A Word That Rhymes With Gwin - Fontana Round Four Recap

Feb 22, 2016
by Scott McClain  
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
  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.
  Logan looking collected while waiting patiently during morning practice.

Logan 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 just a tenth of a second separated the two.
  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.
  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 team mate Aaron Gwin. Sylvestri chose the Capra which being a solid bike may have been the wrong choice for the technical sections that Fontana offered this weekend. He still managed to finish 8th.
  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 but still grabbed plenty of media attention.
  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 today in the Pro Woman category. With no practice yesterday she finished almost exactly between the first and third place racers.
  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
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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
  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
  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 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 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 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
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 and I work well together
  ...because Aaron Gwin.

Full results here.



MENTIONS: @YTIndustries / @khsfactoryracing




103 Comments

  • + 79
 How many adults does Samantha Kingshill have to whip before she gets a Factory Ride?????
C'mon YT!!!???!!! Somebody FIO!!!!!
Female..........She's American....... and she is only 16 years old!!
Just one more example of why people are skeptical of the bike industry decision makers, and truly believe most have no idea what they are doing!
  • + 18
 Yt? What's wrong with the giant she's riding ?
  • + 20
 She doesn't even list Giant as a sponsor!
She deserves a "Factory" Ride!
  • + 9
 @enduro29erHack here here!! she should have got picked up for a factory deal before that other enduro mid 20's midpacker, whats her name? Sam's a sick rider with tonnes of potential! she's insanely skilled and talented! and winning!
  • + 5
 Go Samantha!!!
  • + 5
 I know right...Not only is Sam full of talent, she is such a rad person.
  • + 12
 She is only 16. There is no jr womens world cup. If she has a good world champs you could expect a factory team to sign her for year of training before jumping into the world cup scene at 18.
  • + 6
 I think the industry in general grossly underestimates the value of racing. It's not about what is deserved, it's about the real value she adds. The value of her endorsement is clear. But also the competition drives innovation and there is no place better for R and D than a DH track. Sam is absolutely killing it out there.
  • - 2
 I think she would have to win junior worlds before she got a factory deal surely?
  • + 25
 Are you sure that isn't Kyle Strait's sister?
  • + 4
 Keep it up Samantha -- I'm sure they (factory teams) are watching! Congrats from Sacto!
  • + 1
 I'm curious do the pros at fontana get some kind of Tissot timing on their lowers like a world cup? When I've raced there, not pro obviously, it's just Donny doing the countdown at the top and somebody down at the bottom stopping the clock. Not complaining but just wondering if they do try to make it as accurate as possible for the pros at a local race.
  • + 5
 Samantha will surely have a factory ride soon! She deserves it! And Yeti951SD- the timing is done by lasers you pass through to start and stop the clock. There are no stopwatches and Donny's countdown is just to assure racers start at 30 second intervals.
  • + 6
 That's my bike she is racing. Go Samantha!!!
  • + 3
 Give that girl a deal someone! Please!
Manon Carpenter was given a chance on a factory team and did she win at world level?
You damn right!!
As unpatriotic as it sounds, it would be good to see someone give Rachel and the girls a bit of fresh competition!!
  • + 3
 Hell she's 16, if she doesn't turn 17 this year she can't get on the world cup anyways! But still, the girl can shred, definitely deserving of a ride for the ProGRT Series.
  • + 5
 Masuda and Teri Cox at College Cyclery are letting Sam use their bikes for the races. They are huge supporters of Sam. Thanks for your kind words everyone.
  • + 3
 Guess Gwin got the $200, or was it not enough... Razz
  • - 1
 That's my bike
  • + 67
 Why ask Gwin about his religion and how it impacts his new program/sponsors etc? Why not ask any of the WC guys how their (probable) atheism impacts their decisions? Gwin's not really the one putting this front and center anymore. It seems like he barely mentions it now...
  • - 5
flag b26-4-Life (Feb 22, 2016 at 8:46) (Below Threshold)
 I do agree that it's not gwin who's bringing it up in interviews, but when the answer is always that "god is on My side" it does come off as the ultimate narcissism and deserves a little prodding. I mean there's war, famine, Martin Shkreli and Bono out there, but god is worrying about making sure AG wins, right? For the record, i'm a fan, his interviews (especially with Vital) are always really genuine and down-to-earth.
  • + 17
 @powderturns, my thought 100%. Super awkward, double standard.
  • + 43
 It's not saying that God picked me, fuck everyone else. It's saying hey, I have a belief in something and am thankful for what I have. It's like the moto guys. They could die every main event. They are being thankful that they made it through the night safely and it's their choice what to believe in. They aren't saying that if you don't you won't be safe
  • + 12
 you nailed it. They are the ones digging at it. Move on folks. It's getting old.
  • + 30
 @b26-4-Life I believe you're jumping to conclusions there bud. He didn't say and to my knowledge has never said, "God is on my side." He says things like, "I feel so blessed," and "God is so good." There's a stark contrast between the two. And to say that he thinks his riding is more important than war, famine, etc is ludicrous. All I see is a man praising God for the ability to go out and do what he loves. IMO, whether you're on the world cup circuit or riding your local trails, we should all thank God for the ability to ride our bikes because as we have learned, that can change in an instant for any of us at any given time.
  • + 7
 Agreed with above. No need to make a big deal out of it.
  • + 32
 Gwin is faster than anyone on Pinkbike, and has made America proud by winning the World Cup overall three times. And you know what? It wouldn't matter if he was just some random Cat 1 guy. If he wants to talk about his faith, he is free to do so. If too-cool-for-school athiests want to get all butt hurt about it, that's THEIR f*cking problem. I don't believe in the same things Aaron does, but I don't get all "triggered" when I see him mention religion.
  • + 3
 @powderturns , I think they ask about because they know its a lightning rod and gets people commenting on their article. I agree with you that he rarely mentions it anymore, but unfortunately by bringing attention to it previously, he is now having to keep answer questions about.

I would also point out that there are some riders like Sik Mik who are big into Mr. Jesus, but he's basically never, ever mentioned it in interviews. But to b26-4-Life's point, while the Jesus evangelist rarely/ever say "God is more concerned about the Super Bowl than he is in the atrocities occurring in Syria", it does have that implication to most logic oriented people (i.e. does this athlete actually believe God is concerned about his/her ability to have sports success while all these other pressing issues on his plate?)

Regardless, its nice to see him actually ride the bike, and I suspect we'll see him start expanding his win margins moving forward.
  • + 6
 It's my assumption that this journalist just couldn't help trying to juice his story a bit by trying to create some additional controversy.

This is undeniably supported by his preceding statement "with Gwin's faith always a hot topic".

Scott, how did God help you when writing this article? Surely he must have somehow affected the quality of your writing?

Or is my question completely irrelevant?
  • + 6
 Yes give him a break we are here to look at bike stuff not watch you stir the pot regarding ANY rider's religion.
  • + 15
 MasterSlater - great question; totally relevant. When I write these articles I do try to keep them as real as possible. I don't attempt to juice things up, but I do try to keep them relevant according to what questions many people have on their mind. I think it's fair to say that Pinkbike is not the only media outlet that brings up Gwin's faith, and there are fans that also wonder where his faith is at in this process, as was witnessed in the 17 Questions Interview on Vital. To answer your question more directly, my handle on here is Called to Creation, and I do run a faith based freelance business. I am certain there will be people that think that makes me biased in how I approached the interview and there were certainly other questions and answers that I could have chosen. I try to be careful about cramming religion down people's throat in general because I don't think that's right. We all have a belief system even if that system is to not believe in anything. My job is not to judge others but to share my talent with others. I try to approach life with love, humor and humility. I have learned you can't please everyone all the time, only some of the people some of the time.
  • + 3
 I would be like "I want to thank the big bang" and throw a gang sign
  • + 3
 calledtocreation, totally understand and respect where you're coming from. If you admire Gwin's faith and his openness about it, that's totally cool. The way it was worded in your article read (to me anyways) like a journalist who might be trying to exploit the controversy surrounding Gwin and his faith.

That's just the way I interpreted it. My apologies since that obviously was not your intent. I've always been in the "leave Gwin alone" camp when it comes to this since he has taken a lot of crap for something he has every right to believe.

My bad for lumping you in with those who would simply like to to stir the pot.
  • + 30
 Gwin who??? What's the deal with the TREK 29" DH BIKE!?!?!?!?!?!
  • + 2
 Must know more, that looks like more than just a built up remedy to me
  • + 2
 I thought we went over this last article. It's a 29er session they've had for years
  • + 3
 Here's Cole racing the DH 29er at Angelfire
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yp80YwEGRI
  • + 0
 29er Intense 951 JD Swanguen ( I think) 6 years ago... Ropelato, 29er Stumpjumper 2012 or '13? It's not new at Fontana.
  • + 27
 It don't matter if you Gwin by an inch or by a mile. Gwinning's gwinning.
  • + 1
 Give this man a bike!! hahaha
  • + 12
 Logan is fast..Maybe World Cup fast!
  • + 3
 KHS doesn't have those kind of bucks. He usually will do the North American WC Races, and places OK, but he excels on his home terrain. If he got picked up by a larger company with more money to devote to WC, he'd probably do alright. YT kinda did this, but they committed, they are going to spend big bucks on Gwin, but they also know they'll win.
  • + 7
 Logan is only fast at Fontana. Fontana is not even close to a real DH track.
  • + 12
 Uh.. Logan was ranked 3rd overall in Pro GRT 2015. And has a podium at Red Bull Rampage. I think he has the skills to race a world cup track..
  • + 1
 agreed, I like the way he rides but wish he could land a sponsor that has a leading WC design bike!!
  • + 3
 KHS is a pretty big distributor, so I'm sure they could get Logan to the World Cups if they wanted to.
  • + 9
 I look terrified! Hahaha
  • + 4
 Actually Ratboy has the same eyeballs going most of the time.
  • + 7
 Sam Kingshill is killing it this year!
  • + 5
 Rider #570 in photo , when your bars are double the width of your shoulders you know you sold out to marketing!!!
  • + 1
 Common "problem" seen in smaller/ female riders. "Got to run 780mm/800mm (insert whatever width is in vogue on PB)!!!" Fact is the hands give away the fact that she? would rather be on a narrower handle bar. Having the right style in components is better than having style through optimum performance apparently.
  • + 1
 please expound. Not sure that you know what you are talking about.
  • + 3
 I heard she has been reading a lot wide bar propaganda on the internet...probably has a stack of wide bar bike porn magazines next to the toilet. Good thing the bar nazis are on to her.
  • - 1
 If she would relax her shoulders and put her elbows in the right position she would look fine...
  • + 6
 Y'all are just jealous of the handlebar tassels.
  • + 3
 Well maybe CJ prefers that width? Just as I run relatively narrow bars. When you're a factory pro its easy to get dialed in with proper sizing/parts. What ever who cares she fking rips. GO CJ!!!!!
  • + 6
 Always good times at Fun-tana. YT FTW.
  • + 2
 I think Trek is doing the industry good by innovating. It may suck when something like boost came out of nowhere . But imagine we are still riding 90s bikes on some 90s wc trails...
  • + 5
 "World Cup terrain?" No. At no WC race do they run trail bikes.
  • + 48
 Pietermaritzburg says Hi
  • + 8
 Remi Thirion couldn't podium at Fontana
  • + 7
 There is a reason Pietermaritzburg is no longer on the WC. And Remi couldn't podium because there are a lot of fast dudes that race there. It's just not WC terrain. All those Euro WC teams show up and race because they are in CA training and that's the only racing going on.
  • + 6
 Remember a couple of years back when Gwin said the growing pains with the old Demo were because there were no WC-roughness tracks in cali to put the bike through its paces?
  • + 6
 Yeah, I've raced Fontana before and even the gnarliest course they put together is nowhere near a World Cup level course haha. I've raced gnarlier enduro courses from the Big Mountain Enduros in Colorado. That being said, the organizer does a great job with the terrain available and they are a lot of fun to race.
  • + 4
 Any pics of Gwins new brakes?
  • + 2
 In the second picture Logan looks like Boris Becker with a DH lid. Pretty close on Gwins heels btw.
  • + 0
 Hope everyone commenting on handlebars got the same abusive personal attack as a reply?!
Touchy - it's only an impersonal comment on a public picture on Pinkbike.
I won't repost it here to save them the embarrassment.
  • + 2
 29 downhill bikes next boys. Prepare to open the wally
  • + 1
 It bothers me that the jersey doesn't match the bike, or the forks... but he's off to a good start!
  • + 4
 I see the neg props and disagree. The kit this year is ugly as...and the fact that it doesn't match the bike makes it that much worse.
  • + 8
 When I was younger people wore what they had on.
  • + 4
 Hell, I still do. My kit doesn't match itself let alone my bike. But...and it's a big but...I am not a pro sponsored rider.
  • + 5
 You do realise that we will only see their wc kit when the wc begins?
  • + 2
 yep I agree. however someone was paid to design that look. and failed
  • + 4
 YT is just easing you into the forthcoming black on black WC kit and bike combo. Johnny Cash was a man of faith and we all know what his nickname was.
  • + 1
 World cup #1 deserves custom paint.
  • + 2
 Didn't know Macklemore was into downhill?!
  • + 1
 Seems par for the course since he lives in the Seattle area. I bet that dude crushed SEATAC back in the day.
  • + 2
 But swaltonater DID get on the podium.
  • + 1
 And Gwin could have done this or that to shave some time off, shoulda, coulda, woulda, suck it up butter cup.
  • + 1
 I like that Gwin doesn't tuck his ears into his cap like one other racer Redbull sponsored racer I know of Razz
  • + 1
 Who did gwin end up riding for?
  • + 1
 And balance has been restored to the universe.
  • + 1
 Charlie Harrison had a killer race run
  • + 1
 That course looks awesome!
  • + 1
 That damn 91 gets me every time I want me some Fontucky.
  • + 1
 Fox makes a 29" dh fork?
  • + 2
 No, is a proto.
  • + 1
 Meh
  • + 1
 Hon the Gwin Smile
  • - 1
 4TH PIC !! the guy behing is filming for MTB MANIA !!! can't wait the raw edit, their vids are the BOMB !!!!!!!!! Big Grin
  • - 3
 What???? No pictures of team-robot ripping it up?? And a 3rd place finish to boot? Son, I is disappoint. Nice work Chaz!!!!!
  • + 9
 I think you have your Charlie's mixed up
  • + 16
 And yes I do. Need to look at jersey next time before I post. Thanks for the heads up. I am a tool.
  • + 6
 The robot is irrelevant at downhill.
  • + 0
 Dani Johnson is cute!
  • + 0
 Quim?
  • - 3
 Ha, promax working towards downhill products? Good joke.
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