Pro GRT #1 in Port Angeles, WA
With bikes and bags packed, the team jumped on planes from various points across the East Coast with everyone headed to the same destination. It’s time for the first national race of the year; USAC Pro GRT #1, aka Underworld Cup.
Returning Pro Rider Max Morgan, who finished 4th in the Pro GRT series last year, will be looking to best that mark as he leads new team members into the 2015 season. Max will be joined by Joshua Rogers, CAT 1-18u rider and Jimmy Leslie, Pro class rider. Also joining the team is Dylan Conte. Dylan will unfortunately miss this round due to injuries sustained racing in the Pan-American games in Columbia. Neko Mulally, with factory GSTAAD SCOTT, will be helping coach and advise the BGB/MK Elite Team.
Like a lot of teams, Wednesday was used as a travel, bike build and acclimation day. Thursday is when it all begins; Bike tuning in the morning and then the long walk up the track for the course walk. Leading the course walk for all the BGB riders is Elite Athlete Development. Not to disappoint; The Pacific Northwest brought in the wet stuff just in time for the course walk. There was a lot of information to absorb while trying to stay dry and take in the beautiful surroundings. This is Joshua’s and Jimmy’s first time riding/racing in this part of the country.
Practice wouldn’t come soon enough. With less than a few days of seat time on the new SCOTT Gamblers, Max, Jimmy and Joshua were ready to hammer the new bikes down the course. The course continued to dry out as the day went along. It seemed everyone was watching the “waterfall” obstacle, I thought it was a road huck. Was it faster, safer both, or neither? I think it was nicknamed the “head slap” area.
Saturday would bring an afternoon practice, seeding and qualification runs. It also brought questions…top 60 make it, no top 80 make it…top 15 pro women, no all pro women. Didn’t matter, you would have to put in a strong run on a very fast course to make the cut for Sunday racing. CAT1 15-18 juniors were first out of the gate and it was obvious that times were going to be fast. Joshua had a solid run finishing in 15th position but knew the course would be faster Sunday if the rain didn’t come. As expected, the times kept pushing lower during the Pro men and Max found himself in a great position sitting in 11th place. Jimmy didn’t have the run he wanted making some mistakes that cost him and left him 3 spots outside the top 80. Neko slid out locking up his drivetrain but still managed to make the cut.
Practice on Sunday was another late practice that brought more questions. Practice for CAT 1 18u and Pro Women/Men was from 1pm-2pm but when all the riders headed up it was announced as a 1 run only practice. Once again, no big deal, everyone adapted and made it work. After practice was over, the talk was how fast would you have to go to win this thing? Would someone break the 2:20.00 mark. As start times drew near, Matt, BGB owner/manager headed to the top with Joshua. Times were running about 3 seconds faster than Saturday and when Joshua crossed the line he had bested his qualifying time by a little over 4 seconds. That still left him in the 15 spot. Neko was the rider we expected to see next but unfortunately, he had a get off that would leave him with a DNF. Now it was Max’s turn to come down. He didn’t disappoint and beat his time by almost 3 seconds. That also left him the same position as Saturday, 11th place.
BGB/MK comes away with 2 top 15 results in the first US national race of the season…not bad at all.
There is no way we could do it without great sponsors
Billy Goat Bikes, Mountain Khakis, SCOTT Bikes, Fly Racing, Maxima Racing Oils, Race Face, CaneCreek, ManitouMTB, Onza Tires, Industry Nine, Threshold Provisions, HT Components, SDG Components