With this weekend’s Plattekill Mountain race still to go, entries in the 2009 Gravity East downhill series have already blown away last year’s numbers.
In its second year, 94 men and women have scored points in the pro downhill classes in 2009 alone. A total of 1,620 entries — up 32 percent from last year, with the final race at Plattekill remaining — have pulled to the start of at least one Gravity East race this year in both Pro and USA Cycling amateur categories.
The best of the best, however, have been Dawn Bourque, Karen Eagan and Neko Mulally.
After her win at last week’s race at Mount Snow, Karen Eagan currently has a commanding lead in the women’s e.thirteen dual slalom standings. With only a tenth-place finish needed for Eagan to clinch, the season title could be decided in qualifying.
On the downhill side of the women’s standings, Dawn Bourque, 44, missed the first three races of the season before going on a five race win streak, eventually finishing with six wins and a runner-up out of seven races. Bourque needs only a fifth place finish to clinch the Gravity East trophy, but first she needs to show up and survive a run on the treacherous trails of the mountain nicknamed “Splattekill.”
But Eagan has shown she’s capable of winning the championships in both disciplines when she beat Bourque, and everybody else, in the downhill at Blue Mountain Pennsylvania two weeks ago.
The star of the Gravity East season, though, is unquestionably 16-year-old Mulally. With 300 points in the e.thirteen dual slalom championship, compared to just 133 for second-place Kyle Sanger, the only way Mulally can lose the championship is if his competitors can keep him off the property, since Gravity East rules require attendance at the finals in order to be declared season champion.
Sanger may have some help from the downhillers in setting-up a blockade to keep Mulally out. Though currently sitting in third place in the Gravity East downhill standings behind Jason Memmelaar and Alejandro Ortiz, Mulally has the virtual lead in the standings because of dropped races and only needs a twenty-third place or better to clinch both Gravity East divisions. When taking into account dropped races, Ben Hulse and Zach Faulkner move up from sixth and seventh, respectively, in the official standings to third and fourth. Hulse, however, hasn’t shown up for the last three races. Will he attend Plattekill and try to take home a share of the $5,000 season’s point money being awarded?
Gravity East is more than just pros. A total of 23 amateur class championships in both downhill and dual slalom will also be awarded. And, like the pros, attendance at the finals is a requirement to win the championship. For complete standings in all of Gravity East’s classes, and information on this weekend’s Gravity East Finals at Plattekill, see www.GravityEastSeries.com and www.Plattekill.com.
Homepage photo of Neko Mulally by Matt DeLorme