cycling utah October 1998

24 -hour mountain bike relay races fastest growing segment of the sport

DAVIS, WVWhile the bike industry has noted with some despair the declining attendance at National Championship Series (NCS) races, 24-hour racing has been experiencing phenomenal growth in recent years. The Newsweek 24 Hours of Canaan, which has filled its 400 team field limit (1,800 racers) for the past three years, turned away more than 300 teams this year.

Attendance at The Third Annual Ford Ranger 24 Hours of Moab, held this past October, jumped dramatically to 270 teams in 97 from its previous field of 166 teams. In 1998 The 24 Hours of Moab is expected to fill its field limit of 350 teams. The event will be held Oct. 10-11.

What can account for this popularity? Here is the reason given by Laird Knight, creator of the 24-hour format and President of Granny Gear Productions. "Its the fun factor. For the racers, team relay racing offers a new twist that involves teamwork. Its a shared experience that they will talk about for years to come. For the spectators, its the spectacle of 400 teams in a LeMans-style start, the emotion that spurs each racer not to let the team down and the drama that unfolds as teams vie for the lead throughout the night. Its all quite amazing!" Knight said.

In response to this increasing awareness and popularity of 24 hour racing, Granny Gear Productions added a third event to its schedule, The 24 Hours of Donner Pass. This inaugural event will be held under the full moon, at Donner Ski Ranch in Norden, California on August 8-9. Donner Ski Ranch hosts a number of major events that draw heavily from the San Francisco Bay metropolitan area, including the Motorcycle Trials World Championships, Motorcycle Paver Road Hillclimb Championships, classic car shows and concerts.

The 1998 24 Hour Series cash purse for the Pro Class has been increased to $75,000 to balance with the increasing caliber of pro teams attending the 24 Hour Race Series events. The Inaugural 24 Hours of Donner Pass awarded a $10,000 cash purse and $15,000 in prizes, The Fourth Annual 24 Hours of Moab will award a $15,000 cash purse and $20,000 in prizes, and The Seventh Annual 24 Hours of Canaan awarded a $30,000 cash purse, the largest purse ever awarded in the short history of 24-hour racing.

Current sponsors of the 24 Hour Series Events include: Newsweek, the American Lung Association, Bike Magazine, NiteRider Technical Lighting Systems, West Virginia Division of Tourism, Cannondale Bicycles, Cane Creek Cycling Components, PowerBar, DeFeet, and Onza.

For information contact Elizabeth A. Gillespie at Granny Gear Productions, P.O. Box 189, Davis, WV 26260, Phone/[email protected](304) 259-5533, e-mail: [email protected]

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