MTB > 2006 NORBA Round 03: Vermont > Race Results
MTBU.S.A.June 18, 2006
NORBA Series Downhill Round 2006 Round 03: Vermont

Minnaar and Lehikoinen In NORBA Double Podium

Team G-Cross Honda team-mates, Greg Minnaar (RSA) and Matti Lehikoinen (FIN) opened their 2006 US NORBA Series campaign with a dominating showing at the famously technical Mount Snow race venue, in Vermont, where they finished first and third respectively in a star studded field. This was an historic result for Team G Cross, the team's first such double podium at a major international event, and a great win for Minnaar who has now won 5 NORBA races since he started racing the Honda RN01 bike.

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

Both riders are starting from behind in the series points tally as they weren't able to make Rounds 1 and 2 due to date conflicts with other major events, so this weekend's Round 3 in Mount Snow was their first outing. However, with the rules for the 2006 NORBA Series allowing riders to throw out their worst two results (including zero points for non-attendance), it's not inconceivable that the title is still achievable for the Team.

The course was mostly different to the one last raced by Greg in 2004, a race which he also won. There was an original woods section and a few other common elements, but for the most part the layout was new, with extremely steep gradients and some very rocky sections. The weather was a little wet and cold during the training sessions earlier in the week however, for the finals, the temperatures were in the mid 30's Celsius.

For the qualifying, 70 of the 95 riders would go through to the finals, and the Team G Cross Honda riders dominated, finishing 1-2 within 0.26secs of each other and well over 3 seconds ahead of Round 2 winner, Sam Hill (AUS). Greg knew he'd have to lift the pace in the final in order to beat Sam, who he thought was well suited to the course with its open flat corners. Greg had changed to a wider handlebar, the Easton Havoc, and found this helped him in those sections where he knew Sam would be fast.

In the final Greg crossed the line to be the only rider under 3m 20secs, and to take the win from Sam Hill, with Matti coming in third at his first ever NORBA race. The points will be enough to move Greg into the top 20 overall, with Matti close behind.

Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

#20 Greg Minnaar (Winner)
"I'm really happy for the win today and also happy to have Matti up on the podium with me. It takes a bit for me to get into my race focus at these NORBA events and this week it all came together well. The run wasn't perfect, but it was one of the best I'd done all week so I'm happy with the result. My shoulder actually popped out in the last woods section. It does that sometimes, but it's not happened in a major race final. I hit a rock awkwardly and that seemed to pop it out, and then I swerved with less control and hit another rock, and that popped it back in! I'm having it looked at tonight but I'm not too worried."

#25 Matti Lehikoinen (3rd Place)
"It feels good to be this close to the big boys. I was in the start house for the final and it was just me and Greg up there. That's a first for me and it was a little scary, but I had a great run in the final and I'm super stoked to be on the podium in my first NORBA. It was such a high speed course so I made sure I walked it every day after training to see what was on the ground, because you just never saw anything at race speed. It was so steep. But I'm feeling good now for the second half of the season, this was a great boost for me."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"This result today is solid for both riders leading into Mont-Sainte-Anne next week. Greg's had two wins in a row now, with his win in Leogang last week, and the early part of the season is now a distant memory. Matti's form is as good as we saw it last year, so I really feel he's arcing upwards and on the way to even better results. Both riders have had a good amount of time on the RN01 in the past two weeks and this has helped them a lot. The next two weeks will be key."

NORBA Series Downhill Round 2006 Round 03: Vermont

Qualifying Results
1 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
2 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
3 Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Iron Horse)
4 Bryn Atkinson (Team GT)
5 John Kirkcaldie (Maxxis USA)
Final Results
1 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
2 Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Iron Horse)
3 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
4 Jared Graves (Yeti/Fox Factory Racing)
5 Brendan Fairclough (Team Orange)
6 Andrew Neethling (Mongoose)
7 Bryn Atkinson (Team GT)
8 John Kirkcaldie (Maxxis USA)
9 Duncan Riffle (Honda Iron Horse)
10 Andrew Mitchell (Cove/SRAM)

Greg Minnaar & Matti Lehikoinen

Related Links

· MTB - NORBA Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup
· U.S.A.

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