On the weekend of Sept 13th and 14th at Mt Hood Ski Bowl, a memorial DH and Dual Slalom was held in the honor of Scotty Graham. This event marked the 5th Fluidride Race of the season and it was a true spectacle of NW racing. A vintage Dual Slalom kicked off Sat afternoon after 5 hours of DH practice and it was a true head to head duel. Riders were pushing limits with 2 wheel drifts, hammering pedal strokes all the way to the finish line. When the hot sun rose early Sunday morning, the lot was stirring with racers and eager fans arrived excited to see how the overall points chase would unfold after battling Mt Hood Ski Bowls 'Famous' DH course.DH Photo's By Carl WarrenDual Slalom Photo's By NlitworldVideo By ShovelpickSaturday Sept 13th
Racers started to arrive Friday afternoon, establishing a camp site and getting ready for the long weekend of racing. The very brisk morning was bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky. The weather was calling for warmer temps, but it was just perfect if you ask me. The usual characters you see all season long start pulling into the parking lot and they all walk casually to the registration office. Sign the waivers, pay the entry, get your lift ticket for both days and your free to 'get ready' for a day of lift access DH training.
My first call of business was to locate Simon Lawton of Fluidride
who brought me a DMC Moto Timer
. I've been researching a way to time my runs on these practice days and this little device is absolutely perfect. Easy to mount and use. If you haven't heard of the DMC Moto Timer, then you need to crawl out from under that heavy rock and get one
. For practice purposes, you can time your first run and over the course of your day- you can see which lines down are the fastest, gradually working up to race speed. The second part I liked, was you can double check the events timing- ya never know if they add it up wrong. This gives you a cool way to double check them- if you're paying entry fee's its nice to see they are on point and Hurricane Racing was spot on both my race runs.
While you're at Ski Bowl, you're going to meet several people that love their jobs. It shows as they have to lift bikes all day long and keep us all under control. Thanks to the Ski Bow
l staff for making each and every race a pleasure.
As with any day you're riding your bike fast down VW sized boulders with a bazillion baby heads everywhere, roots the size of human legs, pedals grabbing random rocks it's hard to walk way unscathed. Every racer has a moment of shear terror while practicing this course. First guy to rumored 'crashed big time' was Fluidride Pro Lars Sternberg. Mutoli Racing's
Ethan Mutoli keeps every single racer in his class honest. Here he shows everyone how to handle the massive rock garden line while carrying massive speed into the steep trees.
Team Krunk Shox made the journey from Colorado and had all of us laughing hysterically the whole time. Keep these boys riding, they rule. Here's a PB Salute to TEAM KRUNK SHOX! Arrow Racing's
Daryl Young was another guy that was turning heads. I was looking at a line off to the side when he came bombing through like he was on fire. His bike just pounding at the ground, no doubt that guy has confidence in his tires. (Shameful plug, but I love Arrow Racing products
, the only US owned MTB tire company and made in Oregon!)
DH racing is a large family. On my first race this season I watched Keith Thompson here come ripping down a track in a one piece Carrhart suit. Now he's polished up and knocking on the podium at each and every race.
Practice days are tough, they test your nerves, they make your stomach ache. I rode up with Chelsea Stevens on my first run because of a few reasons. One, I know she's not gonna charge down the hill on the first run. My last run I took the FR Cup #2, I didn't make it far down White Knuckle before going 'Over Tha Bars' and ended having a destroyed right elbow. This was my first run back, I was nervous and Chelsea has a wonderful way of just talking about her racing. I just wanted to have fun on my bike and I'm glad I didn't follow her down, as you see, she's charging.
And this is me on my 2nd run during Saturdays practice (I did 5 total to save my arm for Sunday). The Expert track is tough, it's steep and with my 16 week repaired arm a wicked challenge.
The resort got some nice senders placed to get over the water bars without doing damage to the forest, wink wink. Dual Slalom Report By Lloyd Smith
So, to say the weekend was perfect was quite an understatement. Warm, sunny weather with good friends and great riding. What more could you ask for? Especially considering Dual Slalom was back to Mt. Hood.
It had been somewhere near a decade since a slalom course last graced these hills, and the new course was an absolute blast. For the #5
round of the Fluidride Cup, lots of guys came together to get a course layed out just in time for race day. Unlike the other Fluidride Cup venue in Port Angeles, WA where there is a machine built manicured course of berms and jumps, this course was a little more natural. Flat corners, fast straights and lots of drifting for EVERYBODY.
For most of the day, the slalom course was deserted, since most people were getting their DH practice in, and learning the value of patience in line. Around 3pm, people started trickling over, and soon it looked like it was race time. After a few minor technical difficulties with the timing, it was time for some qualifying. With the slight time crunch then, it was decided for a lenient one run qualifying, with re-runs given for crashes or missed gates. Kind of a bummer if you run the course sloppy and didn't know of the re-run policy. After qualifying, Ethan Mutoli sat on the top spot for Pro Men, so it meant time for racing. First round goes by with tight racing, lots of crashes, lots of cheers and no shortage of cowbell and air horn.
The semi finals end up with Mutoli vs Eric Loney and Charlie Sponsel vs 3 time FR Cup slalom champ Lars Sternberg in Pro Men, and Jeff Jackson vs myself and Jerry Knight vs George Smith in the Open Men. This round meant the competition was getting hot and heavy as the fastest times were getting quicker with each run. With that round of close racing, the finals were set with Lars Sternberg taking on Eric Loney (who had the fastest time on course) for the top spot and Charlie Sponsel facing Ethan Mutoli in the consolation round for Pro Men. The Open Men was set with Jeff Jackson facing Jerry Knight for the top spot and myself vs my dad George Smith in the consolation round. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of trash talking before that run.
After the first runs, the closest race had Eric Loney up by .02 seconds over Lars which meant the second run was going to be close. That last run was really close... til the first corner where Loney washed the front end and it was over from there. Ethan Mutoli put the hurt on Charlie in the final consolation run to put him in for 3rd place. The Open Men ended with Jackson edging out Knight for the win, and I finished 3rd with my dad in 4th. In the Women class, Chelsey Stevens had a solo run for the win, and the Junior men was a close race with future pinner Dan Kruse just getting edged out of the win. In all, the new DS course at Mt. Hood did not disappoint for some awesome racing action. Come out next week to the Fluidride Cup Finals and check it out. Sunday Sept 14th DH RACE DAY!
The weather lady said it was going to be hot. She was right. We woke up to warm weather and I did the short 40 min drive from Hood River up to Government Camp, home of America's Largest Night Ski Resort
and the place I called home growing up. My mother used to run the ticket office here just to earn me a season's pass so I could ski everyday to my heart's content. Scotty Graham was one of the older 'cool' kids that could back up his talking with athletic feats. He was a talented ski racer for our local HS, and when graduated he became one of my coaches. Unfortunately he crashed his car one winter night on Lolo Pass Rd (local area road) and ended upside down in the Sandy River. His determination lives in me today, he used to say me "Mikey, you can do it!" and that was all I needed as I can still hear him "whooping' loudly as he dropped a cliff or bombed a trail on a bike. I'm proud to be one of the last locals to honor his passing by showing up, slapping down the $40 bucks for 2 days of lift access and racing as hard I did in my youth down Mt Hood Ski Bowl. My home. For anyone that has a friend who passed that you looked up to- this race was for you too.
9am is damn early to get back on the bike for 'warming up' but everyone has to do it. US National Sport Champ Peter Donley
(who now races Expert) shows us how he's feeling about taking a run this early.
Irish Rob showing me his new sticker job. NICE!
But none-the-less we all head up together for the plundering. Ever see the Keystone Cops black and white films? It feels like that.........just too much going on for the brain to process.
Shiloh's Bike Shop owner and Semi-Pro DH'er Brad Delzer wasn't looking to get a 3rd Place this race- he was just stoked to not crash this round.
Every racer has the dreaded 'bobble' or they come to a complete stop. Both suck. The worst is actually going down. It happened to me, thank god no was around to capture it. This unknown racer started out the day with a Fern Mohawk.
OK, warning to Sport racers on the morning of the race, Lars Sternberg has been spotted on your track for his warm ups. WATCH OUT! Bones Over Metal
main man Mark Brent is getting really good at racing. He's in an awesome points race for the FR Cup Overall and today he almost had his first legit win.
Joy Mutoli of Mutoli Racing
was in a league all her own this Sunday afternoon- she bumped up to Pro Women and layed down the fastest time. Congrats Joy! Fluidride's
Nathan Riddle of Ashland Oregon seen here laying down a mean seeding run. Nathan has had an amazing race season racking up results in Super D's to XC events.
20 seconds divided the top ten in the Expert Men 19-29 Class, here 10th place finisher Javier Araya gets a solid photo for his effort from Carl Warren.
Expert 30-39 had a tough class too, here Christian Hansen lines up tight against the tree's in the steep section of Arrowhead.
40+ Expert was where all the fun was at, it was my first race back and after the first run I was sitting in 3rd with a 3:18. I knew the 2nd run was going to be hard to do with all the pounding its taken, but we all went back up. I ended up getting bumped back to 4th when Shawn Sinski stepped up his game and posted a blistering 3:03. Coincidentally Shaun was the person who drove me to the hospital when I broke my arm at the FR Cup #2. Mark Brent of BOM was in the hunt for his first ever win, but when class dominator Darryl Jamieson of TEAM SEGA
arrived to race we all knew it was going to be his race and it was. DJ taking a great win here today. DIrt Corps
has a solid sweep going on- Matt Patterson is leading the overall's for 30-39 Expert and today Brian Guse locked down the JR Expert classs (the only class to get decided at this race) with a solid showing today. I recently found out he did it with an injury too. Tough nuts on these kids.
Arrow Racing's Darryl Young getting over the double downed log step down. Say that 3 times fast.
Getting my fashion kit of the race award, Mr Tyler Gilsdorf.
Again, this Javier Araya guy gets all the good photos! Here he's mid course about to deal with the steep, deep ruts with roots on steroids.
TEAM KRUNK SHOX!
And finally, I'm proud to show you a man who is 43 years old, dedicated to DH'ing like no other, here Photographer Carl Warren takes a 'Black and White' of Pro Mens Winner Bart McDaniel. Bart won the last FR Cup by a decent margin and he continued to give Lars Sternberg a run for his money at the other events. Bart is currently leading the FR Cup Overalls for Pro Men- He's 40+ people! And not to forget the other 40+ guys that still in the hunt for that win. Simon Lawton wants a piece of that pie. Now watch the video.
Awards and Raffle
Racers were tired, people were bleeding. Some guys like Yuri here were doing both.
Get cozy Charlie, it's time for the results.
Pro Mens Podium.
Pro Womens Podium.
Semi-Pro Men's Podium
Expert 30-39 Mens Podium
Expert Women Podium
Expert 40+ Podium
To download the results go here
. To download the overall point chase go to MattPatts Dirt Corps FR Cup Tracking page here
I'd like to thank Petr Kakes and the Hurricane Racing Staff for putting on a great race as usual. Flawless and raw. Thanks to all the racers that participated and spectators for cheering. Thanks to the Starter and the finish line staff for keeping us all organized. Thanks to all the sponsors and to the Monster Energy Truck for showing up and providing me just the right amount of amp to get down the course. And a huge thanks to Scotty Grahams Parents for showing up and seeing their sons initials on my # plate. I hope to see you all at the last Fluidride Cup on Sept Sept 27th and 28th! Get your information on the last race right here
Oh and a huge thanks to Carl Warren for putting up with my whining and getting me this sweet photo with Scotty's initials. See ya at the last race!