Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

 MTB index page for all MTB content

Jeep King of the Mountain #2 - NE

California, USA, August 18, 2007


Lopes and Beerten top the podium in California

Taking a berm at speed!
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
(Click for larger image)

For Laguna Beach's Brian Lopes, who just wrapped up his record sixth UCI World Cup Championship, heading back to California for the second race of the Jeep King of the Mountain series proved to be a very rewarding homecoming. Not only did the 25-time World Cup titlist earn the victory at The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo , but in the process he moved into a tie for first place in the overall season standings and moved closer to bringing home the elusive crown for the series.

Joining Lopes on top of the podium was none other than the red-hot Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, who is vying for her own UCI World Cup Championship with two wins already in the 2007 season. She kept her form in San Luis Obispo, and the payoff was her second-ever Jeep KOM victory and a jump to the top of the overall standings heading into the final race of the season.

Thousands of race fans filled the stands and lined the racecourse in San Luis Obispo, providing a home court atmosphere for the seven invited Golden State athletes battling for a share of the record US$100,000 cash purse and the season-ending reward of a new 2008 Jeep Liberty. The scene is likely to be similar at the Jeep KOM grand finale on September 1 in Beaver Creek, Colorado, when the points will be worth double value and every heat counts in deciding the new World Professional Champions.

Lopes, ranked number one in the world and a three-time World Champion and nine-time National Champion, started his day with a sweep of San Luis Obispo's own Travis Collins, before bringing down Cody Warren, a former U.S. National Champion and multiple NORBA titlist, in the semi-finals to reach the Championship Heat. There, he faced off against Californian Rich Houseman, a 2006 NORBA Champion who has raced strong in his first year of Jeep King of the Mountain competition. Houseman opened with a two-race win over open qualifier Chris Del Bosco, a former USA Cycling National Champion and professional ski racer.

In the semi-finals, he ran into savvy veteran Wade Bootes of Australia, the 2004 series winner, 2006 Australian National Champion, and former World Champion. In one of the day's tightest match-ups, Bootes won the first race before being disqualified for running over a gate. Houseman topped Bootes in the second race and moved into the finals based on time differential. In the championship heat, Lopes swept Houseman to claim his second Jeep KOM title in three years in San Luis Obispo, and third overall. In the consolation heat, Bootes defeated Warren to earn third place.

"I really like the grade of the slope here at the Madonna Mountain , and I've been able to have some success with two wins and a second place finish in the past three years," said Lopes. "I knew that it was going to be very fast all the way down, and so it was especially important to stay right with the person you were racing against and to go for the jumps to gain that additional time. Fortunately I was able to make it work."

In the women's competition, Beerten earned a bye in the first round based on her top spot in the time trials, before racing past five-time British National Champion Fionn Griffiths of the Great Britain in the semi-finals to reach the championship heat. Meeting her there would be American Melissa Buhl, the recently crowned US National Champion and former NORBA Champion. Buhl's day included a first round win over open qualifier American Leana Gerrard, a collegiate National Champion and NORBA titlist, and a semi-final defeat of rival Californian Tara Llanes, the 2006 USA Cycling Downhill National Champion and two-time national four-cross champion. In the finals, Beerten won the first race but lost the second race, winning the title on a close time differential. The pair now stands tied for first place in the overall season standings. Griffiths held off Llanes in the consolation heat to place third.

"I felt really good out there, and this course really suited my riding style," said Beerten. "In the finals, I knew that after winning the first race, it was critical that I stay with Melissa (Buhl) in the second race, even if she got ahead. I was able to get the win, and this is going to be a great focus for me heading into the last race of the season as I really want that title and will give it 100 percent."


1 Brian Lopes (USA)         
2 Rich Houseman (USA)       
3 Wade Bootes (Aus)         
4 Cody Warren (USA)         
5 Eric Carter (USA)         
6 Chris Del Bosco (USA)     
7 Dale Holmes (USA)         
8 Travis Collins (USA)      
1 Anneke Beerten (Ned)      
2 Melissa Buhl (USA)        
3 Fionn Griffiths (GBr)     
4 Tara Llanes (USA)         
5 Joanna Petterson (USA)    
6 Leana Gerrard (USA)       
7 Neven Steinmetz (USA)