Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sea Otter Classic Men's Short Track Report, Results, and Photos

A star-studded field took to the start line at this year’s Sea Otter Short Track.Among the heavyweights were World Champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) and South African Burry Stander (Specialized). Both men were coming off top-5 finishes in the World Cup opener and a stunning performance at the Cape Epic, which saw them claim 5 stage wins. Race fans were anxious to see if the Americans could hang with Specialized Dynamic Duo.

Sauser did not disappoint, taking the lead on the first lap he pushed the pace hard at the front. His teammate Stander was close behind with Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher), Ryan Trebon (Kona), and Todd Wells (Specialized). The pace at the front was furious and after two laps JHK, and Trebon began to fall back. Wells capitalized on this opportunity and bridged up to his Specialized teammates.

Once the three Specialized riders were on the front they immediately checked out from the chasers. Wells, Sauser, and Stander created an insurmountable gap, the type of gap you would expect in a two hours Cross Country race.

Behind the leaders Trebon and JHK stayed strong but the early effort had clearly drained them, slowly each lap they lost time to their pursuers. Carl Decker (Giant), Sam Schultz (Subaru/Gary Fisher) and Jeremiah Bishop ( were coming, and about that time the World Champion Sauser flatted, opening up third place.

With third place up for grabs there was no question who would take the top two spots. Wells and Stander traded the lead but Wells opened some space on Stander with one lap to go and he never looked back. Cruising his Specialized 29er across the line in first. Stander came in just behind him in second and the race for third was heating up.

On his own, Decker caught and passed Trebon and JHK to move into the coveted 3rd spot but Schultz and Bishop were not about to give up. They kept the chase on and by the final lap Bishop jumped the gap from Schultz to the Giant rider. Coming into the final chicane they were wheel to wheel but Decker proved too much for the Bishop taking 3rd in a sprint finish. After the race Bishop said, “I thought I might get him in the sprint but very few people are smarter on a bike than Carl Decker. I tried to go wide in the last corner but he closed the door on he and that was it.”

Schultz crossed the line in 5th taking the final podiums spot.

Race Notes:

North Carolina rider Rob Marion (Kenda) had an impressive ride to finish 8th. Today was Marion’s first top-10 in a National Short Track event. After the race he said, “Short Track always hurts, but it’s a little easier when guys are coming back to you.”

The Sho-Air/Specialized team of Max Plaxton, Sam Jurekovic, and Sid Taberlay did not participate in today's Short Track event, no doubt saving up for tomorrow's main event.

1. Todd Wells (Specialized)
2. Burry Stander (Specialized)
3. Carl Decker (Giant)
4. Jeremiah Bishop (
5. Andy Schultz (Kenda/Tomac)
6. Ryan Trebon (Kona)
7. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher)
8. Rob Marion (Kenda)
9. Seamus McGrath (Jamis)
10, Colin Cares (Kenda/Tomac)

Full Results Here

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