Photos by Chris Pilling | Words by Eric Behn
The Ultiamte Pumptrack Challenge took place Thursday night on day 7 of the Whistler Crankworx festivities. The ultimate showcase of bike handling skills saw dirt jumpers, downhillers, enduro racers and more all ride and race together. Riders were paired up and took two heats, whomever had the lower collective time difference took the win and moved up in the knockout style formate.
With Mitch Ropelato and Jill Kintner both going for their fourth consecutive win, stakes were higher than ever. Anything could happen and surprises and upsets were had.
On the mens side, a race between Ropelato and Martin Soderstrom ended in an upset as Ropelato lost his footing and nearly ended up off course in the first heat. The second heat Ropelato took the win but couldn’t make up lost time from the last run putting Soderstrom through to the next round and ending Ropelato’s win streak.
Soderstrom went on to battle it out with Adrien Loron in the final round. But the tall slopestyle rider didn’t have enough to beat out the winner of the Crankworx Les Deux Alpes pumptrack challenge winner. Loron took the win putting a new winner on the podium.
On the ladies side, Jill Kintner, an Olympic Medalist in BMX and one of the world’s top downhill racers took her four-peat win despite a bobble out of the gate. Fighting off a field of many very talented women cyclists from all disciplines.
1. Jill Kintner – $1,300
2. Caroline Buchanan – $800
3. Katy Curd – $600
1. Adrien Loron – $2,500
2. Martin Soderstrom – $1,500
3. Mitch Ropelato – $1,000