The Subaru Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) celebrated the close of its 21st season this past Saturday, October 20 with its annual Awards Banquet at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Abby Strigel (Honey Stinger / Bontrager) won the WORS elite women's series for the sixth time, racing undefeated in 2012. In the men's series, Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Trek) grabbed the overall crown for his fourth time, tying Tristan Schouten for most overall titles in the men's contest.
The highlight of both Matter and Strigel's season was the Subaru Cup US Pro XCT event in Mount Morris, Wisconsin. Matter led the Wisconsin men with an 11th place finish in the cross country race and a sixth place finish in the short track race on the second day of the event. "For me, that's the one national race that I do race," said Matter. "I don't do much other travelling for mountain bike racing. So that is definitely a good opportunity to kind of see where I'm at as a mountain biker against some of the best guys in the country."
Strigel finished in seventh place among the elite women in the Subaru Cup and won the super D. In addition, Strigel has been unstoppable in Wisconsin this season, winning all nine of the WORS races she entered. When asked about her highlight of her season, Strigel recalled "probably Subaru Cup, one of the US Pro XCT races. I got to race with a lot of fast people and I finally got a top 10... So that was really exciting." In 2013, she intends to travel to compete at additional US Pro XCT events with the support of sponsor and employer Bontrager/Trek.
WORS fans are used to seeing rising stars move up to the elite ranks and each year, a few truly stand out. This year Corey Stelljes (The Bike Hub) surprised even his coach, Brian Matter, as he attacked the lead group on a brutal climb at the Wausau, Wisconsin Trek Big Ring Classic. The bold move earned the former All American runner a fourth place elite finish at that race and showed that he has what it takes to hang with the fastest guys in the field. His season also improved overall from last year moving from 10th overall in 2011 to fifth place in the 2012 season.
In the women's series, Amber Markey (Magnus) started the season as a novice Cat. 2 and ended it on the second step of the elite women's podium. Markey finished the season with an impressive four first place finishes in the elite field, winning each time series leader Strigel was absent. The 2013 season should prove to be a very competitive year for these two up and coming racers.
At the close of its 21st year, WORS remains America's largest state mountain bike racing series. In response to a local resurgence in youth racing, especially among those participants 14 and under, WORS declared 2012 "The Year of the Junior". In 2012 alone, WORS hosted nearly 2,700 junior entrants. Over 1,700 of those 17 and under competed in singletrack races 30-minutes and longer, ranging from the beginner level to Cat. 1 elite. The WORS Kid's Race, a contest for those 10 and under, averaged over 80 participants at each WORS venue in 2012. WORS Series Director Don Edberg, who coaches a local WORS Junior Development team, is ready to bring even greater focus to the support of Midwest Junior competitors. A strong emphasis on junior club formation and development are planned for the WORS 2013 Season.
The following video, provided by WORS, includes interviews with some of the racers at the season-ending banquet.
Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) Standings
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Abby Strigel (Honey Stinger/Bontrager)|
|2||Amber Markey (Magnus)|
|3||Lisa Krayer (Adventure 212/Specialized)|
|4||Lori Sable (K9 Dynamics)|
|5||Denise Coppock (Titletown Flyers)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Brian Matter (Gear Grinder/Trek)|
|2||Nathan Guerra (Vision/Wheel & Sprocket)|
|3||Darrin Braun (Adventure 212/Specialized)|
|4||Tyler Gauthier (Culver's Racing)|
|5||Corey Stelljes (The Bike Hub/Specialized)|
|6||Mike Phillips (Adventure 212/Specialized)|
|7||Kevin McConnell (Mercy-Specialized)|
|8||Justin Piontek (The Bike Hub/Specialized)|
|9||Isaac Neff (Williamson Bicycle Works)|
|10||Ray Nelson (Treadhead Cycling)|
|11||Brian Heifner (Magnus)|
|12||Ryan Krayer (Adventure 212/Specialized)|
|13||Tyler Jenema (Kuhl Racing)|
|14||Carlos Haeckel (Alterra Coffee)|
|15||Ronald Stawicki (Polska)|