Cloudy skies and strong winds greeted riders as they arrived at the Goatfarm Mountain Bike Park for Saturday practice of the WA Downhill State Championships. For the final race of the season, PDMBC created a fun and flowy, but physically demanding, course that linked together several existing tracks on the hill. Alternating between sculpted berms, big jumps, fast flat pedal sections, and even a section of the 4X track, the course utilised much of what the relatively small hill has to offer, albeit lacking in any really steep and technical sections. Saturday practice was a challenge to the riders, with the soft but slippery dirt riding slowly after the rain, working together with strong winds to make clearing the jumps difficult. A couple of riders tried switching between their downhill rigs and shorter travel AM bikes, in an attempt to carry more speed on the jumps and flat pedally sections.
Sunday, race day. The weather took a turn for the good and the wind died down. The track had bedded in and was running much faster than before; everyone was enjoying the jumps and throwing whips for the crowd. There was a good turnout of 110 riders on the hill, and combined with the joint XC state championships, made for a large crowd gathering at the last few jumps. State champs is always an event to see both new and old faces, including Ben Bell, the defending state champion making his only race appearance this year.
The race runs were delayed by several bad crashes, leaving many riders stranded at the top of the hill with an agonisingly long wait. The jumps on track sent three riders to hospital over the course of the weekend, including both a spinal injury and a neck/shoulder injury during race runs. Luckily everybody is on the way to getting better now, healing vibes to all those injured!
In the Veterans category, Daniel Sprague took the win from Paul DeKlerk and Ricky Wollington, with a time that would have put him 5th in Elite. Jackson Davis was looking fast all weekend, hitting lines that many riders would deem difficult if not impossible. First place for the young Mexican, with a close second from Mitch Monotti coming in two seconds behind. Holly Baarspul took the womensí title with a convincing 13 second margin. The elite mens category was a close battle, but Luke Ball showed his dominance that weíve seen all season, taking the win by two seconds. Jacob Parker returned to racing with new determination and drive, coming in second place with Mitch Bryant in third. Ben Bell and Carl Pickersgill rounded out the podium in 4th and 5th respectively. Less than .02 seconds separated second and fourth place.
A special mention goes to Jordan Prochyra who’s been looking increasingly fast all season. A crash in his race run meant that his state championship dreams were gone, but a clean ride in his Top 20 run gave him a time that would have put him 2nd overall. Deon Baker was also looking fast on his trail bike in practice, but burped a tyre in his race run.
Thanks to Peel Districts Mountain Bike Club for organising all the races and build days this season. The event wouldn’t have happened without our sponsors either, with a big thankyou to the main sponsor Armadale Cycles Specialized as well as Carine Cycles, FJC Clothing, EMR, and Slickoleum and cSixx through Pushie Enterprises.
See you all next year!
Words & Photos : Sean Lee