Covered in fresh, loamy dirt, the track bedded in over the week and reminded most riders of a slightly less steep version of the legendary Val Di Sole, Italy World Cup track. With a three for three track records so far on downhill tracks, riders are looking forward to racing the penultimate round in Whistler, Canada in August.
Joining Hart on podiums this week at Crankworx was Monster Energy teammate Mitch Ropelato (USA) taking second at the Pumptrack challenge on Friday evening. In what was some of the tightest pump track racing in recent memory, the young American battled his way to the final heat wearing lederhosen and a borrowed helmet after having hit his head hard enough the week before to decommission his own.
“I struggled for the first few runs and picked up the slack to get through the corners and straights pretty good,” said Ropelato. "There’s a lot of people behind me, and I wish I could take the credit, but I have a lot of people who support me out here and I have to thank them all. They know who they are, thanks everyone!”
Monster Energy athlete, Sam Reynolds (GBR) also took home third place after a long podium drought in the Dual Speed and Style contest. This event stacks racers against freestyle riders as a combination of both race speed and tricks, which are required to take home the win. With two judged trick jumps on track, each is worth a potential total of 5% of the fastest qualifying time, making a pure race run a losing bet. As a former Slopestyle rider, Reynolds came in with a distinct advantage this week.
“A little bit of a comeback after a few years off of the speed and style I thought I’d come out and give it a try so why not! Just doing it for, "The Fest boys”, proving that we’re “real” athletes,” said Reynolds. "I kept it pretty simple in my last run to be honest, a 360 one foot X and a flip no hand. Not the best tricks, but I was keeping it clean and going for some speed. It paid off.”
After a sweep of the two European Crankworx Downhill events, Monster Energy downhill racers will ride the momentum into the next stop of the World Cup in La Massana, Andorra next weekend.