Heading into the first race of the Jeep 48STRAIGHT Series last month in New Jersey, fellow Californians Cody Warren and Kathy Pruitt were not favorites to bring home the title. After taking down one renowned racer after another to earn wins, the pair will no longer have the element of surprise on their side heading into the second leg of the series on September 19-20 at The Canyons in Park City, Utah.
For Warren, the challengers will be arriving from near and far, led by Eric Carter and Rich Houseman, as well as 2008 Crankworx Champion J.D. Swanguen of San Diego. Also in the mix from the American contingent are Kyle Strait, a Sea Otter Classic titlist with several Red Bull cycling wins and a World Junior Downhill Championship podium under his belt, and Cam Zink, a member of the US National Team who has been racing for more than half his life and dominating for most of it, including a win at Crankworx. No one will be overlooking local favorite Chris Van Dine of Park City, a rider with over 20 titles spanning all disciplines of mountain bike racing.
The foreign contingent is equally as daunting, with commitments to attend from Great Britain's Steve Peat, Australia's Nathan Rennie and South Africa's Greg Minnaar. Peat is a three-time World Cup Champion, with 15 World Cup titles, eight British National Championships and two European Championships to his name. Rennie, the 2008 Australian National Champion, is a former overall World Cup Champion and Junior World Champion. Then there's Minnaar, with an astounding 35 World Cup titles, a World Championship and three World Cup Championships.
Pruitt will have her work cut out for her as well, led by reigning World Champion and US National Champion Melissa Buhl, who lost to Pruitt in the finals in New Jersey, but will be seeking to turn the tables in Utah. Another top name to keep an eye on is Fionn Griffiths of Great Britain, a three-time World Cup winner who can bring home a title on any given day.
As was the case during round one, Jeep 48STRAIGHT will hold an Open Qualifier for local professionals and semi-professionals, with the racers battling against the clock to try and earn a coveted spot in the dual slalom championship. The Open Qualifier, which will be capped at 75 men and 25 women, will take place on Friday, September 19.
The 48STRAIGHT Cyclo-cross, presented by Scott USA, has been added to the schedule for Utah. There will be two categories of racing, including the more advanced Group A with a 60-minute race and $400 guaranteed cash payout, and the more recreational Group B, with a 45-minute race and $250 guaranteed cash payout.
For more information, visit www.48straight.com.