With the exception of a couple hospital visits due to minor injuries, the AFD Gravity Cup Downhill Mountain Bike Race Series was enough of a success that organizers are already talking about doing it again.
“Next year we are thinking about doing three locations,” said Chantelle Payjack, an organizer with AFD. “We’ll do Hinton again, which is the first Gravity Cup that we did in June, we’re going to do Fort McMurray and then back to Whitehorse… That’s what the plan is right now.”
Fifty-nine mountain bikers took part in the downhill races at Mount Sima on Sunday. With plenty of Outside competition, Yukon riders were held to winning just four out of the nine divisions.
However, Whitehorse riders did top the two expert classes. Martina Knopp and Justin Mullan were the fastest expert riders down a course designed specifically for the event.
“It was an amazing course,” said Knopp. “They obviously put a lot of work into it. It’s really nice to see this kind of riding in Whitehorse.”
Sima was selected to host the second installment of the Gravity Cup through AFD Racing, a division of AFD Petroleum that has an office in Whitehorse. The first Gravity Cup was held on June 17 in Hinton, Alberta, the location of AFD’s home office.
Sima has hosted downhill races before. The most popular race is the Sima Slamfest, last held in 2010. (Construction of the resort’s new chairlift prevented Slamfest from taking place last summer.)
“It was fantastic; I think it was the best one we’ve had yet,” said Mullan, an organizer of past Slamfest races. “The course is the best and the dirt jump competition last night was insane.
“It was nice. AFD kind of took it over and I just did what I could and it gave me a lot more time to get some runs in, race and enjoy myself.”
Knopp won the expert women’s class, completing the course in five minutes and 33 seconds, just 12 seconds up from Skagway’s Bobbi Wilcox. Whitehorse’s Danielle Hodgson placed third. Knopp also won the expert women’s class at the 2010 Sima Slamfest.
“Just keep it smooth and calm and not worry too much about speed,” said Knopp, talking strategy.
Mullan raced down in a time of 4:22, beating Whitehorse riders Joshua de la Salle (4:40) and Daniel Libman (4:42).
It was Mullan’s first downhill race win at Sima.
“I’m not a racer, I just like going fast,” said Mullan. “I just tried to know the course so I could get through it cleanly.”
Sunday’s races included an elite class featuring professional riders from B.C. and Alberta.
Mount Sima management hopes to host a Sima Slamfest later this summer, but no date has been set.
Top five results
1st Cody Ratte (Calgary) – 3:53
2nd Greg Taylor (Vernon) – 3:54
3rd Jeff Bryson (North Vancouver) – 3:55
4th Judd De Vall (Whistler) – 4:02
5th Joe DeGraff (Whitehorse) – 4:11
1st Justin Mullan (Whitehorse) – 4:22
2nd Joshua de la Salle (Whitehorse) – 4:40
3rd Daniel Libman (Whitehorse) – 4:52
4th Ryan Norquay (Whitehorse) – 5:20
5th Julien Revel (Whitehorse) – 6:00
1st Martina Knopp (Whitehorse) – 5:33
2nd Bobbi Wilcox (Skagway) – 5:45
3rd Danielle Hodgson (Whitehorse) – 6:15
4th Kristy Jacklin (Edmonton) – 9:05
1st Sam Reimer (Whitehorse) – 4:33
2nd Easton Linquist (Whitehorse) – 4:50
3rd Waylin Nagano (Dawson City) – 5:00
4th Jordon Rothkop (Whitehorse) – 5:24
1st Kenzie Davy (Whitehorse) – 6:15
2nd Kirby McLean (Victoria) – 6:20
3rd Angela Spicer (Whitehorse) – 6:29
4th Cat Mullan (Whitehorse) – 7:06
1st Syd Jacklin (Edmonton) – 4:15
2nd Jarrid Davy (Whitehorse) – 4:41
3rd Fabien Florentin (Whitehorse) – 4:58
4th Shay Mortimer (Whitehorse) – 5:38
5th Sky Pearson (Whitehorse) – 5:51
1st Carter Paschinski (Red Deer) – 4:25
2nd Brandon Cormier (Whitehorse) – 4:39
3rd Francis Bouffard (Whitehorse) – 4:48
4th Schaber Ashton (Whitehorse) – 4:52
5th Jake Duncan (Whitehorse) – 5:04
1st Matthew Mclean (Victoria) – 4:25
2nd Tylar Gleave (Sherwood Park) – 4:53
3rd Brody Ryckman (Whitehorse) – 5:48
4th Chris Ritchie (Haines Junction) – 6:12
5th Tim Schirmer (Whitehorse) – 6:47
1st Kendall McLean (Victoria) – 4:15
2nd Ethan Davy (Whitehorse) – 6:20
3rd Liam Mather (Whitehorse) – 9:12
4th Nichollis Schmidt (Whitehorse) – 9:53
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org