October 13, 2009; Conshohocken, PA, USA: Neko Mulally, Specialized Team America’s 16 year old phenom, is Gravity East’s 2009 Professional Men’s Champion in both the Downhill and the Dual Slalom divisions following this past weekend’s Gravity East Finals at Plattekill Mountain New York. “We have seen the future, and it’s scary fast,” says Gravity East publicist Ken Getchell of Mulally. “He’s fast and smooth and picks uncanny lines. Just think what’s he’s going to be like as his body physically matures over the next couple of years.” Jason Memmelaar (Hayes/5 ten/Manitou/Smith), the winner of the Seven Springs round, was runner-up in the season standings. Alejandro Ortiz (Nema/Morpheous – Ecuador) finished the year on two podiums, as runner-up to Mulally in the e.thirteen Dual Slalom points championship and as third place overall in the Downhill standings. Mulally finished the season with five Gravity East Downhill victories and never finished lower than fifth (one race). On the Dual Slalom side, Neko finished with a perfect score of five victories after dropped races were calculated. Only a crash in the semi-finals of Saturday’s e.thirteen Dual Slalom kept him from sweeping every race.
On the Women’s side, Dawn Bourque of Rhino Bike Works was overshadowed by Mulally’s exploits, but was no less dominant in winning the Gravity East Downhill Series. In fact, she was more dominant, winning seven of the Gravity East Downhills (including five in a row) where Mulally scored “only” five downhill victories. After missing the first three races, Bourque went on to win every other Downhill on the Gravity East Schedule, with the exception of the new venue at Eastern Pennsylvania’s Vertical Earth Mountain Bike Park at Blue Mountain, where deliciously sponsored Karen Eagan of Samuel Adams Brewery took the victory. Eagan had what many riders would consider a dream year in the Gravity East this year, winning the e.thirteen Dual Slalom title and finishing second in the Downhill standings. Overall, Eagan won three times in Gravity East competition this year; twice in Dual Slalom and once in Downhill.
In on-track action, 208 entries (174 in downhill alone) signed into Plattekill despite rainy (again!) conditions. The racers who followed the entire Gravity East Series this year saw about as much rain as Noah; and if they had the choice of changing any one thing about the series this year, most racers would ask for drier weather. Even most of the races that were held in the sun took place after rainy practice days.
In the Dual Slalom, Neko crashed in the Semi’s, but beat Ben Hulse in the final to take third. The big winner was Alejandro Ortiz, who took his first Gravity East victory in either discipline this year. Runner-up was Kyle Karpuska (Von Cooper) with his best Gravity East result of the year. Karen Eagan confirmed her status as 2009 champion by beating Lauren Daney (Inspired Athletes) in the final. Kate Parhiala (Ryde) finished third on the day but scored enough points to take second place in the season standings.
In Sunday’s Downhill, Dawn Bourque, Karen Eagan and Stephanie Gubernat (Cutters Bike Shop/VerticalEarth) finished 1,2,3 for both the race and the season title. Bourque’s time of 3:19.15 was over seven seconds faster than runner-up Eagan. In the Men’s race, Mulally blazed down the course with a time of 2:32.33. Memmelaar raced home second in 2:36.00 and Ben Moody (Rhino Bike Works) rounded out the podium with a 2:38.39
Full Results and Point Standings to be published shortly:
Gravity East Finals, Preliminary Results:
Gravity East e.thirteen Dual Slalom, October 10, 2009:
1. Alejandro Ortiz (Nema/Morpheous – Ecuador)
2. Kyle Karpuska (Von Cooper)
3. Neko Mulally (Specialized Team America)
1. Karen Eagan (Samuel Adams)
2. Lauren Daney (Inspired Athletes)
3. Kate Parhiala (Ryde)
Gravity East Downhill, October 11, 2009:
1. Neko Mulally (Specialized Team America) 2:32.33
2. Jason Memmelaar (Hayes/5 ten/Manitou/Smith) 2:36.00
3. Ben Moody (Rhino Bike Works) 2:38.39
1. Dawn Bourque (Rhino Bike Works) 3:19.15
2. Karen Eagan (Samuel Adams) 3:26.63
3. Stephanie Gubernat (Cutters Bike Shop/VerticalEarth) 3:46.94
source: Ken Getchell