Yeti-FOX’s Graves wins Willingen 4X
Willingen, Germany (June 3 and 4) – The Yeti-FOX Factory Race Team had its best weekend yet. Jared Graves had a near-flawless 4X, and Justin Leov is regaining his speed after hurting his shoulder in Vigo, Spain.
This is a press release written by me, Lee McCormack
The 4X course was long with huge jumps — German style. Jared Graves qualified 4th and reached the final with a trio of BMX powerhouses: Michal Prokop, Joost Wichman and Roger Rinderknecht. Since Graves qualified slowest of the four, he started from the far outside. Oh well, no matter. He snapped all those guys, pulled around the outside and led from there.
Toward the end, Graves had that dangerous thought: “Oh my gosh, I’m in the lead; I’m gonna win this,” and he slowed down a bit. Just then Wichman pulled alongside, and it was ON: A full sprint to the finish, and Graves took it by a wheel. He isn’t the burliest guy on the circuit, but he sure knows how to pedal. Before gravity racing he was a top Australian XC racer. That can’t hurt.
Team manager Damion Smith was stoked for his boy. “We’ve had little troubles here and there, but it all came together for this one. It was awesome.” Graves raced his Yeti Dirt Jumper with a FOX F100 pumped to perfect stiffness and his standard tires: Maxxis High Roller front and Larsen TT rear.
The downhill was almost entirely human engineered — German style. Right out of the gate, riders made a couple strokes then boosted a five-foot drop. A series of a half dozen monster jumps added moto flavor and made for great video (Check out Clay Porter’s magic at www.yeticycles.com.). Lower in the woods, the course remained teutonically manicured, with even more jumps and some fun drops over rock piles. If you took good lines, there were basically no bumps.
On course like this, the times tend to be close. Graves ripped a clean 2:02.09 and wound up 11th. One second faster would have been five places. Leov’s shoulder didn’t bother him at all on this bump-free run, and he rode a 2:05.79, good for 31st.
Willingen’s speed, smoothness and jumps demanded a firmer, more planted ride than typical rocky World Cup downhills. On the FOX 40 forks, the boys increased high- and low-speed compression by about four clicks, and they slowed down the rebound. On their DHX shocks, they added air pressure to increase the Propedal damping. The result: A pair of very snappy Yeti 303 DHs.
The dirt was spongy, with some gravel on top. Graves rode Wet Scream mud tires, with the center knobs trimmed for faster rolling. That seemed like a great way to hook into the soft ground. Clever.
The team is getting its program dialed. This weekend they’ll rock the Sugar Mountain NMBS in North Carolina. The forecast calls for thunderstorms. Better keep those Wet Screams handy.
The Yeti-FOX Racing Factory Team rides the best products on the market.
– FOX – Front and Rear race-tuned Suspension
– Shimano – Drivetrain, chain, brakes, pedals, footwear
– DT Swiss – Swiss quality wheelsets
– Maxxis – Rolling the best rubber on the circuit
– Chris King – The finest headsets on the planet
– MRP – The best chainguides available
– Topeak – Pumps, tools, and bike stands
– Thomson – Stems and seatposts
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