A phenomenal display of racing prowess by the top racer in the US, Eric Carter, and an inspiring comeback from injury by Dutch competitor Anneke Beerten were the stories of the day at the Jeep® King of the Mountain (www.jeepsports.com) 2006 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships in Elkhart Lake, Wis., but in the end, the world's top-ranked male and female racers, Michal Prokop and Jill Kintner, were able to fight off adversity and bring home titles for the second time in as many events.
The race day atmosphere was as exquisite as the racing itself, with several thousand Jeep enthusiasts lining the Y-cross racecourse at Road America to witness the athletes battling one another while also navigating a layout that featured parallel giant slalom and downhill disciplines with a multitude of bumps, jumps, banked turns, tabletops, step-downs and rollers thrown in for good measure.
From the number of bike-to-bike collisions and over-the-handlebar crashes beginning in the first round and lasting through the Championship Heat, it was evident that the invited athletes were eager to not only bring home the lion's share of the series' record $100,000 cash purse, but to position themselves for the overall title of World Professional Champion and drive away with the keys to a new 2007 Jeep Compass.
Prokop, who has won four of the first five races of the 2006 UCI World Cup season as well as a World Championship, European Championship and National Championship, started the day with a win over Jon Watt of Broomfield, Colo., a former National Collegiate Champion and Colorado State Champion. He then faced off against archrival Brian Lopes of San Clemente, Calif., a three-time World Champion, five-time World Cup Champion and nine-time National Champion, where a hard-fought win earned him a place in the Championship Heat.
For the full results, race report and photos from round two of the Jeep KOM series, click here.