Only a handful of pro athletes can be said to own an event as thoroughly as California's Brian Lopes owns the Crankworx Air Downhill. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Lopes won his fifth Air DH in a row, ripping down A-Line in four minutes 15.69 seconds. And with 48 jumps and drops on the course he probably spent almost about a minute of that time in the air.
"I knew I had to get on the pedals today," said Lopes. "It was super rough in the middle but I knew I had to put together a good run."
Samuel Blenkinsop of New Zealand was second in pro men by just under half a second; the only rider to challenge Lopes. Gee Atherton of Great Britain was third, well over two seconds off Lopes's time.
The top Canadian was the North Shore's Thomas Vanderham, in 20 th place, 10.44 seconds back of Lopes. Adam Billinghurst was the top Whistler rider, in 23 rd place.
Anne Caroline Chausson of France took the women's Air Downhill with a time of 4:38.21, just over two seconds faster than Emmeline Ragot, another French rider. Rachel Atherton of the U.K. was third.
Claire Buchar was the top Canadian and Whistler rider, in sixth place overall, less than six seconds back of Chausson and less than three seconds off the podium. According to Buchar's blog, canadiandhgirls.wordpress.com, home field wasn't much of an advantage given the fact that she has been on the road for about seven months.
"The goal is to stay low on the jumps, stay off the brakes in the berms and sprint your butt off," wrote Buchar. "You do end up overshooting a lot of the jumps and landing flat, hence the reason I had to take pain killers to fall asleep. A very sore neck."
Sixth was better than Buchar expected, riding against all of the top-ranked female DH racers in the world. The North Shore's Micayla Gatto was seventh and Whistler's Sarah Leishman eighth.
Locals fared better in the age categories. Whistler's Alexander Geddes was third in Boys 13 to 15, less than two seconds back of the podium. Also in the top 10 were Jackson Lee, fifth, and Jack Iles, sixth.
Tyler Allison was the top local rider in Boys 16 to 18, finishing in fifth place, with just 1.15 seconds separating first from fifth in the overall standings. Pemberton's Jesse Ballhausen was eighth out of 87 starters.
American rider Cierra Smith won the Junior Women 13 to 18 race in 5:08.80, followed by Canadians Kyana Livingstone in 5:14.76 and Kelsey Begg in 5:40.43.
Nick Quinn won the Master Men 30-plus race in 4:30.06, followed by Mathieu Hebert in 4:31.77 and Andrew Gunn in 4:34.51.
In Senior Men 19 to 29 the winner was Robin Potvin in 4:30.16, followed by Spencer Seffzig in 4:34.14 and Maio Jeremias just one one-hundredth of a second slower.
Trish Bromley won Senior Women 19 and Over in 5:07.73, followed by Carrie Mclachlan in 5:11.20 and Yvonne Birker in 5:12.04.
Stacey Kohut once again won the four wheel category, besting Todd Fabian on the course. Kohut's time was an impressive 5:52.14, with no pedals to speed up his descent.
Turnout was huge with a sold out field of close to 400 riders at the start line.