Pro GRT #3, June 25-27, Northstar at Tahoe
The stage was set and everyone was ready for one of the hottest events in the 2010 USA race season. And judging by the electricity at the finish line everyone’s expectations were exceeded.
Photos and Text By Leslie Pitts, Team Geronimo Manager
Early in the event, rumors crossed over from fiction to fact that Santa Cruz's Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Cedric Gracia would compete, giving the series’ points leader Bryn Atkinson and other Pro GRT top points earners a run for their money.
Pro GRT organizer Dylan Dean seems to have the magic touch in putting together a top-notch race series that has attracted a “Who’s Who” list of competitors ready to follow the tour as it criss-crosses the United States. The combination of venue and promoter promised to be the best to date this past weekend, and JDD delivered the goods.
#1 at Port Angeles had the ambience that area is famous for – it felt like the chance for a bunch of great riders, locals and up-and-comers to hang out together and shred for a few days, with an awesome race thrown in at the end. The volcano in Iceland turned the event into a mini-World Cup, with a bunch of top European racers unable to return home after Sea Otter because planes simply weren’t flying. PA gave them their first taste of a Dylan Dean-run Pro GRT, and they were hooked.
#2 Plattekill moved the show from the topmost northwest point in the contiguous US states to the heart of the Catskills in New York. Plattekill is as non-pretentious and family-friendly a resort as you can find, so the casual feel was present there too. But that shouldn’t fool anyone – the racing was hot. The event was a total success.
#3 Northstar upped the ante. This is one of the nation’s best bike parks, and everyone had been screaming for big-time races here for years. Well, the wish was finally granted, and with JDD at the helm, it promised to be worth the wait for racers and spectators alike. With its close proximity to the Bay Area and Reno, record crowds lined the course to cheer for gravity racing royalty as they showed everyone how it’s done. Northstar added a first-rate Hollywood double at the finish (with a great view of each rider for a long ways up the hill) which made spectating really enjoyable.
All the competitors and support staff seemed really pleased with the schedule – lots of practice time each day, with seeding on Friday afternoon, leaving Saturday wide open for a chance to dial in lines while still having lots of time for some good, old-fashioned hanging out.
Some glitches on Sunday morning pushed the whole schedule back an hour and made for a long day in the hot sun, but that just served to feel like the calm before the storm. As the hour delay came to an end and it was time to make their way up the mountain, many outstanding riders found themselves fending off nerves as the moment arrived to come face to face with Peaty before they dropped in for their race runs. Story has it that he provided some comic relief at the top when he rolled around in the famous Northstar “moon dust”, getting good and dirty and telling everyone that all the fans would think he had crashed, making his time look even more impressive.
(Just a note: El Nino threw the Sierras a curve ball – really cool temps on Friday, and then a solid rain for almost an hour on Friday night, but the course was still dusty and loose. Things heated up considerably after that, and the rest of the weekend was hot, sunny and dry.)
It is no secret at this point that the Pro GRT is rapidly becoming THE SERIES for gravity racing in the US, where the nation’s top riders can have the opportunity to test themselves against international racers, who are all happy to have a World Cup-class series stateside to compete in. Well run, user-friendly, great vibes, big names, hot racing. What else is there? Kudos to Dylan Dean for his vision and ability to get ‘er done.
In this writer’s perspective, this race was among the most – if not THE most – exciting event I’ve attended. Sorry CVD, but it just knocked Chile 2009 Pan Am Champs into second place.
When the race became just another page of results, we caught up with JDD for a brief moment to ask for his perspective on the event. “It was more than I had ever hoped for,” was his response. Keep hoping, JDD – if you organize it, they will come.