Pro GRT Round One, NW Cup Round Two, Port Angeles, WA - Race Report

May 18, 2016
by Eric Ashley  
 
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Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Alex McAndrew rails into a steep section on King Diamond as the fog begins to fade during Sunday's practice (Pro Men).

Each stop in a series brings its own terrain, character, and quirks that make it a unique proving ground for racers to compete at. Port Angeles’ tightly packed trails offer an early season open, variable weather conditions, an interesting mix of dirt and sandstone, and plenty of rough riding mixed in for good measure.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Jill Kintner handily dominated the field all weekend long (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
John Canfield, purveyor of quality hip packs, enjoys the calm winds on the ride across the water.

One overlooked distinction of the Port Angles Pro GRT stop is the ferry ride taken by many racers, spectators, and vendors as they embark on their weekend. There's an instant sense of camaraderie found from joining other bike-laden vehicles in the terminal line because you know you're surrounded by a group of people who share a passion for mountain biking and racing.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Since the weekend was round two of the NW Cup and stop one for the Pro GRT, there was a notable influx in racers compared to the rest of the season — 540 riders entered in total. They were greeted by dry trail conditions Friday and Saturday that began to turn marble-like under the onslaught of so many tires. As usual, a fleet of U-hauls were running shuttles to the top.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Stratton Jurus gets acquainted with some pedal bite and a blown out turn during practice Saturday (Cat 2 Men 0-14).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Each category had its individual course. Cat 3 raced from the top through the recently reworked White Knuckle to Double Bypass before ending up on Cake Walk. Cat 2 explored Wayne’s World, Short Shorts, Heckler’s Row, and lastly Lower Pro. Cat 1, Juniors, and Pros tacked King Diamond, Braeburn, Upper Pro, to Chunder Dome to end up on the signature Water Fall – where hecklers are deep and carnage is always lurking nearby.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Liam Smillie (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Drew Mozell was part of a very fast Cat 2 Men 0-14 group that charged hard over the weekend. Mozell finished fifth on Sunday.

Saturday’s practice was segmented into categories, and by the time Juniors and Pros took the field, the weather was beginning to sour, and finally to rain. All that dust began to clump to tires under the added moisture making for heavy steering and reduced traction. The NW Cup traditionally hosts seeding runs for Pros and Juniors on the evening before the races. But, with the Pro GRT, the invasion of Pro Men riders would instead compete for qualifying times. Only the top 60 qualifiers would be able to compete on Sunday.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Will Stewart (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Jason Provins exiting the log chute on King Diamond. Provins placed third in his category (Cat 1 Men 30-39).

The pressure of losing your spot made the results board a popular site for the duration, as racers crowded around to see who would make the cut. In the end, Forrest Riesco, Bruce Klein, Kiran MacKinnon, Charlie Harrison, and Luke Strobel put in the top five times for Pro Men. Jill Kintner lead the Pro Women by nearly 20 seconds. She was followed by Jaime Rees, Samantha Kingshill, Britney White, and Kjersti Christensen. Top ranks for Junior Men were formed by Nik Nestoroff, Simon Tellier, Andras Simon, Steven Walton, and Devin Kjaer.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Party in the woods! Zach Fraser and Shelby Reilly out spectating and doing some light heckling.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
A little fresh trail work left this deep double on King Diamond riding smooth. Stephanie Denroche (Cat 1 Women Open).

The crowds quickly dispersed under the cold mist and rain, but not before wishing Director, Scott Tucker an early birthday and partaking in the cake. The next morning they were greeted by heavy fog that closed in even tighter at the start gate. Dirt conditions ranged from mildly tacky in newer trail sections to slick in the older hard-packed areas. The dense fog definitely influenced riders' confidence during early practice runs. Fortunately, the fog abated as the day continued and racers were soon delivering fast times again. The order of the day proceeded; Cat 1, Cat 2, Cat 3, followed by a fervid practice for Juniors and Pros before they completed their race.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Although challenging, a manual or jump off this log into the berm provided the smoothest line for racers and kept bottom brackets happy.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Kialani Hines (Cat 1 Women Open) and Spencer Baldwin (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Sunday's race conditions ended up being far superior to those during seeding/qualifying. Steven Walton moved up to take first in Juniors, leading Simon Tellier by just over three seconds. Sean Bell, Jeremy Schwartz, and Devin Kjaer came next, their times only hundredths of seconds apart. Pro Women saw fewer changes with Jill Kintner once again dominating. Jaime Rees placed second while Britney White moved up to third, Jaime Hill took fourth, and Samantha Kingshill finished fifth.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Kaytlin Melvin (Cat 1 Women Open) rides past the scene of Bob Stenson's brutal crash from last year - check out MTB Mania's Crash Reel.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Will Stewart (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Pro Men saw quite a bit of change with Mikey Sylvestri moving to fifth, Forrest Riesco slipping to fourth, and Luca Cometti and Mitch Ropelato taking third and second. The major upset of the weekend was Tanner Stephens' Cinderella Story. Stephens almost chose to give up racing, but decided to give it one final go on his old spray painted bike — a decision that claimed him his first Pro GRT podium ever. The last several minutes in the hot seat kept Stephens and the surrounding crowd on edge. Especially since the top eight times all fell within less than a second.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Peter Moravek (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Warren Kniss whipping things all classy like (Pro Men).

Mixed in with the weekend’s excitement was the sobering realization that the Pro GRT took place just days after the mountain bike community lost a hero. Steve Smith was the small town boy who rose to the top and into so many hearts along the way. Smith raced and won at the NW Cup in both 2012 and 2013, and his plans to race this weekend made his passing even more shocking and sorrowful.

“We at Ndub are gutted about the loss of Stevie. Not only are we going to miss him coming to our local races, we always rooted for him at the world cups as if he was from our hometown. Always super nice, super stoked, and an inspiration to watch ride in person” — Scott Tucker, Director.

The goodbye from the NW Cup began as a thundering on-course chant during the races and completed during the awards ceremonies with upraised fingers pointing to Stevie.

Ride in Peace Stevie, from your NW Cup Family.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Simon Tellier had the second fastest seeding time Saturday evening (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ) and Tanner Stephens qualified 12th for Pro Men.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
The PNW's favorite downhiller on 29" wheels was right at home with the changing conditions. Luke Strobel qualified fifth (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Charlie Harrison qualified just under a second faster than Strobel, taking fourth (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Forrest Riesco squeezing in one final practice run. Riesco had the fastest qualifying time (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Matt Orlando (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Proper heckling requires the finest cowbell technology available.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Cam Quadrelli blasts through the chunder on Upper Pro during his seeding run (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Sean Bell put in a solid seeding run putting him seventh in the lineup (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
No stranger to the top, Jill Kintner seeded almost 20 seconds ahead of the pack (Pro women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Kjersti Christensen and Angelina Palermo (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Jaime Rees earning loud cheers from the crowd. Rees seeded second on Saturday (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
California rider, Kiran MacKinnon coped well with rain, qualifying third (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Bruce Klein and Demetri Triantafillou (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Despite the spill, Parker Robinson held together a fast run and still qualified 37th (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
A mud slathered Kris Christensen receives some final directions at the end of his run. Christensen crash prevented him from qualifying for Sunday's race (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Left: Waiting to see who will make the cut. Right: Director, Scott Tucker fell victim to an early birthday celebration.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Sunday morning practice began with a heavy blanket of fog.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Liam Smillie putting his practice runs to good use. Smillie finished third (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Peyton Pitts (Cat 3 Men 11-14).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Gliding through the fog. Brian Zimmerman (Cat 1 Men 30-39).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
With only one practice lap per rider, it was important to make things count.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Daniel Frentzel at the top of his race run on King Diamond (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Off to a great start. Adam Woodhouse followed up his second place finish during the first NW Cup with a win over the weekend. (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Connor Carson holding his own and taking his second third-place finish of the season (Cat 1 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Aaron Buck (Cat 1 Men 30-39).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Ed Reilly (Cat 1 Men 40+).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Kialani Hines rode to a repeat victory this season and Kaytlin Melvin took third (Cat 1 Women Open).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Dalton Evanger (Cat 2 Men 19-29).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Marc Soelberg headed for the exit on Wayne's World (Cat 2 Men 19-29). Soelberg finished fourth.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Mike Wallace (Cat 2 Men 50+).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Janea Perry en route for a win (Cat 2 Women Open).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Sarah Olsen racing down Wayne's World (Cat 2 Women Open).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Ben Thirlwell put together a fast lap earning him his best finish to date. Thrilwell finished second (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Adrian Lee (Cat 2 Men 15-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Michael LaSalata (Cat 3 Men 40-49).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Best kits on the mountain. Camron Ratkoviak (Cat 3 Men 0-10).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Sweet Lines Racing is doing good things bringing up the young guard of racers.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Luca Cometti finding lines amidst a maelstrom of Pro and Junior riders who were all trying to get in their allotted practice runs before time ran out (Pro Men). Cometti finished third.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Forrest Riesco was riding smooth and fast during practice (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Top: Alex Auger tries out as the Canadian Unicorn. Bottom: Simon Tellier, and Steven Walton finished the day second and first (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Sean Bell was able to move up from his seventh place seeding time to finish third (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
A distracting course warden greeted Junior and Pro racers at the top of the course - a gift from team Oprah's Laser Cannon.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Dylan Brown (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Swept nearly clean. Joseph Rager (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
This long flat corner was the cause of more than one spill during the weekend. Jacob Jordan (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Left: A crash from Kim Godfrey came pretty close to also turning into a collision. Right: Lauren Heitzman (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Kerstin Holster (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Britney White moved up from her fourth-place seeding time to finish third.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Jill Kintner held the lead, taking first (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Alex Willie (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Mitch Ropelato sending the waterfall on the way to second (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Colin Grant and Alex McAndrew (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Ride the bike you have. Tanner Stephens almost didn't race this season, but he ended up entering on his old spray painted bike. The results were a Cinderella Story that saw him rise to the top of the podium (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Spencer Graf (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Charlie Harrison lost a little ground, sliding from fourth during qualifying to eighth (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Steven Walton, Simon Tellier, Sean Bell, Jeremy Schwartz, and Devin Kjaer (Cat 1 Men 0-18 ).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Jill Kintner, Jaime Rees, Britney White, Jaime Hill, and Samantha Kingshill (Pro Women).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Tanner Stephens, Mitch Ropelato, Luca Cometti, Forrest Riesco, and Mikey Sylvstri (Pro Men).

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
Pro and Junior podiums each received an in-memoriam medal honoring Steve Smith.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
This one is for you Steve. Bottom: Andre and Kyle Strom hold Steve Smith's 2013 winning check that he gave to them as inspiration during their first Pro GRT.

Pro GRT Round One NW Cup Round Two Port Angeles 2016
#longlivethechainsaw

NW Cup 2016

Full results here.



MENTIONS: @Specialized / @foxracingshox / @Fox-Head-Inc / @ericashley

Must Read This Week

25 Comments

  • + 13
 Where are the Sylvestri pics dude has style for miles!
  • + 3
 Reposting @reconjay 's post because you idiots down voted, and you'll do it again: " Top woman gets half of what the winning dude gets? Bullsh*t! What kind of message is this to the young girls starting out? At least PB gives good photo coverage of the women's field."
  • + 7
 This was an error and fixed before she left. We had a communication breakdown. It was a little hectic at that particular moment, and we're sorry for the mixup.
  • - 1
 @olympicdirtsociety: Thanks for the follow up, that's great to hear.
  • + 5
 Nice work once again Eric. I feel like I was there....errr oh yeah.
  • + 2
 Saw that topless girl in the first turn of my race run.....totally blew that corner and lost all my momentum. So happy to be racing in the NWcup. Its such a good time.
  • + 1
 Awesome Recap @ericashley . Embraces the NW Cup, always look forward to seeing these recaps from you. Excellent job!
  • + 1
 I always enjoy your recaps and photos. Thanks for churning out another banger!! @ericashley
  • + 2
 strobel's whip! and on flat pedals it looks like, so sick!
  • + 2
 best nw cup coverage! thanks @ericashley
  • + 2
 Awesome as always Eric!!! Way to represent WCR!!!
  • + 2
 Tanner Stephens bike check!!!
  • + 2
 Thanks for the pic! It was my first time racing Port Angeles... loved it!
  • - 1
 Raddddd!!! If you are still scanning, see if you don't have any of #540. I think I saw you at various locations.... Cat 2 Men 15-18. Cheers!
  • + 1
 Excellent race report ! King diamond \m/ maybe best trail name ever.
  • + 1
 Nice work as always, Eric!
  • + 1
 Where is WCR from?
  • + 1
 Headquarters is in Spokane, but we're from all over the NW.
  • + 1
 That was Awesome!
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