(July 29- 31, 2010) Winter Park, Colo- Wind and rain were in the recipe for the Crankworx dual slalom and slopestyle event’s weather this
year. Wednesday brought buckets of rain and dumped it all on the dual slalom and slopestyle courses, making for near impossibly deep mud.
Thursday morning brought promise of blue skies and a dry dual slalom course. Brain Buell with Team Geronimo Banshee Bikes was ready and rearing to defend his title from last year’s win. “The mud made racing a little difficult. I just knew I was going to have to stay focused and ride hard to win,” said Brian Buell.
An unfortunate chain break for Petr Hanak stopped his goals of the top spot in a hurry. Brian Buell battled his way through the ranks, including having to race side by side with fellow teammate and brother Michael Buell. Brian came out in the number two seat as Jason Memmelaar edged him for the top spot. Petr Hanak recovered from the broken chain and brought home the third place with Camilo Sanchez in forth.
This year’s track proved to have an obvious advantage in the red course. However with the racing format gave every racer a run on both the red and blue course to get a combined time. Jill Kintner with Transition Racing proved her gate and corning skills as she moved straight to the top, finishing first ahead of Melissa Buhl and Jackie Harmony respectively.
Austin Chipman of Morrison Colorado has been proving his skills all summer long and raced his way to the number one spot for the Jr Men race.
“I barely got the win, but I got it. During qualifying it was horrible, slippery and muddy. But then the sun came out and dried up the course,” said Chipman. “The racing was really fun, tacky and fast.”
All the weather put a bit of tamper on the slopestyle event as well. Qualifying was pushed back to Friday in hopes that the course would dry and get fast. With all the rain, the straight aways between features were more like sinking mud pits.
During qualifiers the riders were all making sure to lay out clean run to seal a spot in the finals. Ten pre-qualified riders were promised a spot in the finals, and another ten riders would have to earn their way to Saturday’s competition. To everyone’s surprise Brandon Semenuk had a less than typical qualifying day with two big crashes. Thankfully Semenuk was pre-qualified from last year.
This comppetion is a great opportunity for up and coming riders to make a mark. Nick Simcik with Transition Bikes and Shimano components did just that. “I should have just taken a cruiser ride down in my final qualifying run, but I told everyone at the top I was going to do an indian air backflip, so that is what I did.”
Simcik’s run brought him down the course, tricking every feature. No straight airs here. Flying into the final show time jump Simcik followed through with his promises, throwing a very impressive indian air backflip. “I have never thrown that trick with goggles on so I had a hard time finding my pedals on the way around,” said Simcik. “Unfortunately I didn’t land the trick and missed qualifying by one spot. It is upsetting for sure.”
At the end of qualifying day Darren Berrecloth held down the stop spot followed by Mitchell Chubey and Martin Soderstrom. The top ten finishers were given the ok to join the ten pre-qualified riders for Saturday’s finals.
Saturday opened up with a promising day for good weather. The top twenty riders were given two runs to show the world their best riding. Up and coming Banshee Bikes rider, Jack Fogelquist started up his first run tailwhipping the opening drop, but sending it a bit far not making it into the next feature. It quickly became obvious if you were going to be on the podium today, you were needing to start your tricks from the first drop and not finish until the last quarter pipe feature.
The looming dark clouds never produced much weather, but the increase in the winds made for less than desirable riding conditions. As the winds increased the riders and organizers agreed on a one hour hold, allowing everyone to redo their second run.
With every rider having only one run left to show their best, everyone was focused in on their run. The hundreds of cheering fans became a faint echo of noise in the back of their heads. Brandon Semenuk came out with his typical flawless, beautiful riding style proving his position in the finals. The list of tricks stretched longer than the name of features on the course. Semenuk ended his run with a flip whip, earning is position in the top podium and winning the best trick contest as well. $8000 in winnings total, not a bad day in the office.
At the end of the day the top five riders stood as follows; 5th Graham Agassiz, Greg Watts, Martin Soderstrom, Yannick Granary and Brandon Semenuk in first. The weekend brought the best riders in the world to Winter Park Colorado, and left the spectators with stories to share all over the world. This weekends events are a promise in the future of gravity and freeriding all around the globe.
Story and Photos By Devon Balet
For a compelte list of results please visit the Crankworx Colorado website.