Heath wins in Sugarbush

Chris Heath and Dawn Bourque were the big winners of the Gravity East Sugarbush Downhill under what has become normal conditions for racing in 2009 - mud. Sugarbush Resort, located in mid-state Vermont, was the location for the seventh stop of the Gravity East Series.

Despite its relatively remote location, Sugarbush is a large resort area that is couple with other resorts using a network of lifts that resembles ski areas in the Rockies. And, while Sugarbush might be unfamiliar many young riders, the mountain has a long history of racing rooted in the heyday of Mountain biking in the late 90s. In just the last two years mountain biking and racing has returned to Sugarbush, spurred on by the increasing popularity of series like Gravity East.

All the major elements of a classic downhill course were represented at this year's course: fast brake-burning open ski slope, high-speed rock roads, grassy turns and bermed turns that slammed racers into tight technical woods. As brakes were cooling off from the top portion of the course, racers made their way through a tight, wooded course section that started out with some slow tight maneuvering around trees. A slick off-camber stretch led to the rock face. The rock face resembled a World Cup course and was taped-off very wide. Racers commented that I had so many lines it could give you a headache as tried to decide which line to use. The finishing segment of the course could have been a small dual slalom course. Racers were treated to berms, table-tops and step-down jumps before hitting one last, long sweeping berm that shot them across the finish line.

Rain leading up to the event on Friday night made for a half-dry and partially muddy conditions. Warm sunny day during practices turned several sections into peanut butter by the end of the day and a nice "ripe" smell through the wood section.

Race day arrives with cloudy skies, but the course dried out to the point that gave a good amount of traction, while still retaining enough slippery feel to make it fun. Race order for the day started with Cat 3, followed by Cat 2, Cat 1 and finished with Pro. Cat 3 made it down the hill and Cat 2 began their runs. It was time for Cat 1 and Pro to head up the lift to await their runs. As the big dogs approached the lift, everyone noted that a dense cloud cover had swept over the mountain.

The cloud cover obscured the top of the lift and the dark clouds gathered around the peaks. Many went and grabbed their rain jackets, umbrellas or trash bags. Rain started to fall half-way through the Cat 2 runs and never slowed down after that. By the time the Pros were scheduled to start the ground had already formed puddles everywhere at the top of the mountain and nothing was left dry. That super-fast open slope section of was now a saturated wet and muddy. What were fast grass turns were now slick skid-steer paths around corners. The woods were covered in wet slime.

Crashes were abundant for the remainder of the race. Riders reported having to remove their goggles half-way down the mountain because they couldn't see through the mud-covered and steamed lenses. The riders that were able to keep both wheels on the ground and blaze the mud turned in some respectable times for the day.

Dawn Bourque of Rhino Bike Works continued her stranglehold on the Gravity East Women's season, winning her fourth consecutive race by "only" 8.3 seconds over Karen Eagan of team Sam Adams. But, while Bourque may have a winning streak going, Chris Heath has the best winning percentage in Gravity East. Heath, a member of the US Pan American Games team, made the trip from Colorado to win the first Gravity East he's entered this year. Ben Moody (Rhino Bike Works), winner of the last Gravity East at Attitash, was a close second only 0.27 seconds behind Heath.

The next race on the 2009 Gravity East Calendar is the double-double big-dollar event at New York's Whiteface Mountain on August 29-30. The Whiteface 5K is a three mile, eight-plus minute downhill that doubles as both a Pro Gravity Tour and Gravity East event with the pro men's race paying US$2000 dollars to win. The weekend will also feature a round of Gravity East's inaugural e.thirteen Dual Slalom Series.


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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chris Heath (Manitou/Hayes)0:05:03.19
2Benjamin Moody (Rhino Bike/HMBP/POC/ARMOR )0:00:00.27
3Gavin Vaughan (Snowfire Auto/Sinister Bikes/Hayes/Sunringle)0:00:01.37
4Tim Howland (Cannondale )0:00:03.58
5Zach Faulkner (Drummer Racing/Evil Bikes/E13/Five Ten/Fox Racing Shox )0:00:08.60
6Alejandro Ortiz (Morpheus Cycles )0:00:12.49
7Jason Memmelaar (2 wheelfreaks.com)0:00:14.87
8Ben Hulse (Sycamore Cycles )0:00:23.45
9B.J. Treglia (Kenda/Fox Shox/661/Sunline/Royal/Turner bikes)Row 8 - Cell 2
10David Haas (Sam Adams )0:00:35.91
11Connor Rowan0:00:39.41
12Erik Gosselin (Team Drop )0:01:10.10
13Patrick Noonan (RJC/Pat Ferland/Dream Team)0:05:46.79
DNSJade JennyRow 13 - Cell 2
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Elite and Cat. 1 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dawn Bourque (Rhino Bike )0:06:04.27
2Karen Eagan (Sam Adams )0:00:08.30
3Alexis Wruble (Sam Adams )0:00:24.40
4Susan DelPino (Team I ride/Oakley/Loeka )0:01:25.53
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Junior men 14 & under
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Declan O'Brien (Sugarbush)0:07:08.00
2Chris Anderson0:00:26.50
3Johnny Egan (Sugarbush/Obermyer/VT North/Smith)0:02:56.81
4Nick Gray0:05:59.82
5Ben Bodycoat0:06:52.00
DNFCharles DaytonRow 5 - Cell 2
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Cat. 1 Junior men 18 & under
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richard Rude Jr (Santa Cruz/Allride Academy )0:05:08.21
2Alex Couture (Giant Bicycles/Michelin Tires)0:00:12.48
3Luen Proft0:00:15.82
4Peter McNulty (Team Drop )0:02:18.51
DNSMike Gross (Team Drop )Row 4 - Cell 2
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Cat. 1 men 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Oliver Levick (Drummer Racing )0:05:16.99
2Adam Plumley (The Dream Team)0:00:11.64
3Jordan Newth (True Wheels)0:00:14.81
4Geoff Ayr0:00:28.91
5Sky Nicholson (Sinister/Snowfire Racing)0:00:38.58
6Timothy Burgher0:00:41.38
7Alex Moschitti (Morpheus Cycles )0:00:41.60
8Kevin Riordan0:00:46.76
9Jack Williams (Drummer Racing/Crank Bros. Andy's Cycle )0:00:50.63
10Beau Cormier (C.H.I.P.S)0:00:52.03
11Todd Riordan0:00:57.09
12David Schoon (Wachusett Brewing Co. )0:01:04.21
13Dave Eypper (Wachusett Brewing Co. )0:01:06.92
14Brewster Kanis (Wachusett Brewing Co. )0:01:07.74
15Will Marks (The Dream Team HD-DH)0:01:12.27
16Burke Saunders0:04:09.64
DNFOwen Tulip (Dream Team )Row 16 - Cell 2
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Cat. 1 men 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Donnie Roberts (VonCooper/Azonic/DHD/Ernies'Cycle Shop )0:05:41.88
2David Mee (JRA Cycles/Royal Racing)0:00:05.85
3Thomas Schueler (Racer's Edge/ Chumba)0:00:08.17
4James Roy (Team I ride/Oakley )0:00:20.70
5John Pentecost (Guy-Trips.com )0:00:25.20
6David Bersmefsky (Bullitt Racing )0:00:32.86
7Brady Owens (derailedonline.com )0:01:11.87
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Cat. 1 men 40+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dennis LaClair (Wachusett Brewing Co. )0:05:56.81
2Jacob Dallegro (Sinical Racing/Keswick)0:00:13.29
3Tony Watkins (Sugarbush)0:00:13.57
4Reid Kiniry (Michelin )0:00:50.34
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Cat. 2-3 Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rebecca Bagley0:07:54.48
2Meredith Mansfield0:00:22.06
DNFLaura DrenenRow 2 - Cell 2
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Cat. 2 junior men 18 & under
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Stephen Estabrook0:05:17.15
2Max Syron (Sinister/United Freeride)0:00:03.90
3Damon Morin (Team Drop)0:00:04.10
4Demetri Angelo0:00:10.87
5Dylan Conte (Team I- Ride)0:00:17.46
6Jeff Trimble0:00:24.90
7Ethan White0:00:45.78
8Zack Taylor0:00:53.42
9Henry Miles0:00:54.85
10Dylan DiPentima0:00:57.79
11Ray Syron (Sinister/United Freeride)0:01:04.80
12Edgar Massimino0:01:37.87
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Cat. 2 Men 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ryan Conroy0:05:40.69
2Nick Tanner (Sinister/Snowfire Racing)0:00:19.91
3Tyler Gilman0:00:26.47
4Nick Poirier (661/Dad/Azonic)0:00:26.77
5Steven Czaplicki (Knapps Cyclery)0:00:34.24
6Kevin Cockerham (Sinical Racing)0:00:35.91
7Jake Goss0:00:36.93
8Wyatt Vargas (Earl's Cyclery)0:00:44.28
9Kyle Bradford0:00:50.83
10Will Bradford0:01:01.57
11Roger Murphy0:01:02.83
12Jake Morrill0:01:07.18
13Matt Manser (Ski Rack/Specialized)0:01:08.26
14Chris Chmielewski (Wayfarer Bike)0:01:15.15
15Mitchell Towne0:01:32.94
DNFDavid Berman (Murder, Inc.)Row 15 - Cell 2
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Cat. 2 Men 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Knecht (Team I- Ride)0:05:42.53
2Mike Eastman (Team I- Ride)0:00:18.89
3Chad Borofsky (Sugarbush)0:01:13.16
4Ryan Thibault0:01:16.31
5Michael Rossi (Marty's)0:01:20.90
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Cat. 2 Men 40+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Frank Endreson (Team Town Cycle)0:06:58.13
2George Bodycoat0:00:49.53
3John Atkinson (Sugarbush/Mad River Riders/Stark Mtn Bikes)0:00:50.18
DNFLeo DumontRow 3 - Cell 2
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Cat. 3 Junior men 18 & under
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Levi Whitaker0:06:53.58
2Christopher Towne0:02:54.80
DNFJay ConroyRow 2 - Cell 2
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Cat. 3 men 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jon O'Brien0:08:21.70
DNFDaniel ErtelRow 1 - Cell 2
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Cat. 3 men 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1David Gray0:08:20.83
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Cat. 3 Men 40+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alan Daum0:07:24.42


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