I lined up in the second row after the top 10 for the series were called up. Tried to pick a good wheel to follow, right behind Killjoy MTB teammate Kevin Klug. The front row launched just before the whistle, a false start if I have ever seen one, but I had a good jump and it didn't matter so much. I pushed my way to the thrid spot, maybe a little too aggressive, but I wanted to be up front into the woods and the first barrier.
Scott McLaughlin (SRAM) and Brian Conant (Pony Shop) were in front of me and almost like they wanted to give me the line I wanted, I slipped past them on the left. First through the barrier and to the top of the hill, I had started to separate from the group.
Kept it clean for the remainder of the lap. On the line I had probably about five seconds. As I rode through, the race promoter was yelling that there was a $50 prime for the winner of the second lap. I had the lead and figured I could spend every ounce of energy I had to win that second lap and still come away from the race with some cash, so I laid it all down. Came through the line next time to win the lap and double the gap.
I had definitely pushed it a little too hard on that lap and spent the third trying to get my head back into a steady and clean pace. I washed out in one wood chipped roller coaster turn and practically cart-wheeled over one of the ditches. I wasn't going to win the race falling over. I needed to keep the rubber side down.
For the rest of the race, I kept the gap above 12 seconds as the guys behind me kept trading places trying to jump up to me. I crossed the line with a healthy gap to second place, it felt good to win. Photo by Helge