End of an era for 19 year old downhill event

Changing conditions lead to end of Errington's Hammerfest Downhill, but organizers hope to bring replacement

Scenes like this of a rider blasting down the Hammerfest DH trail are a thing of the past as the long running event is being replaced with an Enduro race.

It’s official.

The long running Hammerfest Downhill “is no longer,” Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club president Kebble Sheaff confirmed this week.

A co-founder of the long-running Hammeferst races, AMBC will now turn its attention to a new event called Enduro Mountain Bike Racing, which will debut the end of May or early June.

One hundred and thirty-four riders turned out for the 19th and final Hammerfest DH, run on June of 2012 (weather was cool the course was in great shape).

But that was then and this is now.

The sport of downhill is changing said Sheaff, and with new B.C. cycling legislation requiring all downhillers to be buckled up when being transported up to the start of all races, along with the deteriorating roads leading up to the Hammerfest DH course, “we just decided it was time.”

And while local riders will no doubt still take to the course on occasion, the decision to cancel the Hammerfest DH, a part of the local bike culture since 1995 was a natural progression in a sport that’s evolving said Sheaff.

“It really is, and this new event (the Enduro) we’re putting on is a lot easier event to run.”

“Mountain biking has grown a huge amount, but actual racing, just less and less people are doing it,” he said.

In Enduro racing riders are timed only on the downhill sections of a course and not on the uphill sections.

“We’re still working on the course but we’re hoping to have two or three timed descents,” said Sheaff, adding “the whole race might take an hour and half to ride the course, but again, the riders are only timed on the downhill portions.”

Enduro racing is huge in Europe and growing by leaps and bounds in the US “and everywhere. It’s got so big they’ve started a World Cup for it,” said Sheaff, adding “for us it makes more sense because that’s the kind of trails we have. The Hammerfest trails are well suited to enduro racing,” he said, explaining that while full suspension mountain bikes are the required ride, “you don’t need a $5,000 downhill bike to make it happen.”

Stay tuned.

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