Monster Energy riders took the top two spots at this weekend in the Crankworx Dual Slalom event in Innsbruck, Austria. Monster Army’s Matthew Sterling (USA) took his first pro podium spot landing in first place. Unfortunately, Monster Energy’s Mitch Ropelato (USA) crashed in both his heats in the finals, but still managed to take second place.
For the first time Dual Slalom made its debut at Crankworx Innsbruck where racers faced a short and fast course with two 180 berms, a rhythm section, a couple of fast left and rights, and finished with classic flat grass turns.
The dual slalom track in Innsbruck was short and sweet, only about 18 seconds long with one jump and a few back-to-back S berms. Racing was fast and furious with riders blasting through corners faster than they were able to process what was happening in the next lane. As soon as they made it past the last set of berms, it was head to head in a good old-fashioned flat, grassy gate bashing session. With the ground hard and dry, it was surprisingly slippery and more than one big name was taken out on the dry grass, including Ropelato.
Sterling raced smart all day, pushing where he could and not making any mistakes despite his young age and lack of slalom experience.
“I wanted to race pro just to push myself and get better, in preparation for my future when I’m a bit older!” said Sterling. “Gaining experience in this discipline is very key as it’s not only physically demanding, but also a huge mental game. Having a BMX background helps a lot with gates and mentality, but I never thought I had what it took to win in the pro class. My afternoon of racing was awesome! All I can say is that I’m happy with the effort and the result!”
The last round of the Crankworx Slalom World Tour will take place in mid August with the final stop in Whistler, Canada.