For the first time ever, Austria and Slovenia joined forces in downhill racing and partnered up for an exciting double event. The Unior Downhill Cup #2
and the auner Austrian Gravity Series #4
were held within one race at the small but cozy Bikepark Kope in North-Western Slovenia.
On Kope, a very unusual race track waited for the 122 riders from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Luxemburg and Slovenia. The topography limited the taped section from start to finish to 1,240 meters in length and to a vertical drop of only 147 meters. But oh boy, there was everything in those mere two minutes of racing: fast, tree slaloms, blueberry corners, old-school ski slope parts, bike park berms and a tight final section with fresh, powder-like dirt. The gaps were tight and there is no doubt that the fastest and most precise riders took the top spots.
It wasn't a question of Slovenia or Austria for the win, though. A German took the top honors. Maximilian Jakubowski (Banshee Racing Brigade / BSC Tiefenbronn) nailed the fastest time just .78 seconds in front of Croatian rider Vidian Rihta Salehar (Supersnurf) and Austrian Stefan Mauser (Suspension Lab). Slovenian seeding run winner Jan Cimperman (MTB Trbovlje/HCI) had high hopes for victory, but came to close to a tree in finals.
The women's category saw a comeback for Austrian downhill and enduro legend Petra Bernhard (BC Stuahupfa Leibnitz). She took victory in her first race since a crash in the 2018 World Cup race at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. Elke Rabeder (Dirty Trail Friends), auner Austrian Gravity Series overall winner, came in second. Slovenian rookie Nina Kovac (Rajd Ljubljana) took the third spot.
It was the final race for the auner Austrian Gravity Series in 2021. Unior Downhill Cup will continue with events in Croatia (Trsce, September 26) and Slovenia (Kocevje, October 10). As everyone involved was all smiles after the race at Kope, the two series organizers are eager to re-unite for another bi-national event in 2022.