The Seven Summits Gravity Racing Team (SSGR) launched their 2017 downhill mountain biking season on the weekend with a great start at Hub-a-Palooza and the Double Down Hoe Down in Spokane.
SSGR coach Ryan Kuhn travelled to Spokane with six SSGR racers for two-days of competition on Saturday and Sunday at the Beacon Hill track that included downhill and enduro events.
“The members of the team that went to Spokane this past weekend had outstanding results,” said SSGR supporter Shane Bjarnason. “Everyone was on the podium.”
The local riders raced in two downhills, with close to 200 racers competing on Saturday and almost 120 competitors on Sunday’s more demanding downhill course.
“The Saturday course was a little less intense than the Sunday course which included large steep rock gardens,” said Bjarnason. “The more technical, steep course on Sunday definitely favoured the team.”
In Sports Boys 12-14 Downhill, Bodi Kuhn captured second in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races, while Kian Merringer raced to fourth place on Saturday and third on Sunday.
Samara Kuhn topped the podium in Beginner Girls 12-14 on Saturday, and finished up in second-place Sunday.
Gavin Patterson in 15-18 Sports Men raced to a second-place finish on Saturday just over a second behind winner Jack Frischkorn of Sammamish. Fortunately, Patterson walked away from a spectacular crash on the last rock bluffs in Sunday’s downhill race.
Logan Merringer took fourth place in the Sport 15-18 Saturday, but bounced back for a first-place finish on Sunday, and right behind the Rossland rider was Fruitvale’s J.T. Bjarnason who raced to fifth on Saturday and second on Sunday.
Not to be outdone, coach Kuhn finished fourth in the Expert Men downhill, 40-49, on Saturday and took top spot on Sunday.
SSGR is intended for athlete’s ages 10 to 18 who want to compete on the Downhill BC Cup and BC Enduro race series in 2017. The team was created to provide local mountain bikers first class coaching, training and support through the DH and Enduro race series.
The program’s Race Team is intended for more experienced riders ages 13-18, and rides two days per week from April until July. Once per week the team meets under head coach Kuhn and assistant coach Natasha Lockey for expert instruction on how to ride and race fast and safely. Riders learn on-the-bike skills, but also race preparation, the mental aspects of racing and other important factors such as nutrition.
The Hub-a-Palooza race is a warm up for the BC Cup Downhill Series, which includes seven races this year, starting with Whistler on June 24-25, Sun Peaks in Kamloops July 9, the Canadian DH championship in Panorama July 16, the Western Open at Kicking Horse July 23, Silver Star Aug. 5, Big White Sept. 3, and Mount Washington Sept. 17.
For more info go to kootenaymountainbiking.com.