It was a weekend filled with thrills and some spills on Mount Washington, as the venue once again hosted the Bearclaw Invitational.
This marked the first year that the Bearclaw was added as a Diamond Event as part of the Red Bull Freestyle Mountain Biking World Tour. This meant that, unlike previous years, they not only had top level competition from all corners of the globe, but there were FMB tour points on the line for the third of five events on the schedule.
Current points leader Anthony Messere, from Quebec, was in the field and coming off a third place finish from the Red Bull Joyride event in Whistler the week before. Also in the field was the first place finisher at that event, Brandon Semenuk, from Vancouver. There were a slew of the top freestyle mountain bikers from around the world and of course, the man whose name bears the event, Darren Berrecloth.
“Bearclaw,” as he’s known, was back for his second event in a row after breaking his toe training earlier this year. Also coming off a back surgery, Bearclaw was excited to be back on Mount Washington to put on a hometown show.
“Yeah, it’s good to get back on the bike and be involved,” he said. “Of course, making sure the course is in good shape was the main concern and it’s been real good, so I can’t complain. Just need to work on nailing some tricks now.”
Bearclaw did exactly that, nailing down his first run of two on Saturday during the finals. His second run didn’t quite pan out the way he hoped, as he wasn’t able to stick his first trick at the top of the course, ending his second run in a disappointing way.
Semenuk, fresh off a win in Whistler the weekend before, was looking to defend his crown at the Bearclaw Invitational. He hadn’t lost in the last three years he’s been here and was putting the pressure on to repeat.
The battle for points certainly made it all the more interesting, as both Semenuk and Brett Rheeder went head to head, looking to gain ground on current FMB tour leader Messere. Both Semenuk and Rheeder came down to their final runs, with Semenuk getting the last kick at the can and trailing by a short margin. It was a clean run for both but Rheeder wound up squeaking out the win, putting an end to Semenuk’s three year reign. France’s Yannick Granieri rounded out the top three.
“I was just impressed that we both made our runs at the end of it,” runner up Semenuk said. “This is a rad course and an awesome event, lots of fun for sure.”
The next stop in the tour takes the crew to Nuremberg, Germany, for the Red Bull District Ride.