Posted on: July 3rd, 2015
So it’s early July, and we have a brief break for the GROM Racing team in between races on the schedule. How have things gone so far in 2015 ? They have gone well and you can read all about it below. We could not get through the season without the help we receive from all of our Sponsors. There are links to all of them at the bottom of this page, and detailed information is on the Sponsors Page. These are companies that make a difference in this industry every day and support the sport we all love in many ways.
We kicked off the “official” season with the first round of the South Eastern Gravity Series held at Massanutten resort. In contrast to last year, the entire GROM team was able to make it to Massanutten, and also in contrast to last year, there were over 200 entrants for the race ! I’m sure having the Gravity East series in attendance helped and unlike the last two years the resort was able to stick with the original planned race date.
Practice went off on Saturday with just a few hitches. Late in the day, Ian Bongard rendered his bike almost useless with a badly bent derailleur hanger. That night, Ian did some Googling, and we ended up baking the hanger on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 425 degrees for X number of minutes and he was able to bend it back into serviceable shape. Whatever he did worked because Ian took the win in Cat-2. 15-18 age group on Sunday. Phillip Steele and Zach Gareis, both competing in the Cat-2, 0-14 age group, started what has so far proven to be an ongoing back and forth battle between these two, that looks like it will continue for the remainder of the season. Phillip edged out Zach at Massanutten, taking the win, with Zach a close 2nd.
Scout Clark was technically the only Cat-1 female entrant, so she was mixed in with Cat 1/2/3 open women. There was a good field of women at Massanutten, with eight of them in that open class, and Scout took 2nd place. Michael Kane had a small crash in his run, but still managed a 5th place in Cat-1, 15-18.
Zach turned the tables on Phillip a week later at the Duryea Downhill in Reading, PA, taking the win by a scant 2 seconds. Ian Bongard also made the trip north for that event, and managed a 10th in the 21 rider deep Cat 2, 15-18 field despite a crash in the dusty conditions. His all-night drive to get to Reading probably didn’t help too much.
In between races, four out of five GROM racers and their families headed to title sponsor Snowshoe Bike Park to celebrate opening weekend. It wasn’t all play though. Ex racer Geritt Beytah was nice enough to spend his weekend as our guest, and was there to share his vast experience as a racer with the kids. They all rode all day Saturday, taking advantage of Snowshoe’s new operating hours and not stopping until 7pm that night. They were at it again on Sunday, but also managed to mix in some fun riding with friends as well.
On the road again, Zach, Phillip, and Ian all made the trip up to Mountain Creek Bike Park for the Pro-GRT. Zach and Phillip went 2-3 in their race, with Ian bringing home a 9th place finish in his.
Bryce Resort in Virginia hosted the 2nd round of the South Eastern Gravity Series in mid-June. This was another team event with everyone in attendance. Acknowledging the short length of their planned race run, Bryce officials listened to participants, and decided to make this a rare 2-run event, where results would depend on the combination of two timed runs on slightly different courses. I’d say this decision was pretty well-received by racers. Zach and Phillip laid down some impressive times while going 1-2 in their class. In fact, their times were fast enough to have put them 1st and 4th in the next age group above theirs. Michael Kane showed up ready to race, and brought home a hard-earned 2nd place in the Cat-1, 15-18 group. Ian was back on form with a 2nd place in his class, and Scout was at it again in the combined women’s field, bringing home a solid 3rd place finish. Overall, another great weekend for the GROM crew.
What do these kids do in between DH races ? Well, there’s no substitute for time on a bike, and Scout competed at the Massanutten Enduro in early June just after getting out of school. Two weeks later she could be found at GROM racing sponsor Industry Nine’s facility in Asheville, NC where they hosted Round 1 of the Blue Ridge Battle Pump Track Challenge. In late June, Scout and Phillip stepped up and competed in the Snowshoe Epic Enduro, part of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association’s enduro series. In appalling conditions, they hammered out 38 miles in two days, with almost 10 miles worth of timed stages. Phillip took the win in the Junior class, and Scout earned a 4th place in a stacked Pro/Expert Women’s field.
Well that’s it for now. We’ve got a short break in July before heading back up to Snowshoe for the Pro-GRT July 26th. We’ll see everyone there.
Thanks again to all of our 2015 sponsors:
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