Sid Taberlay (Sho Air-Specialized) and Krista Park (NoTubes-Magura) claimed victory at the Bonelli Park cross-country race in San Dimas, California on March 1. The race was the opening round of the inaugural US Cup, a 13-race series of mountain bike races across the United States. The race was also the first event of the Kenda Cup West, the seven-race West Coast half of the US Cup.
The race opened with motorcycle rider Jason Britton, star of Speed Television’s show “Super Bikes,” riding a wheelie at the head of the men’s field through the neutral start on his stunt motorcycle.
Taberlay, who hails from Australia, made the initial selection with teammate Sam Jurekovic, Andy Schultz (Kenda-Tomac-Hayes) and Mexican rider Emmanuel Valencia (Turbo) on the first of four 7.5-mile laps. The Australian and the Mexican gapped the two other riders on the opening climb of the second lap, however Taberlay eased off the pace to allow Jurekovic time to catch up, preferring to use team tactics to his advantage.
Jurekovic and Taberlay, who owns five Australian national titles, took turns gapping Shultz and Valencia until the Australian took his winning advantage midway through lap two. The Aussie held his advantage to the line, with Jurekovic, Schultz and Sean Donavan rounding out the podium.
“It was a fast course and the weather was a bit warm for this time of the year,” Taberlay said. “After I settled in I made an initial attack to test the guys because Valencia was climbing really well today. Once Andy and Sam got back on, Andy punched it again. But once we brought it back and got ride of Valencia, I thought I should take another go at the front.”
In the women’s race, Park rode on the heels of Xterra triathlete Melanie McQuaid (Sho Air-Specialized) for the opening two laps. Park, who also organizes skills clinics at the US Cup events, closed the gap on the McQuaid, and rode to a one minute advantage.
The race attraced 680 participants across all of the classes and age groups. SoCal restaurant chain In-N-Out Burger offered a free lunch to the first 500 riders to register.
The next round of the US Cup is the Fontana National, held March 28-29 at Southridge Park in Fontana, California.