The Series regulars had a mixed day Sunday at Fat Chance!, and it did a lot to move some big names around the standings as we move past the halfway point of the Short's Brewing Fat Bike Series.
On a cold and blustery day, which you can read about it detail here, Men's Open leader Jorden Wakeley laid down the gauntlet from the gun and did enough to give himself a comfortable lead over Sean Kickbush in the standings. Kickbush battled hard and was one of just a handful of riders to offer a sincere chase, but he suffered from his efforts on the last lap and slid from battling for third to coming home fifth in an absolutely stacked field.
The number of finishers made for a big points haul in each category, but in the Men's Open, it will likely be the most decisive day on the schedule when we look back on Fat Chance! in March. With 14 more starters than at Thirst Mutilator, Fat Chance! could be the gaps that can't be crossed in the final two races.
Jason Lowetz battled but ceded time and points in the final lap as well, slipping to ninth on the day and losing ground to Kickbush and Wakeley on the points table. The defending champion will likely have to shift focus to maintaining a podium finish. Teammate Rob Goepfrich moves into fourth on the table, with John Doneth in fifth but sitting a good ways back and tied on 51 points with Todd Vigland. The biggest interest outside the top five is Ryan Kennedy, who took third at Fat Chance! and is now in tenth. He's expected to make up some serious ground in the final two races after missing Thirst Mutilator.
The Women's Open saw Susan Vigland just barely miss the podium at Fat Chance!, with Chelsea Strate seizing third in the final few miles before the finish. Vigland's fourth was still absolutely massive, as she finished two spots ahead of Kim Thomas and will move a full three points clear with two races to go. Michelle Howard put in one of the gutsiest efforts we've ever been privy to in the 3 years of the series, riding to the hardest fought seventh place on record. She kept the gap tight to Thomas, to whom she is down two points. Beth Collins, carrying the Einstein Racing banner with pride, had a rough day but again showed her class by not throwing in the towel. She was ninth on the day and now sits eight points behind Vigland.
The Men's Master's race is by far the most exciting, with Craig Webb make some big strides to make up for a mechanic-ruined Thirst Mutilator. He rode a brilliant and calculating race Sunday to come home third behind the flying pair of Don Cameron and Jeff Wittbrodt. Webb did enough to come within one point of leader Chris Hansen, who managed sixth place. Webb was aided by teammates Steve Andriese and Paul Olsen, both of whom finished ahead of Hansen and helped to reduce the points Hansen could take. Dave Hintz was present and correct, coming in two seconds down to Hansen and ceding only one point. Scott Bury and Thomas Klaver round out the top five, with both putting a bit of daylight between themselves and riders looking for a podium by series end.
The Women's Masters is technically not over, but it's over. Dawn Cluchey can clinch the series by simply finishing next week, but even if someone can give her a race, she's looking stronger and strong at each outing, and Fat Chance! was her most impressive ride to date. She's sitting on a perfect 30 points, and a good goal would be to stay perfect all the way through Beard of Zeus on March 7.
Head over to the Points Standings page to see the full breakdown.