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It was a classic dry, dusty & loose race course for the 2018 Canadian DH MTB Championships and it certainly didn’t disappoint! @vaeaverbeeck took top spot in the elite women and @magnusmanson came home with the win in the elite men. Congratulations to everyone who set foot on the podium today, and a special high five to all our 2018 Canadian Champions! A massive thank you to the wonderful people who make this race so awesome; @seracing @dunbarcycles @bretttippie, all the volunteers and our incredible trail crew. Your passion and hard work make this our favourite event of the summer year after year. Cheers! First image courtesy of @katesaurer : rider @michael_brush | #purecanada #dunbarsummerseries #DH #mtb
Panorama Mountain Resort delivered exceptionally tight racing at Sunday’s Canadian national downhill championships. Just two hundredths of a second was Magnus Manson’s winning margin in the Elite Men’s race, earning the Vancouver Island rider his first Elite national title.
“I’m stoked, this is what you go for,” said Manson, who had qualified with the fifth fastest time on Saturday. “The level in Canada has gone up so much; there are tons of guys qualifying for World Cups and a few years ago that wasn’t happening.”
It wasn’t just first and second that were close, either. All three Elite Men’s medalists finished within 36/1000ths of a second on the dusty Panorama course. Hugo Langevin (Devinci Development Team), who has led the Canada Cup series all year, was second behind Manson by a incredibly close 0.02 second margin.
Canyon Factory Racing’s Mark Wallace, who has been inside the top-10 at World Cup races this season, finished third. Defending champion Kirk McDowall (Dunbar Cycles Devinci) had qualified first on Saturday, but his chances of repeating the win were cut short by a crash in his race run on Sunday.
The Women’s Elite title came down to a race between two returning champions. Vaea Verbeeck (Rocky Mountain/Deity/Shimano), looking for her first national title since earning the maple leaf in 2014, set the fastest time in qualifiers. Close behind her was reigning world champion Miranda Miller (Specialized), who had won all three national titles since, in 2015, ’16, and ’17.
Verbeeck repeated her performance in finals, with Miller second and Georgia Astle finishing on the podium in third.
“It feels awesome to win the title,” said Verbeeck. “It’s been four years since I won, and winning with Miranda competing is super sweet. I have huge respect for her. I loved the new parts of the course; it’s closer to what a World Cup course is like.”
B.C. claimed both Elite titles and the province continued it’s dominance in the Junior categories. B.C.-based Spanish rider Ainhoa Ijurko was the top Junior Woman, but was ineligible for the national title. Second place Piper Allman of Vancouver Island becomes the new Canadian Junior Women’s national champion.
After making a strong debut on the international Junior scene when he finished 4th at the Losinj World Cup round in Croatia, Lucas Cruz (Trek BC Devo) won the Junior Men’s national title on Sunday ahead of Ian Milley.
Panorama was already considered classic Canadian downhill venue, but organizers continued to improve the venue for the 200 racers that showed up over the weekend. “The staff at Panorama Mountain Resort went the extra mile to create some amazing new trails which challenged Canada’s best.” Said Josh Peacock, Competitions Coordinator at Cycling Canada, adding “We are very excited to return to Panorama for the 2019 edition of the Championships.” Elite Men’s winner echoed Peacock’s appreciation, saying “I love this track, it’s got everything; there’s rocks, there’s roots, there’s dust, it’s a fun track.”
The B.C. mountain recently hosted MEC Canadian National Enduro Championships, which also received great rider feedback. The venue was fun enough that EWS racer Mckay Vezina (Giant Factory Off Road Team) returned to race Sunday’s downhill race, on his enduro bike.
For 2019 Downhill and Enduro national championships will be run on the same weekend, returning to Panorama Mountain Resort.