Race Report: 2011 Southridge Challenge
By Walter Malzahn
As we come to the close of the 2011 race season here in Southern California, one last race is left on the calendar…..the 2011 Southridge Challenge sponsored by ODI. Held the weekend of November 19-20, the Challenge was a fantastic close to the 20th season of racing here in Fontana by Southridge Racing. Donny Jackson heads Southridge Racing and has grown this racing venue into a breeding ground of champions, both national and international.
The normal hot and dry weather in Fontana gave way to milder temperatures and a bit of moisture (just a bit) that made for comfortable race conditions that were a bit chilly at times. The course this time was FAST & FLOWY, with an emphasis on fast. Southridge has a reputation for off-camber turns and direction changes that make it difficult at best to keep momentum. Not so this time! The vibe at this race was fun, and the word was that the track was one of the best of the season. The notorious “Wall” was again in the equation to make each racer challenge his cardiovascular conditioning and stamina. There was a nominal split in the upper section giving the Pro/Cat 1 racers a bit more in the way of technical rocky drops, but still giving the Cat2/Cat 3 racers a challenge that would task their skills with tight turns and loose silt. This race was a single run format so it was pedal to the metal from the starting gate to the finish line, and the Pro’s didn’t disappoint.
In the Pro category, World Cup Series Champion Aaron Gwin of Trek World Racing took top honors with a blistering run of 2:15.32. David K. of Southridge/ODI took second place with Kevin Aiello of KHS Racing taking third, U.S. National Champion Logan Binggeli of KHS Racing in fourth place and Neko Mulally of Trek World Racing closing out the podium in fifth place.
Andy Beltran prepared this video recapping some of the major highlights from the weekend:
In the Vet Pro class, Joe Picchiottino took another first place medal with a winning run of 2:21.82. Joe has been dominant this season with a few races having better times than the younger Pro class winners. In second place was Stan Guerrero of SCG Racing. Stan is coming back from a serious shoulder injury that sidelined him for a majority of the year and the coming season should see him in top form. In third place was Bob Vigil, followed by Joe Zarazua in fourth place and Bruce Custer closing out the podium in fifth place.
And in the highly competitive Expert Under 18 category, it was Jason Schroeder taking top honors for a second consecutive race. Jason is on a tear and is giving the established expert class a run for their money. In second place was Luca Cometti, followed by Lucas Cowan in third, Brian Roark in fourth and closing out the podium was Dylan Unger in fifth place.
Pro Category Finish
1. Aaron Gwinn – Trek World Racing
2. David K. – Southridge/ODI
3. Kevin Aiello – KHS Racing
4. Logan Binggeli – KHS Racing
5. Neko Mulally – Trek World Racing
Vet Pro Category Finish
1. Joe Picchiottino
2. Stan Guerrero
3. Bob Vigil
4. Joe Zarazua
5. Bruce Custer
Expert Men Under 18 Finish
1. Jason Schroeder
2. Luca Cometti
3. Lucas Cowan
4. Brian Roark
5. Dylan Unger
The Shimano Winter Series will start the weekend of January 7-8. This is the series that will give the World Cup riders a change to polish their off season work and prepare for the coming 2012 race season. For more information go to www.southridgeusa.com
See you in January!