Video & Race Report: Eastern States Cup Showdown - Thunder Mountain, MA

Jul 13, 2021
by Eastern States Cup  

It's been two years since we've raced at Thunder Mountain and the entire Maxxis ESC community was fired up to return to the Berkshires. Despite being a newer bike park, it's turned into quite the classic race venue with something to challenge everyone. Downhillers have come to love and fear. The Schist track has changed so much since its loamy beginning, into the chundery beast it is today. That same technical terrain can be found on Thunder's Enduro stages, along with some amazing singletrack trails outside the bike park boundaries that make you feel like you're racing on the world stage. With some recent wet weather conditions were extra greasy this weekend, so for most racers, it was about keeping it rubber side down instead of pushing hard. Those who were able to tame the Massachusetts mud were rewarded, while most realized they need more time riding in wet weather.

Packed lot this weekend with nearly 600 registered racers. Thankfully, Thunder runs two lifts now so lines moved quick.

It's not just Enduro & DH this weekend, the Charlemont Fairgrounds hosted the second GT Bicycle Junior MTB Challenge of the season. Bicycle Express Racing's Owen Deale digs deep to take the 16-18 year old boys win by a commanding margin of 3:15. Huge shout out to Chris Nichols for once again creating a fun course XC track from virtually nothing.

That is one slick boi. A few days of significant rain leading up to the weekend meant greasy conditions for everyone.

Without rain we wouldn't have the flowers.

Specialized Enduro

Racers would kick off their day by taking the lift to the top of Thunder, then pedaling to the backside to descend Hawks Brook Trail. Brooks Hamilton puts it into boost mode, second place in his first Motorex Ebike race, even with the 8:15am start.

A quick pedal up a fire road and then riders would tackle the lengthy Wilderness Brook Trail for Stage 2, which took even our fastest racers over seven minutes to complete. Trevor Zardan goes P5 for the U15 boys.

Airline Cycles team rider Brooks Nablo flows like water down Wilderness Brook Trail, a trio of stage wins and first place for the 30-39 Men. His son Hudson also won the Kate's Real Food kids class.

Maxxis ESC Official Nik Orlando still keen to ride some bikes after getting up at 5am to set up the Enduro timing system.

Racers rounded out their tour of Thunder with some classic New England chunder on Wine Tree. Sam Poirier found the grip, winning every stage and the race for the 21-29 Men. Following Stage 3, riders made the big two mile pedal transfer across the Deerfield River to the Warfield Trails.

Warfield in the wet, good luck with that.

With the lack of extremely technical terrain on these trails, pumping and carrying speed is everything. Rev Racing's Oliver Vantuyl let's it roll into seventh place for the U15 Boys.

Outdoor Gear Exchange dominated the Pro Women's class podium, third place for Hannah Harrington with teammate Andria Golden right behind her in fourth.

A stage win and second place for Kale Cushman, her best result so far this season.

Sarah Howerter lead the OGE Team charge, four stage wins and 25 seconds ahead of the rest of the Pro ladies, all before hitting the DH course to take third place. "I'm new to the Box Showdown program, so the 8:20am Enduro start time was a bit of a struggle for me. My head definitely wasn't fully there for the first three stages, but I kept it smooth and clean-ish with the insane conditions we were working with. I finally woke up for the last two stages and had a blast on them. Major kudos to everyone who raced this weekend; it was probably the sketchiest I've ever seen these tracks! And I am stoked to have two of my rad teammates up on the podium with me and even more on other podiums today!"

Enduro Pro Women: 4th - Andria Golden, 2nd - Kale Cushman, 1st - Sarah Howerter, 3rd - Hannah Harrington, 5th - Lauren Breza

Rounding out the top three for the Pro Men, Aaron Ricci.

Will Goody held it together in the mud covered rocks, second place and his best result yet in the Pro men's class.

No one could touch Max Beaupre this weekend, a minute and 36 seconds ahead of the rest of the Pro Men with a clean sweep of stage wins. "It was really amazing to be back in the northeast. The dirt was premium and I had such a sick shred on the bike this weekend! Huge thanks to Cannondale and my family!"

Enduro Pro Men: 4th - Sammy Hedlund, 2nd - Will Goody, 1st - Max Beaupre, 3rd - Aaron Ricci, 4th - Isaac Allaire

Intense Downhill

Danny Cycles' Mauricio Estrada setting the bar in practice, fourth place on race day.

Amateur 30-39 winner Ian Barone holding his line through some proper Thunder chunk.

Ben McGranaghan hasn't entered a DH race in five years, but he's obviously been riding his bike a lot. Amateur 19-29 winner by a margin of 2.19 seconds.

Felipe Sousa put together a heater of a run to take P1 in the Expert 30-39 men's class.

Geoff Ulmer had to stop and grab a $20 bill in the rock garden before finishing his run. Photo: Robert Cuomo

With his Defiant Racing teammates at Nationals, Collin Bourque came up big with the Junior Expert win and the sixth fastest overall time of the day.

Forrest Mello zooms through the Fly Racing Speed Trap, top five in his first Pro race.

Chaingang Racing's Katlin Parenteau sent it into second place for the Pro Women, her best result since moving up classes this season.

After finishing second at her home of Blue Mountain, Abby Ronca rode the momentum to the top step this weekend by 6.83 seconds. "First time at Thunder was definitely one to remember. Conditions made it both mentally and physically challenging. During practice I was on the ground more than not and didn’t even get a full pull. When it came time for my race run my goal was just to have a clean run and it worked out."

DH Pro Women: 4th - Ivanna Estrada, 2nd - Katlin Parenteau, 1st - Abby Ronca, 3rd - Sarah Howerter, 5th - Isabel Georgian

It's been roughly a year since Isaac Allaire last raced but seems he's right back up to speed, third place for the Pro Men and fifth in the Enduro.

Dylan Conte has been absolutely flying on the bike lately. He improves another spot this weekend to take second place, just .94 off the win.

Two races, two wins this year for Max Morgan. "Thunder put together a challenging racetrack, and in the wet conditions, it was all about trying to minimize those mistakes. I was happy take the win and am looking forward to getting out to Windham in a few weeks!”

DH Pro Men:
4th - Mauricio Estrada, 2nd - Dylan Conte, 1st - Max Morgan , 3rd - Isaac Allaire, 5th - Forrest Mello

That's a wrap from the Berkshires, thanks to everyone who came out to play in the mud.

IMPORTANT SCHEDULE UPDATE: Please add a BOX MTB Showdown to your racing schedule at Sugarbush Resort on August 1, 2021!. The event will feature DH and Enduro MTB racing.
Registration is scheduled to open Wednesday, July 14 at noon. Note: This event is replacing a previously scheduled event on the same weekend.

Words and photos: Andrew Santoro
Video: Jason Scheiding

Enduro Results
DH Results
XC Results


May 23 Powder Ridge, CT
June 27 Blue Mountain, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
July 25 Windham, NY
Aug 1 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME
Sept 26 Jiminy Peak, MA
Oct 3 Powder Ridge, CT
Oct 24 Mountain Creek, NJ - Series Finals

May 2 Diamond Hill, RI
May 22 Powder Ridge, CT - Outbound Lighting Night Enduro
June 6 Glen Park, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
Aug 1 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 22 Arrowhead Recreation Area, NH - EWS Gold Qualifier
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME - EWS Gold Qualifier
Sept 26 Jiminy Peak, MA - EWS Gold Qualifier
Oct 2 Powder Ridge, CT - Outbound Lighting Night Enduro
Oct 17 Mountain Creek, NJ - Series Finals

May 2 Diamond Hill, RI
May 22 Powder Ridge, CT
June 6 Glen Park, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
Aug 22 Arrowhead, NH
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME
Oct 2 Powder Ridge, CT

May 22 Powder Ridge, CT
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME
Sept 26 Jiminy Peak, MA
Oct 2 Powder Ridge, CT

May 1 Diamond Hill, RI - XC
July 10 Thunder Mountain, MA - XC

Aug 14-15 Blue Mountain, PA - DH - DS - XC - Enduro


  • 11 0
 This music is absolutely horrible.
  • 8 1
 can only think of 2 possible reasons to pair that music and video:
1) You lost a bet
2) it’s your brother’s band
  • 3 0
 The xc race was great! Thanks for putting this event on ESC and Chris for getting the course put together! Might’ve been the best xc course I’ve ever raced on.
  • 2 0
 Props to everyone who dared to put tires in the dirt (mud) this weekend and battle it out.
  • 1 1
 your name is what everyone was thinking most of the afternoon
  • 1 0
 Awesome weekend! Thanks for the picture and shout out Andrew. This season has been a banger so far, looking forward to Sugarbush! Cheers!
  • 3 0
 Great venue, love Thunder!
  • 2 0
 Another killer weekend with the ESC community!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 ESC, what happened to the August 1st race at Bolton?!? Why'd it get moved?
  • 1 0
 ESC crew delivers another outstanding event and Thunder never disappoints.
  • 1 0
 see you all at windham!
  • 1 0
 Awesome race!

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