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Locals rule CrankWorx

Baker, Whiteman, Buchar, Gracia and Morland among top riders; 17-year-old BMX star takes slopestyle



When the dust finally settled on Sunday afternoon after four days of mountain bike events, Whistler riders found themselves on top of almost every competition, using home-field advantage to hold off some of the best riders from B.C., Canada and the rest of the world.

The main events were the Air Downhill on Thursday, the Nissan Biker-X on Friday, the Garbanzo Downhill on Saturday, the Siemens Mobile Slopestyle on Saturday Night and the first B.C. Downhill Championships on Sunday.

More than $30,000 in cash and prizes went up for grabs, and with the exception of the invitation-only slopestyle, the events were open to all comers with pro and amateur categories.

Air Downhill

The third annual Air Downhill took place on Whistler’s famous A-Line run, a 3.8 km trail with more than 60 jumps, berms and obstacles from top to bottom. While most people who ride the park are familiar with the trail, racing it is a different proposition.

"It’s a totally different style of riding," said Whistler’s Brook Baker, who finished second overall behind local rider Claire Whiteman. Whiteman finished in four minutes, 49.48 seconds and Baker in 4:53.31.

"I know the run really well, but racing it is a lot different than riding it," added Baker. "You’re not jumping hard on all of the tables and trying to get huge air, you’re trying to keep your wheels down and moving as fast as you can. The corners and the jumps come up a lot faster, so you have to think a couple of moves ahead and know your line pretty well," said Baker, who is in her first year with the Norco pro team.

Claire Buchar, another Whistler rider, finished the race in third with a time of 4:53.65, earning her first of three podiums on the weekend.

In the men’s pro competition Nathan Rennie of Australia posted the fastest time of the day out of 35 starters, crossing the finish line in 4:15.40.

In the process he edged out French rider Cedric Gracia, a part-time Whistler resident and one of the most dominant downhill and biker cross riders in the world.

Third place went to another Australian, Jared Rando in 4:18.99.

Whistler’s Adam Cook, riding with a broken wrist, was the closest local to the podium with his time of 4:21.03. In the process he edged out California’s Eric Carter, one of the top biker cross competitors in the world, and Whistler rider Tyler Morland, who would go on to finish second in the Garbanzo Downhill and first in the B.C. Downhill Championships over the course of the weekend.