There are very few places where you can find World Cup level terrain and World Cup level riders competing in the dead of winter, which is why Fontana is such an amazing place to hold the KMC Winter Series Presented by Southridge USA. Greetings from Sunny Southern California where the highs were in the mid 70's with absolutely no wind to be found and trail conditions tech enough to be a solid training and proving ground for the World Cup Teams to test their new rides. Would the margin of victory be large enough to truly crown a King of the Fontana scene? Gwin began his DH career here and he would return debuting his new YT set up, but Binggeli and other Fontana regulars certainly had a shot at giving Gwin a run for his money.
| A bounty was put out on Logan. $200 to the racer that could take him off the top step. Who would take the challenge?|
| Logan looking collected while waiting patiently during morning practice.|
| Binggeli, Factory KHS Racing, dropping the waterfall toward the bottom of the course. You couldn't have asked for a better show between Gwin and Binggeli.|
| Cole Picchiottino, sending it on the 29er DH bike. He would flat on the next section, which was a triple with a rock slightly riders left that he would land on. He said he would be back strong for the next round and would also most likely race the Bootleg Finale.|
| Sylvestri, YT Industries / Sensus, was trying hard to keep up with his teammate, Aaron Gwin. Sylvestri chose the Capra, may have been the wrong choice for the technical sections that Fontana offered this weekend. He still managed to finish 8th.|
| Greg Williamson, racing for the Cube Global Squad, finished 4th in Pro Men, but still grabbed plenty of media attention.|
At the end of the Pro Men Runs, Gwin would squeeze by Binggeli by just a tenth of a second. We spoke to both riders after the race. Binggeli took the second place finish in stride. "I gave it everything I had... 110%. He's (Gwin) fast. I wanted to win. I could have scrubbed a little lower on just one double and that could have been the victory". There are probably several scenarios that would have shaved that tenth down, but Binggeli finished off saying "There are more rounds and while he won this round, that doesn't mean I won't win the next. I know what I have to change."
Gwin did not have much to say regarding the win. "I'm happy with the win... Winning is just a bonus. I want to race as much as I can before France. I want to fine tune the bike, so I am dialed come April." We asked if he feels like the terrain was to his advantage in Fontana, to which he replied "We all have raced here. I don't think anyone has an advantage here. If there were a race like this on the World Cup scene, I would probably have an advantage, but there really isn't". With Gwin's faith always a hot topic we asked him how it plays a role in his new program and how he approaches race day. "I know what I want", he said, adding "I go after what I want and I believe God will bless that".
Gwin and Bingelli will no doubt have another epic battle in two weeks when the 5th and final round of the KMC Winter Series will take place. Both Logan and Aaron have confirmed they will attend the final round at Bootleg the weekend of March 13th. In addition to the Pro Men Category, the Pro Women had a great battle, with newcomer, Sarah Viggers mixing into the podium results.
| Sarah Viggers racing for Fullerton Bikes / Fly Racing / Liv - Giant, took second place in the Pro Women's category. With no practice on the Saturday, she finished almost exactly between the first and third place racers.|
| That moment when your eyes are taking it all in - Stay focused!|
| Samantha Kingshill, College Cyclery / Kali finished on the top step in the Pro Women's category. At just 16-years-old, she seems unstoppable this season.|
| Kingshill and Gwin pose together as the two pro winners for the round 4 DH race in Fontana.|
| Steven Walton, Intense Palmer Project, took second place in Jr. Expert, just a half second off the podium. First place went to Jacob Jordan, who was so fast, we missed his race photo.|
The Vet Pro Category saw the usual suspects.
| Chad Hubbard, Scorpion Stands, ran quickest in the Vet Pro category, with a time nearly two seconds faster than second place. |
| Racers checking in with the fine people at KMC Chains the title sponsor of the Winter Series put on by Southridge USA. The Vendor Village is always hopping after the race while the results are tallied.|
| Dave, from Pro Max / Box Components was out today to show off some new goodies. Expect to see them soon.|
Podium and Results:
| Vet Pro Podium - 1st place: Chad Hubbard 02:13.29, 2nd place: Orven Zaragoza 02:15.09, 3rd place: Quinton Spaulding 02:16.81, 4th place: Greg Gibson 02:29.56|
| Jr. Expert Podium - 1st place: Jacob Jordan 02:05.46, 2nd place: Steven Walton 02:06.10, 3rd place: Sean Bell 02:10.35, 4th place: Trevor Boudi 02:12.95, 5th place: Dylan Gay 02:13.35.|
| Pro Women's Podium - 1st place: Samantha Kingshill 02:27.03, 2nd place: Sarah Viggers 02:35.27, 3rd place: Essence Barton 02:41.05, 4th place: Dani Johnson 02:59.66, 5th place: Chelsea Kimball 03:14.74.|
Pro Men's Podium - 1st place: Aaron Gwin 01:56.63, 2nd place: Logan Binggeli 01:56.78, 3rd place: Charlie Harrison 01:58.04, 4th place: Greg Williamson 02:00.23, 5th place: Luca Cometti 02:02.05.
| ...because Aaron Gwin.|