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Gracia, Kinter take Joyride

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Alternating between rain and slightly softer rain all day, there was some concern that the conditions could turn the third annual Joyride Bikercross on Monday night into mud wrestling.

Miraculously, the rain stopped in the first couple of heats, and the perfectly maintained course managed to soak up most of the rain. The traction was probably better for the racers than it was at the end of the last heat wave.

In the men’s Pro race, there wasn’t a dominant rider from the beginning. Making the hole shot to take the lead from the beginning was not a guarantee that you would finish first, either, with a lot of passing taking place through the technical sections and down the final straightaway.

Although he didn’t win every heat, World Cup downhill and four-cross champion Cedric Gracia of France caught fire in the last few rounds to take the title in the closest match of the day.

He started out with the hole shot, but never had more than a bike’s length on the other three bikers in the final heat. He poured it on at the end, and crossed the finish line a fraction of a second faster than his competition.

"It’s just wonderful," said Gracia. "I was out too late in Vancouver last night, and didn’t get to Whistler until noon, and I wasn’t feeling the best. I almost didn’t race today."

Gracia said he had a fun day, and praised the level of riding in Whistler.

"I was in Whistler last year for the first time. All my friends who ski would say you have to come to Whistler and ride the trails here, and now I’ve seen it and it is one of my favourite places. People in Europe are talking about Whistler now, it’s just incredible."

Gracia won $3,500 for the win.

Second place and $1,200 went to Greg Minnaar of Russia, and third place and $600 went to Mike King of the U.S. Scott Beaumont of the U.K. wrapped up the last bracket.

King, the winner of the World Cup Four Cross at Grouse Mountain the day before, said everything was perfect. "This place holds water pretty well so we were pretty fortunate," he said. "It was pretty fast, and just a lot of fun to race."

King also thanked the crowd, estimated at more than 1,000 people, for sticking out the rain and giving their support.

Although a crash out of the first corner in the semi-finals scrambled the results slightly in the women’s race, the top World Cup athletes came through.

In the women’s Pro race, Jill Kinter of the U.S. took the top spot and $700. She was followed by Sabrina Jonnier of France, Tracy Moseley of the U.K., and Tai-Lee Mxlow of Australia, all of whom were in the area for the Grouse Mountain World Cup.

The Whistler riders, Jen Ashton and Claire Buchar had a frustrating time as a result of the crash, but still managed to finish sixth and eighth respectively.

In the amateur men’s race, Brian Gerrard of Washington took the win, followed by Daniel Niezel, AJ Johnson of Washington and Tyler Morland of Whistler. Whistler’s Adam Cook and Grant Laird were fifth and sixth.

In the junior category, Ronny Enns of Delta came out strong in the last heat and never looked back. Justin Terweil of Weffley Creek outfought Cameron McCall of Aptos for second place, and Jamie Biluk rolled in third.

From Whistler, James McSkimming and Daryl Leduke were sixth and ninth respectively.

In the DH chairs category, Stacey Kohut of Whistler was the guy to beat, getting off to a fast start and keeping it.

Results

Pro Men

Cedric Gracia, France

Greg Minnaar, Russia

Mike King, USA

Scott Beaumont UK

Chris Kovarik, Australia

Steve Peat, UK

Bas De Beaver, Netherlands

Pro Women

Jill Kinter, USA

Sabrina Jonnier, France

Tracy Moseley, UK

Tai-Lee Muxlow, Australia

Anneke Beerien, Holland

Jen Ashton, Whistler

Michelle Demeresq, Vancouver

Claire Buchar, Whistler

Non-Pro Men

Brian Gerrard, Washington

Daniel Niezel, Washington

AJ Johnson, Washington

Tyler Morland, Whistler

Adam Cook, Whistler

Grant Laird, Whistler

Aaron Kempf, Squamish

Dustin Kingman, Washington

Junior Men

Ronny Enns, Delta

Justin Terweil, Weffley Creek

Cameron McCall, Aptos

Jamie Biluk, Winnepeg, MAN

Connar Macleod, West Van

James McSkimming, Whistler

Matt Ward, Nanaimo

Daryl Leduke, Whistler

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