“One hundred and forty riders, one former World Cup pro, two broken hands and one spine board removal.”
The 18th annual Hammerfest Downhill mountain bike race is in the books, and this year’s installment certainly lived up to the tradition that is the Hammer, as riders blasted down the big hill in deep Errington in search of that perfect line.
“I think it was an awesome event. Ignore the casualties — that’s part of downhill racing,” said Hammerfest co-founder Kebble Sheaff. “You just know someone’s going to break a bone or something. I mean Hammerfest is actually pretty tame, but you’re pushing as hard as you can and your bound to make a mistake.”
The course was shut down for an hour while an injured rider, from Victoria, was taken off the hill.
“Totally fine. He got X-rays and released that night.”
The fastest rider on the day was Jeff Beeston, 33, from Courtenay.
The first local in was Errington’s Liam Churchill, 28, for 10th overall in the field of 50 Expert Men. The fastest female was Emily Thy at 3:31.
Fifteen year old Takoda Crawford from Coombs was the top local rider in the Intermediate class. Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club’s Tyler Loewen finished the race with a broken hand “and still managed to do a 3:06 for 16th place.”
Quinten Donaldson had the top local time in the Beginner Men, bagging fourth.
Former national team member, Parksville’s ‘Wild’ Bill Mandryk was back for his 17th straight Hammerfest DH.
“He’s raced every single Hammerfest downhill and at 48 years old he was like double the age of most of the riders and he came in 23rd out of 50 in the Expert Men class with a run of 2:56.
AMBC’s Dylan Phye, 17, had a strong run to finish 20th in the Expert Men’s at 2:54
“The big upset of the day little teeny Jacqueline Monet (13) from Parksville who finished first in the Beginner Ladies,” said Kebble, adding, “she just got a bike like a week before — this is her first downhill race ever and she destroyed it. I was shocked. She raced a 29 year old a 39 year old and a 40 year old and when they stood on the podium they were as tall as her.”
The former World Cup rider in the mix was Jeremy Brown who raced DH professionally from ‘92-’97.
The long-running two-race series wraps up on Sunday, May 29 (noon start) with the Cross Country (XC) event. The start and finish are just off Errington Rd. this year — follow the road and watch for signs.
For a full list of race results go to www.arrowsmithmtbclub.com.