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Sunday, July 9, 2000 -- Fairmont, WV
Bunner's Ridge Hard Rock 30+K
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage]

Bunner's Ridge MTB
Jeremiah Bishop on lap 1
The first WVMBA Point Series race since the Appalachian Classic got under way just outside of Fairmont on Sunday, July 9th. The Bunner's Ridge Hardrock 30+K has quite a reputation for being a tough, draining course, and this year it was all of that and fast... very fast.

The recent lack of rain left the twisting, winding course dry and dusty, and although it was hot as steamy cabbage, anyone who raced last year will tell you, it wasn't all that bad. None the less, the sun was beating down all day, making those last laps a little foggy for some.

Bunner's Ridge MTB
Mandi Williams climbing strong
The course started with a motocross-style start, with racers lining up side-by-side with about 200 yards to go before entering a 180 degree, bottleneck turn at warp speed. Everyone then immediately entered the woods for their fair share of prime, rocky, root-infested, West Virginia singletrack.

Soon racers would come up on Voodoo Mountain, and then it was time to pick your line and hold on. While some of the bravest souls opted for the launch pad center line, after a lap or two it became somewhat apparent that the fast line was on the right. The center line provided a lot speed to contend with while trying to navigate the loose rocks and roots at the bottom half of the drop.

Bunner's Ridge MTB
Getting ready to go
The remainder of the course took riders through steep, but short, uphills and some relatively flat single and double track sections. In all, each lap amounted to roughly 5 miles of cranking. All expert racers rode 4 laps, Men's Sport, Clydesdales, and Men's Masters handled 3 laps, Juniors and Men's beginners pedaled through 2 laps, and the Women Beginners and Masters rode one.

A strong field of riders lined up for the Men's Pro/Expert start, and within the first half of the first lap, Jeremiah Bishop(1:41:05) grabbed the lead with John MacInnis(1:42:57) right behind. Bishop seemed to be slowly adding to his lead as he finished his first lap, but at the beginning of the second, he broke his chain, and while fixing it, was passed by MacInnis, Gunnar Shogren(1:46:13), Eric Keim(1:46:27), Benjie Klimas(1:47:46), and Jason Laxton(1:48:42).

Bunner's Ridge MTB
John MacInnis in the lead
Bishop never let this minor problem get him down, and he quickly fixed the chain and hopped back on his ride. Bishop is no stranger to this kind of temporary drawback, as last year's Subaru MTB Challenge at Snowshoe saw him flat while competing against some very fast company, and then fight back for the win.

Before the second lap had ended, Bishop had passed everyone except a fast moving MacInnis. Bishop kept MacInnis within sight until the third lap, when he gathered the energy to pass him, and hold on for the win.

"I really had to push it hard for a while to get back to the front", said an always friendly Bishop afterwards. "MacInnis is very fast, I am just glad to walk away with the win." MacInnis finished second overall, with Shogren finishing third.

Bunner's Ridge MTB
Cassi Smith spinning fast
In the Women's Pro/Ex race, Cassi Smith(2:22:08) grabbed the lead early and never let it slip away as she managed to hold off second place finisher Mandi Williams(2:25:59). Smith and Williams finished 26th and 27th overall respectively, while Sami Fournier(2:28:14) finished third for the women.

Brett Hixson(1:54:04) grabbed the win for the Men's Junior Experts while finishing an impressive 8th overall, and in the always competitive Men's vet Expert class, Brocc Kaylor(1:56:00) took the win while holding off Steve Thaxton(1:59:28) and Matt Ross(2:00:43).

Bunner's Ridge MTB
Flying on a downhill
For the 3 lappers, it was John Munhall(1:27:00) leading the way while winning the Men's Sport Class, with Aaron "LB" Yevuta(1:32:10) and Shawn Altizer(1:32:51) chasing hard, and finishing second and third.

Other winners include Scott Root(1:32:48) for the Men's Masters, Lee Collins(1:48:04) for the Clydesdales, Charlie Brand(1:54:08) for the Junior Sports, and Dowain Ford(1:37:36) for the Vet Sports.

Two lap winners include the speedy Laurie Johnston(1:23:18), Eric Serdoz(1:09:47) for the Juniors, and Jason Hayes(1:10:53) for the Men's Beginners.

Halley Anderson(53:47) led all one lappers to the finish while winnning the Women's Beginner class, and Pat Schmidt(54:24) got the win for the Women Masters.

Thanks go out to Colin Dierman, Wamsley Cycles of Morgantown, and all the volunteers who helped out through the day.