Kona Les Get Riders successfully defended national championships titles in Canada, France, and the United States all in the same weekend. The effort brought the team's total to four national titles for the 2007 season.
At the French National Downhill Championships, Fabien Barrel showed that he had regained his confidence after having a crash in training that worsened his foot injury. He pushed hard for the top section and was already two seconds up at the split. Shortly after the split, he overshot a turn, lost traction and went down, but in true Barrel style, stayed firmly attacked to the bars and managed a quick recovery. After covering the last few turns like he was on rails, he crossed the line 0.7 second ahead and took the win.
"This is the first time since I injured my foot last season that I felt comfortable to attach 100% and also have the correct race mind set," said Barrel. "This a big step for me getting back to the top. I'm really pleased to retain the French title."
Meanwhile, at the US Nationals, Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, and Erik Tonkin set out of a weekend of tough racing in Vermont. Trebon didn't fare so well in the cross country. He lost his line in the first mile of the race and flatted his front tire after colliding with a rock. He rode the flat to pit area, got a new wheel and was able bridge back up to sixth place before he flatted again, bent his rear derailleur and crashed. The crash cracked his handlebar which eventually broke and led to his withdrawal from the race.
Trebon made up for his poor day later in the weekend in the short track. "I promised MP [Kona Team manager] I wouldn't come home without something. Since I pooched the cross country, I came out swinging for the short track," said Trebon. Trebon shot out the front as usual with only Wicks and Craig able to hang with the pace. But shortly after doing so, he dropped his chain and fell back a number of places. Wicks was the consummate teammate and marked Craig until Trebon caught back up.
"Ryan caught us on the start/finish straight and I knew he was going to come by. It seemed like he was going twice as fast. The effort to mark Craig was too much for my tired legs from the day before and when Ryan blasted by, I cracked bad[ly]," said Wicks who finished 9th while Trebon won.
In Canada, Neal Kindree successfully defended his U23 National title at Mt. Washington, British Columbia, in some nasty muddy conditions. "It was a hard race today. It was ridiculous how muddy it was today and I'm not really that good in that kind of stuff. I'd make up time on the climbs and just try to limit my time losses on the descent and not crash," said Kindree.
Kindree dueled with Raphael Gagne for much of the first three laps trading places throughout the course. He kicked it hard on a big climb on the final lap and broke free from Gagne to win by two minutes.
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