Bikers slammed at slippery Slamfest

Slippery When Wet isn’t just the name of a 1986 Bon Jovi album, it’s a fact of life for mountain bikers.

Slippery When Wet isn’t just the name of a 1986 Bon Jovi album, it’s a fact of life for mountain bikers.

Sodden trails added another dimension of derring-do to the downhill races at Sima Slamfest at Mount Sima resort on Sunday.

“When the trail is so wet you can’t hold fast lines,” said Whitehorse’s Massey Baker. “You’re more on the edge racing in the wet. You’re more on the edge of crashing.

“Everyone was crashing. When I got to the bottom everyone I could find crashed.”

A rain shower a couple hours before Slamfest’s main downhill race — on the trail “Lefty Loosey” — left few riders unscathed in their runs.

Many riders, including the top five finishers, took spills riding the roughly two-kilometre run with 335 metres of vertical drop.

About a third of the way down Baker hit a root and his bike washed out from under him, sending him into a patch of trees.

Undeterred, the 23-year-old jumped back on, finished the course and placed first in the open men’s race. It was the first Slamfest win for Baker, who missed the event the last two years.

“It feels good. It always feels good to win,” said Baker. “It rained a lot so everything was kind of slippery.

“Everyone is in the same boat, so everyone drops into a greasy, slippery run. From my knowledge, everyone in the top three crashed. I crashed off the trail into a bunch of trees and took a fair hit to my head. But I came out in the lead, so it couldn’t have been that bad.”

Baker wasn’t supposed to be at Slamfest in the first place. He’s been competing in B.C. and national enduro series races down south all summer and returned home a couple of weeks early after breaking his bike. Baker, who borrowed a bike for Slamfest, competed in 10 enduro races, topping out with a sixth place in Williams Lake and taking 18th out of 43 at nationals.

He mostly had “middle of the pack results, which I’m pretty proud of,” said Baker. “I’m racing pro men for Canada, so the best of the best. I had some mechanical failures, broken bikes — par for the course.”

On Sunday Baker finished the course in four minutes and 14.59 seconds for first.

Mount Lorne’s Ben Kinvig, who last year won his second downhill title at Slamfest, took second with a time of 4:18.44.

Just .04 seconds behind Kinvig was third place’s Brody Ryckman, a youth division winner the previous three years.

Julien Revel, the 2010 and 2014 winner, took fourth at 4:27.21 and event organizer Josh de la Salle placed fifth with a time of 4:29.90.

“It’s hard for me to keep this going, but I’m trying to make it a little better each year,” said de la Salle. “It seems to be growing a little bit every year. I try to add better prizes and add more sponsorships.”

Though Baker claimed the big prize on Sunday, he was outdone in the “Drop the Clutch” open men’s race on the beginner/intermediate trail. Aidan Uiterwaal took first, finishing two seconds ahead of Baker in second.

This past weekend was the seventh edition of the more-or-less annual event since 2008. The mountain bike festival wasn’t held in 2011 because of the construction of a chairlift. In 2012 the AFD Gravity Cup Downhill Mountain Bike Race held instead of Slamfest.

“It’s great to see lots of people out here and to come support Sima,” said Baker. “They are growing exponentially every time they host (an event). A lot of people come out and gives them an opportunity for more trails. It’s just great to see Whitehorse pulling in a strong biking community.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon artist’s work featured in national exhibit

Nicole Favron named as Yukon winner for 2020 BMO Art! competition

Higher camping fees, new campground, reconciliation efforts feature in Yukon parks 10-year strategy

Creating a new campground within two hours of Whitehorse, introducing higher camping… Continue reading

UPDATED: Driver in alleged Whitehorse gun-pointing incident arrested

Christopher Dick, 24, charged with obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with release order

YG and pharmacies preparing for flu vaccine distribution

The Yukon government is preparing for flu season and encouraging people to… Continue reading

Non-resident tests positive for COVID-19

The individual has been hospitalized in Whitehorse

Hot Hounds bikejor race serves as lone summer competition

Held in Mount Lorne, the race was organized by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon

Whitehorse operations building officially open

Staff are taking phased approach to moving in

North of Ordinary Experience Centre shutting down

COVID-19 has caused bookings for the space to become almost non-existent, owner says

Canada Games Centre could get new playground

Council to vote on contract award

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Harescramble brings out motorcycle community

This year’s event included 67 riders

YG seeks members for youth climate change panel

“Yukon youth deserve to have their voices heard”

Yukon NDP hold AGM

This year’s meeting was held virtually

Most Read