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After two nail biting races in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Grand Rapids, Mich., the only certainty...
After two nail biting races in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Grand Rapids, Mich., the only certainty surrounding the upcoming grand finale of the 2005 Jeep King of the Mountain series is that there are no certainties when trying to predict who will win.
Heading into the final race of the three-event summer series, set for Sunday, August 14 at Jack Frost Mountain in Blakeslee, Pa. (Pocono Mountains), there is no clear-cut frontrunner from the men’s or women’s rosters primed to nab the top share of the industry’s richest prize purse, which includes a cash payout topping $100,000 and the keys to a new 2006 Jeep Commander. Adding to the intrigue of the chase for the Jeep King of the Mountain is the scoring system, which offers double points in the culminating event.
As if the pressure of competing against a line-up of the most decorated athletes from across the world while also battling a racecourse known simply as “The Y” weren’t enough for the Jeep King of the Mountain racers, they’ll be performing in front of thousands of cycling enthusiasts and Camp Jeep® attendees, as well as one of music’s hottest young performers, Gavin DeGraw, and the godfather of skateboarding, Tony Hawk. The star-studded event will air on CBS Sports on Sunday, October 9.
On the men’s side, Michael Prokop of the Czech Republic, mountain bike racing’s 2004 world champion, holds the top spot following with first and second place finishes thus far in the series. Close behind is Brian Lopes of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., mountain bike racing’s career victories leader, and Australia’s Wade Bootes, the defending Jeep King of the Mountain champion. These three athletes have placed in the top three of each event thus far, and are strong candidates to bring home the coveted crown. Also in the hunt, however, are San Diego’s Mike King, a former World Champion who has amassed 67 career top-three finishes, Chris Powell of La Jolla, Calif., and Bas deBever of the Netherlands, a two-time World Cup titlist and medalist in the World Championships.
On the women’s side, Jill Kintner of Seattle, Wash, who has amassed an astounding 70 career BMX titles before taking up mountain bike racing, stands in first place. This winner of the 2004 NORBA Championship and the 2005 Sea Otter event has a first and third place finish under her belt and will anticipate a strong push from Tara Llanes of Los Alamitos, Calif., a four-time Winter X Games medalist and 2003 U.S. Mountain X Champion who has earned second place in each of the events thus far. Close behind is a cluster of challengers, including Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, number one overall at the 2004 World Cup; Katrina Miller, the defending Jeep King of the Mountain champion and winner of three World Cup championships; England’s Fionn Griffiths, the 2003 NORBA Champion; and Melissa Buhl of Chandler, Ariz., a five-time National BMX Champion and winner of the 2002 U.S. National Mountain Cross Championships.