The Trailwatch.net men's short track race saw many riders try their luck on the front but patience was a virtue for Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), who sealed his second win of the weekend. Todd Wells (Specialized), who at one point seemed to have the race in hand, had to settle for second place while Adam Craig (Team Giant) came from a long way back to grab third. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru) was fourth and Carl Decker (Team Giant) fifth.
A newly designed short track course at Mount Snow made the racing much more difficult than in the past. The total climbing per lap was doubled, making the trek up the mountain the most tactical part of the race. At various times the race was led by Horgan Kobelski, Sam Jurekovic (ShoAir/Specialized), Todd Wells, Sid Taberlay and finally Geoff Kabush.
"It was such a physical course I couldn't make a huge effort. I just took my time," said Kabush. "The first couple of laps guys were lighting it up on that climb... then guys were working together so I just had to be patient and make up seconds bit by bit. Luckily I got up front in time to sort it out with Wells."
Sid Taberlay was one of the early aggressors, leading for several laps before he apparently bonked. For much of that time he towed Todd Wells around behind him.
Adam Craig, who had finished second in the morning's Super D event, looked very lacklustre for the first half of the race. "I raced as hard as I could against Carl this morning in Super D," Craig explained. "It took half the race for my legs to come around."
"I actually like short tracks like this where you can get into a rhythm on the climb. It's not just about sprints and flat power," he added.
How it unfolded
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski won the start followed closely by Wells. Adam Craig was almost immediately relegated to mid-pack. On the second lap, Sam Jurekovic launched an attack on the flat and opened a gap to Ryan Trebon (Kona), Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher/Subaru) and Carl Decker.
On the third lap, Jurekovic was passed by Trebon in an uphill attack. Decker and Wells followed. At this point Taberlay was moving to the front rather quickly. When they reached the climb on lap four, Taberlay laid down a vicious attack that only Wells could follow. Trebon, Decker, and JHK were gapped by 100 feet.
On lap five, Taberlay continued to tow Wells. It was nearly 100 metres back to Decker, JHK, and Kabush, who had been inching forward in the field. Trebon and Jurekovic were further back. Near the end of the lap, Trebon slid out on a corner and lost a significant amount of time.
By the sixth lap Kabush had begun to reel in Taberlay and Wells but he was bringing JHK with him. The next closest rider was 100 feet further back. By lap eight, Taberly appeared spent, so Todd Wells went off the front with Kabush pursuing in earnest. Decker and JHK quickly passed Taberlay but had to watch as Kabush motored away.
On lap nine Wells' lead was down to 50 feet but Decker and JHK had made up some ground and were only seconds behind the action up front. With two laps to go, Adam Craig could be seen passing riders as if they were almost stopped. Kabush finally got around Wells who still appeared very strong.
With one lap to go, Kabush had increased his lead over Wells and insured his victory. Amazingly, Craig got by Decker and JHK to finish third. JHK was fourth, with Decker fifth.
Racing resumes next weekend at the Windham Mountain Pro XCT and Trailwatch.net short track.
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