(Waterloo, WI) Just one week after its debut to the international press, Trek/VW rider Chris Eatough rode the completely redesigned Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL to victory at the 24 Hours of 9-Mile Solo National Championships in Wausau, WI. In what is being described as “the closest 24- hour race in recent memory,” Eatough reigned victorious, but not until the final lap.
At 10:00am on August 2nd, Chris started the pursuit of his 4th National Title with a 59-minute lap. This instantly put him at a 2-minute deficit to first place. Each 15-mile lap was made more difficult with solid competition and an already challenging course made more difficult with fatigue and darkness.
“He really put me into difficulty, he and I were very evenly matched” said Eatough of second place Josh Tostada. “But my pit crew has our routine dialed, and the new bike let me race even faster.”
By the 12-hour mark, Eatough was at a 3-minute deficit, and could see his competitor through the winding northern Wisconsin woods course. “My vision started to freeze up, and I hit the wall that I always hit at the 12-hour mark. But I know how to handle those conditions. I just ride
consistently through the night and save enough for the daylight. ”
By lap 15, the 6-time World Solo Champion and reigning National Ultra Endurance Series Champion was 15 minutes down from first place. But
at lap 16, the pendulum swung as Tostada encountered lighting troubles. Eatough took the opportunity and kicked it up a notch, taking three
minutes from the leader. Lap 17 took the remainder of the lead until both riders were on each other’s wheel.
“I’ve never seen such a close race,” said Trek/VW team manager Zack Vestal. “Since they were the only contenders, by 8:00 am they [Eatough and Tostada] reached a gentleman’s agreement that lap 20 would be the final lap. I was sure it would be a sprint finish… after 23 hours!”
That final lap would prove to be the definitive moment for Eatough. Halfway through the last lap, he pulled away for a definitive lead. “I felt awesome. I felt twice as fast as I did earlier in the day. It certainly helped that the new Top Fuel is so much lighter than my previous bike. ” He crossed the line 16 minutes ahead of second place, for his 4th 24 Hour Solo National Championship Title.
Asked his opinion of the new bike: “It is perfect. We had no mechanicals. It is simply the best suspension bike I’ve ever ridden.”
About Trek/VW Racing: www.trekbikes.com/us/en/trek_vw
source: Michael Browne