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First Canadian mountain bike champions crowned since 2019

Downhill nationals hands out the first maple leaves in nearly two years at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

After a thrilling weekend of racing, with huge crowds and a massively challenging course, 2021 Canadian national downhill championships crowned the first mountain bike maple leaf jerseys in nearly two years. Finn Iles and Casey Brown leave Golden, B.C. as the elite gold medal winners. While a small crowd of younger national champs are chasing close at their heels.

Re-runs add drama to elite men’s race

The alternately fast and technical course at Kicking Horse beat up riders and bikes all weekend. Those who could find flow quickly separated themselves. from the rest. Dust covered rock slabs and rough sections of single track made keeping momentum tricky.

Several riders and bikes came out worse for wear by the end of Sunday’s racing. This did create some added drama in the elite men’s race when, in a very impressive display of sportsmanship, Mark Wallace stopped mid race-run to help when the rider starting before him fell hard in the woods. Wallace and four other riders were granted re-runs as a result. With the elite men being the last down the course, the crowd was held in suspense, waiting for the five riders to make it to the top of the course.

Wallace descends while the crowd watches, and watches the times

Finn Iles sat in the hot seat, with Elliot Jamieson and Lucas Cruz beside him on the virtual podium, nervously waiting Wallace’s re-run. Event MC Brett Tippie kept the crowd entertained, while likely adding to the nerves of the hot-seat trio.

The first four crossed with solid times, but nothing threatening the podium. Only Wallace remained on course. The Vancouver Island racer rounded the corner and powered into the finish area as the crowd held their breath, waiting for the time.

Wallace crossed in 3:52.78. Iles was saved, earning his second-straight Canadian national sleeve.

“I’m pretty happy right now,” Iles said after the race, adding “I was definitely stressing about this for the last few months. It’s really important to me to win this and wear the sleeve back in Europe. Thanks to Dunbar and Steven [Exley] for putting this on.”

Jamieson and Cruz were bumped down the results, with Wallace taking silver. Jamieson takes third, Cruz fourth and Jackson Frew fifth. Gabriel Neron (Dunbar) stepped onto the Canadian podium, in place of Australia’s Frew.

Casey Brown’s triumphant return

In the women’s race, the suspense came in the form of returning riders. Casey Brown, Miranda Miller and Vaea Verbeeck all returned to their downhill roots at Kicking Horse. They challenged the crowd of dedicated younger racers that have been racing Dunbar Summer Series “superweek of DH” for a week straight. Claire Bouchar, mulitple-time national champion, withdrew late with a lingering injury flaring up.

Casey Brown proved fastest, earning the 2021 elite women’s downhill national title. Known most for her freeride accomplishment’s more recently, the Revelstoke, B.C. rider has a long history in downhill and Enduro World Series racing, which she clearly hasn’t forgotten.

“It was super bumpy, I just tried to stay on my bike,” Brown said at the finis line.

2017 downhill world champion Miranda Miller followed close behind in second. The multi-talented Georgia Astle (Devinci Global Racing) landed bronze. Vaea Verbeeck, Rocky Mountain’s past-Queen of Crankworx added fourth, while Fernie’s Jennifer McHugh completed a three-race streak of podiums this week in fifth.

Under-17 and Junior racers

In the junior women’s race, Emmy Lan (Commencal Canada) continued her dominance of this week’s racing. Lan won by a solid margin 32.32-second margin, adding to her two junior women’s Canada Cup wins. Lily Boucher and Vanessa Bruneau followed in second and third, with Elly HOskin and Ayva Gaudet rounding out the extended podium.

On the men’s side, Jackson Goldstone (Miranda Factory) adds Canadian national champion to his list of phenomenal results this year. The Squamish junior won his first World Cup earlier this year. When he returns to Europe, it will be with the maple leaf sleeve of national champ. Marcus Goguen of Whistler takes second, Gravity MTB’s Cole Stinson third. Wei Tien Ho, who moved up from the Sport class after winning Fernie Canada Cup, takes fourth and Jakob Jewett fifth.

Tegan Cruz (RockShox-Trek) lands the under-17 men’s national championship title. The Pemberton rider led a strong field of young racers to take the title. It was also a solid day for the Cruz family, with Tegan’s brother, Lucas Cruz fourth in the elite men’s race. Max Halchuck takes second, Ryan Griffith third, Jon Mozell fourth and Henry Sherry, of Vicotira, breaking up the Sea-to-Sky podium party to place fifth.

Joy Attalla wrapped up an incredible arrival in downhill with a perfect ending. The Fernie rider raced her first downhill a week ago at her home Canada Cup round, winning the sport class event. Days later, she won the u17 Canada Cup in Panorama. On Sunday, she added national champion to her perfect debut season. Kayley Sherlock finished second with Lucy Van Eesteren third, Tori Weatherbie fourth and Emily Good in fifth.

aMTB makes nationals debut

The day started with a new class for Canadian national championships: Adaptive downhill mountain biking. The aMTB crew shredded hard all week at Dunbar Summer Series leading into Kicking Horse nationals. The long week of racing didn’t show, as the stoke to at the races was high.

Cole Bernier (Bowhead) takes the first aMTB national title, backing up his Canada Cup win from Panorama. Samson Danniels of North Vancouver takes second and Kamloops’ Landon McGauley third. Ethan Krueger (Surrey,B.C.) and Cameron Lochhead (Kelowna, B.C.) rounded out the podium. Sierra Roth was the top woman in ninth. Racers travelled as far as Toronto to race the first aMTB event at DH nationals.

Results: 2021 Canadian national downhill championships – Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, B.C.