Coast Gravity Park wraps up BC Cup DH season
Wet racing on a fresh track closes out 2021 Canadian downhill calendarPhoto by: James Lissimore
Downhill is back in a big way in 2021. After a thrilling summer of racing, Coast Gravity Park wrapped up the Canadian DH calendar, hosting its first-ever sanctioned downhill race.
Over 250 racers navigated B.C. Ferries line-ups to make it to the Sunshine Coast’s year-round bike park. Enticed by one last chance to race, and the promise of a brand new course, freshly cut in just for BC Cup finals.
Two days of sunny practice gave way to more traditionally wet west coast weather on race day. Riders woke up to soaked tents and a well saturated race track. Lines were adjusted, sneaky roots were found and the year’s last day of finals got underway.
Elites battle for wins and overall titles
In the elite races, more than just one race win was on the line on Sunday. After a long season, spanning from the Kootenay Rockies to Vancouver Island, hard-fought BC Cup series titles were also up for grabs.
In the elite men’s race, Gabe Neron (Dunbar Cycles), hot of several big World Cup results in the U.S., backed up his fastest qualifying time with a win in the wet on Sunday. The Squamish rider edged out his Dunbar teammate, Garrett MacIntosh to take the win. Henry Fitzgerald (Norco Factory Team) rolled home third, just one tenth of a second away from stealing MacIntosh’s second place and disrupting Dunbar’s podium party.
Neron’s win pushes him into second overall, but it wasn’t enough to make up the distance to his other teammate, Kirk McDowall, whose early-season dominance earns him the 2021 BC Cup elite men’s title.
In the elite women’s race, Squamish’s Ainhoa Ijurko (Canyon) added a BC Cup win to her earlier Canada Cup win. Her results at Coast Gravity and the Dunbar Summer Series combine to push her ahead of Fernie’s Jennifer McHugh in the overall standings.
Emilie-Soleil Patterson of Revelstoke takes second in the final BC Cup of 2021 with Tori Wood of Squamish one second behind in third.
Junior and 17 racing
The junior and under-17 races continue have often proved most hotly contested categories at this year’s BC Cup series. Big fields and fast racers have seen winning times that rival those of the elite riders.
At Coast Gravity, it was Coen Skrypnek (Kona) taking the win. Drew Mozell (Devinci) of North Vancouver takes second place, and the 2021 junior men’s title. Whistler’s Wei Tien Ho continued a successful run in 2021 with third.
Sechelt’s own Gracey Hemstreet (Commencal Canada) was racing on home turf at Coast Gravity Park. Hemstreet, who already has a bronze at junior women’s world championships to her name this year, walked away with the junior women’s win by setting the fastest women’s time on Sunday. Eva Leikermoser (Gravity MTB) had a strong race to finish just over a second behind the local shredder with fellow Gravity MTB racer Jade Blouin-Comeau rounding out the podium in third. Elly Hoskin only needed a fourth at CGP to take the series title home for 2021.
Bodhi Kuhn (Trek/SRAM/NF) put down the days second fastest time, joining Gabe Neron as the only two riders to break the two-minute barrier with a 1:59.97 and taking the under-17 men’s win in the process. Brock Hawes of Sun Peaks and North Vancouver’s Jon Mozell followed in second and third. Kuhn’s win, added to those from earlier in the summer, earns him the u17 BC Cup title.
In the women’s u17 race, Lucy van Eestern, back between the tape after riding Casey Brown’s Dark Horse Invitational, takes home a win and the 2021 BC Cup overall title. Squamish’s Kayley Sherlock and Emma Wilson finished second and third in what was Sunday’s biggest women’s racing category at CGP.
2021 Coast Gravity Park BC Cup Downhill (Sechelt, B.C.): Full results