MTB > 2006 NORBA Round 06: Utah > Race Results
MTBU.S.A.August 6, 2006
NORBA Series Downhill Round 2006 Round 06: Utah

Minnaar and Lehikoinen Both On Podium At NORBA #6

Team G-Cross Honda riders Greg Minnaar (RSA) and Matti Lehikoinen (FIN) took their Honda RN01 bikes to yet another double podium at the penultimate round of the 2006 NORBA Series in the USA. Greg took 2nd place after qualifying 2nd and Matti moved from a 6th spot in qualifying up to 3rd in the final.



Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)


Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)


With the start house at 11,000 feet, altitude was always going to be a factor, especially since both riders had come from intense training weeks at sea level, as part of their preparation for the all important World Championships in 3 weeks. Both riders found the air very thin at Utah's Brian Head Resort, and this made their training sessions pretty tough, with both of them crashing. Matti damaged his thumb on training day 1, and Greg crashed in the final session, hurting his neck. However, thankfully both were given the all clear by medical to race.

In the semi final Matti was a little wary of the section where he crashed, and also aimed to save some energy for the final. He liked the course and found it a lot more enjoyable than the previous dust laden circuits, but just had some bad luck with a loose rock on the course that threw his rhythm in the final. Despite this, he found an extra 6 seconds and moved up 3 places. Matti's now 10th overall after doing only 3 of 6 races, and has a good chance of moving into the top 5 next week.

Greg's semi was also affected by his earlier crash, braking a little more than normal into the section where he fell, and messing up his preferred race line. In the final, he lacked the power in his legs that he's accustomed too and he put this down to the training regime he's been following for the Worlds. His position in the overall is now shown as 2nd, with a margin of 61 points to Sam Hill. NORBA is now publishing the overall ranking with each rider's total excluding their worst two results, as per the rules. Therefore, in order to win the series next week, Greg needs 62 points over Sam. Greg has won the series from behind in the final round of NORBA, back in 2003, and expects to be more on form for next week's finals.



Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


Greg Minnaar (2nd Place)
"I struggled to get the power I needed this week to dominate on this course. I've not raced here before, and the altitude is really taxing. I liked the course but just had no power, but I'm not too worried. Considering everything, I'm pleased to be as quick as I was this week."

Matti Lehikoinen (3rd Place)
"Much better course this week, I really liked it, but the altitude hit me hard. I saved a bit of energy in the semi final, and was really going hard in the final. My top half was really good, but then when I got to the rock section there was a large loose rock on my race line. I sort of jumped it but it became more of a rodeo than a bike race. I hung on somehow as kept up speed. I'm happy with my third podium at NORBA out of 3 starts."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"Obviously a win is the main objective, but it wasn't to be today for various reasons. I'm happy to see both riders are still riding strongly after their mid season break and after heavy training loads last week. Two podium spots again for the team, that makes three out of three for the NORBA races where we've had two riders, so we're pleased about that."


NORBA Series Downhill Round 2006 Round 06: Utah

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Qualifying Results
1 Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Iron Horse)
2 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
3 Duncan Riffle (Honda Iron Horse)
4 Cody Warren (Haro Bikes)
5 Jared Rando (Giant Michelin)
6 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
 
Final Results
1 Sam Hill Monster Energy/Iron Horse)
2 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
3 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
4 Cody Warren (Haro Bikes)
5 Duncan Riffle (Honda Iron Horse)
6 John Kirkcaldie (Maxxis USA)
7 David Klassenvanor. (KHS Bicycles)
8 Jared Rando (Giant Michelin)
9 Andrew Neethling (Mongoose Bicycles)
10 Amiel Cavalier (Giant/SRAM/RockShox)



Greg Minnaar


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