WTB enjoyed a successful weekend in California's Inland Empire at the official NMBS season kickoff in sunny Fontana. Starting two weeks before the Sea Otter Classic, this early-season national created an interesting vibe as dozens of international, world cup-level athletes showed up and new bikes were still being built. WTB racers Ryan Condrashoff, Brad Benedict and Amado Stachenfeld had been racing the Southridge Winter Series in Fontana prior to the event and were ready for a little extra competition.
Saturday’s mountain cross went well for Stachenfeld who took 5th in his first Semi-Pro race. Condrashoff, who had been racing a similar track throughout the winter, made it to the second round of 16 where he was in a stacked heat with the legendary Eric Carter.
Sunday was action packed. With rain coming down as we left the hotel, it was more reminiscent of a pro finals at any other national, but the track was unaltered, still dry and duffy. With a technical issue in his qualifying run, Benedict qualified in dead last, making him the first rider down the track in finals. He put up a blistering time of 2:27.85 and was in the hot seat for several minutes. Benedict's teammate, Condrashoff, came in with 2:27.24 just in front of Benedict and putting them in 11th and 12th. Condrashoff says, “I’m stoked! Being just behind the guys that race the World Cups is great, not to mention me and Brad were the 3rd and 4th Americans. I couldn’t be more excited”
Condrashoff and Benedict both utilized WTB's light and durable LaserDisc FR wheelset, Devo SLT saddles and a combination of Prowler MX Team DH and Prowler XT Race tires. Running the single-ply Prowler XT tire was an unorthodox, bold choice on the rocky course. But the weight savings allowed the two riders to speed along the relatively flat second half of the course known as the "wall".
Not to be left out, WTB's marketing manager Dain Zaffke took the win in the expert/open class in the Super D in convincing style. Check out the linked video above and pinnedmtb.com for the day-by-day break down of the weekend.