Photo Epic: The Rumble in the Jungle - Costa Rica Open DH 2021

Apr 12, 2021
by mack faint  

With the World Cups being pushed back yet again after the cancelation of the Fort William DH World Cup, many racers were left with a void to fill. For Neko Mulally, Charlie Harrison, Dakotah Norton and Nikolas Nestoroff (to name a few) that void was filled in Central America with the Costa Rican Open of Downhill. Typically a dry, dusty and fast race track known for its “Cabuyas” section greeting the racers here in Costa Rica, but with the wet season fast approaching things are quite different this time around. Torrential thunderstorms moved in and changed the track from its typical fast-paced setting into a slip n slide.

On Saturday morning (seeding day) the sun was out drying out the track from the previous few days of soaking rain, in turn making it into a fairly decent race track, but as soon as the morning practice had commenced the skies opened up. With the rain setting in and the thunder rumbling, roll offs and mud tires were quickly laced up and racers made their way down the mountain in what some described as the “wettest race run” they had ever completed.

When seeding runs were all said and done, there was a razor-thin race to the finish between Charlie Harrison and Dakotah Norton, with Charlie taking the top spot over Dakotah. Their finishing times were 3:09.937 and 3:09.998 respectively. Third-placed Neko Mulally finished nearly 2.5 seconds behind with a time of 3:12.579.

During the Sunday morning practice runs on race day, the sun was once again shining on the track making for slick but tacky conditions, giving the racers a false sense of hope that the daily rain would hold off. However after the morning practice concluded, and the amateur racing started, the clouds started to roll in and thunder once again began to rumble. The majority of the rain held off during the amateur racing, but as soon as the Elite men and women began to gear up the skies opened up once again.

While the rain may turn many racers and spectators away, this was not the case on race day here in Costa Rica. The Val Di Sole section near the bottom was packed to watch the Elite Men, Charlie Harrison 3:03.968 take the win on the day, with Dakotah Norton 3:08.604 coming in second and local racer Pablo Omodeo 3:23.708 coming in third, much to the locals crowd pleasure.

In the Women’s Elite class, Kailey Skelton of KHS Factory racing took the top honors 4:37.876 on the day, with the Riley Weidman of the USA coming in second with a time of 6:18.821 and Costa Rican local Marcela Lascarez 8:29.209 taking home third.

Neko and Charlie discussing lines during the track walk.

A brand new rock garden was added for the race.

Grant Sides mechanic of Charlie Harrison during track walk.

Plenty of animals were seen during the track walk.

View from the bridge overlooking the "Cabuyas" section.

The Cabuyas were imported from Columbia for use as burlap sacks.

Rain coming over the mountains in the distance.

Before practice

And after

Dakotah happy to be racing after the delay in the WC calendar.

Marcell Fernando Aguirre and his Santa Cruz V10 ready to conquer La Lucha

Jose Herrera giving his Devinci a hose down after his practice.

Weather was a constant factor throughout the weekend.

No lift, no problem. The organizers were on it with sufficient shuttle services.

Josue Munoz parting his way through the clouds.

The stoke was high in Costa Rica!

Josh Patton of The YT Mob giving Dak's bike a rinse Costa Rican style.

Charlie Harrison's gear drying out after a day of splashing around.

Charlie putting the new Session through its paces in the rock garden.

Race director Alvaro Castillo is a staple in the Costa Rican DH scene.

As is his father Geovanny Castillo.

Neko and Charlie discussing practice with a nice view.

Ricardo Chavarria and his Devinci at the top of the mountain.

Local ripper Jhonny Flores with his Trek.

Costa Rican native Andre Garnier and his Specialized Demo.

Ian Aubert and his Specialized Demo.

Andre Pinto ready to go on his Santa Cruz.

Diego Alexander fallas and his Norco.

Delroy Pacheco would end up winning the Master B division on his Santa Cruz V10.

Plenty of good snacks down here in the pits.

Enduro bikes are also prevalent here as Jonathan Cartin represents with his Scott.

Alberto Arias waiting to drop in for his race run on his Trek.

Plenty to be done here at La Lucha even if you're not racing.

Race director Alvaro Castillo making his way up the mountain to check on the progress of the event.

Neko blasting his way off the bridge into the Cabuyas section.

Charlie Harrison doing the same but with a few mid-air pedal strokes on the new Session.

Nikolas Nestoroff making his way into the final portion of the track during morning practice.

Kailey Skelton jammed her thumb during practice before the race but was still able to pull of a win in the Women's category.

Chains being installed on shuttle vehicles after an overnight thunderstorm.

Charlie lacing up for battle.

Don Carlos aka lift extraordinaire.

Grant with his pit pup.

Tad bit of water on the drive to the track.

Ian Aubert dropping in.

Charlie's form was on point coming down the motorway.

Early morning race day practice runs for Neko on his prototype Intense.

Neko taking his time to make a racers' day before his race run.

Manuel Martinez of Panama pictured with his Norco.

Manuel also pictured with Charlie Harrison and Neko Mulally.

Pinkbike Academy contestant Vlad Sherryuble making his way through an afternoon downpour.

Nikolas Nestoroff of KHS Factory Racing doing the same.

Camilo Salazar of Colombia getting stylish no matter the condition.

Local ripper Pablo Omodeo has a promising future, finishing third amongst a field full of WC competitors.

Pablo Omodeo soaring into third in the Elite Men's race.

Steven Walton

Neko would end up crashing out of his race run, although he was physically okay, his bike was not.

Charlie celebrating his win.

Kailey Skelton on her way to the podium.

Women's Podium

Charlie awaiting the top step of the podium.

See you next year!


  • 15 2
 Can we talk about #129 only going with 1 brake? Did he live?
  • 3 0
 DNF mate, you ride with what you got, track was brutal on bikes.
  • 8 0
 I am runner 129, I survived, the bike was damaged, I broke the fork but I'm healthy
  • 7 0
 South American racing is so under-rated.
  • 24 1
 Central America too
  • 6 0
 Pura Vida style! Love CR. Thanks for the coverage.
  • 4 0
 Damn that's alot of photos
  • 4 0
 Looks like a session...took the win
  • 6 2
 Not many masks being worn. Brilliant
  • 3 6
 uh oh, here comes the mask police
  • 5 3
 Nice lack of social distancing at a race again... Americans mixing with the natives, no masks. Selfish is the least to be said about this. Idiots
  • 1 1
 Especially considering that last I heard Brazil is suffering a bad wave of covid right now

  • 2 0
 Are rider 120's feet still intact?! I feel obligated to hook him up with a fresh set of shoes.
  • 1 0
 If anyone knows who that is tell him to message me on here or Instagram @cameronjoye , would be stoked to hook him up with a fresh pair!
  • 3 0
 Super cool
  • 1 0
 The DH paradise come to know the Pura Vida country, All Mountain expedition can show you the best trails
  • 1 0
 Always the most fun and most smoothly run event of the year, rain or shine. Already looking forward to next year
  • 1 0
 Shorter Shorts-21. No one is immune.
  • 1 0
 Neko wears knee pads to protect the rocks. Knee caps of Thor I tell ya.
  • 1 0
 Whereabouts in Costa Rica was the race?
  • 2 1
 Yes it was here in Costa Rica!
  • 2 0
 The place is called "Finca La Lucha", on the road towards the Cerro de la Muerte, Cartago; if you're familiar with the country.
  • 1 0
 @chinoDCR: Thanks. It has been a while since I was in Costa Rica, but not in that area.
  • 1 0
 charlies got a new helmet
  • 1 0
 Great pics!
  • 1 0
 Nice aluminum Fury!
  • 1 1
 lotta those bikes looked like a session

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