Junior Racing Domination
Two names that are continuing to stand out in junior racing are the Canadians Jackson Goldstone and Gracey Hemstreet. Both riders have been dominating the junior field with Snowshoe granting both of them four wins in 2022.
For Jackson, this was his third win in a row. With his string of victories, he is now just over sixty points clear of Jordan Williams in the overall meaning we could see the overall title wrapped up at Mont-Sainte-Anne, a very special achievement if Jackson can do it.
Gracey Hemstreet could also wrap up the overall in Canada as she is currently 40 points in the clear. Gracey will have to fight a bit harder to take the series title at her home race, but with four wins, a 2nd, and a 3rd place, she has the skills to do it.
Camille Balanche is Unstoppable in the Mud
Just like her previous performances in the muddy steeps of Leogang Camille Balanche proved once again that she is in a league of her own in the mud. Not only did she make the tricky track look easy she also apparently didn't crash the whole weekend. With a track taking out or at least stalling most riders in their final runs, Camille was able to put together an almost completely clean feet-up run to win by a sizeable four seconds against Myriam Nicole.
Camille's win in Snowshoe backs up an amazing five in a row qualifying victories with three wins in 2022. These incredible results put Camille 230 points in the lead for the overall; if she can win another qualifying and Myriam Nicole qualifies in third then the overall for 2022 will be all tied up before finals even begin.
A Great Weekend for Continental Tires
Snowshoe didn't just deliver great racing it also brought what is probably the best weekend ever for Continental tires with three Elite men on the podium and a second-place finish in the Junior women's race for Aimi Kenyon.
While we normally see podiums dominated by the likes of Schwalbe and Maxxis, it was interesting to see the new tires from the German brand doing so well in the mud. With the great weekend for Continental we saw career-best finishes for Bernard Kerr, Andreas Kolb and Ronan Dunne.
Amaury Pierron is a Race Winning Machine
The Elite Men's race was one of the wildest of the year, with a fine line between a potential race-winning run and disaster. As we have come to learn this season Amaury Pierron is the master of riding on this edge and he bested the drying track to take his fourth win this season. With this feat Amaury also becomes the fourth Elite man to ever win four World Cups in a single year, with Mont-Sainte-Anne and Val di Sole still to come we would say he could be bettering this record.
Looking at the times for Amaury's race run he only took the lead in the final splits with a second split result of 12th and the third split coming in 5th. Both of these splits were sections with some of the worst conditions with Amaury setting blistering times in the safer upper and lower splits. Looking at all of the top four riders, their final positions were all reached at the fourth split with no changes down to the line.
Snowshoe is Wild in the Wet
So far we have only seen dry and dusty World Cup races in Snowshoe with many people saying it was lucky the track wasn't wet. Finally, after three previous races at this venue we got to see just how tricky the course can be. You know a World Cup course is hard when even the top qualifiers are being bucked all over the track and even putting a foot down is not the end of a potential race-winning run.
The tough conditions did bring out some interesting line choices with Dakotah Norton riding a wild line through the double drop that looked incredibly fast, and we don't think anyone else even attempted the line all week.
Where Were All the Riders?
Riders on the start list at each round so far in 2022:
While it is great to have World Cup races not just in Europe it is difficult to get over the clear lack of riders attending last weekend's World Cup race. Across all of the categories, we saw decent to significant-sized drops in numbers. The junior women dropped two riders from the previous lowest numbers and the junior men were missing seven. In the elite women's racing, the numbers dropped below 30 for the first time this year with only 20 riders actually on the start list. The elite men also dipped below 100 for the first time in 2022 with 93 riders, this is 54 riders off the previous lowest number.
With the news that next year we may see only 30 riders in finals and an even more international race calendar, it's hard to see how this will be worth it for the riders with a clear gap in the number of riders being able to race in North America.
Elite Women - Rd1: 33 // Rd2: 31 // Rd3: 31 // Rd4: 39 // Rd5: 35 // Rd6: 20
Elite Men - Rd1: 153 // Rd2: 147 // Rd3: 180 // Rd4: 164 // Rd5: 149 // Rd6: 93
Junior Men - Rd1: 61 // Rd2: 54// Rd3: 71 // Rd4: 80 // Rd5: 64 // Rd6: 47
Junior Women - Rd1: 14 // Rd2: 15 // Rd3: 18 // Rd4: 22 // Rd5: 19 // Rd6: 12
So the fact the snowshoe is in the middle of nowhere makes it appealing to them , draw in a crowd in down season
But seriously, it makes sense that North Americans have had less representation on the WC circuit. How can a young racer possibly be able to afford climbing that ladder without mega sponsorship or a trust fund?
The long and short of it (I believe) is that North America needs a Series or collection of series. In Canada, the Dunbar series is great but heck no if you live east of the prairies. The Ontario series died years ago, the Quebec cup is being swallowed by the National cups, and everything else just too small to have major impact. It is my belief that by establishing a national or bi-national (or tri-national with Mexico) series that does its best to race EVERYWHERE in North America with nationwide sponsors one would be able to see a resurgence in North American DH. The UCI may be putting this on a tee for all of us as promoters, racers, venues, employers, and employees. IF the field at world cups is reduced does that not present an opportunity to capitalize in North America? Why go to a Worldcup half a world away to try and get 59th when you could just "stay home" and try to win? Right now that answer is easy because winning means nothing. So, let's make it mean something. For everyone.
Try coning from Australia or NZ....
Your 100 percent correct that there’s many awesome mountains to race on ,
Why ignore the elephant in the room. The cost of everything has obliterated the chance of privateers and lower ranked riders, and as is tradition will make this sport even more of a trust fund baby hobby. Governments need to give their balls a tug and hold corporations accountable for price gouging everything left and right. If things continue this way we won't be able to get any Stevie Smiths in the future. And Discovery doesn't care. They're already gonna slice the rider list in half so only the established riders with the most money earning potential are involved.
This issue is gonna get worse before it gets better. Simple as that. I'm just waiting for a new downhill tour created by Red Bull and not involving UCI. Like a Hardline tour.
I mean it is really exciting to see all the Chinese and North Korean racers having such an impact in WC.
If you wanna lump Red Bull in, who is basically solely responsible for all the great MTBing events from Hardline to Rampage to the World Cups, then... You're experiencing a severe case of 'bad faith argument'.
And believe me, I'd LOVE to have someone that isn't Red Bull do it. But the problem is the minutre someone who isn't Red Bull steps in, it's someone like Discovery and everything gets f*cked very quickly.
As far as local events go, they are great. What the east coast US downhill series has done for coverage has been great and really given validity to those events and the results and who shows up etc. That said, you can't take the people who run that and say, here's a shoe string budget do a program similar to Red Bull and do it all over Europe and North America.
If you have a better solution... I'll read it.
No doubt the government bears some responsibility for inflation, but corporate profits are also at record highs
And talking of top 30, how many of those people who have been in favour would be cheering on Ronan Dunne's result this weekend!!
I want competition AND regulation to be high and I want our systems we have in place like our oil reserves to be utilized to stop corporations from lining their pockets during a European war that has little to do with us. Yes, it affects supply and trade. No, it didn't mean we need to pay over 5 dollars per gallon. We have systems in place to avoid that. We used those systems and corporations still kept the prices high. Because they're f*cking greedy a*sholes. Is that surprising to anyone?
I want regulated oil so I can gas up my truck and ride my dirt bike out in the desert. Can't f*ckin afford to do fun shit with gas prices like this (along with the rest of the economy from housing to basic groceries).
You think all these supplies got magically 25% more valuable in the past 2 years? lol
And we all root for the underdog.
Gracey isn't far behind, 4 wins one second , one third.
Both of them have better results than Amaury, who is dominating.
Dak did it once in practice and was the only one to do it in his race run.
One mentioned that it looked like Amaury did the huck looking to be faster, but that was all they said.
Easy to plan out things, very difficult to make it happen.
Then again, race venues are chosen due to money that the bigger fish like the UCI receive. Hence a WC race in the sticks in West Virginia, or a race without adequate lift served support in France. Or (not strictly MTB) cross worlds in Arkansas. This fosters elitism and prevents more privateers from being able to compete at the top level.
I’d say split the season into 3 parts. One part in Europe, a couple of week break, then one part in North America, with races near Denver, SLC, Calgary and/or Seattle/Vancouver. Third part could be South America, or Australia/New Zealand, or an Asian or African series of venues.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath…..
It's like when the World Rally Championship a few years ago was basically all in Europe, to me that was just the better cars and drivers competing in the European Rally Championship.
World Champs are a bit different, as they only happen once a year, and those tend to get spread around the world at least a little bit.
Even Formula 1 travels to all the main regions of the world (bar Africa - but that's about to change).
So if WC mountain biking is going to become more elite with less riders, then the costs for UCI and Discovery of putting it on should also go up by mandating the world cup must visit both hemispheres and at least 3 geographic regions of the.
Nobody is doing the dreaded 2 hands up superman; each with 1 arm on closest competitor. Respect.
it all starts with a motorcycle poker run.
then you can bitch.
if you're not racing and you're not organizing racing, than you're just a spectator:
so keep spectating.
The real reason behind the name is thanks to Barney Dreyfuss who was the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1903, he wrote to the owner of the Boston Red Sox challenging them to a ‘World’s Championship Series’. The Pirates were the best team in the National League and the Red Sox were the best in the American League.
The games went ahead and Boston won the series five games to three. Over time, the 'World’s Championship Series' name has been shortened to the World Series and has been played every year apart from 1904 and 1994
Good idea, better stay in the European war zone. Much safer lol.
Anyway, Vladis bombs can reach any place, so what.