UK gravity racer Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) had a successful outing at the US Open of Mountain Biking, held in Vernon, New Jersey between 23-25 May. Griffiths won both the dual slalom and downhill events, defeating Kathy Pruitt and Joanna Petterson for the top prizes.
Griffiths’ campaign didn’t start particularly well, as she crashed on the downhill course during Friday’s practice session.
“With the track as rough and rocky as it is here at Diablo Freeride park, the conditions in practice were unforgiving,” she said. “Just finding yourself slightly off line in the wet rocks will more than likely end in tears or at least with a quick nature appreciation visit to a nearby tree.”
She escaped without major injury and impressively went on to qualify fastest in the dual slalom later that day ahead of Pruitt and Petterson. The top two positions were reversed in Saturday’s downhill qualifying, with Pruitt recording the fastest time, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Griffiths.
The slalom finals were held late on Saturday evening. After beating fourth place qualifier Katie Holden in her semi-final, Griffiths advanced to the final where she met Kathy Pruitt. Both riders charged out of the gate in hopes of opening a time margin which Pruitt did, taking the win in the first run. But a frustrated Griffiths made up for it in the second, doing enough to beat Pruitt overall.
Sunday’s downhill final also went Griffiths’ way, although it was not without a hitch:
“I was all good at the start, got focused and went for it out the gate but in the second turn I noticed Jo walking back up the side of the track,” Griffiths said. “She had left the start house only one minute before me so I thought it was kind of weird but carried on anyway. I got maybe another 45 feet before an official jumped into the track and stopped me.”
But she refocused and on her second attempt knocked nearly 10 seconds off her qualifying time to finish in 3’03.333. That was good enough to defeat Pruitt by 2.8 seconds and Jo Petterson by 9.3 seconds.
“The Norco was working really well for me on this rocky track today, I loved every second of it. I just had fun riding my bike and the rest came together for me,” concluded Griffiths.
The next stop for Griffiths is the Andorra round of the mountain bike downhill world cup.
For full results of the US Open of Mountain Biking, visit Cyclingnews.com.