The POC Eastern States Cup New England DH Cup returned to action this past weekend at Mount Snow in southern Vermont. The fourth stop in in the USAC Regional Championship Series continued the streak of fine weather for the New England DH Cup events this year with no rain on race day and generally excellent track conditions. The series has taken a retro turn this season as the Killington race in July resurrected a classic track from the history books, and Mount Snow followed suit this weekend with a return to portions of the old NORBA course from the mountain's race roots.
Mount Snow appears to offer a relatively moderate and consistent pitch, but hidden beneath that benign exterior are numerous step downs, off camber steeps and short drops that keep racers on their toes.
On race day, the pits came alive early as the lifts began to spin an hour early to allow additional practice time.
The clock tower at the base provided a scenic backdrop for racers on the high-speed Canyon Express quad
Racers, including Jake Hurwitz, right, wait their turn in the dark, cavernous structure.
Junior X racer Cole Michie blasts out of the start house, a Vermont-sized version of the Mont Saint Anne World Cup start house
Stephen Solt rolls out of the gate
The steep start helped pros like Oliver Racing's Steve Avery get up to speed in no time.
Pro rider Jordan Newth looks for doubles in the top section of the course which featured some high-speed turns and tricky little steps.
Pros Matt Callahan and Mary Elges scope out the track's first technical feature, a steep drop that could be launched to a short transition or rolled to sharp G-out.
Callahan opts for the airborne option.
The course then dropped into a series of wide-open GS turns down the steep open slope as Rod Lampe, winner of the amateur 40+ division, tries to stay off the brakes
Jonathan Yelin hits the gas on his Scott Gambler
Ian Scaglione machs through a sweeping right-hander
Perennial Cat 1 40+ contender Judson Umberger rips down the open track
Pro rider Alex McAndrew swallows a high-speed hip that sent many riders to flat. McAndrew would crash in his race run but go on to win the POC speed trap prize for the pros, a feat he also accomplished at the Killington race. He must really like those POC water bottles.
Will Rouse sucks up the hip
The open slope section concluded with a road gap. Steve Kahn, leader of the Danny's Cycles team, styles it out on his way to a Cat 1 victory for the 40+ class.
The course then dropped under the Bluebird Express bubble chair. Cody Roy had a blazing run to easily win the 14 and under class.
Pro rider Brian Scolforo's Giant kit nicely matches the Bluebird Express chair as he drops over a blind roller into one of the steepest sections of the track.
Mount Snow had a crack squad of course marshals lining the track for practice and race day. Fortunately there was no major carnage for them to deal with.
The steep slab with its hard right-hand exit took its toll on more than one rider
After navigating the steep slab, racers were faced with a couple line options
I doubt many chose the middle line, which was a goopy mess, one of the few muddy spots on the whole course
Justice Kahn stays clear of the quagmire.
A few high-speed rollers led to a long woods section. Most racers opted to keep their tires on the ground through this section but MadKats team member Ben Bodycoat decided to air it out on his way to a second place finish in the Cat 1 juniors.
Racers then entered a dark and rooty stretch. Jonathan Yelin pins it into the woods.
Jim Salatino opts for a more sinuous line
Matthew Horton steps on the gas through the roots
Sloan Forstom rockets through the woods before setting up for a tight left-hand exit.
The next section was perhaps the most entertaining, involving a high-speed charge to a sharp left-hander into a steep drop. There were two options through the drop, a tight corner into a rock drop or a wider corner into a more gentle rooty drop. The field seemed evenly divided on which was the faster option. Aidan Casner, a new addition to the Oliver Racing team, takes the rock drop line to a 4th place finish in the Cat 1 juniors.
Mary Elges, pro women's winner, dances through the outside line, nicely avoiding some of the rougher roots.
Pro privateer Jordan Newth hits the drop on his way to a fourth place finish, his best result of 2014.
Giant Pro Team rider Brian Scolforo one-ups the field by gapping the entire section on his way to a second-place finish, his best of the year.
Yeti pro rider Jason Memmlaar proves there is no wrong answer in this section as he takes the rooty option to a victory, his first downhill win of the season to go with an ESC enduro win at Plattekill in June.
The rest of the course was an all-out charge. Jake Kahn, with the Danny's Cycles team, launches into a drop and finishes in 3rd place in the Cat 1 juniors, despite nursing an injured wrist.
With perhaps the most famous hair on the circuit, Drummer Racing's dread-locked Eric Clark sped to a second place in the Cat 1 30-38, his top finish this season.
Sebastian Halpern-Reiss drops the final feature on the course. Halpern-Reiss laid down a scorching time for his second win of the season in the amateur 15-18 category.
The POC speed trap was on the final steep straight away into the finish area and saw riders pinning it for MPH glory.
Even the more "seasoned" riders, like Robert Walker, let it rip through the trap.
Brian Kibbee flashes across one of the nicer finish lines on the circuit. Kibbee took 5th place in the 15-18 amateur category.
Riders relive their races and wait for results following the race.
Oliver Racing's Scott Bureau, the master of maple, right, awards a bag of much-coveted maple popcorn to teammate Steve Avery for his 5th place finish in the pro field.
The men's pro podium, from left: Alex McAndrew (POC speed trap), Steve Avery, Brian Scolforo, Jason Memmelaar, Dan O'Connor, Jordan Newth.
Thanks to Mount Snow and the ESC for another fun weekend of racing.Full Results Here
The POC Eastern States Cup returns to action this weekend at the Windham World Cup in NY with the POC ESC Atlantic DH Cup Race the World DH.www.easternstatescup.com