Tahoe rider succumbs to tough Washington course
The downhill track at Crystal Mountain, Wash. is brand new and offered up much stiffer competition than any of the competitors at the NORBA National downhill race expected.
“It was a big rut for the whole course,” South Tahoe rider Sean Hawkins said. “The top of the track was pretty much all loose granite and rocks. It wasn’t a trail, it was more like a trough that went halfway up your wheels.”
Numerous riders succumbed to the loose conditions, as they crashed or fell. Hawkins officially finished 42nd in his first semi-pro race, but in reality he was one of the racers that the track conquered.
“I just ran a sloppy race,” Hawkins said. “It was like riding at 25 or 30 miles per hour on a bunch of marbles.”
Hawkins’ roommate, Eric Rasmussen, finished fourth with a time of six minutes and 20.19 seconds. Rasmussen’s success is impressive, considering that numerous professional riders experienced the same fate as Hawkins.
“He was having trouble during his practice runs,” Hawkins said. “But, then when the official race came, he put it altogether.”
Unlike Rasmussen, Hawkins was having good practice runs and was expecting a good race.
“My practice runs were good, so I was ready for the race,” Hawkins said.
Saturday’s race was the first for both Hawkins and Rasmussen as semi-professionals. Both had raced and won in their previous NORBA event at Deer Valley, Utah to qualify for the semi-pro division. Hawkins was not concerned with the elevated competition, rather with the quality of the track.
“I was racing as fast as the professionals, so that didn’t worry me,” Hawkins said. “It was the course that proved to be the most difficult. It was different from anything I’ve ridden in the past.”
Next up for the two South Shore racers is the final NORBA National race at Mammoth Lakes in September. Hawkins is looking forward to the event.
“As soon as I fell I was thinking about Mammoth,” Hawkins said. “We have high hopes for that race because we’ve all ridden there before.”
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