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INFINEON NATIONALS: ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

Mark Fitzsimmons, the racing team manager for FOX Racing Shox, offered these comments:













Fitzy: muddy and stoked after this year’s FOX press ride. When he’s not busy developing suspension or supporting racing, he’s ripping.

USA Cycling had to have the national championships in that two-week slot in order to get UCI points that count toward Olympic selection.


– “Chris Conroy [of Yeti Cycles] offered to have it at Snowmass, and they spoke about having it at Angel Fire. I don’t know what happened there. At Fontana the NORBA guys talked to a few XC teams, and they said, ‘Why not do it at Infineon?’”


– “It came down to laziness and easiness. When NORBA did that, they said, ‘Downhill and 4X—we don’t care.’”


– Because Infineon was originally a national series race, international racers will get to race it. “An American can get 10th and still be the national champion,” Fitzy said. “I’m sure Mark Weir will do a good job with the course, and it’ll be fun to ride. But it’s embarrassing, to tell international racers this is what American downhilling is about now.”


– “We [FOX] are thinking about taking our sponsorship out of the national series and putting it into the Mountain States Cup. They’re legitimate events, at ski resorts, with real races.”








Some clarification from Fitzsimmons:



All,



Please note that myself and FOX Racing Shox supports NORBA and USA Cycling 100% as the MSC is NORBA sanctioned. We are committed to the goal of improving and growing the sport of Mountain Biking in the US and around the globe. We take the aproach of how can we build on what exists and work towards improving it rather than spreading negative germs.



In addition we are not biased toward Gravity racing or Cross country. At the end of the day it’s about riding a bicycle with knobbies and sharing that experience with others.



Cheers


Fitzy

June 5, 2006 : Posted In: Events : Comments (9)

9 Comments

  1. Jason Says June 5, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

    Preach it brother!


  2. Olen Says June 6, 2006 @ 9:54 am

    Suggested criteria for selecting executives and representatives of NORBA 2007:

    1. Must own a mountain bike
    2. Must race minimum 3 races anually
    3. Must attend every NORBA sanctioned event, whether racing or not
    4. Must carry a legal pad to record ideas and criticisms from hundreds of industry professionals who are actually involved with the sport of mountain bike racing


  3. Wayne Says June 6, 2006 @ 3:37 pm

    What seems to be missing is a minimal definition of a DH, MX or DS course.

    There should be a definition that includes things like, vertical descent in feet, at least one drop, at least one double, at least one table top.

    Definition could vary by skill. Table tops are safer than doubles for beginners.

    Rock garden is ligit for a DH but not for DS or MX.

    An NCS race course should be more dificult that a State Cup race course, which should be more difficult than a local event. If you’re gonna award more points to an NCS race than a local race then it should be more difficult.

    Perhaps there should be a degree of difficulty rating for a course, sorta like the olympics does for diving and ice skating.

    But what do I know, I’m only a spectator. But I may have more years of experience as a spectator than the guys at UCI/NORBA do.


  4. Geoff Says June 6, 2006 @ 5:30 pm

    This sounds like good news to me. I’ve heard rumors that The Mountain States Cup has been looking to go big time and break free of NORBA. Which would be a good thing for a couple of really good reasons.

    1) Bike Racing may become televised here in the U.S. again. Norba signed a contract with OLN giving them exclusive rights to the Nationals Series. OLN hardly ever shows any Mountain Bike races and you can forget DH of 4X racing. If the MSC can get the big names to show, and get out from under NORBA, maybe other networks will persue the MSC and get bike racing on air.

    2) Living in Colorado, how can you not like the focal point of your sport being the MSC?

    3) Eric Jean and everyone at Yeti Bicycles have done so much for promoting bicycle advocacy and racing, that I have full confidence in nothing but good things coming out of whatever they put their minds to. Yeti helped form the Jefferson County TCS which has been fighting to keep trails maintained and open. With people I trust running the show, I know racing will only get better.

    That being said it is sad to see the disregaurd that NORBA and USA Cycling have consistently shown towards Downhill and Mountain Cross racing. I was excited to see Yeti take a strong backing of the MSC and hope that Fox and other Industry Leaders follow suit. It means a lot that someone is looking out for the best interests of the American Downhill scene. As a downhiller I pay attention to these things and try to support comanies that support the sport. shameless plug


  5. Phillip Says June 6, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

    “We [FOX] are thinking about taking our sponsorship out of the national series and putting it into the Mountain States Cup.”

    This would only make sense for them to do at Fox. Why would you want to be a secondary sponsor to an event a direct competitor (X-Fusion) is the title sponsor if?


  6. leelikesbikes Says June 6, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

    There’s a snafu for you. According to Fitzy:

    FOX is a title sponsor of the national series. Infineon was supposed to be part of the series.

    X-Fusion is a title sponsor of the one-day national championship, which was supposed to be at Mammoth but is now at Infineon.

    FOX has been displaced, and X-Fusion gets the Infineon race. At best it’s a conflict of interest. As worst it’s breech of contract. FOX paid for seven events; now they’re getting six. Not to mention USA Cycling gave the slot to a direct competitor of FOX, without first talking to FOX.

    You can see why FOX would be looking for more effective ways to support the sport.


  7. Mark Fitzsimmons Says June 7, 2006 @ 10:06 am

    All,

    Please note that myself and FOX Racing Shox supports NORBA and USA Cycling 100% as the MSC is NORBA sanctioned. We are committed to the goal of improving and growing the sport of Mountain Biking in the US and around the globe. We take the aproach of how can we build on what exists and work towards improving it rather than spreading negative germs.

    In addition we are not biased toward Gravity racing or Cross country. At the end of the day it’s about riding a bicycle with knobbies and sharing that expierience with others.

    Cheers
    Fitzy


  8. leelikesbikes Says June 7, 2006 @ 10:12 am

    Right on, Fitzy.

    Anyone can list problems. Heroes create solutions.


  9. ska todd Says June 13, 2006 @ 9:26 pm

    Here here Fitzy!! I too slammed my head against the wall trying to get Norba to do something over the Infineon Nat Champs debacle vis-a-vis the gravity events. Based on this experience and and the slew of other issues I want to bring to the table to help develop this sport; I have opted to throw my hat into the ring and run for one of the open Norba board positions. Let’s take back what’s ours! The rider revolution has begun!

    http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=2306

    -ska todd
    (aka Todd Seplavy)


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