Blown out, loose, rough, rad, and relentless. Those are just a few of the words that were frequently used to describe the Canadian Open Downhill track here in Whistler built to challenge the fastest racers in the world. Not one single part of the course was easy and with the lack of rain and subsequent dust coating the surface of things, finding that balance between pure speed and disaster was a very fine line only few could master.
In the junior race we saw many of the usual World Cup suspects battling it out once again, with the most anticipated showdown being that between rivals Finn Iles and Gaetan Vige. A battle that never really materialized as Gaetan struggled in the loose conditions while the hometown favorite threw down a time well dear of his rivals and good enough for a top 10 in the Pro Men's field. The women's race became a battle of attrition of sorts as the long week of Crankworx and its never ending events would claim a few victims today. Opting not to race were Jill Kintner who had already secured her Queen of Crankworx title the night before and Claire Buchar who was battling fatigue. Emilie Siegenthaler would not take the start as she is still waiting on a diagnosis for her injured knee, and Tegan Molloy would break her collarbone on her race run. Yes, it's been a rough week for a lot of people here in Whistler. First to capitalize on these misfortunes would be Vaea Verbeek who grabbed her second podium spot of the week with a third. Second would go to Manon Carpenter and the big win to Tracey Hannah who stormed the course full gas a full ten seconds clear of her nearest rival.
The men's race was also affected by some Crankworxs induced injury or fatigue, most notably Loic Bruni who aggravated his shoulder when he crashed in the Air DH and was siting on a plane back to France while his rivals duked it out through the dust. George Branigan bruised his heel in a crash during the Whip Off and more than a few other riders were seen getting taped up in the pits as the day got underway. In the end it was the number one plate of Troy Brosnan who literally floated down the track above all the rough and rocky bits at an incomprehensible speed who would take the win and leave a lot of folks scratching their heads in disbelief. Second would go to Jack Moir who was loving the loose dust and equating it to the blown out conditions he trains on at home in Australia. Rounding out the all-Aussie podium would be Mick Hannah who is looking strong and on form headed into the last few big races of the season and World Champs in just a few weeks time.
Missing from competition and being sorely missed by all in attendance was of course Stevie Smith, but his presence could be felt all over Whistler and this entire event was a tribute to his long lasting legacy.
Thanks again, Stevie. #LongLiveChainsaw
/ @davetrump / @mdelorme