Sue Butler Takes the Holeshot. by Andrew Yee
After slipping her way into second place at Star Crossed on Saturday, Sue Butler was riding a high when she rolled into Rad Racing. Butler was eager to prove that her second place, which she gained thanks to the simultaneously falls of Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) and Alison Dunlap (Luna Chix), was not a fluke.
Butler started out on a mission, grabbing the holeshot (see women’s start video here). Quickly joined by Helen Wyman (Kona), the pair separated themselves from the field with only half a lap in the books.
Wyman wasn’t content to follow wheels, as the British National Champion was looking to rid herself of the field in the same manner as her victory at Star Crossed race less than 24 hours prior. Butler was determined, however, and she emerged as the only one who could hold the Brit’s wheel. Wyman hit the gas up the first ascent of the Knapp Time Run Up, gapping Dunlap who was motivated to make up for the previous night’s disappointing last lap crash. With only Butler for company, Wyman continued to press their advantage, but she was doing nothing towards dropping Butler.
Sue Butler Tops the Women's Podium. Photo by Andrew Yee
Disaster struck shortly there after as Wyman punctured just before the run-up and had to run almost a half lap of the course, leaving Butler alone at front. With an easily defensible gap, Butler continued to build on her advantage over Dunlap. By half way through the race, Butler could put her race in cruise control and safely cross the finish line for her first victory of the year. Behind her, Dunlap was chasing with all her might, but she could do nothing to close on Butler. Behind her, Kari Studley was cruising in third place, just ahead of a dogfight between Vanderkitten’s Barb Howe and Hudz/Subaru’s Wendy Williams. (View video the chasers here)
Wyman, who had dropped to almost dead last was steadily making her way back through the field. Butler crossed the finish line with a sizable gap, followed by Dunlap, who is enjoying her un-retirement, and then Studley, who had a career best day. Wyman ripped through the field, finally making her way up to fourth before she ran out of real estate.
Howe and Williams went back and forth, with only centimeters separating them at the line. Howe eventually won the sprint and took home fifth place. Seventh place went to Jenni Gaertner, followed by Alice Pennington in eighth, Rhonda Mazza in ninth and Emily Van Meter sprinting home for tenth.
View the blow-by-blow racing action archive complete with video and images.
Sue Butler, post-race:
Helen Wyman, post-race: