Daredevil riders take up Sima Slamfest challenge

To be a top rider at Sima Slamfest, you need a good bike, strong technique and - perhaps most importantly - a healthy dose of daredevilness.

To be a top rider at Sima Slamfest, you need a good bike, strong technique and – perhaps most importantly – a healthy dose of daredevilness.

When it’s wet and slippery, as was the case at the Slamfest held at Mount Sima over the weekend, a little lunacy can go a long way.

“My run was a little sketchy, super slick,” said Ben Kinvig. “I had one crash and then one slip off the pedal on an air, but other than that, it was pretty good. It was a little sketchy in spots. I almost crashed a couple times. It was pretty wild.”

Kinvig was one of over 30 riders to take part in the two-day downhill mountain bike event.

The 19-year-old won both days, winning Sunday’s downhill race from the top of Sima to the base, completing the muddy, winding trail in four minutes and 16 seconds.

He beat-out second place’s Julien Revel by six seconds and third place’s Phillipp Beausejour by 11. Revel was the expert men’s winner of the previous Sima Slamfest in 2010.

Sima was supposed to host what would have been the second annual AFD Gravity Cup Downhill Mountain Bike Race on the weekend, but AFD Petroleum Ltd. cancelled the event upon news that Sima was closing and participants would not have access to the chairlift.

Slamfest was held in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Construction of a new chairlift prevented Slamfest from taking place in 2011.

For Sunday’s downhill races, riders were shuttled to the top in pick-up trucks and other four-wheel drive vehicles.

“The weather was pretty awful, but it made all the trails fun,” said organizer Justin Mullan. “It was a pretty decent turnout, considering how last minute it was. Everyone was pretty stoked about the enduro event and the downhill today. Nobody got hurt, which is a major thing.”

Last year’s Gravity Cup resulted in a broken arm for one rider and plenty of stitches among other riders.

Kinvig was also tops in Saturday’s enduro event in which riders cycled up and down the 1,000-foot mountain three times. He entered that one on a whim.

“I didn’t even want to do the enduro, I just did it and I guess I won it too,” said Kinvig. “It’s a lot of work, man. But it was pretty good.”

Kinvig wasn’t the only double winner.

Rider Brody Ryckman, 14, won the shorter enduro and less treacherous downhill races in the youth division.

“It feels awesome,” said Ryckman. “It was wet – wet and dirty. Lots of mud, but it wasn’t bad.”

The F.H. Collins Secondary student placed second in youth men at the 2010 Sima Slamfest and third at last year’s Gravity Cup.

After numerous second place finishes, Cat O’Donovan finally rode to first in the small women’s division.

“I’ve got second every year – second or third every year – so this is the first year I got first place,” said O’Donovan. “I’ve improved so I’m happy with that. I’ve gotten more into the sport every year. It’s been a hobby mostly, but I’m starting to take it a little more seriously.”

O’Donovan, who finished in 8:20, beat teenager Mackenzie Davy by 1:11, but, “Age doesn’t matter with this sport very much, it’s more guts and technique,” said O’Donovan.

“We decided to not do the more technical trail for women today because it was really slick with the rain,” she added. “So we did the other trail and it’s just an easy trail – it’s a no-brainer.

“I got ahead of myself a couple times. There were some divots from the rain and I bounced off my seat a couple times, but it was a good ride.”

Other riders in Sunday’s downhill event includes Shauna Thomas, the only female to attempt the challenging men’s course, finishing in 7:50. Darryl Tait rode the access road in the adaptive class, riding one gnarly looking hand bike. Tait finished the run in 7:10 with a flat tire on the bottom third of the course.

So will Sima Slamfest be back next year?

“I guess we’ll see what happens with the hill and if AFD (Petroleum Ltd.) wants to come back up to hold the Gravity Cup,” said Mullan. “If not, we’ll look at it then.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Downhill (Sunday)

Open men

1st Ben Kinvig – 4:16

2nd Julien Revel – 4:22

3rd Phillipp Beausejour – 4:27

Open women

1st Cat O’Donovan – 7:50

2nd Mackenzie Davy – 9:31

Youth boys

1st Brody Ryckman – 8:13

2nd Liam Mather – 8:43

3rd Sam Mather – 10:37

Adaptive class

1st Darryl Tait – 7:10

Enduro (Saturday)

Open men

1st Ben Kinvig – n/a

2nd Phillipp Beausenjour – n/a

3rd Jonah Clark – n/a

Open women

1st Sierra van der Meer – n/a

2nd Monica Melynchuk – n/a

Youth boys

1st Brody Ryckman – 12:42

2nd Liam Mather – 13:47

3rd Ethan Davy – 14:47

Youth girls

1st Mackenzie Davy – 14:46

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