One night after falling to Australian Caroline Buchanan in the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge final, losing her grasp on the series title in the process, American Jill Kintner got payback.
Once again matched with Buchanan, Kintner bested the Aussie in the Giant Dual Slalon on Aug. 18, clinching the Queen of Crankworx crown in the process (see page 47).
Kintner said she was ultimately glad to face off with Buchanan again.
"It felt really good. It was a little closer than I would have liked at the end there. Our battles are really strong this year and it's really nice to come out ahead and finish the weekend with the overall title and a couple of wins," she said. "I always thrive on the challenge and I know it's going to be a nice, tight battle and I have to bring my A game. It's nice when you know you've got to give it your best to win. You don't want to cruise and be a runaway (champion)."
Kintner enjoyed this year's more challenging course, especially as it separated the wheat from the chaff as she and Buchanan resumed their collision course.
"It was a little more technical this year, which was nice. It set us a level apart, especially for the women, whether you jump or don't jump," Kintner said. "You don't get it perfect every time, so it's quite tricky.
"I'd like to see them a little longer and with more turns but it was pretty fun."
Buchanan, meanwhile, acknowledged that while Kintner was the favourite in the event, she was glad to keep it close, falling by 0.31 seconds in the two-run final in only her second dual slalom.
"It always comes down to the wire with me and Jill," she said. "It came down to that time differential for the win and she just edged me out. She's definitely got the experience on me in these events.
"I can't really push my limits yet. For me, it was just trying to push my limits and this was my 100 per cent."
Caroline Washam bested Bex Baraona in the small final.
On the men's side, Tomas Slavik took the crown for the second year in a row. After earning silver in the Dual Speed and Style earlier in the week (on the same course), Slavik thrived without any pressure to do tricks and overcame Canadian Bas Van Steenbergen in the final.
"It was a bit more tough this year because the track was more technical, it was more wild, and everyone was pushing so hard," the Czech rider said. "Everybody knew what to expect and we were all going off the limit right from the first round."
While Van Steenbergen provided Slavik a fair fight in the final, he pointed out the semi was tighter as he bested eventual bronze medallist Mitch Ropelato by just 0.1 seconds.
Kelowna's Van Steenbergen, meanwhile, praised Slavik and knew he was in tough going into the final descent.
"Tomas is amazing, he's so fast," he said. "You're just not trying to think about it too much. You're trying to think about your lap more than the race or who you're against. You're just trying to keep calm and run a good race.
"It was pretty tricky to ride and I guess I like that."