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Downhill racers slam it at Sima

Sima Slamfest was a bit of a last-minute event this year. But downhill racers have quick reaction times. They need them.

Sima Slamfest was a bit of a last-minute event this year. But downhill racers have quick reaction times. They need them.

Over 30 riders took part in Slamfest at Whitehorse’s Mount Sima ski resort on Sunday, racing down about 335 metres of vertical drop on windy, challenging trails in mere minutes.

“It was just a last-minute thing,” said organizer Julien Revel. “Sima was open for biking this weekend and I thought we should get a race because we usually have one.

“We were tight for time, but we were able to find a sponsor and they helped us out quite a bit.”

Revel was an organizer and a winner on Sunday. The 28-year-old won the expert men’s division, completing the roughly two-kilometre run in four minutes and 6.07 seconds.

“It was pretty good. I slipped at the top, but I don’t think I lost that much time,” said Revel, who also won at the 2010 Slamfest. “I tried to not fall and keep my speed up.”

Revel couldn’t spare much time; just four seconds separated the top three finishers.

Ben Kinvig came blazing over the finish line in 4:07.52 for second and Joe DeGraff in third at 4:10.07.

“There’s a traverse section that’s really flat and pedally, and I always have trouble maintaining momentum through there,” said Kinvig.

“Joe, who took third, his chain fell off a ways up on a rock feature - he probably could have won it,” he added. “He’s super fast.”

Kinvig won the expert division at last year’s Slamfest, beating Revel by just six seconds. The 20-year-old suffered a concussion in a bad landing off a 60-foot jump at the Canadian Open downhill race at Crankworx in Whistler, B.C., last year.

“I was slower than usual, I’m just getting back into it,” said Kinvig. “I had a bad crash last year in Whistler. I’m just taking it easy now, just slowly getting back into it. I’ll maybe go hard next season, into the racing again.”

“I’m glad everybody made it in one piece; nobody got hurt,” added Revel speaking of Sunday’s races.

It was a close finish in the expert women’s division as well. Mackenzie Davy finished the same expert course as the men with a time of 5:34.8. At just 16 years old, she was the youngest in the field.

“The last few years I’ve been in the women’s category because there aren’t many my age that want to do it, so I just kind of compete with them,” said Davy.

“It was really good. I had one little slip, but nothing major. I had a couple crashes in the practice runs, but the race run is what counts, I guess.”

Martina Knopp raced to second at 5:50.27, Emilie Herdes third in 5:50.7, and Cat O’Donovan, last year’s winner, came fourth with a time of 6:08.61.

Davy placed second last year in expert women and was first for junior women. She won the sport women class at the AFD Gravity Cup downhill event at Sima in 2012 at Sima.

“I won at the Gravity Cup a couple years ago, but this was my fastest time I’ve ever had on this track ... My Gravity Cup times was 6:15.

“There are a couple steeper rock faces, but there are ride-arounds for everything though,” added Davy. “Earlier today I crashed on the first rock face ... I’ve done it before, but today is was a little slippery and wasn’t ready for it and crashed. That was the one thing I did the ride-around for in my race run.”

Mackenzie was one of two Davys to win a division on Sunday. Brother Ethan Davy took first in the under-15 expert division.

Brody Ryckman, who won two youth divisions last year, made it three in a row with a win in the males 15-18 division, finishing the expert course in 4:47.30.

Sunday’s was the fifth edition of Sima Slamfest. The downhill event was held in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Construction of Sima’s chairlift prevented Slamfest from taking place in 2011.

The AFD Gravity Cup Downhill Mountain Bike Race was held instead of Slamfest in 2012.

This past weekend was the last of three in which Sima’s chairlift was operating this summer, taking bikers (and paragliders) to the summit.

Last year’s Slamfest was held without the chairlift with racers shuttled to the top in pick-up trucks and other four-wheel drive vehicles.

“It’s really fun, all the people and everything,” said Mackenzie. “Knowing everyone is kind of cool because you get to cheer on everyone and everyone cheers you on. It’s just a good event, I think.”


Expert men

1st Julien Revel - 4:06.07

2nd Ben Kinvig - 4:07.52

3rd Joe DeGraff - 4:10.07

4th Jonah Clark - 4:13.35

5th Terry Morrison - 4:35.00

6th Josh de la Salle - 4:42.79

Expert women

1st Mackenzie Davy - 5:34.8

2nd Martina Knopp - 5:50.27

3rd Emilie Herdes - 5:50.70

4th Cat O’Donovan - 6:08.61

Males 15-18

1st Brody Ryckman - 4:47.30

2nd Finn Matrishon - 5:14.36

3rd Tim Schirmer - 5:31.24

4th Sam Schirmer - 5:58.41

5th Ian Hanson - 6:08.50

Under-15 expert

1st Ethan Davy - 5:14.78

2nd Sam Mather - 5:41.98

3rd Mael Pronovost - 6:25.69

Under-15 intermediate

1st Shane Corban - 7:48.9

2nd Angus Endress - 7:55.34

3rd Ben Shier - 8:03.56

4th Reena Coyne (female) - 9:24.9

Contact Tom Patrick at