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NORBA National Championships - CN

Mammoth Mountain, California, USA , September 23-26, 2004

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Race 3 - Saturday, September 25: Mountain Cross, Kamikaze Downhill

Lopes, Llanes post mountain cross victories

Mountain Cross, Kamikaze Downhill, and Super D highlight Saturday racing

By USA Cycling

The pro mountain cross podiums had a different look tonight, as Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and Brian Lopes (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) bested 2004 NORBA Series Mountain Cross winner Jill Kintner (Murrieta, Calif.) and 2004 World 4-Cross Champion Eric Carter (Temecula, Calif.) for the stars and stripes jerseys.

Eight women battled it out over the brand new course with lots of berms and sharp banked turns. In the semi finals, Kintner and Leanna Gerrard (Sumner, Wash.) bested Lisa Myklak (Boulder, Colo.) and Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif.). Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) and Llanes moved on to the finals ahead of Lisa Sher and April Lawyer.

In the finals, Llanes made her move about half way down the course and passed the top seeded Kintner to take her first NORBA win of the season. Llanes won the mountain cross at Sea Otter this year, but was second to Kintner at nearly every NORBA race in 2004.

In the men's semi finals, Chris Powell (La Jolla, Calif.) and Eric Carter took Brian Schmith (Lancaster, Calif.) and Rich Houseman (Pasadena, Calif.) out of contention, while Lopes and Mike King bested Juan Ashworth (Cartersville, Ga.) and Gerritt Beytagh (Asheville, N.C.)

The finals saw Lopes and Carter go shoulder to shoulder all the way down the course, until Lopes passed the current World Champion on a turn and held onto the lead all the way to the finish.

Earlier in the day, crowds gathered to watch the famous kamikaze downhill, in which riders left the top in 30 second intervals and tore down the fire road reaching speeds of 50-55 miles per hour. Highlighting the field was the legendary John Tomac (Cortez, Colo.) who posted the fastest time of 4:59.10 to win the gold. The legend told the announcers after his race, "After practicing yesterday, I feel like I never left." He went on to say that 15 years of practice doesn't hurt.

Later in the afternoon, over one hundred riders including many notable cross-country racers contested the Super D event. The podium was exciting, with an interesting mix of talent. Taking the men's stars and stripes jersey in the Super D was yesterday's silver medalist in the pro cross-country - Adam Craig (Corinth, Maine). Ariel Lindsley (Boulder, Colo.) earned second place while the U23 National Team's Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont.) took third. Mark Wier (Snovato, Calif.) and Spencer Paxon (Trout Lake, Wash.) were fourth and fifth respectively.

In the women's event - it was a familiar face to top the podium and chug the bottle of champagne. Marla Streb (Los Osos, Calif.) took top honors, while her teammate Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted the second fastest time even though she had a flat tire about half way down the course. Dara Marks-Marino, who finished second to Dunlap in yesterday's cross-country, added to her success with today's Super D bronze medal, while Tonya Laffey (Longmont, Colo.) and Melissa Miller (Avery, Calif.) secured the final spots on the podium.


Men's mountain cross
1 Brian Lopes
2 Eric Carter
3 Chris  Powell
4 Mike King
Women's mountain cross
1 Tara Llanes
2 Jill Kintner
3 Melissa Buhl
4 Leanna Gerrard
Pro/Semi Pro Kamikaze
1 John Tomac
2 Colin Bailey
3 Lou Deangeles
4 Kirt Voreis
5 Darrell Young

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