Americans Cody Warren & Kathy Pruitt to Face Stiff International Competition While Defending Titles at Second Leg of Jeep 48STRAIGHT on Sept. 19-20 in Park City, Utah
PARK CITY, Utah – Heading into the first race of the Jeep 48STRAIGHT Mountain Bike Series last month in New Jersey, one would have been hard pressed to pick fellow Californians Cody Warren and Kathy Pruitt as favorites to bring home a title. After taking down one renowned racer after another to earn the win and a share of the $100,000-plus cash purse, the pair will no longer have the element of surprise on their side heading into the second leg of the series, taking place Sept. 19-20 at The Canyons in Park City, Utah.For Warren, the challengers will be arriving from near and far, led by fellow U.S. National Champions Eric Carter and Rich Houseman, both from Temecula, Calif., as well as 2008 Crankworx Champion, J.D. Swanguen of San Diego. Also in the mix from the American contingent are Kyle Strait of Redlands, Calif., a Sea Otter Classic titlist with several Red Bull cycling wins and a World Junior Downhill Championship podium under his belt, and Cam Zink of Costa Mesa, Calif. a member of the U.S. National Team who has been racing for more than half his life and dominating for most of it, including a win at Crankworx. No one will be overlooking local favorite Chris Van Dine of Park City, a rider with over 20 titles spanning all disciplines of mountain bike racing.
The foreign contingent is equally as daunting, with commitments to attend from Great Britain’s Steve Peat, Australia’s Nathan Rennie and South Africa’s Greg Minnaar. Peat is a three-time World Cup Champion, with 15 World Cup titles, eight British National Championships and two European Championships to his name. Rennie, the 2008 Australian National Champion, is a former overall World Cup Champion and Junior World Champion. Then there’s Minnaar, with an astounding 35 World Cup titles, a World Championship and two World Cup Championships, who just took the overall for this season after the weekend's race in Austria.
Pruitt will have her work cut out for her as well, led by reigning World Champion and U.S. National Champion Melissa Buhl of Chandler, Ariz. Buhl lost to Pruitt in the finals in New Jersey, and will be seeking to turn the tables on the U.S. National Champion in Utah. Another top name to keep an eye on is Fionn Griffiths of Great Britain, a three-time World Cup winner who can bring home a title on any given day.
As was the case in New Jersey, Jeep 48STRAIGHT will hold an Open Qualifier for local professionals and semi-professionals, with the racers battling against the clock to try and earn a coveted spot in the dual slalom championship. The Open Qualifier, which will be capped at 75 men and 25 women, will take place on Friday, Sept. 19. Additional details can be found at www.48Straight.com
An additional event, the 48STRAIGHT Cyclocross, presented by Scott USA, has been added to the schedule for Utah. There will be two categories of racing, including the more advanced Group A with a 60-minute race and $400 guaranteed cash payout, and the more recreational Group B, with a 45-minute race and $250 guaranteed cash payout.
Off the dirt, the activities at Jeep 48Straight include the Sponsor Expo, with great free gear from Jeep, Paul Mitchell, Trikke, Michelin and Rossignol, as well as a Green Your Scene Eco-Festival offering educational and interactive features designed to raise environmental awareness and provide local level solutions. Wrapping up the event will be a free concert by Oakland, Calif., indie-band, Rogue Wave.
Full event information, including dates, times, and locations, as well as registration for the cycling competitions, may be found at www.48STRAIGHT.com
Each event of the Jeep 48STRAIGHT summer season will receive national broadcast coverage on CBS Sports, representing the most visibility of any mountain biking event in the sport. The event at The Canyons will air on CBS Sports on October 12.
Following the event at The Canyons, Jeep 48STRAIGHT will head to San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Sept. 19-20 for the season’s grand finale.