Harley Clifford Tops Knoxville Podium
August 16, 2010
The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour wrapped up its fifth and final stop of the 2010 season over the weekend in downtown Knoxville, where the world’s top professional riders hit the waters of Volunteer Landing for their last shot at the Pro Tour title.
Just as the current points leader, Phillip Soven, predicted, the title came down to the wire in Knoxville. Six riders squared off in the Pro Men’s division final today, with top seed Phillip Soven and defending titlist Harley Clifford in the hunt for the overall win.
Soven and Clifford entered the Knoxville Tour stop as the frontrunners for the Pro Tour title, separated by 15 points in the standings. Both riders finished off the season with impressive runs, but Clifford took top honors in Knoxville, after landing a Heelside Frontside 900 off the double up. Soven and Olivier Derome rounded out the contest podium, respectively.
Clifford’s first-place finish narrowed points gap in the overall standings, but Phillip Soven still managed to maintain a five-point lead, giving the Florida native his third Pro Tour title in four years.
Soven, Clifford and Rusty Malinoski finished as the top three riders in the Pro Men’s division on the 2010 MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour.
The Pro Women’s division saw a huge upset today during its final round of action. Top seed Nicola Butler had three uncharacteristic falls in her run, opening the door for the five other female finalists to win in Knoxville.
Aussie Amber Wing took full advantage of her opportunity on the water today, taking first place in the contest – her first win of the 2010 season.
“I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to in my run, but overall I thought I rode pretty well,” said Wing. “This is my first win on Tour this year, so tonight I need to go out and celebrate.”
Emily Copeland Durham and Raimi Merritt rounded out the contest podium, respectively.
Wing’s win in Knoxville places her second overall in the Queen of Wake standings – an all female pro wakeboarding series. Despite a poor showing in Knoxville, Nicola Butler still leads the series, with Raimi Merritt taking third overall. The Queen of Wake will wrap up its 2010 season in Orlando, Fla. next week.
Despite a hairline fracture in his right forearm, 18-year-old Steel Lafferty rallied to a first-place finish in the Jr. Pro Men’s division finals – his first ever on Tour. Aussie Ryleigh Pfitzner and Nick Galotifore rounded out the top three, respectively.
“My arm was killing me, but I overall I was really happy with the way I rode today,” said Lafferty. “I hurt arm riding in Orlando right before I came out to Knoxville, so I was a little to frustrated heading into the contest, but it all worked out.”
Lafferty’s win today places him third overall in the Jr. Pro Tour standings. Florida native Daniel Powers took second place overall, with Nick Galotifore claiming his first Jr. Pro Tour title.
“It’s unbelievable,” Galotifore commented on winning the title. “Not everyone gets to win it, so I’m really stoked about it. Next year I turn pro, so it’s awesome enter my rookie season with a Jr. Pro Tour title under my belt.”
All the winners in Knoxville, as well as the overall titlists received to trophies at the Tour’s award ceremony and after-party, hosted by Indmar Marine Engines and the MasterCraft Boat Company at the Bijou Theater.
To catch all the high-flying, rail-sliding, water-sports action of the Knoxville Pro Tour stop on television, tune in to FUEL TV on Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. ET.
For more information on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, including news, daily schedules, tickets, TV info, photos, videos, athlete bios, results, standings and more, visit Allisports.com – PWT