MTB > 2006 NORBA Round 04: Utah > Race Results
MTBU.S.A.July 9, 2006
NORBA Series Downhill Round 2006 Round 04: Utah

Greg Minnaar Makes it Two for Two at NORBA

Team G-Cross Honda rider Greg Minnaar (RSA) took his 2nd NORBA win in a row at Round 4 of the US Series, being held in Deer Valley, Utah. Team mate Matti Lehikoinen (FIN) also climbed atop the podium with a 4th place, fresh from his World Cup win in Brazil last week. The Deer Valley course is notorious for its deep powder dust which makes the course slippery and at times difficult to see.

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

During training both team riders struggled to find their lines and rhythm. The other riders on course sent the dust up in thick clouds making it difficult to follow each other in training and to see race lines. Matti, who was racing here for the first time, has never in his life experienced dust like this, 5 inches thick in places. He found the training sessions to be frustrating as he couldn't complete his runs without stopping due to traffic on course and the clouds of dust. Greg also found the course difficult to train, and to learn, due to visibility issues and the similarity of many corners.

In the semi final both riders took it a little steady as it was pretty much their first uninterrupted run down the mountain with a clear view ahead, and the course was very blown out in places. Also, the series points on offer for a semi final are not as heavily weighted at the top, like in World Cup, so there's not the same urgency to do well. Despite this, Greg ran wide on a corner and came to a stop, losing a sizeable chunk of time and finishing 4th, and Matti came in 6th place, relatively pleased to have made it down OK.

In the final, Matti stepped it up and ran on the limit most of the way, in his inimitable style. To the fans' delight he seemingly lost control on the bottom half of the course, one corner from the finish, when he slid into the corner, hooked his front wheel on a waterbar, and went off the back of the bike with both feet off the pedals. Somehow he regrouped and made it to the line, finishing 4th. Greg's final was smooth, opting to keep his lines cleaner and within margin, rather than going high speed and risking a crash. The smoother riding style on this course paid off as Greg took the win over Sam Hill (AUS) by over a second, improving on Greg result here in 2005 where he finished 2nd to Jared Graves (AUS). Greg now moves into the top 10 overall, despite missing the first two rounds.

Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)

#20 Greg Minnaar (Winner)
"Feels good to win here today. It was a real challenge to keep the bike from slipping off course, the dust is incredible here. I rode a reserved semi from a physical point of view because the altitude here is very high and it takes a bit to recover so I wanted to keep some energy for the final. But even though I went harder in the final, I still backed off in some places, as I wanted to be smoother rather than faster. When I got to the bottom, though, I worked a bit harder and sprinted to the line. I'm really happy to get the win after last weekend's bad luck."

#25 Matti Lehikoinen (4th Place)
"Yeah, things got a little crazy there at the bottom. I don't know how I didn't crash! I like it slippery when it's snowy and rainy, but this dust is a new thing for me, that was weird. I didn't really feel suited to the course or conditions, so to come away with a podium is a good feeling."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"A great win for Greg and a positive boost to his 2006 campaign after last week. With the 2 race throw out rule in NORBA, we are actually looking good for the overall title right now and so this is why Greg is doing the next round in Sonoma. Matti has a training break scheduled and he needs to take that in order to be fresh for the 2nd half of the season. His result today was very good considering how new this style of track is for him. I'm very happy with both riders' results today."

NORBA Series Downhill Round 2006 Round 04: Utah

Qualifying Results
1 Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Iron Horse)
2 Andrew Neethling (Mongoose Hyundai)
3 Bryn Atkinson (Team GT)
4 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
5 Jared Graves (Yeti/Fox Factory)
6 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
Final Results
1 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
2 Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Iron Horse)
3 Bryn Atkinson (Team GT)
4 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
5 Jared Graves (Yeti/Fox Factory Racing)
6 Cody Warren (Haro Bikes)
7 Jared Rando (Giant Michelin)
8 Duncan Riffle (Honda Iron Horse)

Greg Minnaar

Related Links

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

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