Kokanee Crankworx 2011 - Blenkinsop and Buchar win Garbanzo!

Jul 19, 2011
by Matthew Mallory  

Sam Blenkinsop and Claire Buchar have won the Garbanzo DH at Crankworx today with Marcelo Gutierrez in second and Jack Reading in third for the men, Manon Carpenter in second and Miranda Miller in third for the women.

Men's Top 3

1. Sam Blenkinsop
2. Marcelo Gutierrez
3. Jack Reading

Women's Top 3

1. Claire Buchar
2. Manon Carpenter
3. Miranda Miller

Full Results at Bottom

Sam Blenkinsop en route to collecting a 2500 CDN check for his efforts on the day I m guessing team drinks were on Blenki afterwards.
Sam Blenkinsop en route to collecting a $2500 CDN check for his efforts on the day; I'm guessing team drinks were on Blenki afterwards.
Sam Blenkinsop put in a solid run to win the 2011 Garbanzo DH
Blenki, throwing it off the GLC Drop and into first place...
Marcel Gutierrez races for the Cedric Gracia s team the CG Racing Brigade. Now that Cedric is out for the rest of the season with an injury Marcel needs to hold down the fort for the team. Doing a good job of that with 2nd place here.
Marcel Gutierrez races for Cedric Gracia's team, the CG Racing Brigade. Now that Cedric is out for the rest of the season with an injury Marcel needs to hold down the fort for the team. Doing a good job of that with 2nd place here.
Jack Reading dropping the rock near the bottom of In Deep -directly into a bomb hole that formed after about the first five riders of the day--conditions were softon the upper half of the mountain.
Jack Reading dropping the rock near the bottom of "In Deep"-directly into a bomb hole that formed after about the first five riders of the day--conditions were soft on the upper half of the mountain.
GLC from the back. Ryan De La Rue finishes 16th as the crowd on the patio watched.
GLC from the back. Ryan De La Rue finishes 16th as the crowd on the patio watched.
Curtis Keene front flatted somewhere up the course but still rolled the whole track. GLC drop with the tire off...
Curtis Keene front flatted somewhere up the course but still rolled the whole track. GLC drop with the tire off...
Suspension engineer for Trek Eli Krahenbuhl. I kind of doubt the guts of those forks are stock.
Suspension engineer for Trek, Eli Krahenbuhl. I kind of doubt the guts of those forks are stock, and his frame is made of carbon
Sam Blenkinsop put in a solid run to win the 2011 Garbanzo DH
Sam Blenkinsop, Stoked about the win!
Garbanzo is a long race Claire Buchar had the fastest time for the women with 16 06.68
Garbanzo is a long race, Claire Buchar had the fastest time for the women with 16:06.68
Miranda Miller riding the classic In Deep line.
Miranda Miller riding the classic "In Deep" line.
Whistler is full of random people. This girl just walked out of the forest and started walking down the finish stretch on the track. Luckily for her there were a few mechanicals and she had time to get off the course before getting mowed down...
Whistler is full of random people. This girl just walked out of the forest and started walking down the finish stretch, on the track. Luckily for her there were a few mechanicals and she had time to get off the course before getting mowed down...
Crankworx
Women's Podium
Crankworx
Men's Podium


Tradition is important for an annual race. Certain structures, ingredients so to speak, need to be in place every year to make a race a classic event and the Garbanzo Endurance Downhill is definitely making a name for itself in this regard.

A long (the fastest racers are about 15 minutes), grueling, gut-busting course that winds it's way down many of the hardest trails from the top of the Garbo Chair to the finish-line at the base of the Whistler Bike Park. Competitors will be faced with rocks, roots, steeps, and flat-out pedal sections all while pounding their bikes and bodies through the equivalent of three World Cup courses back to back to back. Since the early days of the race there has been one factor that has weighted in more heavily than others and that is the mud. Almost without fail one of the toughest downhill races held is almost always made much more difficult with the moisture content that saturates the trails. Mud, thick, greasy, dirty mud has regularly been the most intimidating factor and the feature of the course that has separated the winners from the losers. In the whole history of the race there have only been but a couple of years when the course was dry. Most years the Garbanzo DH has more in common with a redneck truck rally than it does a mountain bike track.

This year is no exception, with the tops of the surrounding mountains bathed in the white remnants of a winter that just won't quit. The Whistler Trail Crew, armed with shovels, had to attack the trails on the upper mountain to clear the snow that was hanging on like a needy child to a parent's leg. A spring and early summer that has seen more cold and wet days than sunshine has helped hold up the tradition of making a gnarly course even tougher. Tire choice, judicious braking and sheer balls (maybe a little luck) are all key to a racer having a good lap. Fast and loose is the only way to quickly negotiate the mud, a scary proposition when you consider the large, exposed roots and deep holes (they resemble ponds) through sections like In Deep. For a mere mortal these conditions would be cause for trepidation, fear and a slippery walk around with the bike (if they were even foolish enough to attempt riding these trails) while those who signed their name on the dotted line and zap strapped number plates to their rigs will be salivating at the chance to pin it down.

Kokanee Crankworx has always been an egalitarian affair. The festival is based on a premise of providing a total mountain biking celebration in which one and all can participate. World Cup pro or hack beginner all the events with the exception of the slopestyle are open for all to enter. There is no babying either, when a course is set it is what it is and it is for all to race (or crash) on. There are no "pro" only lines, get in the start gate and you are faced with the same challenges that the World Cup racers have. Freecaster announcer Rob Warner has referred to the Mont Sainte Anne and Fort William downhill courses as "a mans track", well the Kokanee Crankworx Garbanzo Endurance Downhill definitely fits into that category as well but unlike the World Cup it is there for all to abuse themselves on.

In the 2010 edition of the race it was non-other than Chris Kovarik who smashed the course record with a time of 13:22.99. An absolutely incredible time on a course that would seem to be a perfect fit for the burly Aussie (remember he set the course record at the Psychosis in 2008 another long and crazy track). With his Canadian wife he could easily be an honorary lumberjack with his size and strength. Possibly the best way to describe Chris on a downhill bike is that it is like seeing a football player ride. Using muscle and his oversized paws he seems to be able to force a downhill bike through everything, bending it to his will.

The women were the first pros to take to the track and with a very small field and it was Claire Buchar (married to Kovarik and winner of the Psychosis in Golden as well) who kept it together and squished through the mud covered roots, rocks and waterholes to take the win while Manon Carpenter had to settle for second and Squamish local Miranda Miller came through in third.

After the women had came through it was down to the pro men. Again it was a slightly smaller field than usual and a lot of the big name World Cup boys for one reason or another decided to skip out on the race. Previous winners like Sam Hill (out with a shoulder injury) and Gee Atherton were conspicuously absent. This left a field of hungry young guns who were chomping at the bit to take a win and bask in the limelight of a podium at one of the largest events in mountain biking.

On a course of this length and difficulty many things can go wrong, be it a crash or a mechanical. Sik Mick Hannah was the unfortunate recipient of the later when about half way through his race run the chain and derailleur were ripped off of his factory GT ride. Other guys went down or had mistimed dabs that cost them the precious seconds that mean the difference from a podium finish and sitting back in the pack.

Just before it was announced that Mick was over the 15 minute mark in his run CG Racing Brigade rider Marcelo Gutierrez came through with a smoking time of 13:57.23 moving Jack Reading off of the hot seat. Many may not recognize the name but Marcelo has been a regular competitor at Crankworx including wins in the junior Air DH and a podium finish in the junior Garbanzo category to his credit. He has also been tearing up the World Cup circuit this year. With bated breath the crowd waited for Chris Kovarik, one of the last riders on course. Expectations were high for the Australian and he came charging hard into the finish, sailing off the GLC Drop to a very flat landing he held it together but when he crossed the finish-line his time was not quite up to the standards set by the young Marcelo.

In the end it all came down to the final rider on course. Not satisfied with his third place finish in last year's race the fast Kiwi, Sam Blenkinsop was on fire. His tires skipped over the mud, the bike stayed upright and with a massive scrub off of the GLC Drop he came flying through the finish with a time of 13:44.52 that was good enough to knock Marcelo into second place and claim his first Pro podium at Kokanee Crankworx.

2011 Garbanzo Results


56 Comments

  • 19 1
 Yeea Blenky, NZ for the Win!
  • 9 0
 jack reading about time nice one
  • 4 0
 congrats Marcelo Gutierrez! it´´s hard for a south american ride well like this guy, we dont have good tracks, bikes is so expensive, dont have good champs, dont have sponsors
  • 4 0
 Seriously! Was this a DH racer strike? Does anyone have a clue as to why Fairclough, Gee, Riffle, Brosman Neethling and Danny Hart didn't race?
  • 2 5
 why should they risk there body over a small one off event. The World Cup and World Champs is way way way more important and actually means something. IF you win crankworx so what, if you win the World Cup or World champs its a big deal.
  • 7 0
 Because they didn't feel like risking it. The Canadian open is short compared to the garbo. Garbo (from my understanding) has also been a shitshow this year not all riders want to to do a long race on a muddy,snowy, slick track. Smith also has nationals this weekend (assuming he goes) which means way more than the Garbo race... Fairclough is beat to shit his knee is probably the size of a basketball everytime he rides never mind racing. And the rest of those guys still have 2 world cups and world champs to go..
  • 2 0
 It Makes sense. Thanks
  • 1 0
 It just isn't worth it
  • 1 0
 Might be coming back to the uk before the weekend as the British national championship is in Llangollen this weekend
  • 5 0
 Jack Reading*, not Redding.
  • 1 0
 Fixed. Good catch.
  • 4 0
 Yeah Claire! Nice win!
  • 2 0
 Go on Jack, all that practice paid off, nice ride man!
  • 3 0
 Wena Lechón!!!!
  • 2 0
 Congrats Sam Blenkinsop & Claire Buchar!
  • 2 1
 Jack Reading is fast as fox on the garbonzo dh, Gutierrez whoa. Blenki woulda rivaled any of em today!
  • 2 0
 where is a photo of Claire, she is for sure photo worthy!!
  • 2 1
 Marcelo Gutierrez will be the next champion of the world!! keep going like that!!vamos Colombia!
  • 1 0
 Poor Sick Mick, by the looks of his time, he must've had another Mick-hanna-cal
  • 1 0
 What was going on with the timing
  • 1 1
 What happened to Kovaric's time on freecaster? He looked the fastest when he was riding as well.
  • 1 1
 Caaaraapp i missed it! I had planned to watch it too -__- damn. I miss anything good?
  • 1 1
 Felicitaciones a Marcelo Gutierrez, tremendo representate del DH Sur Americano.
  • 1 2
 If it was me, i would race this, no matter if the name is smaller or bigger than "world cup"..... Downhill... We all started it to have some fun, right?
  • 1 0
 where are all the results posted
  • 1 0
 lol .. representing Brazil Marcelo Gutierrez ... congrats
  • 1 0
 Carpenter and Reading !. Not bad for 2 young rippers starting out.
  • 1 1
 Awkward moment when it says gee's racing ..... But he doesnt!
  • 1 0
 DAng i missed it
  • 5 0
 flat pedals ho yeah
  • 1 0
 Is there a video?
  • 1 0
 What about the Juniors?
  • 1 0
 Shot Blinky! Go KIWI
  • 9 10
 That was bull, Gee didn't race. Nor did Smith.
  • 28 2
 And? Doesn't mean they would have won if they had raced. Blank Stare
  • 3 1
 Even the whole Giant team didn't race. Neethling, hart and Riffle got DNS.
  • 4 1
 The would have put up a fight.
  • 5 2
 Yea, But Blenkinsop Can and has beaten them. they could have had a mechanical or anything.....there is millions of possibilities
  • 1 11
flag rigodon777 (Jul 19, 2011 at 17:54) (Below Threshold)
 They didn't get the mechanical, I saw them riding the bike park while the racing was going on! was even watching slopestyle practice right beside hart.
  • 12 0
 I didn't say they did Facepalm I said they could of IF THEY HAD RACED!
  • 6 5
 Load of shite to be honest. Where were Neethling, Brosnan, Gee, Hart, Riffle, Ropelato, Fairclough and Smith. Now its not guaranteed that any of them would have won but the fact they are all top of the tree world cup level riders makes me think they would have done well. Blekinsop wouldnt have walked it like he did. Its very unlikely he would have beaten all of them if they raced?
  • 7 1
 They decided they didn't want to race garbo, And would rather go have fun.......Don't blame em tbh.
  • 9 0
 He was 2nd last year Samsemtex.... So.... He still probably would've. But that's got nothing to do with it. They didn't race, he did, so he won. Their choice, personally I wouldn't have raced either, you don't go to whistler to race, you go to relax and enjoy the awesome riding.
  • 3 0
 Don't worry about them missing riders, its party time. If you had the choice to smash out some spinner all day or ride dh what would you do? Those guys raced enough this season, time to let they brains relax and relief.
  • 1 2
 Why didn't Gee etc race? Was it to do with the shitty weather and the chance of injury?
  • 1 0
 ^ Well... you're going to have to ask Gee for the answer to that one... don't ya think?

I missed the last half... what was the winning time?
  • 2 3
 Not everyone gets stoked on a 13 min downhill race. If they do, they prolly race super D, or wear spandex.
  • 1 0
 Rachel said she didn't race because she couldn't be bothered.
  • 2 0
 I like her Honesty Salute
  • 1 0
 If I was as good as any of them I would have raced it for the prize money at least...
  • 1 0
 quit your bitching about who raced and who didn't. the top pro men don't go to every race in the world. the canadian open was obviously (and should have been) their top priority there.
  • 2 0
 apioqm, ive a feeling the prize money doesn't bother them enough to race. i mean look what gee did with his rampage money - spent it all on a truck load of fireworks!!
  • 1 3
 Ya maybe this weeks beer sponsored event and small payouts didn't attract the real big time racers. Maybe nobody cares about canada ehh. or they just too piffed out and that kakanee has everyone on the toilet by now. Personally I'd rather win the garbonzo than the "canadian open". What do you win for that a flannel shirt? go canucks!
  • 1 0
 Somone said gee had a crash sometime last week. That could have somthing to do with it?? And if he is injured he might want to rest till the next world cup. Which would explaine why he's not racing!
  • 1 1
 He crashed in the Canadian Open, yah maybe you're onto something there.
  • 1 0
 these announcers are terrible im just watching the replay and the long haired guy was talking to another guy and the other guy said "yes im an optomitrist, so i work on eyes" and mr girl hair was like "oh youre an optimist thats great im glad youre happy"

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