Jolanda Neff and Dakotah Norton Win Downhill South East Round 2

Apr 1, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

Jolanda Neff and Dakotah Norton walked away with the wins at round 2 of the Downhill South East race series in Windrock. Neff has now won high level downhill and cyclocross races before she's even raced on the XC bike for her main discipline, you can watch her talk about her multi-discipline approach here.

The race at Windrock was held on a more mellow and flowy track than the Pro GRT and riders also weren't battling the rain, making for some fast and furious racing. With the first World Cup less than a month away, some of the world's fastest men were also on site looking to squeeze in some more race pace training. Dakotah Norton beat out Luca Shaw and Neko Mulally to take the win by more than 2 seconds.


1st. Dakotah Norton - 2:47.362
2nd. Luca Shaw - 2:49.538
3rd. Neko Mulally - 2:50.434
4th. Walker Shaw - 2:57.270
5th. Nathan St Clair - 3:02.726
1st. Jolanda Neff - 3:56.415
2nd. Susan Curtin - 4:11.923
3rd. Emily Parker - 4:12.752
4th. Skylar Wilcox - 4:22.058
5th. Gracie Dean - 4:28.954

Full results to follow.


  • 209 3
 Luca is going to be so fast this year having Yolanda to show him the all the fast lines.
  • 4 144
flag endurocat (Apr 1, 2019 at 5:19) (Below Threshold)
 This is not DH. The track was more like a XC clone. Just another stupid trend.
  • 85 1
 @endurocat: LOL i'm sure you would have slayed
  • 12 0
 Pictures HERE
  • 3 28
flag endurocat (Apr 1, 2019 at 7:49) (Below Threshold)
 @wmelton14: Vitalmtb has the video.
Check for yourself.
  • 32 0
 I'll admit I'm surprised, too, but maybe we shouldn't be. If you watch WC XCO races, Jolanda often takes lines in difficult conditions that no other female rider takes and only a few of the top men take. On a wet Mont Saint-Anne course, she was the only rider - female or male - to take the hardest line every lap. Nino and even Mathias Flückiger took a chicken line once or twice. And Jolanda was on a hardtail. And she rode the line faster. She's not always the cleanest through difficult lines, but she always goes for it, and is often fastest of the day.
  • 6 10
flag jeremy3220 (Apr 1, 2019 at 9:01) (Below Threshold)
 @R-M-R: it's impressive but she also only had 4 other competitors and I don't recognize any of them.
  • 3 0
 @jeremy3220: True, it was far from a World Cup DH field. It's fun to speculate, though!
  • 8 0
 @endurocat: have you been to windrock?
  • 2 0
 Tell me Jolanda was not riding her XC bike with the saddle up there... otherwise it must be a bitter pill to swallow for her competition. Anyways congrats.
  • 3 0
 @EnduroManiac: She was on a Slash.
  • 2 0
 @endurocat: have you ridden Windrock? The race course was a mix of the toughest Blue line and the easiest Black. Absolutely nothing XC about it.
  • 1 0
 @wmelton14: def an enduroish line tho
  • 1 0
 @Mntneer: if you’ve never ridden WR I can see how the vids have you fooled.
  • 1 0
 @endurocat: Yeah this was not an xc track by any means dude. I was there, granted it wasn't as gnarly as last year but still.
  • 1 1
 @wmelton14: yeah I've only ridden there like a dozen times
  • 33 0
 Jolanda didn't just win, she absolutely crushed it. The only racer with a sub-4min time in the women open category.

I really hope there's a bike check coming up. She's on Trek so I'm betting she's on a Slash, considering the " mellow and flowy track" snippet from the article.

If she joined the EWS, she'd be a regular podium threat, considering a vast majority of the top women came from an XC background.
  • 3 21
flag skvedo (Apr 1, 2019 at 3:21) (Below Threshold)
 @nozes: Did she also raced in lycra and XC helmet?
  • 20 4
 @skvedo: No, full body armor on top of the T-shirt and adidas pants, Bell Super 3R, protection glasses and giant hydration pack - like half of the Enduro rippers at Ryhleby.
  • 42 0
 @skvedo: when you win by 15 seconds you can wear whatever the fook you want.
  • 14 0
 fyi, "mellow & flowy track" at Windrock is a relatively loose way to describe 1000ft of very that's way tougher than what the track preview would make you think.
  • 5 0
 @bizutch: Yeah I was able to ride the course last weekend and it was the tipical windrock Rocky rooty gnar you would expect.
  • 6 0
 It looked like a Session but down country. LOL
  • 2 0
 what also truly amazes me is the fact she used XC crankbros pedals with ultra stiff XC shoes... pedaling on a tight rope here
  • 3 1
 @laurencedube: that's what she used to for most of her riding so...
  • 3 3
 @laurencedube: I don't see how that has any bearing on how she are shoes, pedals are pedals.
  • 6 1
 @clink83: When you unclip and have to ride that nub of a pedal through a rowdy section unclipped in a carbon soled shoe, it is way....way sketchier than having a soft rubber soled DH shoe/pedal combo to hang onto the bucking bronco until you can clip in again
  • 4 0
 @bizutch: forget it, there are a few XC folks around here and they will fight with you over obvious things, only to sustain their persona of an XC expert who know specifics of the sport (I will urge them to suck my balls by the first occasion Emily Batty's new bike check comes up) . If someone doesn't get the difference between riding a Mallet and Eggbeater, big soft shoe like Shimano AM7 and a super slim XC7, then there is nothing to talk about. Especially since the differences go far beyond "what if I unclip and want to clip back in in the middle of a rock section". So speaking like that in general terms is dumb. There are obvious differences between pedals and pedals, shoes and shoes. But on specific subject of Jolanda here, it is highly probable that she rides super slim shoes and eggbeaters 20h+ a week so it is no wander she doesn't want to change.
  • 2 0
Agreed. Its all in what you are used to. I watched Tinker Juarez, in his prime years, hit a dirt jump on his cross country bike where the bottom of his tires were at minimum six feet in the air over the top of the transition. The bike set up was roughly 120mm stem pointed downward, flat narrow bars, seat post set at super high, and clipped in. The set up to the height of the bars and stem were pretty much the same as a road bike. That's the set up he knew and that what he went with.
  • 1 1
 @vjunior21: I'll never forget the first time I did an XC race in the mid-90's & we hit this long fire road to monster water bar into a hard left. I motocrossed (my background) the water bar not knowing the left was there, flew by everybody and aired out past the hard left, clipped some dude's front wheel, pancaking his bike to the ground & everybody went nuts cheering.

It was unintentionally ballsy. Now that we have droppers, I don't think I could ever boost big with my seat up like that again. Big air w/ the seat at XC race height is the most ballsy of moves.

Getting it wrong is punishable by death. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: no worries droppers will be all over World Cup XC soon and everyone will be able to enjoy the proper riding position as well as confidence on descent without worrying whether their friends will tell them to not use a dropper since they are not used by best racers. The best racers need to grow up and out of the confinement of elitist ethos BS - that's it. Women already started, the pompous males will too.
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: Better not clip out then or learn to clip in better..
  • 1 0
 @mini: there is much more to it than this. A well setup Mallet and well spaced out shoe will work like a flat pedal with next to no axial flex in riding direction. Softer shoe wraps around the cage to some degree. This is as close to riding on a flat pedal with all the balance benefits as it gets. Balancing in a stiff XC shoe and standing on a platform of a size of a cleat is a quite different thing. Again, makes no difference for her here since this is what she rides all the time. Perhaps it could make some difference if she switched to Mallets for XC, the only issue being clearing the pedal from mud during the race
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: I don't think Yolanda is going to come unclipped on a pedal with 20 degrees of float..and plenty of people get rad on SPD pedals...
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: and XC pedals + stiff soles provide an extremely stable platform
  • 1 0
 @clink83: no they don’t. You balance on two cleats held roughly in place by a few wires. What is it that you don’t understand?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: and yet tons of XC riders ride stuff that most pinkbikers couldn't do on mallets with them, and with 100mm travel bikes with XC tires. While not ideal, they still do the job just fine. You guys say some stupid stuff sometimas...
  • 1 0
 @clink83: how are you doing with a dropper on Battys bike? want to take some things back? Smile
  • 2 0
 You don't NEED droppers for XC, but they don't hurt either. Some riders use them, some dont. Your point?
  • 1 1
 @clink83: what you need is more skill and talent on a bike in general, which she has. The shoe/pedal combo she ran aren't an advantage to her if she unclips, plain and simple. It's not even debatable.

Bottom line, she didn't need to unclip to win this event. Her 2 fastest competitors were sidelined during practice (Frida w/ a broken arm & Caroline w/ a dislocated shoulder). So they were not a limitation in this specific instance.
  • 2 0
 @bizutch: and yet she won. Ever hear "it's the Indian not the arrow"? There are tons of trail riders riding around on "XC pedals" that don't care. Typical Pinkbike dick waving.
  • 1 1
 @clink83: How am I waving my dock? What are you talking about you cotton headed ninny muffins? Lay off the egg nog
  • 1 1
 @bizutch: I misread what you said, sorry. Long day at work+cold meds.
  • 35 2
 Most of the DH bros on here don't realize that many of the top XC racers at a WC level would CRUSH them on an equivalent DH or Enduro bike.
  • 10 24
flag DetroitCity (Apr 1, 2019 at 12:15) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe Nino and Van Der Poel. Otherwise you are talking cow poop. I ride with Luca and Jolanda in Brevard. You aint dropping them on DH bikes period. If you said on xc bikes an XC pro can drop them. Maybe. Jolanda beat Luca by 5 minutes in a XC race. She has no chance on the DH track. I drop Luca on XC bikes. Also, they train their ass off on the road so these arent your weekend warrior endurbros. It sounds good and its cool to think about, but its far from reality.
  • 5 1
 Or just in general most good XC riders would...the whole "XC riders are dirt roadies" thing is pretty ridiculous.
  • 1 4
 @DetroitCity: no idea why you got neg repped 13 times. hah...
  • 2 0
 @bizutch: lol. Rachel would absolutely destroy Jolanda on the same bikes DH. Any top 20 WC DH rider would destroy Nino also on the same bikes DH. Its a different sport.

Now if you said in an Enduro. Things get more interesting.
  • 3 0
 @DetroitCity: and most top 20 DHers don't have the genetics to ever get an XC podium, whats your point? Bike handling Skills are skills, and all the pros have them. You're dumb if you think otherwise.
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: no. You're stretching there. Elite XC racers have won multiple World Cups.
  • 1 0
 @bizutch: DH world cups? Lol. You mean 30 years ago when the DH courses were XC courses and they were on the same bike for both races. Its a specialist sport now. My opinion is formed by training and talking with actual WC DH and XC racers not Pinkbike. Feel free to come ride with us and ask them. 2pm at the Ingles in Brevard Nc.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: I picture you saying this in a truly smug tone.... ???? #rollswithPros
  • 9 0
 Jolanda is such a talent after Tokyo it would be cool to see if she can do the EWS and DH WC. Opportunity to become the greatest mountain biker of all time?
  • 3 0
 @fr0sty125 She recently said in a GMBN interview that she will not compete in EWS or any big gravity event. Maybe after 2020 she could change her mind
  • 6 0
 Unless she's planning to change her name to Martin maes...
  • 5 1
 Check out her latest picture on her insta. Some say it's in the eyes... and she looks scary. Eyes on the prize. She could rip in Enduro - not a tiniest doubt about it.
  • 11 3
 April fool's or not?
  • 1 1
 If not, then WTG D.N...
  • 1 0
 That was my first thought... but the same results are on other sites...
  • 8 1
 It'd be the worst April Fools effort ever
  • 7 0
 Ya Dakota ????????
  • 5 0
 She was on a rigid 26
  • 2 0
 So was I!
  • 3 1
 She’s gonna crush the XC field this year. Don’t know if too many XC riders doing DH. Seems like a good idea to me. Gravitational enlightenment.
  • 4 0
 Lets see it Nino...
  • 2 0
 Wasn't this Round 1 of DHSE?
  • 1 0
 Has anyone ever done xc and downhill at a World Cup event? Can you imagine?
  • 13 0
 That was quite normal back in the 90ies... there was even an overall classification. John Tomac was probably the most famous for being competitiv in both.
  • 11 0
 Juliana Furtado (GT) won a world championship DH and several XC world cups in the 90's
  • 2 0
 Just a few years ago Cecile Ravanel finished in the top 10 of a DH WC after starting her career as a XC rider (junior world champ).
  • 5 4
 Neff’s Win was cool but Frida Ronning and Caroline was Han got injured in practice soooooo just saying
  • 1 0
 Washam *
  • 2 0
 Jeff WTF why no Crankworkx then? shed be queen in a heart beat
  • 2 0
 shes just an amazing rider.
  • 2 0
 Wtf?! Monster Jolanda!
  • 1 2
 Doubt this is an April Fools article......?

Neff finishes with a decent 5 1/2 second lead on second place, that is a proper win for a DH race!
  • 7 0
 15secs bud Wink
  • 5 0
 @jimmychoo401: oh flip ... I make a huge mistake ... .almost as huge as that time gap!
  • 2 5
 Was Jolanda named after Zoolander?
  • 1 3
 Yeah right, April 1st Wink
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