Whistler riders were once again a big factor in B.C. Cup downhill mountain bike racing action this past weekend, securing a number of top finishes in the combined Canada Cup event held Saturday and Sunday (July 28 and 29) at Panorama.
Jack Iles led the string of strong performances, as he captured the U17 expert men’s race by finishing nearly eight seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.
“I felt really good, I pretty much nailed the whole course,” said Iles, who earned his third B.C. Cup victory of the season in four starts. “I think it was a pretty good course for me. There were some rooty sections, some loose, rocky sections and I usually do pretty well on that type of course.”
The win was somewhat of a bounce-back performance for Iles, who struggled to seventh place in the B.C. Cup at Silver Star the week prior and wasn’t even the top local in the race, as Whistler’s Adison MacDonald was third in the July 22 race.
Iles will be looking to roll the momentum of Sunday’s win into this weekend’s Western Open in Golden, another B.C. Cup event.
“I’m going to try and be a little more aggressive, get some good lines, hold them all and run a smooth course,” said Iles.
Younger brother Finn Iles had a great showing of his own in the U15 division, placing second behind Sechelt’s Magnus Manson by less than six seconds. The runner-up finish came despite a wardrobe malfunction at the top of the course.
“It was a really good run except my pants sort of ripped before I came out of the gate, and then off the first jump I almost crashed,” said Finn, adding he had one other minor mistake on course. “Otherwise, my run was probably one of the best I’ve ever had.
“I was pretty stoked about it.”
Racing in the same category, Whistler’s Alex Auger finished in fifth position, though he was expecting a better performance out of himself.
“Not too good,” Auger said of his ride at Panorama. “I had a couple of falls. It was rough.”
Auger will also be in action at the Western Open and he said he’ll be looking for a result similar to the season’s first B.C. Cup, in which he placed fourth.
Both Geddes brothers missed the podium but were able to get into the top five of the junior expert men’s division (17 to 18) at Panorama. Nick Geddes finished fourth and had a two-second edge over younger brother, Zander, who was fifth.
With the race also doubling as a Canada Cup event, the duo’s times were used to calculate their overall standing in the elite men’s class and both finished among the top 10, with Nick finishing sixth and Zander earning ninth position.
In women’s racing, Pemberton’s Jamie Hill finished eight seconds off the pace in the elite women’s division, placing fifth. Whistler’s Kenzie Wade also rode in the senior women’s (19 to 29) category and just missed the podium, finishing fourth.
The Western Open is slated for Sunday (Aug. 5) and will be the last major race before riders turn their attention to events during Kokanee Crankworx in Whistler. The B.C. Cup schedule will then resume on Aug. 26 at Mount Washington, followed by finals at Hemlock in September.