that it was "Spot on." Adding that: "I made a good adjustment in my technique in response to the way the course was blown out. I guess a lot of guys are talking about that. I just eyed it up. I looked far ahead for the blown out corners."
Peat suffered an earlier injury that may have affected him. " I hurt my wrist this morning", he explained, "So I couldn't really punch it like I wanted to. I came off in the last practice run, and at first, I didn't think I'd be able to race the final. I put a 6-6-1 (wrist brace) on it, which gave it the needed support, but I couldn't bend my wrist much, which made it a bit awkward every time I got out of the saddle."
The women's event saw the return of a familiar face as Missy Giove (Foes) was on hand and posed a threat to the top qualifiers, Marla Streb (LunaChix), Tracy Moseley (Kona Clark), and Tai-Lee Muxlow (Tioga Orange) who made it through qualifying in the top three spots respectively.
Moseley proved the strongest as she posted a winning time of 3:46:14 edging out Muxlow by a mere .6 second. Rounding out the top three was Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain, Foes). Giove made the podium in the fourth spot. Perhaps repetition was the key as Moseley noted, "I did about ten runs over the weekend to prepare, this is definitely the way to start the year."
During the women's podium presentation, as the weekend came to a close, another moment of silence was observed to once again pay honour and respect to Fujinaka.
Images by Bob Wilson/www.wilsonsphotography.com
Women 1 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona Clarks 3.46.1 2 Tai-Lee Muxlow (Aus) Tioga Orange 3.46.8 3 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Foes Azonic 3.47.8 4 Missy Giove (USA) Foes 3.50.7 5 Tara Llanes (USA) Giant Pear 3.50.7 6 Marla Streb (USA) Luna Women 3.52.7 7 Melissa Buhl (USA) Khs 3.53.3 8 Lisa Sher (USA) Chumba Wumba 3.54.1 9 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) Trek-Volks 3.55.3 10 Maxine Irving (USA) Eco Lips 3.57.5 11 Michelle Dumaresq (Can) Santa Cruz 3.57.6 12 Gale Dahlager (USA) Astrix Poi 4.02.6 13 Hiroko Inomata (Jpn) Foes/Credi 4.03.2 14 Dawn Bourque (USA) Team Dried 4.07.7 15 Anka Martin (RSA) Turner Hon 4.13.0 16 Leigh Fiedler (USA) Chumba Wum 4.17.4 17 Dania Magri (USA) 4.19.6 18 Allie Rau (USA) Velocity 4.21.6 19 Patricia Loureiro (USA) 4.21.8 20 Emily Johnston (USA) Velocity S 4.24.6 21 Tammy Pickerrell (USA) Romic 4.26.0 22 Lisa Myklak (USA) Astrix Spo 4.26.6 23 Holly Kuhn (USA) Eclipse/Zo 4.30.8 24 Kristina Martinez (USA) Rpm-Yeti 4.32.2 25 Kristin Powers (USA) No Brakes 4.36.5 26 Paula Santerior (USA) Karpiel/Mi 4.41.2 27 Gina Barbosa (USA) Azonic / S 4.44.5 28 Jessica Vogt (USA) Team Rpm/Y 4.52.4 29 Ryoko Hattori (Jpn) Fumayokoha 4.53.0 30 Darcy Turenne (Can) Kona/Smith 4.54.2 31 Michelle Rivera (USA) Lenzsport 5.14.5 Pro Men 1 Eric Carter (USA) Mongoose/Hyundai 3.22.8 2 Steve Peat (GBr) Royal Orange 3.22.9 3 Chris Kovarik (Aus) Intense 3.23.1 4 Sam Hill (Aus) Mad Catz Iron Horse 3.24.1 5 Mick Hannah (USA) Haro Lee Dungarees 3.24.3 6 Jared Graves (Aus) Mad Catz Iron Horse 3.25.2 7 Nathan Rennie (Aus) Mad Catz Iron Horse 3.25.3 8 John Waddell (Aus) Intense 3.26.1 9 Dustin Adams (Can) Giant/Pear 3.26.4 10 Fabien Barel (Fra) Kona Clarks 3.26.5 11 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Haro Lee D 3.27.2 12 Joel Panozzo (Aus) Wtb/Santa 3.27.6 13 Jared Rando (Aus) Giant/Pear 3.27.7 14 Kirt Voreis (USA) Team Allri 3.27.8 15 Colin Bailey (USA) Maxxis Tir 3.28.4 16 David Klaassenvanoorsch (USA) Intense/Sp 3.29.6 17 Ben Cory (Aus) Tioga Oran 3.29.7 18 Gary Houseman (USA) Intense Ti 3.29.7 19 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Mad Catz I 3.31.4 20 Christopher Odriscoll (Can) Azonic/Oak 3.31.6 21 Waylon Smith (GBr) 3.32.4 22 Shaums March (USA) Chumba/Red 3.32.5 23 Bernie Fredrick (USA) Lenz Sport 3.32.8 24 Aaron Peters (USA) Supheros W 3.32.8 25 Andrew Neethling (USA) Global Rac 3.32.9 26 Todd Leduc (USA) Odi Southr 3.33.1 27 Travis Collins (USA) 3.33.3 28 Julien Poomans (USA) Foes Azoni 3.33.9 29 Justin Hauukainen (USA) Yeti/Oakle 3.33.9 30 Brant Lyon (Can) Giant Tm C 3.34.4 31 Jason Codding (USA) Madcatz/Or 3.34.5 32 Mike Jones (Can) Norco Fact 3.35.3 33 Rich Houseman (USA) Intense Ti 3.35.6 34 John Kirkcaldie (NZl) Maxxis 3.35.8 35 Luke Strom (Aus) Yeti 3.35.8 36 Kyle Leduc (USA) Odi/Southr 3.36.0 37 Greg Smith (USA) Foes 3.36.0 38 Karl Rogne (USA) Wtb 3.36.1 39 Ryan Sutton (USA) Astrix 3.36.2 40 Peter Weir (USA) Hopey Stee 3.36.8 41 Todd Bosch (USA) Cumba Wumb 3.36.8 42 Jiro Nakamura (Jpn) 3.37.0 43 Ross Milan (USA) Yeti 3.37.0 44 Matt Johnston (USA) Go Ride/Lo 3.37.6 45 Chris Van Dine (USA) Astrix/Psb 3.37.6 46 Judd De Vall (USA) Schwinn Us 3.37.6 47 Lars Tribus (USA) Chumba Wum 3.37.8 48 Aaron Chase (USA) Sobe/Canno 3.38.4 49 Eric Rasmussen (USA) Dirtworks 3.38.5 50 John Percy (USA) Karpiel De 3.38.6 51 Rob Sears (USA) Rocky Mtn 3.38.7 52 Joe Lawwill (USA) Santa Cruz 3.38.9 53 Troy Heflin (USA) Polar Revo 3.39.3 54 Brian Long (USA) Final Caus 3.39.5 55 Philip Tinstman (USA) Spy/Fox/Ha 3.39.6 56 Geoff Pendrel (Can) Balfa 3.39.6 57 Darren Miller (USA) Santa Cruz 3.40.6 58 Chris Rowen (USA) Great Adve 3.40.7 59 Jeff Evans (USA) Intense/Ro 3.41.0 60 Matt Thompson (USA) Big Crank 3.41.0 61 Kain Leonard (USA) Tomichi Cy 3.41.3 62 Will Corry (Irl) Nortstar F 3.41.7 63 Chris Powell (USA) Profile Ra 3.41.7 64 Kenji Mukaihara (Jpn) Kuwahara 3.41.8 65 Curtis Keene (USA) Wtb 3.43.6 66 Henry O'Donnell (USA) Intense Ti 3.44.1 67 Jimmy Coarasa (USA) Rotec Cycl 3.45.2 68 Dave Mclaughlin (Aus) Yeti/Oakle 3.46.1 69 Sven Martin (RSA) 4.12.0 DNF Chris Del Bosco (USA) Romic Oakl