July 26, 2016 (Sun Peaks, BC) – One week after the Canadian MTB XCO Championships, it was the turn of the gravity athletes, at the 2016 Canadian MTB DH Championships, held at Sun Peaks, BC.
Over 230 riders competed at the Championships across multiple age categories, with the Elite titles going to Miranda Miller of Squamish, BC, for the women, and Kirk McDowall (Dunbar Cycles) of Anmore, BC, for the men.
After qualifying in fourth place, Miller stepped it up for the final, finishing with a time of five minutes and 44.72 seconds to successfully defend the Elite Women’s title. Georgia Astle of Whistler, BC, who set the fastest time of the weekend in qualifying, had to settle for silver, 3.17 seconds behind Miller. Claire Buchar of Whistler, BC, was third, a further 0.06 seconds back. In the Junior women’s category, Stephanie Denroche (C4 Rider Training Inc.) of Whistler, BC, was the top rider.
“The track was pretty good and long, which I like,” said Miller. “It was getting pretty blown out towards the end of the weekend, so I took it a little more cautiously. A massive thank you to the organizers, the new track was pretty sick!”
In the Elite men, Kirk McDowall was clearly the fastest, setting the only sub-5 minute time in qualifying. In the National Championship final, his winning margin was less then half a second over Mark Wallace (Devinci Global Racing), with McDowall recording four minutes and 55.03 seconds, and Wallace only 0.59 seconds back. Max Scharf (Skookum Cycle and Ski Ltd) of Salmon Arm, BC, took the bronze medal, over eight seconds behind McDowall. In the Junior men’s competition, World Cup leader Finnely Iles (Specialized Gravity p/b SRAM) was head and shoulders above the competition, with a time that would have put him third among the Elite men.
“I was saying that it was probably the hardest run I’ve ever done,” commented McDowell. “It started off pretty wild, but I knew that I had to dial it back and settle down for the bottom section. I’m hoping this opens up the option for me to go to Worlds. I’m really stoked about the new track, it’s pretty awesome.”
Event organizer Henry Pejril said: “We are proud to have been able to host the Canadian Downhill National Championships for a three-year sanction. We can’t thank the resort corporation enough for building a completely new downhill course specifically for this final event. Trail boss James Jeffries and his crew created a technical course designed to challenge riders’ skills. We are thrilled to be back to the technical 5+ minute course Sun Peaks has been famous for. The event went smoothly and on time, working with mountain staff was fantastic, the weather cooperated, no major injuries and by all accounts the riders really enjoyed the course and venue. What a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary of organizing races at Sun Peaks!”