U.S. National Downhill Racing is Back 6

The Pro GRT at Windrock sets the bar.

Acold start to Saturday at the Windrock Pro GRT meant the pits were in slow motion, as riders milled about the rural venue trying to stay warm and get pumped to ride. The gray sky loomed overhead, but all we felt were the flurries of snow before practice began.

-Story, interviews and photos by Zach Faulkner

Pro Men

1st - Greg Williamson

Audio - Greg Williamson

2nd - Neko Mulally.

3rd - Isak Leivsson.

4th - Shane Leslie.

5th - Bruce Klein

Audio - Neko Mulally

The track dried up from rains earlier in the week, but it was getting abused and rough meaning riding was no easier than Friday's greasy conditions. Being the weekend, Windrock was abuzz with every sort of motorized vehicle heading out to explore the 400+ miles of off-road trails that the 72,000-acre public park has squirreled away. As two strokes turned over and rock crawlers lumbered up the access road, downhill mountain bike racers were layering up and getting motivated to ride.

Walker Shaw
Henry Fitzgerald
Luca Cometti
Anthony Bielefeld

Audio - Quinton Spaulding of KHS Factory Racing

Audio - C.E. Gerrity, Security

The mix of fuel injection and pedal power was a unique juxtaposition, with each side of the line gawking at the other. The motor folk thought the cyclists were nuts for riding bikes over rocks and big jumps, and the riders thought the fossil-fuel-drinking folk were insane for operating powerful motorized machines with minimal safety gear [read: quad riders with no helmets on...!]. But, it was all amicable and pleasant, and the cohabitation of sport was a reassuring sight to see.

Pro Women

1st - Caroline Washam

Audio - Caroline Washam

2nd - Angelina Polermo

3rd - Vera Leivsdottir

Audio - Angelina Polermo

Race day got underway promptly, and the stayed on schedule start to finish thanks to the hard work of race organizers and volunteers. The riding was furiously paced, and the times were fiercely tight. The spectating turnout was better than expected, but the rider turnout was fantastic. Deep fields across Elite Women, Men, and Juniors were impressive and bodes well for the season ahead.

Junior Men (Cat 1 15-18)

1st - Nik Nestoroff

Audio - Nik Nestoroff (the kids are alright!)

2nd - Steve Walton

3rd - Nathan St. Clair

4th - Trevor Boldi

5th - David Kahn

Audio - Steve Walton

If you hold the race, they will come. Escaping the cold and freezing temps of Bromont, Canada, Jonathon Lefrancois shook off the snowflakes and blasted into 11th in Elites.

Audio - Jonathon Lefrancois

He can normally be found in the mountains of Colorado and desert dunes sending enormous natural gaps on a moto. But this weekend Austin Hacket-Klaube was here shredding hard and sent it into 16th in the Pro class.

Audio - Austen Hacket-Klaube

Logan Mulally

Audio - Logan Mulally

Burke from I9 was on hand to even up a bet Neko and he had about who could eat the most tacos. Kidding, this was Men's speed trap winnings. $128 does buy a lot of Tacoed Wheel tacos though.

Audio - Burke Sanders from I9

It's all well and good when you're racing with your buds! Greg and Neko pushed each other hard this weekend, and it was a real spectacle on track because of it. Great to see these two guys raising the bar of competition out here both on and off the track.

Neko Mulally (local World Cup racer and manager of the Windrock Bike Park) and his crew of family and friends produced a stellar event, one which has been heralded as the new benchmark for American racing, and what it means to produce a quality event. In just two weekends in the South East, American DH racing has been reinvigorated and re-inspired. 2017 is looking rad!

MTB Mania Goods (DANG TOMMY ZULA!!!)

Audio - Trill Will raps the Junior Top 5

Pro Men's Results

  1. Greg Williamson, Cube Global Squad, 2:44.242
  2. Neko Mulally, YT Mob, 2:47.692
  3. Isak Leivsson, Canfield / DVO, 2:52.270
  4. Shane Leslie, Defiant Racing, 2:52.753
  5. Bruce Klein, KHS Factory Racing, 2:53.064

Pro Women's Results

  1. Caroline Washam, Liv / Spoked, 3:41.156
  2. Angelina Polermo, Marian University, 3:44.125
  3. Vera Leivsdottir, Bergen MTB Klubb, 3:50.930
  4. Frida Ronning, Canfield, 4:03.839
  5. Rae Gandolf, Kona / Bike Fettish / Onza / HT, 4:04.846

Jr. Men's Results

  1. Nik Nestoroff, Intense Factory Racing, 2:55.266
  2. Steve Walton, Commencal, 3:02.852
  3. Nathan St. Clair, Kona / FOX / Shimano, 3:06.111
  4. Trevor Boldi, YT / Sensus TLD, 3:08.063
  5. David Kahn, IJ Racing, Intense Cycles, 3:08.711

50 Action Photos from Race Day at Windrock

View full results

WINNER'S CIRCLE - The Race Winners and Their Bikes

Vital would like to thank Zach Faulkner for his incredible work on the ground, in the pits and up late at night. Thanks for showing us that #USDH is back! -gordo


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