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Dust and Downhill: Fernie Canada Cup delivers big in return to racing

Dunbar Summer Series "Superweek of Downhill" draws 350 racers to Fernie Alpine Resort

Canada Cup downhill racing kicked off in fine fashion on Sunday, with the first of three Dunbar Summer Series events scheduled for this week. Hot, exceptionally dry conditions made for a rapidly changing track all weekend and fast, technical racing.

On the men’s side, two-time Canadian national champion Kirk McDowall showed he’s still on pace with the best after a year away from racing. Rachel Pageau put in a solid win on the women’s side, travelling back from a European World Cup stint to just make Sunday’s start.

But, with over 350 riders on the start list, the elite racers are just the part of the story at the Dunbar Summer Series. Riders travelled from across B.C. and as far as Quebec to get back between the tape. With two more races this week alone, including national championships, the stoke is Canadian downhill is high.

Adaptive Downhill series debuts at Dunbar Summer Series

Sunday saw a new category debut at the Dunbar Summer Series: Adaptive MTB. Nine riders did battle with the dusty course in Fernie, mostly same course as the rest of the days racers, with one change in the top section. All nine finished. The new event saw a wide variety of bikes and designs, reflecting the rapidly developing state of aMTB.

“The last race I did, I broke my back. This is my first race since then. Today went much better,” said Landon McGauley, Sunday’s winner, adding “That was over 10 years ago. It’s so cool to be back racing.”

Bernier set Sunday’s fastest time, followed by Ethan Krueger (Surrey, B.C.) and Scott Patterson (Vancouver, B.C.). Sierra Roth, also a national team para-athlete in rowing, represented for the women, finishing 7th overall. All the riders we’re very stoked to be starting a week of racing at Dunbar Summer Series.

Elite Women

In the elite women’s race, Rachel Pageau (Commencal) took a solid win, by 3.36 seconds. The Chicoutimi, Que. racer just returned from a set of World Cup and Enduro World Series races, and looked smooth through the most technical sections of Fernie’s steep track.

Multiple time national champion Claire Bouchar (Kovarik Racing) followed in second, narrowly edging out Fernie-local Jennifer McHugh. Lucy Shick (Norco) and Julia Long rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth.

In the junior women’s race, Emmy Lan (Commencal Canada) of Comox Valley put in a dominant performance, winning by over 20 seconds to the next closest rider. Lily Boucher (Commencal Canada) and Vanessa Bruneau (Dunbar Cycles)

Junior women – Emmy Lan (Commencal Canada) from the Comox Valley put in a dominant performance. Lan’s 20-second winning margin would have been good for fifth in elite. Lily Boucher (Commencal Canada) and Vanessa Bruneau (Dunbar Cycles) followed in second and third.

Elite Men

The elite men’s race saw the return of two-time national champion Kirk McDowall to the top step of a Canada Cup podium. Like many Canadians, the Dunbar racer didn’t get a chance to race 2020’s abbreviated World Cup season. McDowall showed he hasn’t slowed down in his time off, winning by 1.79 seconds.

Australia’s Jackson Frew followed in second, with Forrest Reisco (Commencal Canada) just 0.12 seconds behind in third. Tight racing saw Whistler’s Peter Knott fourth, another 0.51 seconds back. Kendal McLean narrowly edged out Bromont, Que.’s Sam Thibault for the final podium spot, taking fifth.

One of the day’s big stories was the return of Jackson Goldstone (Miranda Factory Racing) to Dunbar Summer Series racing. Not that the Squamish junior’s missed a race since events were suspended. It’s just that in the mean time, Goldstone landed a World Cup win, silver and another Enduro World Series podium, all in his debut international season. The first-year junior kept up that blistering pace back at home in Canada on Sunday. After posting one of Saturday’s fastest times in seeding, Goldstone took the win on Sunday, the only junior to break the 3-minute barrier in finals.

Cole Stinson, Elijah Barron, both of Gravity MTB Racing on Vancouver Island, followed in second and third. Haydyn Wynter of Squamish, B.C. followed in fourth. Smithers’ Ivan Hanchard added another Gravity MTB racer to the podium in fifth.

Dunbar Summer Series “Superweek of DH” continues with a mid-week Canada Cup at Panorama Mountain Resort on Wednesday. The three-stop series wraps up with 2021 Canadian downhill national championships on Sunday, July 15.

Results: 2021 Canada Cup DH #1 / Dunbar Summer Series #1 – Fernie, B.C.