The Seven Summits Gravity Racing Team (SSGR) ended its season on a wild and wet ride at the Summer BC Cup Downhill mountain biking championship at the Fernie Alpine Resort on the weekend.
Following sunny and dry training days, torrential rains wrecked havoc on the trail making for a muddy and slick competition on Sunday that saw all SSGR riders experience difficulty.
“The weekend was great,” said Ian Finke SSGR manager. “But crazy weather, we had incredibly dry conditions for training Friday and Saturday and then the skies opened up and the track turned to mud and slippery roots for race day. Very challenging.”
Despite the conditions, Rossland rider Aaron Finke flew down the course to finish second in U-17 Sport Men in a time of 4:14:88 for his best placing of the season. Noah Birkkjaer of Calgary’s Winsport Academy finished first, while teammate Joshua Regan claimed third place.
Like most riders, J. T. Bjarnason of Fruitvale bit the mud a couple times on his trip down the mountain, but still managed a sixth place finish in U17 for one of his best results of the season. Aiden Brummelhuis finished fifth in Open 13-16 Men, and Max Nutini had a ninth place finish in a difficult run in U-18 Sport Men.
The podium finish for Finke will likely put him in the Top 10 of the BC Cup DH standings, while Keegan Frye who had three top-three finishes should put him in the running for a podium spot however, organizers had yet to finalize results.
For an introductory season, the SSGR racers had incredible performances as they criss-crossed the province for races in Whistler-Blackcomb, Ride-the-Ranch and Sun Peaks in Kamloops, Silver Star in Vernon, Panarama in Invermere, Kickinghorse in Golden, and the final race in Fernie.
“It has been a very fun and rewarding season,” said Finke. “We had 10 racers sign up this year and all of them attended at least one race. Several competed in six out of the seven events and got to ride and compete at some of the best venues in the province.
“The interest moving into next year seems very strong, so Ryan (Kuhn), Natasha (Lockey) and I will be regrouping soon and start planning on how to grow and develop the program.”