Nothing shakes up a championship series like a new set of winners.
With the exception of the BMX division, all had new names at the top of the results after Wednesday’s races in the second event of the Whitehorse high school mountain bike series, which was hosted by Ecole Emilie Tremblay at Mount McIntyre.
A big reason for this was the fact 13 more riders attended the event, bringing the total participants to 36. In fact, last week’s event, hosted by Porter Creek Secondary, had so few racers there was not a single rider in the Grade 11/12 division.
“I was going to come last week, but I had to work,” said Porter Creek’s Jason Zrum, who was first in the 11/12 race, beating out Vanier’s Donald Fortune and Porter Creek’s Kelsey Schmidt.
The closest battles so far after two races are in the largest categories.
Tremblay’s Simon Geoffroy jumped from second place into the top spot by finishing first in the 9/10 division. Last week’s winner, Porter Creek’s Nigel Sinclair-Eckert fell into fourth place, having missed the event because of a field trip, thereby opening the door for Vanier’s Eliot Berg to move from fourth into second with a second-place finish.
“I really like this one – last week I didn’t like as much because there was much more uphill than this time,” said Geoffroy, speaking of the course, which incorporated the pump-track of the new Mount McIntyre skills park into the final lap.
“It was just in and out (of the pump-track) pretty quickly, but it was pretty cool, I liked it.”
Geoffroy began the race second last after slipping off his pedal at the start line, but managed to close the gap and eventually jumped into the lead in the second lap when FH’s Logan Godin, who was in front, took a fall in the downhill section of the course.
“I got first because Logan wiped out right in front of me, so I managed to pass him,” said Geoffroy.
“The second guy fell in front of me, that’s why I had first,” said Godin, referring to Berg. “There was a bunch of woodchips and I just couldn’t turn.”
Another fierce struggle to continue into next week’s race, which will be held near the fish ladder, is in the Grade 8 category.
Porter Creek’s Shea Hoffman came from off the radar to win Wednesday’s race, moving all the way up into third place in the series.
“I thought it was good,” said Hoffman. “I haven’t done mountain biking competitively before – there’s definitely a difference. I’m doing it for training purposes mostly.”
Hoffman, who now sits behind Tremblay riders Aiden Allen and Etienne Geoffroy in the standings, feels his speed-skating skills transfer well into mountain bike racing.
“Some (speed-skating) strategies can transfer to other racing sports,” he said.
The only category to lose riders was the open girls, with only two competing down from four last week.
FH’s Audrianna Antilla, who won last week’s race, came in behind last week’s second-place finisher, schoolmate Sara Burke-Forsythe, putting them in a tie for first in the standings. Last week’s third-place finisher, Rebecca Gaetz from Vanier, was out with an injury.
“My derailleur is broken, it doesn’t shift (gears) at all – it’s stuck,” said Antilla. “It was the hardest (gear) too, so I was running up hills.
“It was a bit of a let down.”
Organizers of the series have decided to use a new points system for this year’s races, which they hope will keep the standings closer. In years past, the winner would be awarded 10 points, second place eight, third place six and onwards in that fashion. This year, second place receives nine and third receives eight and so on.
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