Words - Photos - Video by: Lucas Bayus
Swain is back! Stop #3
of the Gravity East Series will be heading to the Allegany Foothills of Western New York at Swain Resort. Last year was the first time the GES had gone to Swain, as well as Swain's first time hosting a downhill mountain bike event. Risk? Maybe... Reward? Absolutely. The turn out was great, and the event was a huge success resulting in the return of the GES to Swain! With a new trail last year, GES riders were taken down a rocky, rooty, steep, fast, off-cambered race course called Sledgehammer. Riders seemed to love the features and variety the trail offered. However this year, several changes/improvements have been made to the course including several new jumps as well as a flow factor that was missing in some corners. Check out a photo track walk of the updated 2013 Swain GES course!
There is a short pedal from the lift to the start gate... but the view sure isn't that bad.
The course will have the same start as last year dropping into Sledgehammer.
Rolling into the start, there is a short sprint along the top section.
Last year along the top section, there was a "momentum-killing" S-Turn that will no longer be there. In the photo on the right, the trail on the left will be the new, more straight line, ridding of the sharp turn on the flat.
Cole Horne will no longer have to drag his bars on a flat corner. Ha!
After coming across the top, you will start rolling down into the steep drop in onto the fire road.
Dropping into the fire road. Come practice, there will also be a berm added to the bottom to let riders carry more speed into the fire road.
Yeah... It's really that steep... Watched a guy send it to the bottom by accident last year.
A new feature added to the fire road is a 25 foot double.
However there is still work to be done! The landing is going to be extended towards the take off to provide a little more safety in case you don't have as much speed as you thought.
The corner around the fire road received a little TLC as well.
The course will then take a fairly sharp and steep dive back into the woods. Braking control will be key to even making the corner. I was standing here last year and had a few people who couldn't stop and flew by me.
Then come into a long, off-cambered section heading into the double in the middle. Trust your tires!
Last year there was a natural double in the middle of the course, but you really had to pop off the first roller to clear it.
This year the lip had a little face lift and will be a good 20 foot jump in the middle to mix things up.
After the double, if you can remember last year, you came down into an awkward off-cambered/uphill right hand corner. It really killed your speed and flow, and a lot of riders didn't like that it then sent you uphill.
Well problem solved!
A ton of dirt has been pushed up to level out the corner and rid of the uphill.
Then come into the tightest corner on the track taking a 90+ degree right hander.
Stay high or fall low? A little more off camber will keep you on your toes.
The trail then comes into a split allowing riders to choose two separate lines, high or low. Dave here is taking the high line.
Then come into a quick right hand corner that will set riders up with another split in the trail. The main line after this corner is to go high, but it is a slight uphill to the next corner. If you choose to go low, you'll have a straight shot to the corner, however, the roots and off camber might get you.
Whether you go high or low, the lines meet up in the next corner with a little S-Berm sending you across the ski slope.
You will then enter the woods again which takes you to a big roller. This is the roller last year.
This year, the roller has been beefed up a bit.
But watch the backside... it's taller and steeper then last year.
Last year "The Motorway" was one of the most popular parts of the course, taking riders down the Swain Motocross Track. This is last years entrance to The Motorway coming down the Motocross uphill triple.
This year the entrance to The Motorway has been shifted to the right abut 30 yards. Riders will send this jump into another section of the motocross track to be the new Motorway for 2013.
A nice mellow lip/drop off to send you down The Motorway.
Last year's Motorway shown in the background. This year's Motorway has a slightly steeper grade and is a bit longer... Can you say fast?
Get your tuck on!
The course will come down through those two blue barrels and follow the path shown. This is also where the first annual speed trap is going to be! Cash and prizes will be given away to the fastest riders during Saturday practice as well as race day!
Heading towards the bottom, this year the trail is going to have a more direct approach to the finish line jump. Last year the course came in from the trail on the left and around the corner.
Why a more direct shot? Because the bottom jump measures in at 50 feet... The jump will have a split landing allowing you to send it the whole 50 on the right, and on the left will have a slightly cut back landing.
Shown here is Anthony Stockwell sending the finish line jump last year. Not only is Anthony one of the Swain trail builders, but he's also a local hucker. So keep your eyes on him if you want to see some rowdy finish line hucking this weekend!
Speed and style? Doesn't get much better. Make sure to keep an eye on Junior Expert rider Callum McEwen.
Placing first here at Swain as well as in Cat 2 19-29 overall last season, Ian Lupo sets forth to continue his hunt for another championship in the Cat 1 19-29 Class this weekend.
This was the finish last year. This year, riders will still come down this way, but make one last right hand corner and sprint through the finish. And that's the 2013 GES course at Swain Resort!
The course is still being worked on, and it should be an awesome weekend! Can't wait to see everyone at Swain!!
Video from the 2012 Gravity East Series at Swain Resort!