Photos by Colin Meagher
and Fraser Britton
Jill Kintner and Mitch Ropelato have won the Rockshox Pumptrack Challenge at Crankworx, Blake Carney and Tomas Slavik in second and third for the men, Melissa Buhl and Danielle Beecroft in 2nd and 3rd for the ladies.
Troy Brosnan making the call even before the evening starts: Mitch Ropelato.
Mike Haderer has a distinct style. Be very frightened.
Mitch Ropelato fired it up and took the title again.
Jill Kintner was a blur on her way to her second consecutive pumptrack challenge win in front of a massive crowd.
Melissa Buhl, second place...
Blake Carney in deep.
Kirt Voreis at the ready.
Haderer's skin suit was no advantage against Voreis.
Evan Turpan at the pumptrack challenge.
Seb's job is making this show happen. Not the deal making, or the athlete wrangling, but the nuts and bolts of actually making this event happen. That means not much time to grab food. Hence the call to the pizza man.
Mitch Ropelato on his way to winning the Pumptrack Challenge.
Two times champ, Mitch Ropelato bringing home another paycheck.
"Yeah, your pumping it up!"-Richard Simmons
The format couldn't be simpler, one lap from a standing start. Hands off the bars and feet on the ground. At the gun its grab and go, the first to complete a full lap on the track is the winner and moves on to the next round.
Last year was the first for the Ultimate Pumptrack Challenge at Kokanee Crankworx. With their growing popularity (pumptracks are springing up everywhere) it was a hit. Held in the late evening under the lights folks made the trek up to watch the fast-paced riding.
With such a spectator friendly event it was no surprise when more folks braved the chilly July weather (it is summer isn't it?) to watch the 2011 Ultimate Pumptrack Challenge.
Starting out with sixty men and twenty-five women everyone had two chances at laying down a fast time trial lap on the track. The fastest thirty-two men and eight women moved in to the finals.
There were no real surprises in the competitors that made it through to the final rounds, when racers like Tomas Slavik, Kurt Voreis, Troy Brosnan, Melissa Buhl and last year's winners Jill Kintner and Mitch Ropelato come out to play mere mortals even extremely fast mere mortals don't stand much of a chance. These riders are the best in the world for a reason.
Riders were paired off on opposite sides of a twenty second track and with only one lap to make or break their evening the heats quickly flew by. Riders were being knocked out left, right and centre. Mikey Harderer embraced the power of his team USA skinsuit (much less revealing than his Air DH outfit) but the aerodynamic advantage wasn't enough to beat Kirt Voreis. Blake Carney then knocked Kirt to the wayside in the following round.
Carney found himself paired up against the tiny Troy Brosnan who despite his slight stature had used his superior bike handling skills to take out all he faced. Blake came out the winner and found himself staring down the pumptrack master Mitch Ropelato in the big final while Slavic had a showdown with Troy in the small final.
On the women's side it was Kintner, Beecroft, Buhl and Marth who had to fight it out and see who would advance onto the finals and who would settle for second and third. In an exciting round Kintner eliminated Beecroft while Buhl took out Marth.
The small finals ended with Slavic taking out the wee man Brosnan in a close battle and Danielle Beecroft smoked Steffi Marth to end the night in third place. This set the stage for an exciting final and on a twenty second lap if you didn't pay attention you missed it.
Like last year there were two familiar faces in the big final. Jill Kintner was lined up opposite Melissa Buhl and Mitch Ropelato was taking on fellow countryman Blake Carney. In both instances off the hammer the reigning champs were on fire. It was a take no prisoners approach as Mitch and Jill charged out. Both riders spun clean laps finishing well before Carney and Buhl had the finish in sight.
With the winners declared the crowd dispersed into the darkness heading to one of the many parties that have taken over the night in Whistler.