Downhill racing is returning to the Sunshine Coast in 2020. Coast Gravity Park will host its first BC Cup DH series event on May 3 of this year.
The BC Cup race will be the first proper downhill race that Coast Gravity Park has hosted since the year-round bike park opened on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. The bike park has hosted a smaller downhill event as part of the Backwoods Jam, but bringing the BC Cup to town will be a new level of racing.
Coast Gravity Park is creating a new track, just for the event. The new track is being designed and built by the Coastal Crew, including Evan “Intern” Young.
“We didn’t really have a top-to-bottom downhill course,” says Kendra Zegers, Operations Manager at CGP. “So it gave us a good excuse to build one.”
The decision to host the event was a natural step for CGP. “The boss’s daughter is really into downhill racing, and we’ve always wanted to host one,” says Zengers. The boss’s daughter happens to be Gracy Hemstreet. In addition to winning the 2019 women’s 15-16 national championship, Hemstreet also won two BC Cup rounds racing up in the junior women’s category.
“We’ve always enjoyed doing the Backwoods Jam DH,” Zengers adds, “so might as well have a downhill race here!” When Cycling BC approached and asked if CGP would be interested, it seemed like the perfect time to have its own dedicated downhill event.
Racers can expect the CGP BC Cup to be a softer return to racing, as far as downhill goes.
“It won’t be a really hard course this year,” Zegers says. The most technical features will have ride-around options for racers that aren’t at the highest levels. “This year we’re keeping it pretty minimal,” she adds. “It will probably be a fast course. More flow, not as much tech.”
The new downhill racecourse isn’t the only thing happening at Coast Gravity Park in 2020. Returning riders can expect four new sections of trail to open up this season.
Coast Gravity Park is open year-round, due to a combination of low elevation and the Sunshine Coast’s warm climate. For snow-bound riders in other parts of Canada looking for an escape from winter, late fall and early spring are the most reliable times to plan your visit. “We can operate until mid-December, and March onwards is really good for riding,” Zegers advises, adding “we do fight the snow a little bit in January and February.”