We have a gang of photos and full results from the Shimano Southridge USA Winter Series Super D – Fontana Round 3.
Mtbr also had the chance to talk to Shimano main man (and Pro Racer), Joe Lawwill about the series and Shimano’s involvement. Check out what Joe has to say and if you’re in the area, the next round is February 23!
Mtbr.com: What are Shimano’s plans for 2013 as far as race support and involvment? Are there other series/races that Shimano is title sponsor of (besides Fontana, MSC and Oregon Enduro)?
Joe Lawwill: “Shimano is firmly behind the whole Enduro movement and will be title/presenting sponsors in both the Oregon Enduro Series and the Colorado Big Mtn Enduro Series. We will also big a big sponsor of the World Enduro stop at Winter Park July 27-28. We will also be presenting sponsor of a brand new Enduro in Sun Valley Idaho that is in conjunction with Ride Sun Valley week going on 4th of July weekend. We plan to be a supporting sponsor of the Wasatch Enduro in Utah that is part of the NAET series. We will also be supporting select Racers and Chasers Enduro events and some of the SoCal Endurance Enduros out at Vail Lake California. Oh yeah and we will again support the Downieville Classic. We are also looking at supporting some of the East Coast Enduros that are popping up.”
Mtbr.com: Wow, that’s a lot! How did Shimano get involved in the Fontana series and what is your personal involvement?
Joe Lawwill: “Shimano has actually been supporting the Fontana Winter Series for the last 6 years. Starting last year however, a big focus was put on the Super D simply because I liked Super D and felt it had huge potential. I first tried the Super D at Fontana about 4 years ago and thought the concept was really great, but the courses were not right. Multi-Time National DH and Slalom Champion Eric Carter felt the same way and he actually began working with Southridge promoter Don Jackson on making the courses better. Right away the event was better, but still not many people were into it. Eric sort of faded out on working on the courses and Donny tried to put together some courses, but really didn’t have the bandwidth to do much with it. Considering the downhill was bringing in 350-400 racers on a consistent basis he had to keep his focus on that. So, basically it was clear that unless someone stepped up the Super D was going to just be an afterthought. I took it upon myself to work with Donny and help with the Super D courses as much as I could. I began putting in a lot of energy into the courses and promoting the events. Although my time was pretty limited just doing what I did made a difference and more and more riders began checking it out. The numbers did begin to slowly rise and we started getting 40-50 riders coming out on a regular basis.”
“In the summer of 2011 I was offered an incredible opportunity at Shimano to be the MTB marketing manager for North America. Part of my job here at Shimano is to sort out the right events to support and do the most I possibly can with them. So after explaining to the good people at Shimano how much potential Super D and Enduro had they gave me the chance to prove my point. Starting the 2012 Winter Series Shimano let me spend the entire day before each event out at Fontana working on the course. This was a critical ingredient in making sure we have a kick ass Super D course at each Winter Series event. Big props to Shimano’s management for giving me the time to do what I do out at these events. These courses would not be possible without the support of Shimano. Also since Shimano has given me the leeway to work on these events participation has almost doubled. ”
Mtbr.com: How does your involvement with Super D events (like Fontana) differ from Enduro series that you sponsor (like MSC or Oregon Enduro Series)? Does one seem to be getting more popular than the other (Super D vs. Enduro) or do you feel that they can co-exist?
Joe Lawwill: “With Enduro still being somewhat new definitions are still being sorted out. There is still some back and forth going on regarding what exactly is Enduro and what is Super D. Part of the beauty of these formats is its okay to have some variation from event to event, but there are limits. I personally want to see courses as technical as possible without being overly dangerous or too exclusive. Events need to be all inclusive yet challenging for all ability levels. For the Fontana Super D’s I will sometimes have Pro/Expert only sections if I am worried a beginner rider will have to much difficulty. I don’t want to see people getting broke off and I don’t want to see equipment being thrashed. Really an Enduro is made up of multiple stages of Super D’s. So yes Super D and Enduros can and will live together. In some cases its more about the limitations of the mountains being used and the bandwidth of the promoters. I personally want to see more Enduros than Super D’s, but putting on a good Enduro is not easy and people need to respect just how much goes into creating a good Enduro event.”
Mtbr.com: Awesome, Joe! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and we look forward to more exciting races in 2013!
Read the official race report from Round 3 of the 2013 Southridge USA Shimano Winter Series in Fontana, CA plus full race results>>