Riders Ready For Payson Pounder

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A foursome of Rim Country cyclists remain undefeated in the race for Mountain Bike Association of Arizona state championships.

Eric Molitor, Ken Shepherd, Brian Goble and Wayne Gorry all won their respective age/experience division titles in the first three races of the five-event series.

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Wayne Gorry (center) celebrates after finishing first in the 50-years-plus Expert Division at the White Tank Whirlwind Mountain Bike Race.

Molitor competes in the 17- to 18-year Junior division, Shepherd is entered in the 45- to 49-year Sport class and Goble competes with the 50-year-plus Sport riders.

Gorry, a former MBAA state champion, is also entered in the 50-year-plus Expert division.

The four will try to keep their MBAA records unblemished at the next event, the Payson Pounder, to be held April 29.

The series wraps up with the crowning of champions May 20 at the Prescott Punisher.

Also representing the Rim Country on the MBAA series are Daniel Conley, Cypress Gorry, Trevor Titus-Zimmerschied and Nick Payne.

Cypress Gorry, Payne and Titus-Zimmerschied are ranked in the top three of their divisions.

"They are still in the running to capture championships," Wayne Gorry said.

In the Payson riders' last outing, April 1 at the White Tank Whirlwind, Wayne Gorry toured two laps of the 7.5 loop course in 2:16.32 to easily win over runner-up Jim Gibson who stands second in the MBAA point series standings.

Gorry said he led at the start of the race but then was passed by Gibson on "a very technical, rocky section of single track."

Despite falling to second, Gorry kept Gibson in sight before passing him during the second lap.

Shepherd, who narrowly won the second race of the MBAA series at Estrella Mountain Park, dominated the Whirlwind competition, winning in 1:41.41 -- about eight minutes ahead of his nearest competition.

"He asserted his dominance of his class," Wayne Gorry said. "Ken is just flat out faster than he has ever been before.

"He is racing at a very high level right now."

During the event, Shepherd turned in the fastest average lap among any of the Payson riders.

Molitor also eclipsed all competition, taking the lead at the onset of the event and winning by more than nine minutes.

"Eric's performance was especially impressive because he was riding a bike without any suspension," Gorry said.

After finding cracks in the frame of his personal bike, Molitor had to abandon it in favor of a replacement that had no shocks.

"To race as well as he did on a course as rocky as that one is a testament to his bike handling skills," Gorry said.

In the Sport 50-year class, Goble pedaled his way to an easy win, besting the runner-up by over seven minutes. He was clocked in 1:47.09.

Conley was also a dominating performer, leading the race from start to finish.

"He not only won his class but also passed all the competition in the 15- to 16-year Junior class that started two minutes ahead of him," Gorry said.

Also at Whirlwind, Cypress Gorry finished third in the 13- to 14-year Junior class, Titus Zimmerschied was second in the 10-year Junior division and Payne the bronze medalist among the 19- to 29-year Beginner class.

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