WORS 2004 Is In The Books!

The Wisconsin Off Road Series wrapped up its thirteenth year of racing with its twelfth and final event of 2004, the Wigwam/Ultimax MTB Challenge, at Quarryview/Evergreen Park in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on Sunday. Although the Wigwam/Ultimax has had the prestige of being the WORS finale for several years, the race took on even more emphasis this year with being selected for the AMBC calendar and an Elite Men?s and Women?s first prize of $1500 and $500 respectively. Part of the prestige of being an AMBC (American Mountain Bike Challenge) event is that the top ten finishers in each of the respective NORBA categories and age classes qualified for the 2005 US National Championships*. As far as the over $5000 in prize money, it may have been responsible for the best of WORS past and present rolling up to the start line. In addition to the Elite prize money each wave of each race Citizen Youth through Elite had a ?holeshot? prime and all those that climbed the steep ridge near the end of each lap known as the ?Equalizer? without putting a foot down received a $5 bill to ride away with. Sorry IRS, no official tallies were kept of who went away with how much.

Racing in the Elite Class was fast and furious at the front with the closest men?s and women?s finishes of the year. WORS 2003 series champion, Doug Swanson (Trek/VW) won the ?holeshot? prime in what this year?s yet to be crowned series champ, Brain Matter (PCW Cycling) reported as the second fastest start in the history of WORS. Seven riders, Swanson, Matter, Jeff Hall (Salsa Cycles), WORS 2002 series champ Tristan Schouten (PCW Cycling), Junior rider Cole House (All Aboard/Team2/BelGioioso), John Devine (USA Cycling U-23 Team), and Brian Eppen (Atlas Cycling) were off the front for the first lap of the just over 5 mile course. Hall had a small gap at the beginning of lap 2 however Matter brought the group back together (with the exception of Eppen who flatted) and set the pace for the next couple of laps. Near the end of fourth lap Swanson and Devine got a small gap as they headed down to the ?Sheboygan Slickrock? along the quarry, but a lapse in concentration and the hard rock drops combined to take Devine down hard, ending his race.
Hall and Schouten pulled up into contention and the fevered pace continued into the last lap. House and Matter were losing significant time and it was down to a three man race. Several lead changes later, Swanson powered away on the ?Equalizer? and hung on to win by a three second margin over Hall with Schouten eighteen second down for third. The podium was completed as House came in about a minute and a half back. Cramping and trying to hold Cole?s wheel for fifth, Matter was satisfied in that he had finally made the top of the series standings.

In the Elite women?s race, Anne Grabowski (Nature Valley/Penn Cycle) went to an early lead with 2003 series champ, Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Midwest/Ski Hut) and Kim Eppen (unattached) leading the chase. Eppen continued her late season charge as motored past a fading Grabowski and cramping Kylander-Johnson while holding off a late charge from Jenna Zander (NicoletBike.com) to record her fifth consecutive WORS win. Zander closed to within 30 seconds of Eppen for second while Kylander-Johnson was another twenty seconds back for third. Grabowski slipped to forth as she finished two minutes down with Rebecca Cleveland (The Bike Hub) crossing the finish line in fifth.

With a huge crowd of spectators on hand and great weather and course conditions, the racing throughout the day in all classes and age categories was incredible, as over near 800 mountain bike enthusiast competed in the event hosted by the Fat Kats. Complete results for all of the WORS classes and age categories can be found on the results page of this website. Race director Dan Dittrich and his staff are to be congratulated on an outstanding event. A special thanks to Mudcat Grant for his performance of our National Anthem.

Thanks to all who participated, worked and volunteered to make WORS 2004 a success. WORS 2004 sponsored by Subaru, ?Driven By What?s Inside? has but one major matter of business, the Awards Banquet, October 30, 2004 at Devil?s Head Resort. Hope to see you all there for a day of fun and celebration!

* Qualification is regardless of NORBA membership. However, qualifiers are required to have a NORBA annual license to compete at Nationals.
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