Squaw Valley, CA – Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson ran away with 1st place and took home $5,000 and a 2003 Ford Ranger FX4 two-year lease at the Ford Ranger FX4 Challenge held under sunny skies at Squaw Valley this afternoon. US Snowboard Team members Adam Smith and Pete Thorndike took second and third, respectively. “It was a really good course for hard boots,” said Anderson. “The key to winning the race was a good start, hard boots, the right wax, and a good board.”
Today’s snowboard cross race provided tons of action, excitement and suspense as 32 of the world’s elite racers vied for the crown, including crashes, bumps and unexpected finishes. Eight heats with four racers were held in the first round, with the top two finishers advancing. The winners were grouped again into four, with the top two finishers advancing in heat round to the finish.
In the first round, Thorndike crashed in the second bank turn but managed to pull out a first place finish with US Snowboard Team teammate Adam Smith taking second over two local qualifiers, Rick Graveson and Chris Currier. Invited participant and long-time racer Paul Henderson also crashed in the 6th heat, losing his first place spot to Nate Holland and Benjamin Boussina. In the final heat of the round, Germany’s Sven Unger easily led the pack, but the battle for second was fierce as local John Percy squeaked out a win over Jason Brand, advancing to the next round.
Round 2 wasn’t any less exciting. Smith made his move halfway down the course to take first place from Boussina, with Thorndike following suit for a second place finish. Unger made a pass in the final heat in only 100 yards to move up from third place to first. This heat cut the group down to a core of friendly rivals that included many racers who have raced each other often in the past, including Anderson, Italy’s Simone Malusa, well-known racer Seth Wescott and Tahoe local Matt Shrive.
In the semi-final, Anderson and Malusa easily out raced France’s Sylvain Duclos and Wescott, and Thorndike and Smith ran away with the top two spots over Unger and Shrive. In the final round, Anderson paved the way down the course, leaving Thorndike, Smith and Malusa to battle for the rest of the prize money.
“It was a very exciting race,” said Katie Campbell, Director of PR/Promotions for Eclipse Television & Sports Marketing, producer of the snowboard cross event. “The racers really battled it out on the course, and the most prepared and well-rounded racers came out on top. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to work with Ford, and be a part of the development of snowboard cross, the newest Olympic sport.”