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Sea Otter Classic - D2
Monterey, California, USA, April 15-18, 2004
April 18: Mountain Cross
By Kristy Scrymgeour
Donny Robinson (Avent) and Tara Llanes (Giant Pearl Izumi) took out the final round of the gravity omnium at Sea Otter. Robinson's win was remarkable in that it is the first time he has ever raced a MTB. Llanes' win gave her the overall win in the omnium series.
The mountain cross was a race to the first corner in most cases, with two other corners and a small drop off before the finish.
The manner in which Robsinson got through the semi-final and into the final was one of the most exciting runs of the day. He came from third position with a very sharp turn on the final corner wedging himself between Mike King and Mike Schmith. With a very strong finish, he won the heat just in front of King.
In the final Robinson was up against Omnium leader Mick Hannah (Haro/Adidas) who was on winning form this weekend, King and Michael Robinson. Again he wasn't first to the corner but instead came from third position again, passing King on the straight and taking a nice line on the final turn/drop off, going head to head with Hannah on the final straight. He took the win from Hannah, but Hannah's overall omnium win was safe.
Robinson was very blasé at the end of the race and quite modest that it was his first ever race on a MTB race. "I race BMX," he said, "and this is pretty similar."
Robinson has no plans of converting to mountain bikes now and says he still prefers BMX riding. "I'm not opposed to it either," he said, "I'll just see what happens." The fact that he was just having fun out here probably helped, he said. "I didn't care how I went and I think that probably helped me win. I just relaxed and had fun. I wish I could be that calm in a BMX race."
In the women's event, Tara Llanes (Giant Pearl Izumi) won her semi final well to get through to the final. She also came from behind in her final and took an inside line, clearing the drop off smoothly to overtake Jamie Lilly (Intense).
"I was really trying too hard early in the run," she said "and finally I just relaxed and it all came together."
Llanes came past Lilly because Lilly had made a conservative move on the last turn, taking the outside line and rolling down the outside off the drop off rather than jumping it. "I'm not sure why she did that," said Llanes. "I'm sure she knew there was someone right behind her. Maybe she just thought she had enough of a lead to pull it off."
Women's brief results 1 Tara Llanes (Giant/Pearl Izumi) 2 Jamie Lilly (Intense Cycles) 3 Katrina Miller (Jamis Cycles) 4 Marla Streb ( Luna Women) Men's brief results 1 Donny Robinson (Avent) 2 Mick Hannah (Haro/Adidas) 3 Mike King (Haro/Adidas) 4 Michael Robinson