by Matt Stetson
Coming off a successful weekly race series at Horseshoe Resort, the Trail Showdown, the Ontario venue hosted an end-of-season championships. Dubbed the Triple Showdown, the weekend featured multiple categories of DH racing. There was also a pump track challenge and dual slalom.
Distancing through downhill
Horseshoe Resort has been the only central Ontario bike park with chairlift access that is open this season. Blue Mountain bike park closed for the summer, and racing in Ontario remains almost non-existent through the pandemic. Horseshoe has been taking advantage of downhill racing’s inherently physically distanced nature. The resort has getting people out on their trails since it opened on May 30.
“With socially distanced lift access and staggered rider starts, it’s much easier to keep people apart when compared with a cross country race, where you would see a mass start and riders racing close together,” says Hannah Simms, marketing co-ordinator at Horseshoe Resort.
Custom Dual Slalsom track to remain a permanent feature
Horseshoe has been offering chairlift access for mountain bikers during the past few years. It has slowly been improving its trail network as well. “The dual slalom course was built specifically for this weekend. It will be a permanent addition to the park and allows us to expand our features and offer riders more terrain to play on,” says bike park manager Matt Konings. Not only does it offer more terrain to play on, the dual slalom course also produces fantastically exciting head-to-head racing. The slalom was one of the main events for the weekend, pitting riders against one another for a race to the bottom.
The dual slalom may have been this journalist’s favourite event, but most people made the drive to Horseshoe Resort to race downhill. With categories for everyone including pro, amateur, masters and junior categories, the lift line was filled with seasoned athletes and weekend warriors alike. The juniors raced a different course than the others. It mixed bike park style berms and rollers with a few technical, natural sections in between. The main track was also a good mix of natural and constructed terrain. It offered up some fast bermed corners and fun rollers combined with lots of technical off-camber sections and a rock chute lined with trees. With the diverse course, it would take a well-rounded rider to take the win here.
The racing kicked off Friday night with the pump track race held on the Little Ripper pump track, which is another new addition to the park this year. Vendors were also on hand to show off some of their 2020 product, something many of us have not been able to see thanks to the pandemic. Saturday was filled with racing starting at 11 a.m. when the juniors dropped. The junior winners were announced in the early afternoon before seeding runs began for everyone else. Saturday’s race action was capped off by a dual slalom race under the lights. Sunday saw all the final runs based on seeding, and with a well-worn track it made for close racing.
You can view the full results at Racingtime.ca.
Horseshoe’s bike park will remain open for much of the fall. Oct. 12 will be the last day you can ride the park.