The opening event in the Phat Wednesday Downhill Series drew a huge turnout, with 220 riders taking on B-Line and Heart of Darkness on June 13 — a long but intermediate-level course that even the fastest riders took over five-and-a-half minutes to complete.
Usually the races are capped at 200 riders, but by the time registration was complete they had a record turnout for a Phat Wednesday.
The Male Open category was huge with 122 riders in the field. Chris Kovarik, a World Cup-calibre racer, posted the fastest time in five minutes, 29.9 seconds. Adam Billinghurst was second in 5:31.45 and Nick Geddes — who was sidelined for almost a year battling leukemia — was a solid third in 5:37.09. Rounding out the top 10 were Ian Morrison, Tyler Morland, Trev Burke, Andi Tillmann, David Thibaud, Cameron Allconby and Peter Mathews.
The Female Open race went to Claire Buchar in 5:58.8, followed by Sarah Leishman in 5:59.6 and Maria Darquier in 6:10.37. In the top 10 were Casey Brown, Simmone Lyons, Jamie Hill, Erica Lawson, Pat Moreno, Katrina Strand and Lisa Shillolo.
It should be noted that all three of the top men and women did the race completely chainless, as part of a race-within-the-race where all the participants chipped in an extra $5 with the top male and female winning the pot.
In that sense it was a big money day for the Kovarik-Buchar family, with each racer also claiming the top cash prize purse from the $2 entry fees collected at the start of the race.
In the Master Male category, the fastest rider was Matthieu Hebert in 5:39.6, followed by Robin Potvin in 5:41.3 and Todd Hellinga in 5:46.7. Rounding out the top 10 were Andrew Gunn, Steve Storey, Ryan Newton, Omar Abdel-Al, Alan Golds, Adan Dagg and Don Wrapson.
The top junior was Zander Geddes in 5:41.1, followed by Adison MacDonald in 5:47.5 and Brad Jansen in 5:49. In the top 10 were Jack iles, Bracken Camilleri, Max Buchan, Tyler Tourond, Alex Auger, Carter Faulkner and Finn Iles.
The only junior female in the race was Ava Buchan in 6:38.7.
After the race, sponsors handed out hundreds of dollars in draw prizes. Karine Duguay won the Sram drive train, Kristoph Loverix won the Dakine jacket, Agnes Rogoz won the Truvativ cranks, Shawn Gibbons won the Maxxis tires, Braden Metza won the Kali Helmet and Tyler Tourond won the Rock Shox fork.
The second Phat Wednesday of the season was on June 20. Future races are on June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18, August 1 and August 29.
To take part you must be a member of WORCA and have a valid pass to ride the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The entry fee is $2, with all of the money going towards the top riders in each category. Registration starts at 5 p.m. at hut at the bottom of the GLC stairs, with the racing getting underway at 6 p.m.