Downhill mountain biking came in French Hautes Alpes in Briançon this Sunday at the beautiful place of Vauban fortifications, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Riders came down in winding streets which were dotted with huge jumps, like the one above a piste grooming machine, and one more of 10 meters long within the fortifications. This event was the first of a series of urban DH races by Xtrem Events, and many thousands spectators gathered from beginning to the end of the track.
Riders from many countries were in attendance, including the world's number one urban downhiller, Slovakia's Filip Polc, South Africa's Jonty Neethling, and Austrialia's Remy Morton. French riders were also naturally in attendance, including Camille Blanchard.
Realising the best time to beat was 2 minutes 16 seconds set by Polc in his first run, Filip succeeded in coming down faster in his third run; the Super Final. Against global competition, he was able to cross the line in 2 minutes 11 seconds. Behind him, the podium battle across all categories was fought between different nations, including two Frenchmen, an Englishman and a South African.
With incredibly tight timing, Jonty Neethling secured second place, and the young Australian phenomenon Remy Morton won his category, with Camille Blanchard taking the win in Senior, and Filip Polc in Masters.
It was a great event and a lot of challenges were overcome by the organisers working together; Xtrem Events Team, Entrepreneurs Club Grand Briançonnais and tourist office Serre Chevalier Vallée. With a city crowded of people and riders, everyone loved the event and it confirmed that the urban DH phenomenon in France won’t stop here.
To conclude, Filip Polc gave us his thoughts on this first Urban DH in France:
"You see the biggest world races like Valparaiso, Taxco, etc…, how do you create a French urban DH? I see nice potential in Briancon as a cool spot for City Downhill race. I hope we will be able to bring the series here for next year!"
Photos by Corrosive Pictures.