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.