Words by Nick Simcik
Photos by Devon Balet
Chatel Mountain Style 2011 is official in the books. The riding was exciting and impressive. A few crashes, one injury and 5,000 euros goes to Cam Zink!
As you have seen from our coverage, Chatel Mountain Style was an amazing event. While a very unique event to the FMB, Chatel stands apart from the other big mountain event, Red Bull Rampage. It stands out because it is much more accessible, shares more familiar terrain with what mountain bikers are used to riding; black dirt, roots, rocks, steeps, and jumps. Chatel Mountain Style just so happens to be on a mountain face as steep as many world cup tracks. That is no coincidence as Chatel is only a few miles from Les Gets, Morizine, and Champery (home of the 2011 World Champs). As a result, some of the riders felt a bit overwhelmed looking at "the face" for the first time, but everyone ultimately manned up and shredded.
The event was judged a bit differently than most events, while tricks were important, they only accounted for 10% of the riders overall score, the rest was line choice, fluidity, and aggression. Several lines criss-crossed down the hill allowing riders to share some sections of lines, but show their style and diversity by linking up specific terrain.
While riders were not throwing 360-double downside tailwhips, there were 60 foot backflips, 25 foot 360 and flip drops, and plenty of flip combos to keep the crowd in awe.
The top guys on the podium made the gnarly course look like child's play and rode their downhill bikes like they were slope bikes, throwing big tricks over huge jumps, truly showing the progression of the sport, even since Rampage last fall. This event is a great opportunity for new riders to make a name for themselves and with his 2nd place finish, Antoine Bizet secured himself a place at Crankworx Whistler and District Ride later this fall.
At the end of the day, as always, I do not envy the job of the judges. Deciding between Zink, Sorge, Bizet, Claw, Strait, Gulevich, Semenuk, and the rest of the top 10 could not have been easy, but they did a great job. Head judge Ben Walker, knows his stuff. He has been building tracks for World Cups and other events in Europe for quite a few years and knows the level of difficulty for each line.
With Zink taking Chatel, he proved himself again to be one of the top riders at any event he attends. Kyle Strait showed his many talents on the bike and that he is a contender in any contest he attends. Sam Pilgrim showed that he can trick any jump he wants. Sorge and Gulevich proved themselves to be contenders for taking their first wins at a major contest. I, like you, cannot wait to see how Crankworx, Clawworx, and District ride pan out for these riders.
Chatel Mountain Style is definitely a big event, don't believe me? Check out these photos.Videos of top three runs at bottom
|Pierre Thevendard styling out the lowest hip during warm up for the finals.|
|If only we knew what was going through his head... Cam Zink scoping the top drop before his finals run.|
|Geoff Gullevich with his classic table off the dirt step up step down.|
|Kurt Sorge dropping it from the top. Sorge killed his first run which secured him a third place finish.|
|Nick Simcik waiting to drop in for his second finals run. His glowing orange POC kit made it easy for judges to spot him 300 meters below.|
|Antoine Dubourgnon of France was riding strong and threw this awesome superman seat grab off the dirt step down. Unfortunately he didn't land it clean and had to be taken off the mountain and treated for injuries. He was the only one to get injured on finals day. |
|Amir Kabani throwing out a nice no hander. He finished up 13th overall.|
|Sebee Giraldi and Ben Walker thanking the riders and workers of Chatel Mountain style.|
|To the bone cut and all, Sorge killed his first run to earn himself a third place finish.|
|A stoked Cam Zink holding his carbon Evil dh bike tall and proud!|
|Sebee promised to jump in the pond at the bottom of The Face, weather permitting.|
|After winning best event spirit award, Geoff Gulevich had no choice but to join Sebee in jumping into the pond. |
|A unique backdrop for the podium. Zink was quick to fix the misspelling.|
|Eric Lawrenuk with a stylish table off the dirt step down, one of the new lines for 2011.|
|Antoine Bizet brought his A game to Chatel Mountain Style this year. His clean riding earned him a second place finish. Antoine earned into the qualifications for Teva Best Trick & Red Bull Joyride qualifiers based on his results.|
|1. Cam Zink 2. Antoine Bizet 3. Kurt Sorge 4. Brandon Semenuk 5. Kyle Strait |
|Time to party, drinks are on Cam Zink!|
|I have to spend my 10% quick, I've got a flight to catch! -Cam Zink|
|Geoff Gullevich, winner of the best event spirit. Well deserved. |
|An excited Cam Zink after winning the 2011 Chatel Mountain Style. He brought home 5,000 euros and big ol' wheel of cheese!|
Cam Zink - Best Run from Châtel Mountain Style on Vimeo.
Antoine Bizet - 2nd from Châtel Mountain Style on Vimeo.
Kurt Sorge - 3rd from Châtel Mountain Style on Vimeo.
For Full Results
check out our other Chatel Mountain Style Post