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Plaxton wins short track with last lap surge

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Max Plaxton (Specialized) makes it two Sea Otter short track wins in a row

Max Plaxton (Specialized) makes it two Sea Otter short track wins in a row
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) comes in as the defending short track champion

Max Plaxton (Specialized) comes in as the defending short track champion
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Spencer Paxson (Kona) on one of the climbs

Spencer Paxson (Kona) on one of the climbs
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Carl Decker (Team Giant) riding in the chase group

Carl Decker (Team Giant) riding in the chase group
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Burry Stander (Specialized) with the lead at the top of the climb

Burry Stander (Specialized) with the lead at the top of the climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) still looked strong after being reeled in

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) still looked strong after being reeled in
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) riding third wheel mid-race

Max Plaxton (Specialized) riding third wheel mid-race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) leading a select group

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) leading a select group
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) marking Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek)

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) marking Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Burry Stander (Specialized) early in the race

Burry Stander (Specialized) early in the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Riders cross the top of the ridge

Riders cross the top of the ridge
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Barry Wicks (Kona) riding in the top five

Barry Wicks (Kona) riding in the top five
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox Racing) taking a turn at the front

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox Racing) taking a turn at the front
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) following Geoff Kabush's attack

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) following Geoff Kabush's attack
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox Racing) leading Sam Schultz, Max Plaxton, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, and Barry Wicks

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox Racing) leading Sam Schultz, Max Plaxton, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, and Barry Wicks
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) with teammate Geoff Kabush close behind

Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) with teammate Geoff Kabush close behind
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Burry Stander (Specialized) leading the chase to Plaxton

Burry Stander (Specialized) leading the chase to Plaxton
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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USA Short Track National Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski

USA Short Track National Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) has been having a good year

Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) has been having a good year
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) leading on lap one

Max Plaxton (Specialized) leading on lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Burry Stander (Specialized) leading a group containing Sam Schultz, Max Plaxton, and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski

Burry Stander (Specialized) leading a group containing Sam Schultz, Max Plaxton, and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Carl Decker (Team Giant) riding the top ridge

Carl Decker (Team Giant) riding the top ridge
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) riding with the leaders

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) riding with the leaders
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Burry Stander (Specialized) looked strong for a few laps but faded

Burry Stander (Specialized) looked strong for a few laps but faded
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) had a chain problem and never could fully recover

Todd Wells (Specialized) had a chain problem and never could fully recover
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) taking a flier mid-race

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) taking a flier mid-race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) being very attentive to Sam Schultz's attack

Max Plaxton (Specialized) being very attentive to Sam Schultz's attack
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) takes the hole shot

Max Plaxton (Specialized) takes the hole shot
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Elite men's short track start at Sea Otter

Elite men's short track start at Sea Otter
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The back of the pack got stacked up on the first climb

The back of the pack got stacked up on the first climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) had a breakaway going for over a lap

Max Plaxton (Specialized) had a breakaway going for over a lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) rolling in second after being caught on the last lap

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) rolling in second after being caught on the last lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Trailing by as much as one hundred feet with one lap to go, Max Plaxton (Specialized) fired the afterburners to hunt down Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek), who finished second. Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing), one of the race aggressors, had to settle for third place. USA Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) finished a strong fourth, while Barry Wicks (Kona) raced at a new level to finish fifth.

Plaxton got off to one of the best starts in recent history. At the top of the first small hill, he already had opened a 30-foot gap. Burry Stander (Specialized) took up the chase with Horgan-Kobelski, Kabush, Todd Wells (Specialized), and Schultz all in tow.

During the second lap, the leaders all came together. Stander attempted to stamp his authority on the race but soon realized it was not his day. “From the first lap I felt a bit seized up and tired…after a few laps I knew I was not going to get up there for a win so I just sat up a bit and rode my own pace.”

Wells suffered some sort of chain problem early in the race, which doomed his chances of winning. While he chased valiantly for the rest of the race, he could not make up the ground to the leaders.

Kabush took a long turn at the front but was not able to dispatch anyone from the lead group. Schultz then took his first flier, but appeared to let up as he thought he was being caught.

“It’s always fun to feel good enough to make some moves," said Schultz. "I went into this race with the mentality that I was racing for the win. I’m trying to enter all the races with that attitude. It definitely helps."

With two laps to go, Schultz made another strong attack. “I could have sat on a bit more but with two laps to go, I decided to attack like it was the last lap,” said Schultz.

Unfortunately, that left him with little gas in the tank for the last lap. As Plaxton came through the start/finish, he passed Kabush and then flew up to Schultz in what seemed like just a few seconds.

"I felt good at the start and did a smart race," said Plaxton. "There were some tired legs out there at the end. I was saving something for one last good effort.”

Apparently Plaxton entered the race not knowing what to expect. “I didn’t have a plan. I haven’t been feeling great since before South Africa (which hosted round 1 of the World Cup), so I didn’t know how the legs would be.”

Wicks used to be seen at the front of short track races all the time. He is also a previous US short track national champion. But, in the past few years his emphasis on endurance stage races seemed to negatively affect his short track racing. He now seems to have benefited from his recent move back to Bend, Oregon, from Chicago, where he found it difficult to train properly.

Twenty-year-old Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) may have had the ride of the day, finishing an astonishing seventh. This gave the Subaru-Trek team three finishers in the top seven positions.

Sid Taberlay (H2O Overdrive), who finished ninth, and Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt), who finished 10th on his brand new Felt 29er, also had good rides.

The pro men will compete in cross country on Sunday.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized Racing
2Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru Trek
3Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing
4Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru Trek
5Barry Wicks (USA) Kona
6Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing
7Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru Trek
8Sid Taberlay (Aus) Kenda/H20 Overdrive
9Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing
10Colin Cares (USA)
11Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC MTN Bike Racing
12Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized Racing
13Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona
14Thomas Turner (USA) Jamis
-1lapAlex Grant (USA) Cannondale Factory
-4lapsCarl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Off Road
-4lapsTroy Wells (USA)
-4lapsAndrew Watson (Can) Norco Factory Team
-4lapsAdam Morka (Can) Trek Canada
-4lapsNeal Kindree (Can) Specialized
-4lapsKerry Werner (USA) BMC MTN Bike Racing
-4lapsKris Sneddon (Can) Kona
-4lapsMitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar
-5lapsCory Wallace (Can) Kona Factory Team
-5lapsJason Sager (USA) Jamis
-5lapsCameron Jette (Can) Scott - 3 Rox Racing
-6lapsDrew Edsall (USA) Kenda-Felt
-6lapsPeter Glassford (Can) Trek Canada
-6lapsAndrew L'esperance (Can) Norco Factory Team
-6lapsJosh Carlson (Aus) Giant Factory Off Road
-6lapsMiguel Valadez (USA) Ellsworth
-6lapsMacky Franklin (USA)
-6lapsCody Kaiser (USA) California Giant
-6lapsZach Valdez (USA) Whole Athlete-Specialized
-6lapsOnodera Ken (Jpn) Team Specialized
-6lapsKevin Smallman (USA)
-6lapsThomas Bundgaard (Den) Racing 29Ers
-6lapsBrendon Davids (USA) Sho-Air
-6lapsJason Moeschler (USA)
-7lapsYuki Ikeda (Jpn) Topeak Ergon Racing
-7lapsBrennan Wodtli (USA) All Access Racing/Gia
-7lapsBrady Kappius (USA) Clif Bar
-7lapsScott Tietzel (USA)
-7lapsRobert Marion (USA)
-7lapsTyson Wagler (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing
-7lapsJason Siegle (USA) SDG Felt
-7lapsAlex Wild (USA)
-7lapsTanner Hurst (USA) American Classic
-8lapsClint Claassen (USA)
-8lapsJordan Kahlenberg (USA) Giant Midatlantic
-8lapsNick Truitt (USA) Yeti/Pactimo Pro XC
-8lapsRoss Holbrook (USA)
-8lapsSheng Shan Chiang (Tpe) Specialized Racing
-8lapsTravis Glysson (USA) AZ Devo
-9lapsCraig Wohlschlaeger (USA) The Hub/Giant
-9lapsStephen Dempsey (USA) Freehub Magazine
-9lapsChris Thibodeau (USA) Specialized/Curve
DNFDerek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing

 

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