On the Nordkette singletrack high above the roofs of Innsbruck you can experience action-packed downhill riding up-close-and-personal on August 29th. The Raiffeisen Club Nordkette Downhill.PRO will see track-hardened local heroes put their Innsbruck home trail under their tires along with international top riders from the Downhill World Cup – fastest biker take all. Local legends as well as professionals will be giving it their everything in the tough long distance race on one of the steepest and most demanding downhill trails in Europe: 4.2 km, 1,030 metres of elevation, and a slope of up to 36 degrees - the trail, for good reason, has a reputation of a steep, demanding and enormously exhausting ride.
Markus Pekoll of Austria at the Finish Jump during the Nordkette Downhill.Pro.
The Colombian Marcelo Gutierrez already knows the demands of the infamous Nordkette singletrack from last years’ experience and returns to Innsbruck on August 29th as the defending champion. Everyone this year, however, will face a track re-organization: seeing the full distance of the track in the race. Direct from the Crankworx MTB Festival in Whistler, Canada, the winner ‘Sik Mik’ Mick Hannah (AUS) is just as set on victory as the best ‘urban’ downhill rider in the world Filip "Polcster" Polc (SK), the Australian Downhill professional Wyn Masters, and the most successful Austrian in the Downhill World Cup, Markus Pekoll. Beyond the race, they are all after Sam Hill’s (AUS) track record of 9 minutes, 21 seconds. Defending their local track, armed with their detailed knowledge, the local heroes will be racing right alongside the World Cup downhill pros. Leading the locals is Benedikt Purner, who was able to take victory two years ago against the squad of professionals.
Casey Brown of Canada races down the "Start-Section" of the Nordkette Downhill.Pro - Innsbruck Invitational in Innsbruck.
The arena for the race, above the alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, is the Nordkette Singletrail. A ten-minute downhill freeride over roots, steps, North-Shores and drops must be conquered before crossing the finish line on the Hungerburg, guaranteeing a spectacular downhill adventure - on as off the track. The challenging trail has been modified slightly for safety which also adds more of a flow, but it will nevertheless maintain its reputation is a merciless and enormously demanding route.
Emmeline Ragot of France jumps down the Road Gap.
The most technically demanding part comes just after the start. Steep terrain, narrow switchbacks, loose ground, and large drops – some the many obstacles of the ‘3er-Stützen-Albtraum‘ [3-Props Nightmare] that challenge both the body and gear. The following ‘Mischwaldsession‘ [Mixed Forest Session] provides varied conditions from soft forest floor to poor-grip track, and includes the ‘Panorama-Gap’, a challenging jump looking down on the city. Now the riders, already strained to their limits, will to come to the ‘Lawinenkegel‘ [Avalanche Path], which also includes a combination step-up, North-Shore and step down. Shortly after, a spectacular road gap promises plenty of action and airtime, it was completely rebuilt through the year, and this year again is sure to be a spectator hotspot! After nearly 1,000 metres of downhill elevation, the bikers then link into the ‘Little North Shore’ with a final high-speed section towards the finish line. Lastly they will finish with a jump into the finish area – where all eyes will rise from the competitor to check the time on the scoreboard!
Filip POLC of Slovakia races down the "Red Corner" Section.
All the details about the race and registration can be found at www.nordkette-downhill.comSchedule:
Friday, August 28, 2015:
- 8am-3pm: Racing bibs distributed at the race office at the NordkettenBahn
- 1pm-5pm: Training on Nordkette Singletrail
Saturday, 29 August 2015:
- 9am-12pm: Training on Nordkette Singletrail
- 12:30pm: Nordkette Downhill.PRO – Main Race
- 3pm: Big Trial Show by Tom Öhler | Hungerburg Terrace
- 3:30pm: Award Ceremony on the Hungerburg | Hungerburg Terrace
Photos by Felix Schueller