Mountain bike series wraps up with downhill race

The prospect of free hotdogs at the end of the course did little to shake-up the results from last week’s mountain bike race.

The prospect of free hotdogs at the end of the course did little to shake-up the results from last week’s mountain bike race.

The high school series came to an end Wednesday with four-out-of-five of last week’s winners again filling the top spots, securing first place finishes for each.

“It’s just the most downhill parts of the Magnusson Ski Trails,” said Chris McNeill, an organizer of the race with FH Collins, speaking of the roughly three-kilometre course. “It also used a little bit of the radio tower field on the other side of Grey Mountain Road (at the start).”

The most impressive finish was by Porter Creek Secondary’s Kelsey Kabanak, who not only went undefeated last year, but again dominated this season, ending her high school biking career with an impeccable 8-0 record.

“It feels really good to walk away with a perfect record,” said Kabanak, who also bikes on Team Yukon.

Racing in the girls’ division, which shared the start line with the large boys’ Grade 8 category, Kabanak ran into trouble early on. In the first of two collisions for Kabanak in the race, the senior fell to last place shortly after crossing the start line.

“The beginning was really cramped, so people’s handlebars were overlapping,” explained Kabanak. “And I went to go for it and the person beside me had his handlebars hit, so he went into mine. So … everyone got ahead and we were (left behind) untangling our bikes.”

After working her way back to the front of the pack, midway through the race Kabanak again found herself having to make-up lost ground, as she suffered a second collision.

“I went to pass a Grade 8er but his wheels weren’t horizontal so he hit a root and swerved and hit my front tire,” said Kabanak. “So we both went flying and blocked the whole trail and (my competition) got to pass me again. But that’s OK, I got to catch back up.”

Another to dominate the series was Lee Hawkings, who won all four races in the small 11/12 boys’ division.

“There’s only two of us in the category that showed up every time,” said the FH student, who finished in second place last year. “It’s more fun if it’s a big category.”

Unlike the three previous meets in the series, the course was from point A to point B, instead of being circular.

“I like this one the best,” said Hawkings. “It’s more downhill than the other ones and you don’t have to do loops. And it’s the last one of the year, so there’s food and prizes at the end.”

Hawkings, a cross-country skier on Team Yukon, uses mountain biking as a means to stay in shape during the off-season. This winter Hawkings will be skiing in the Canada Cup in Callahan Valley, BC.

Navigation became a deciding factor in the race as many missed a sharp turn at the top of the trail, in some cases sending riders too off course to take a top spot.

“There was really only one part that was easy to miss,” said Vanier’s Tyler Wynnyk, who finished first in the boys’ 9/10 division. “Just at the top of the hill, you’re coming (along) and you want to go straight, but it’s a tight left turn.”

Wynnyk skipped last year’s series but took fourth two years ago in the Grade 8 division.

“It feels great,” added Wynnyk, speaking of his top-spot finish. “Next year I’m going to come back as a (11/12 competitor), so it’s going to be more of a challenge because I’ll have a grade ahead of me to compete against.

“It should be lots of fun.”

The only winner of the final race that did not win last week was FH’s Nathan Seifert in the BMX division. However, since last week was the only race in which he was not the only competitor in the division, his first place finish in the series was nothing less than a certainty.

“I’ve been really happy about how (the season) worked out,” said McNeill. “We started four years ago and the numbers were kind of low until the word got out. We’ve had 35-40 kids a race this year — had more girls than we’ve had in the past — and it seems everyone had fun.

“We were blessed with good weather and it turned out well,” he added. “We didn’t have any serious injuries and didn’t even have too many bike problems.”

At the end of the race, after a free barbecue, prizes were awarded to the series’ winners and some others were raffled off. The prizes, donated by Philippe’s Bicycle Shop and Icycle Sports, were valued at over $600.

Results

Grade 8: 1st Nigel Sinclair-Eckert (PCSS); 2nd Colin Kabanak (PCSS); 3rd Eastan Linquist (PCSS).

Grade 9/10: 1st Tyler Wynnyk (VCSS); 2nd Simon Geoffroy (EET); 3rd Josh Kelly (PCSS).

Grade 11/12: 1st Lee Hawkings (FHC); 2nd Nathaniel Rodden (FHC); 3rd Luc Johnston (VCSS).

Open girls: 1st Kelsey Kabanak (PCSS); 2nd Robin King (FHC); 3rd Rebecca Gaetz (VCSS).

BMX: 1st Nathan Seifert (FHC); 2nd Chris Greek (VCSS); 3rd n/a.

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