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Utah State Championship Series Prepares for Second Season

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |April 10, 2012 2:05 AM
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Utah State Championship Series Opens Season Pass Sales

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

After a successful first season, the Utah State Championship Series (USCS) is preparing to amp it up in 2012. They recently unveiled their 2012 schedule including more 50-milers and a new venue around Heber City, Utah.

In its second year, the Utah State Championship Series is offering up 4 races including itís wildly successful Alpine circuit race, a cross country event in Park City, and two 50-milers in Draper and Heber City. Both 50-milers will be utilizing killer new singletrack and courses that are well over 80% one track.

Presented by Ford, the USCS paid out over $17,000 in cash and prizes to all riders beginner to pro in 2011 and more is in store this season. Proving to be more than just race promoters, the series brain trust of Ty Hansen, Drew Free, Bob Saffell, and Shannon Boffeli donated $5,000 of entry fees to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, money that will go directly to cancer research.

The first season of the Utah State Championship Series saw 900 participants in the 4-race series, a number guaranteed to increase in 2012.

The fun kicks off on April 28th with the Alpine circuit race located in Lambert Park. The race features a short-course cross country track with high-speed technical descending and fun for any level of rider.

Next the series heads to Park City, Utah, on June 23rd, for a more traditional length cross country event on the winding, wildflower and sage-lined trails of Round Valley.

The Wasatch Back 50 is the third race and newest event in the series. The WB 50 will feature a 50-mile point-to-point race traversing the Wasatch Mountains around Heber City and Midway, Utah. Riders will be treated to miles and miles of new singletrack intermixed with sections of old favorites like the Barrel trail in Wasatch State Park. The race will finish at the world-renowned Homestead Resort in Midway. Race starts the morning of July 21st.

When asked why they decided to move the 50-miler from Park City to nearby Heber City Ty Hansen had this to say, "The PC50 was a fun event that received great reviews from racers but we wanted to create an event that was unique to Utah. The Wasatch Back 50 (WB50) utilizes trails that most local riders haven't ridden or raced on so it seemed like the perfect venue for a new race.Ē

The season finale will once again be held at Draperís Corner Canyon trail system on September 15th. Version 2.0 will feature a 50-mile race replacing last yearís distance of 36 miles and a later date, which should keep the temperature lower on race day. The course will include many of the same popular trails featured in 2011 with the addition of new flowing sections of dirt on the Anneís trail loop.

Utah State Championship Series season passes are currently on sale. Riders can enjoy all 4 races for the affordable price of just $170. Thatís two 50-milers and two cross country events for less than the price of  some one-day races. Click Here to visit the USCS website and purchase a season pass or individual race entries.


Read our entire interview with co-series directors Ty Hansen and Drew Free below:

MTB Race News: Why did you decide to start another series in Utah?

Ty Hansen: We (Bob Saffell, Drew Free, Shannon Boffelli, and Ty Hansen) love riding and racing bikes so what better way to enjoy that than create a series of races? The discussion started at the Intermountain Cup Stan Crane race two years ago about changing the way we race mountain bikes in Utah. All four of us have raced cross country, circuit races , and endurance events for a long time and felt that we had the ability to create a series that challenged riders in a new way. We wanted to see a series that used all three cross county formats to determine who the best overall riders are in the state and eventually the Inter-mountain region. 

MTB Race News: What makes your series unique?

Ty Hansen:

Format:  Using all three cross country formats to determine best overall rider.

Cost: Cheaper entry fees and no online registration's only $170 for all four races which includes two 50 milers!

Pro Payout: $10,000 pro racers baseline payout for the series plus all pro registration fee goes back into the purse. Equal pro payout for men and women. 

MTB Race News- Which course is your favorite? Why?

Drew Free - We have a new venue this year that I am very excited about.  The WB50 (Wasatch Back 50) will take place in the Heber Valley.  Heber and Midway have gone to great lengths the last few years to establish some phenomenal trails that we are very excited to showcase.  The community has been fantastic and really supported this race.

Another venue that I love will host our Fall Classic 50.  Draper City has dedicated a ton of resources to building quality trails.  Our Fall Classic 50 will provide an amazing course with plenty of room for passing, plenty of climbing and some ripping descents.  That along with the combination of the fall weather, and buff, fast single track this should make this an event to get really excited about for years to come. 

MTB Race News: What are your goals for the series this season?

Ty Hansen: To keep things fresh. 2011 was a great success but we want to change things up and keep racers guessing. We are really challenging ourselves to make the series unique from the way it is run to the courses we use. 

MTB Race News: What about the series surprised you most in 2011?

Drew Free: Support from our local community.  We were very fortunate to have Ford step up and become our title sponsor in our inaugural year.  Their sponsorship along with that of Academy Mortgage allowed us to create a first class series in 2011.  With a pro purse of $8,000 plus 100% of the pro entry going toward pro payout we are creating a top level series that in our first year drew riders from CA, ID, WY, CO, UT, NV and other surrounding states.  Word is spreading in the biking community and sure to bring many great riders to the races in 2012. 

MTB Race News: what was your favorite surprise of the 2011 season?

Drew Free: Support from our local riders. They were excited about the series and the opportunity it brought to race some new venues and a little different format than they were used to. With 4 very distinct races we had different riders shine at each of the races.  The PC50 sold out in its first year and I am sure that the same excitement that surrounded it will surround the WB50.  Support also came in way of our kids series.  Our first race in 2011 had over 40 kids in the under 12 category.  Who says mountain biking is dead.  

MTB Race News: What would you most like to see happen in the 2012 season?

Drew Free: Growth and respect in the sport.  Mountain Biking is a great sport and the community that surrounds it is as diverse as the bikes we ride.  Our goal with MTB Race Productions is to create an environment that promotes and grows the sport but also gives back.  Whether that is through trail building, supporting local business, or simply being respectful to other trail users.  If we want this sport to continue to grow like we all believe it can and will we have to do things outside of just riding.  

MTB Race News: what will people be talking about after they finish the Wasatch Back 50?

Drew Free: People will be surprised by the quality of riding.  We have been out on numerous occasions with the Wasatch Trails Alliance and have had an opportunity to ride the current trail system as well as see the plans for the future.  Wasatch Trails has been working hard to build some quality trails and have big plans for the future development of the trail system in the Heber Valley.  As far as the course itself, the big climb up lime canyon towards the end of the race is going to hurt.  It is a climb that will definitely surprise some people and as a result I think a lot of buzz will be how they felt up that last big climb. 

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