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Sir Sam's in Haliburton Ontario was the host for the Tuf Rack O-Cup DH#2 - photos and race report.

A World Cup level track was prepared for racers to challenge themselves on for round two of the Tuf Rack Ontario Cup Downhill series which took place at Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike in beautiful Haliburton, Ontario. Summer may not “officially” be here yet but it certainly felt like it under the blazing 30° sun. Blue skies and deer flies set the stage for what may go down at the most epic race ever held in Ontario.

The course at Sir Sam’s continues the theme of top level, high quality courses being built by Tuf Rack and their master trail builder, Shane Joachim. The course was feature-rich with built-up berms that linked the trail together seamlessly. There were no weak spots on this track. Out of the gate and through the tape, riders needed to be on their game if they wanted to prevail here. Only Senior Elite race winner, Rob Fraser (Lapierre/POC), was able to crack the sub one minute barrier. Even despite a wrist injury sustained earlier in the day, Fraser was able to lay down a record time of 59.35.

Rob Fraser (Lapierre/POC) shredding the loam at Sir Sam’s

"Had yet another great weekend at the second round of the O-Cup series presented by Tuf Rack. The crew delivered another rad track that was challenging and fun! My Lapierre dh team was working on point, with the suspension keeping me stuck to the ground thanks to S4 suspension tuning. The O-Cup series has stepped it up this year offering great courses to train and develop riders for future races."

Tom Kakamousias (Silent Norco Racing) rode strong all weekend and had the ride of his life with an impressive third place finish behind Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Procycle rider Matt Nielsen. Nielsen was one of the only Senior Elite riders to take the far outside line in the rock garden. That line set riders up well for the next section but did it cost Matt the win? Sidney Slotegraaf (Lapierre POC / Tuf Rack Racing) laid it over in an unexpected spot on the course killing any hope of making it onto the podium. Sid is an amazing rider who seemed to have the track dialed and while it’s part of racing, it was a shame to see him go down.

Jenn LeBlanc (Team BTG – Barrie Cycling Club) took top honors in the All Female category with a time of 1:15.38. Tifenn Vialatte (Impala Bicycles) has been very consistent and rode to a second place finish one second behind LeBlanc. Kamikaze Spider Rider, Jennifer Valentine rounded off the women’s podium in third place. Catherine Harnden (Kamikaze Spider Riders) had a nasty crash during practice and was not able to race.

Jenn LeBlanc (Team BTG – Barrie Cycling Club) on hew way to winning the All Female race at Sir Sam’s

Mike Reid won the fiercely competitive Senior Sport (19-29) class with a narrow 0.700 margin over Eastside Cycle’s Nick Outram. Adam Robins (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) continues to dominate the Minime category, posting a time that would have placed him second in the Cadet category and fifth in Senior Sport (19-29). Jonathan Palframan (Impala Bicycles) won the Masters (30-39) race adding to what is already an epic battle. Rob Carmichael (Silent Norco Racing) edged out Mack Thomson by 0.281 for the top spot on the box at Senior Expert (19-29) Both race winner Greg Karges (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) and second place finisher John Danyluk (Tuf Rack Racing) learned and excelled on the track quickly despite having missed Saturday’s practice. Their teammates brought them up to speed within a few runs, leading the way down the track to show them the laser lines. Even after a very laborious and exhausting few weeks building the track, Shane Joachim (Silent Norco Racing) rounded of the podium in third.

The tracks in Ontario are incredibly short but racers have learned to appreciate this as part of the challenge. To win a race here, one must be focused, make no mistakes and carry speed through every section – dab and you’re done. The honing of these skills combined with the new level of tracks being built here are what will ensure future champions are developed in the province.

Big thanks to Tuf Rack, Shane and the fine folks at Sir Sam’s for the great weekend of racing. Thanks also to Cous, Al and Swatty for helping everything run smoothly. Also like to say thanks to the marshals who are doing an amazing job keeping the flow on the course and most importantly, everyone safe. Here are a few shots from the great weekend of racing at Sir Sam’s.

Riders meeting at Sir Sam’s

Colin MacIntosh (Eastside Cycle Racing) – eyes on the prize.

Sidney Slotegraaf (Lapierre POC / Tuf Rack Racing) scrubbing the hip and setting her down before the big flat turn

Never lacking style, Rob Carmichael (Silent Norco Racing), over the long table.

Tom Kakamousias (Silent Norco Racing) on his way to a third place finish in Senior Elite Men

All aboard the Eastside train for a scenic look at Eagle lake

Chris Siren (Tuf Rack Racing) ripping through the steep loamy section. One of the favourite among racers.

Oskar Andersen (Cycle Solutions) during a little after practice session

Catherine Harnden (Kamikaze Spider Riders) moments before impact. We’re all very happy that she’s ok, and wish her a speedy recovery.

Rob Carmichael (Silent Norco Racing) making quick work of the rock garden on his way to a first place finish in Senior Expert (19-29)

Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Procycle rider Matt Nielsen - ’round the outside.

Senior Elite (19+)

1 Rob Fraser (Lapierre POC) 59.354
2 Matthew Nielsen (Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Procycle) 1:00.802
3 Tom Kakamousias (Silent Norco Racing) 1:01.284

All Female

1 Jenn LeBlanc (Team BTG : Barrie Cycling Club) 1:15.382
2 Tifenn Vialatte (Impala Bicycles) 1:16.671
3 Jennifer Valentine (Kamikaze Spider Riders) 1:18.646

Complete results can be found here:

Words and Photos courtesy of Marc Landry

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