Posted on: October 18th, 2015
GROM Racing had a successful and fun-filled year during 2015. The year's not quite over yet - parents and racers will be at Snowshoe Mountain for the USAC Collegiate Nationals in late October, helping round out the volunteer crews and riding sweep on some of the race courses.
We had all agreed at the beginning of the year that we’d support the fledgling Southeastern Gravity Series, and made an effort to attend each of those races as a team. Our effort paid off, with Ian Bongard, Zach Gareis, and Scout Clark all taking overall championships in that series. Phillip Steele and Michael Kane were close with both taking 2nd overall in their respective classes.
In Gravity East competition, Phillip Steele took the overall championship in the 0-14 class, with Ian Bongard taking another championship in the Cat-2 15-18 group. Join us as we take a few moments to re-live highlights from races in the latter part of the season.
There’s something about racing at our home mountain, Snowshoe Bike Park, that gives our riders that little extra boost, and they made the most of it at the 2015 Wild Hare Pro GRT weekend. What a great weekend all around. With input from Christopher Herndon, bike park manager Josh Olsen created a monster of a Pro/Cat 1 course that all the riders were raving about. Michael Kane was in the groove, taking a hard-earned 10th place in a field of 21 hungry and fast Cat 1 Juniors. Phillip Steele took the win in the Cat 2, 0-14 age group. Ian Bongard was 2nd in the Cat 2, 15-18 group, and Scout Clark ended up 2nd in the Cat 1 women after a small fight with a tree entering the appropriately named “Wild Zone” on the Pro/Cat 1 course. Missing in action was teammate Zach Gareis, who was recovering from a broken arm he suffered while practicing at Mountain Creek Bike Park.
Grom Racing traveled to the Catskills in early August to race at the Eastern States Cup "Race the World" event and spectate at the UCI World Cup races held at Windham Mountain in New York. There was a mini-invasion of youth racers from the Southeast, with many of our racers' friends from Beech Mountain Gravity in attendance as well. What a great event, and we hope to have another one back in the USA soon. We had a great time racing, meeting new friends, and seeing some of our sponsors in person. Andy and Chris from Wicked Wash were washing bikes like mad, Tony Stone from Hawley USA was over in the SRAM tent wrenching on bikes, and Ted Quevedo from Industry Nine was present after driving 13 hours to sub for an injured friend. The World Cup Downhill event was truly impressive. We spent most of Saturday cheering on our favorite competitors, including former teammate Joshua Rogers racing in the Juniors class. In the Men’s final, when Aaron Gwinn came across the line in first, the gallery went absolutely berserk, which was a sight to behold.
When it came time for our guys (and gals) to race on Sunday, they were ready. Scout Clark came across the line grinning, with a clean race run for a change and claimed 1st place in Cat-1 Women. Phillip Steele laid down a blistering 3:57 in his race run to take the boys 14 and under class. Ian Bongard brought home a 4th in a crowded Cat-2 15-18 class (29 racers), and Michael Kane came in 6th in the hyper-competitive Cat-1 15-18 class.
Beech Mountain sits at close to 5,000 feet of elevation, and has a certain reputation, probably well-deserved, for treacherous weather during race weekends in particular. There was a great turnout at Beech Mountain for the 3rd round of the Southeastern Gravity Series in late August. A deceptively encouraging forecast lured in the competitors from far and wide, then the mountain turned the tables on Sunday with a furious rain starting just as practice ended. A little rain never hurt anyone and everyone had a great time anyway. Some of us were just glad to have a race close to home for a change. When the dust, or rather mud, had settled, Phillip Steele and Scout Clark found themselves on the top step of their respective categories again, Ian Bongard brought home a 4th in his, and Michael Kane earned yet another kiss(?) from Doug Steele with a 2nd place in the tightly contested Cat 1 race, with the top 3 finishers separated by just 3 seconds !
When you are on home turf, it pays to make the most of it and GROM Racing's riders did so at the Southeastern Gravity Series final round at Snowshoe Bike Park in late September. Some of us were fortunate enough to arrive in the wee morning hours on Friday, which provided us an opportunity for some great riding that day in cool, overcast conditions. Saturday practice and Sunday’s racing were both conducted in whipping winds and rain. Ian Bongard, Scout Clark, and Zach Gareis each took the win in their respective classes and in doing so they each earned titles for the 4-race series as well. Phillip Steele and Michael Kane both earned 2nd place overall in the series in their respective classes. We were glad everyone had a safe weekend of racing and look forward to seeing how this series will grow in 2016.
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