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NORBA #7 — Downhill

August 8, 2004 (Snowmass, Colo.) – The weekend came to a close with the downhill contest on the Banzai downhill course that dropped 1700 feet in 2.4 miles. Claiming a win in the women’s competition was Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif.), and in the men’s contest, Nathan Rennie (AUS) was the fastest.

With only eight women left on the course, Anka Martin (RSA) held her place in the hot seat after a run of 4:46.4. April Lawyer (Murrieta, Calif.), Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) and 16-year-old Tracey Hannah (AUS) posted impressive runs, taking the lead away from Martin.

Kathy Pruitt was the next woman down the mountain, and as she came into sight, it was apparent that she had made an authoritative run. She came across in 4:22.8, eight seconds faster than her morning qualifying run.

Two women were left, and the crowd wondered if Pruitt’s Luna Chix teammate Marla Streb (Los Osos, Calif.) or Bernadita Pizarro (Chile) would be able to take over the lead position.

Neither were able to match Pruitt’s speed. Marla Streb took second place in 4:24.6, while Pizarro placed third in 4:26.3. Rounding out the podium in fourth and fifth were Melissa Buhl with a 4:40 run and Tracey Hannah in 4:43.1.

The men’s competition proved to be just as exciting, as 2000 World Champion Myles Rockwell (Durango, Colo.) held the time to beat of 4:00.5 for over half of the event, even though he was only the seventh man down the mountain. By shaving 41 seconds off of his qualifying time, Rockwell was 25 seconds faster than anyone else, setting quite a high standard.

Nathan Rennie (AUS) came down in a cloud of dust and in less than four minutes, to take the lead away from Rockwell. John Kirkcaldie (NZL) was the next man to post a time under four minutes, but he was not fast enough to take Rennie’s lead away. Rennie held the fastest time of 3:57.3, while Kirkcaldie made the run in 3:59.6.

The men left on the mountain included current World Champion Greg Minaar (RSA), and many of the other fastest downhillers. Nobody was able to beat Rennie’s run though. He held onto his lead through the remainder of the contest. Dustin Adams (CAN) claimed second place, while Kirkcaldie moved into third. Jared Rando (AUS) took fourth place, and Rockwell was able to hang onto a podium spot in fifth place.

Women’s Results
1. Kathy Pruitt
2. Marla Streb
3. Bernadita Pizarro
4. Melissa Buhl
5. Tracey Hannah

Men’s Results
1. Nathan Rennie
2. Dustin Adams
3. John Kirkcaldie
4. Jared Rando
5. Myles Rockwell

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