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Whistler juniors tackle the Bear

Local cross-country and downhill riders on B.C. Cup podiums

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The B.C. Cup mountain bike series continued last weekend with cross-country and downhill races at Bear Mountain in Mission.

Local riders did well, as always, and in one Under 15 rider’s case a rider did well in both events.

Whistler’s Under 15 riders were particularly strong, sweeping the downhill podium and finishing first and second in cross country.

The cross-country race took place on Saturday on a long and dusty course. No Whistler men raced in the Elite category, but Squamish rider Meghan Kindree won the women’s race by almost a minute.

From Whistler, Trevor Hopkins finished fifth in the Master 30 to 39 race, just over a minute back of third place.

Rob McSkimming also just missed the podium in the Men’s 40-Plus Expert group, finishing fourth and just 1:25 out of third place.

Ged Hague was third in the Master 40-Plus Sport group.

Michael Jones, usually a downhill racer, also placed third in the Senior Expert Men.

In the Under 15 race, two Whistler riders challenged for the top spot. Tyler Allison took the win over Brandon Semenuk by just 41 seconds.

Semenuk didn’t compete in the downhill race the next day with Allison, but showed his skills as a freerider in the previous Panorama B.C. Cup with a win in the four-cross.

In the Under 17 Sport Men’s race, Philip Cairns of Team Squamish took the win, while teammate Chris Bandy took third. Gordon Booth, also of Squamish, was sixth.

In the downhill race on Sunday Whistler’s Tyler Morland, the current national champion, finished second overall and 3.25 seconds back of Vancouver rider Andrew Mitchell, who only moved up from the Junior Expert category this season. Adam Billinghurst, who finished top-10 in the nationals, was fourth at Bear Mountain, missing his podium spot by less than 1.5 seconds.

Jeff Beatty was the third Whistler rider in the top-five, less than a second back of Billinghurst.

Beatty won the previous B.C. Cup race in Panorama, while Billinghurst was sixth in that race.

The top-10 also included Michael Jones in seventh and Chris Dewer in 10 th . Other local riders in the hunt include Chad Onyschuck in 16 th and J.J. Desormeaux in 37 th .

In the elite women’s race, Whistler’s Danika Schroeter took the win by a huge gap of 26.5 seconds. Jenelle Cassidy of Vancouver Island was second, while Whistler’s Brook Baker edged out Seana Wright for the bronze medal.

In the Under 15 Men’s race, Whistler’s Alex Prochazka destroyed the field to take the win in 4:08:54 – 21.93 seconds faster than his closest competitor, Under 15 cross-country winner Tyler Allison. Prochazka’s time would have put him fourth in the Junior Expert Men’s and in the top half of the men’s pro-elite field.

Meanwhile, Allison has a chance to win the overall B.C. cross country title, and to rank in the top-three in the downhill. At Panorama, Allison managed a silver in the cross-country and a fourth place finish in the downhill at Panorama.

Ryan Sullivan, who lives in Whistler for the summer months, made it an all-Whistler podium sweep at Bear Mountain with his third place run. Colin Westeinde’s fifth place finish gave Whistler four out of the top five spots.

Stacey Kohut won the downhill chair event, edging out Johnny Therien by almost 50 seconds.

The Apex Real Mountain Challenge events on July 23-24 were cancelled, which leaves two B.C. Cup events on the calendar – Sun Peaks on Aug. 13-14 and Mt. Washington on Aug. 27-28.

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