MTB > Lisbon Downtown 2007 > Race Results
MTBPortugalMay 19, 2007
Lisbon Downtown 2007

Lehikoinen's Best Ever Result In Lisbon Downtown

23 year old Matti Lehikoinen (FIN) of Team G Cross Honda scored his best ever result in 5 attempts in Portugal, at the world's most prestigious and notorious street race for mountain bikes, the Lisbon Downtown. Matti's previous best result was an 8th, so to finish 5th with only a 0.3sec gap from taking 2nd place, gave the Finn a lot to smile about.



Matti Lehikoinen, Brendan Fairclough, Greg Minnaar and Rubens Barrichello


Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


Unfortunately for one of the pre-race favorites, Team G Cross Honda's Greg Minnaar (RSA), an over the handlebar crash at the top of the course put an end to a promising day's racing, which saw him qualify comfortably in 2nd behind Britain's Steve Peat, who has ruled this course for the past 6 years.

Both riders rode the qualifier pretty hard in the technical sections to seek out the limits of adhesion in the sultry 30 degree midday temperatures, but opted to save a little energy in the straight line pedal sections. After qualifying 2nd and 8th, both Greg and Matti were quietly confident about shaving a few seconds of their qualifying times. Apart from a few over excited spectators that crowded the course which gave Matti a few scares, his run was flawless and he simply felt it was the best he could do for the day.

Watching from the finish line was Honda Formula 1 Driver Rubens Barrichello who had joined the team for the event and also managed time to take one of the Honda RN01's for a test ride prior to the race. The attendance of Rubens and thus his support of HRC's Team G Cross Mountain Bike race program meant a great deal for the riders who are huge fans of Formula 1 racing.



Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)


Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)


Matti Lehikoinen (5th Place)
"This kind of racing isn't really my strength. The course requires a lot of power out of the corners and I don't have the type of explosive power that Greg and the other big guys have so I really just had to focus on clean lines and keeping the speed in as many sections as I could. I pretty much hit every line I wanted and I'm happy with the result today, finally a top 5 in Lisbon! The support from Honda today was really impressive and to have so many guests join us from Honda F1, and to have some time to personally chat with Rubens, really motivated me to do the best I could for the team."

Greg Minnaar (17th Place)
"I'm pretty angry with myself and not happy with today's final. I knew I had the pace for a 1m 40secs run and it's such a pain that I made the error I did. There is so little room on this course and so if you wash a little wide, it's all over this is our Monaco Grand Prix! The bike was set up the best it has ever been in all of our attempts here. I had perfect gearing, the Showa suspension was spot on and the Maxxis rubber was hooking up really well, and we weren't puncturing like some of the other teams, so it's the best shot I've had at winning. To throw it away on the second corner, well it's just pretty disappointing and frustrating after all the work we put into this year's effort. I'll be back next year though, we gotta stop Peaty from winning a 7th one!"

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"Matti had a great ride, reaching his goal of a top five for Lisbon, so we're really happy for him. He was just 3 tenths of a second from getting the silver medal today, a top effort. This will be a big boost for his confidence going into races that suit him more. Greg is obviously extremely disappointed with his uncharacteristic crash at the top of the course. The hay from the crash bales on the track was making things slippery and it was getting harder to stay on line. We were confident of running a 1 minute 40, but we're the first to acknowledge that Steve Peat's time today was truly exceptional. He deserves his well established reputation for dominating here, but we'll be back for sure."

Lisbon Downtown 2007

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Qualifying Results
1 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
2 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
3 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
4 Cedric Gracia (Commencal/Oakley)
5 Sam Hill (Iron Horse/Monster Energy)
6 Roger Gonzalez (Commencal/Vallnord)
7 Filip Polc (Gravity Group)
8 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
 
Final Results
1 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
2 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
3 Filip Polc (Gravity Group)
4 Sam Hill (Iron Horse/Monster Energy)
5 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
17 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
 

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