2020 Pinkbike Awards: Event of the Year Nominees

Dec 19, 2020
by Ed Spratt  

Event of the Year Nominees

After what seemed like it was going to be a year with no racing or competition, 2020 eventually offered up some truly incredible events which showed off the amazing work of event organisers, pulling together races and competitions against some very tough challenges. All credit goes to anyone who put on a race this year in extraordinary circumstances.

Any event which took place safely this year deserves plenty of credit for pulling off what seemed impossible just months ago and there's no doubt that there are plenty worthy of a nomination, but there are a few that stand out above the rest.

In 2020, the Crankworx Summer Series, Lousa DH World Cups, Local & Grassroots Events, Audi Nines, DHSE and the Nove Mesto XC World Cups each delivered incredible competition along with world-class venues. Which one would you call the best?

Why it's nominated

After the cancellation or postponement of every major race and event earlier this year it looked like we might not be seeing a return to normal racing in 2020. Kicking off in June however, the DHSE series showed that is would not only be possible to hold races in 2020, but they could be just as good as before. With plenty of restrictions and safety measures, the DH series kicked off its first round at Windrock to great success. It was awesome to have some racing return.

The team at DHSE were able to throw down an incredible race weekend at Windrock and would go on to manage two more rounds at Windrock and Snowshoe. Keeping the scale of the event smaller than usual, they laid the path for a return to racing across the rest of the season.

Why it's nominated

The Crankworx World Tour is a global celebration of riding that always features the best riders from around the world, so how can you make this work with travel restrictions and social distancing during a pandemic? For the crew at Crankworx, this meant pulling together 25 top-level riders from around British Columbia for a small, made-for-TV version of the usual Crankworx. The Summer Series took place over three weeks with stops at SilverStar, Kicking Horse and Sun Peaks.

Not only was the racing incredible, but we saw some amazing moments with Finn Iles beating top EWS riders like Jesse Melamed to win every Enduro race and Jesse Melamed fighting back to take a DH win on his enduro bike. The Summer Series also brought back the legendary Psychosis DH track and 12 riders managed to top Chris Kovarik's previous record time from 2008.

Why it's nominated

Freeride events struggled in 2020 with many of the year's biggest facing cancellation, but the team organising Audi Nines managed to come up with a solution that saw the riders, media and support teams form a bubble to ensure the event could still go ahead. With no other major freeride events, the riders in attendance were giving everything they had with Nico Scholze landing the first Cordova Flip on a Downhill bike and Paul Couderc wowing us all with his quirky Footplant Flip.

Why it's nominated

With a good balance of technical terrain and lung-busting climbs to provide a tough challenge for everyone, there's a good reason why Nove Mesto is one riders' favourite XC World Cup courses. So what better place to run the whole of the XC World Cup season in one weekend? After cancellations of the rest of the XC racing season, all eyes fell of the Czech Republic to provide the goods as they hosted two XCC Short Track and two XC World Cups back to back.

In a gruelling week of riding, we saw a rise of new riders take the top steps of the podiums with Evie Richards winning both short track races and securing two top ten finishes in both XC races. France's 21-year-old Loana Lecomte also shocked everyone as she took on the Elites and won. It wasn't just the women's racing that saw amazing performances either. Henrique Avancini took an emotional win in the men's field, beating out his rivals in a final sprint to the line.

Why it's nominated

It was always fitting that, as one of the first major races to be postponed this year, we saw the wild, steep and tech course in Lousa close out a season of huge ups and downs. Coming off the wet double header in Maribor and the mud-fest of World Champs in Leogang, we had yet to see riders go truly flat out on the world stage. But Lousa would change all this with two nail-biting races that saw the return of the G.O.A.T. and the rise of privateer riders like Jamie Edmondson.

The Elite Women's racing saw a close battle for the overall title with Frenchwomen Myriam Nicole and Marine Cabirou fighting for the season's top spot. In the final showdown, Marine would lay down a rapid run that went nearly two seconds faster than the rest of the field to secure the overall. The Men's title fight was even closer with five riders all in the running in the finals of the final race. Wet weather would begin just as the last riders were hitting the course, leading to a slow run from Loris Vergier and knocking him out of contention. But then with Minnaar, Walker and Bruni still in the fight, it was all or nothing for the title. Despite coming 1.415 seconds back on Bruni in third place, Matt Walker just had enough points to take the top spot in the overall. We can't wait to return to Lousa next year and see what racing the wild track brings us.

Why it's nominated

2020 has been harder than ever for event organisers to pull races together with rising costs, social distancing and many different restrictions to work around. For that reason, we have nominated the amazing work that has gone into hosting and running all the great local and grassroots events this year, from the Morgins Dual to Strait Acres. Everyone that managed to run safe and responsible events this year deserves recognition for their extra hard work in a very difficult year for racing and mountain bike events.


  • 49 3
 That’s an awesome shout putting a nomination to grass roots racing. I’m sure the UCI, Crankworx and all involved put in some amazing effort for the big events but there is something to be said for the smaller organisers without the funds, time and sponsors of the big guns managing to pull off awesome events despite the current climate. Lots of them while managing full time jobs and families

Respect to anyone pulled something off this year without resorting to the standard excuse!
  • 4 1
 100% shout out to all the grass roots organisers. My personal shout goes to Kev at PMBA for making a great event at Graythwaite. Totally covid safe, great stages, good atmosphere. I'm sure a lot of independent organisers have lost a lot of their own cash this year, so big thanks to everyone putting the tape up so we could race!
  • 32 4
 How about a shout out for all the event organizers that cancelled complete series or large events for the better of their communities and racers well being, all while taking large financial hits.
  • 8 16
flag Whattimeareawards (Dec 19, 2020 at 11:40) (Below Threshold)
 Or should we say they were forced to shut down and took huge financial hits?
  • 5 14
flag JustAnotherRiderHere (Dec 19, 2020 at 15:24) (Below Threshold)
 They got scammed and screwed.
  • 24 0
 Fest series should be there.
  • 15 0
 Summer series was great! Definitely kept things interesting this year
  • 6 0
 yeah, summer series was fantastic. after months and months of thinking we'd never see top level racing they put on a cracking show to get people fired up for the rest of the season
  • 9 0
 IMHO Maribor was better than Lousa, but the event we will all remember for years are the Leogang world champs, though we are all still waiting for the world champ run footage... Shoutout to all the organizers of big, small, global and local events that made them possible despite the crazy year! Thanks for keeping us entertained!
  • 3 0
 Yep, Leogang was the hardest top-level DH race for a at least a decade (perhaps ever), and we saw the world's best looking like normal riders in the woods. It will be spoken of in hushed tones for decades to come.
From a spectators' POV it was just jaw dropping. Those muddy trenches, that muddy stump field, that muddy chute into a massive gap...
Wondering if Pinkbike even watched it?
  • 7 0
 What about the #notarace?! Was such a creative idea and one of the first events to bring some of the top dogs onto the same track.
  • 7 0
 P2V invitational was sick !! Prop to the guys to offered us suck a sick online event Smile
  • 5 0
 I recon it went a bit under the radar here on Pinkbike, but FlatOutDays in Slovenija was an awesome one as wellSmile
  • 3 0
 Stoked to see windrock and the dhse mentioned. It also falls under the is grassroots category. Sure a few pros may be training there occasionally but windrock and the dhse are more down home than most places and events on any map. Time to head back to Tennessee Jed! No one there tells you to stay where you came from.
  • 6 0
 Cranworx summer series was awesome, by far the best!
  • 6 1
 No love for the Easter States Cup? They pulled off 6 DH and 5 Enduro events this year. #ESCgotrobbed
  • 4 2
 Obviously Pinkbike has their head in their ass and can’t get it together.
  • 3 0
 First time they'd organised an event with that prestige in Lousã, and I'd say it went mightily well!
  • 2 0
 Local events take the cake for me in NZ, we were able to have a full Cyclocross season, XC season and XCM race as well as local Enduro events
  • 5 2
 Event of the year: COVID 19 pandemics?
  • 4 0
 What's about Maribor?
  • 4 1
 I feel like Kyle Strait's event deserves a shout. Looked epic
  • 2 0
 Came here to say that. This and the Hazzard Racing timed sessions inspired my friends and I to start timing runs in my crappy little backyard trail. Racing happened.
  • 2 0
 What about Trials Trails World Championships, went ahead even though no one showed up, but was epic?
  • 2 1
 The Audi Nines have always had a place in my heart ever since watching the little Jackson Goldstone ripping up the course.
  • 2 0
 French national rounds, mini world cup when everything was shut down in Eu
  • 1 0
 This is my answer
  • 1 0
 Seems like this year the best choice would be to roll over the jackpot into next year.
  • 1 0
 NW Cup got a couple of rounds in. One was a US National race. Always a good event.
  • 1 0
 The event of the year was clearly the Pond Beaver.
  • 1 0
 Why not Maribor world cup?
  • 1 0
 Summer series all the way
  • 1 0
 Downhill southeast for sure !
  • 1 0
 A wha gwaan! Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival not on d list!
  • 1 0
 Darkfest or Fest Sessions take my vote...oh wait
  • 1 0
 Audi nines ahuh
  • 1 0
 Lousa and th GM
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Bike Glendhu Duel Slalom
  • 1 2
 Pinkbike Academy wuz robbed.

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