The spotlight was shining on future mountain bike prospects all week during the “MTB-Festival Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis”. Seven days with an action packed MTB program have come to an end today. The last highlight of a great week took place on Sunday: The “iXS International Rookies Championships”. Five unofficial youth World Champions were to be crowned during the “Kona Rookie Games” in Bikepark Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis.
As the morning mist in the valley started to disappear, it was obvious that it would be a fantastic day for mountain biking. Once again about 200 MTB talents made their way up to the Waldbahn in order to reach the start gate at an altitude of round about 1,800 m / 5,905 ft. in pure sunshine. After the racing had been a slippery affair the day before, hopes were high that it wouldn’t be as bad for the race, which was to decide, who would become the unofficial World Champion in each age group.
At first though it was time for the Family Challenge. Relations of the risings stars showed what they had in them and numerous dads sped down the downhill track, looking for the perfect line, which would give them the lead. Their times were added to the race times of their sons and daughters, to find out which team was the fastest. Maxim Eichler and Marko Jobst were the fastest down the mountain in 7:34,552 min. However it was not all about the win, as Reiner Goeweil underlined after coming in fifth: “It was great fun, the track is super and it was just great to be riding with my son.”
Things got a little more serious after that: the stars of tomorrow fought through the demanding track, which was drier but also stickier, than it had been during the “iXS Rookie Cup” on Saturday. A handful of winners, coming from all over Europe, were able to celebrate with the crowd in the finish area. The U13 male category was first up and it was Ike Klaassen from the Netherlands, who was the first to lift up his trophy (3:53,013 min). The youngest boys were followed up by the only rider in the U15 female category, Anastasia Thiele (GER). Even though she didn’t feel the pressure of opponents, she still managed to push herself to the limit and show a great performance, crossing the finish line in 4:30,630 min. “The track is just great, but I would love it, if more girls competed next year”, the German appealed to other potential MTB cracks in her age group to get on their bike and start shredding.
The “iXS International Rookies Championships” proceeded with the U15 males. Again it was Gabriel Wibmer from Austria, who dominated with a courageous run. Seeded as the last rider to charge down the hill, he withstood the pressure and won with a great time in 3:30,856 min. “I can’t believe it. It’s just rad!”, exclaimed the stoked East Tyrolean. The Austrian Supporters had even more to celebrate very soon after. Valentina Höll sent the best run in the U17 female category and shot over the finish line into the arms of her parents after 3:36,363 min. “I’m totally out of breath. It was a sick race, but I did think it was more difficult than yesterday. We were five friends competing here today and we had so much fun together as well.” Finally it was a Brit, who completed the handful of “World Champions” in the final race of the day. Adam Beaty (GBR) left everyone behind him in the U17 male category and came very close to the fastest time of the whole weekend (3:21,397 min).
Even though the “MTB-Festival Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis” finished with intense downhill racing, the week was about much more than victors and victories. The festival kicked off on Monday, with the arrival of 33 kids craving for a whole week of gravity action during the “Rookie Camp”. A team of experienced guides built around UCI Masters Downhill World Champion Alice Kühne showed them all one needs to know about mountain biking in five small groups. “A camp like this is just the best. The kids get to know others, who are like-minded and have the same interests. It’s great to see how they motivate each other. They have so much energy, sometimes the guides need to hold them back a little”, said the smiling sport scientist Kühne.
Apart from shredding through the bike park, preparing for the big races and enduro training on the Frommestrail, there was plenty more action on the cards: swimming and the Summer Fun Park Fiss helped the kids take their minds off mountain biking in between. MTB coordinator Stefan Falkeis and Alice Kühne had some special preparation for the kids before their big day: mental training. The children got together and had to go down the downhill track step-by-step in their imagination and visualize key lines. After going through section by section they watched the course preview of Simon Paton.
“The Rookie Camp was a full success. We had 33 highly motivated kids, who couldn’t be stopped. It was great fun with them all and we are very happy to have helped them on their way to having fun and maybe even a bright future in mountain biking. I am really looking forward to next year”, concluded Stefan Falkeis after being kept on his toes for the last seven days. Bikepark Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis will be expecting hundreds of rookies once again in the first week of August 2017. “It is really important to be able to offer a stage for the youths and to give them the opportunity to develop. They are the future of gravity sport and we should do all we can to support them”, added bike park manager Christian Zangerl before heading to the final highlight of the day: the trial show by Red Bull athlete Tom Oehler.
All results from the “Kona Rookie Games” can be found here: http://www.bikepark-sfl.at/en/latest/events/mtb-festival2016/start-result-lists
For more information about Bikepark Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis visit our website:www.bikepark-sfl.at/en
Find more information on the region Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis visit:www.serfaus-fiss-ladis.at/en