The 2023 Canadian Downhill MTB Championships, took place from July 14-16, 2023, at Fernie Alpine Resort in the southeast corner of BC within the Lizard Range of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Riders were treated to Fernie’s flowy technical single-track trails with steep and challenging sections, made extra soft and slick thanks to some showers that hit the region earlier in the week.
With the championships being held in BC, there was naturally an abundance of BC riders on the start list, with riders from neighbouring provinces including, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec in attendance as well. Though not eligible for the national titles, there were also a slew of international riders from south of the border and a handful from the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
The competition started on Saturday with seeding runs won by Austin Makson (U17 Men), Dane Jewett (Junior Men), Joy Attala (Corsa Cycles/Dunbar Cycles – Junior Women), Lucas Cruz (Norco Factory Team – Elite Men) and Emmy Lan (Forbidden Synthesis Team – Elite Women).
BC riders dominated the championship runs on Sunday, July 16th, as 2022 Canada Cup winner Brock Hawes (Gravity MTB Racing) from Sun Peaks clocked the fastest time of the competition 2:31.0, claiming his first national title in the Junior Men category. “There were a couple of sections where I thought I was going to crash but we held it together and made it down,” said Hawes after the run. “I’m at a loss for words, just buzzing.” North Vancouver’s Jon Mozell (Forbidden Synthesis) finished in 2nd place, and Rossland’s Bodhi Kuhn (Trek Factory) came in 3rd. Wyatt Harrington of North Vancouver and Dane Jewett of Squamish would round out the 4th and 5th spots, respectively, on Jr. Men’s podium.
Surrounded by friends and family, Joy Attala (Corsa Cycles) of Fernie, BC, gave the hometown crowd a thrill by taking the win in the Jr. Women’s category. In an interview with Canadian Cycling magazine, Attala said, “It’s unreal. I did my first downhill race here, so it’s a real full-circle moment, it’s awesome and amazing to have my friends and family out. That just makes it, honestly.” Sophi Lawrence (Instinct Development) of Whistler finished in 2nd, Natasha Miller from Coquitlam in 3rd, Kayley Sherlock from Qualicum Beach in 4th, and another local Fernie, BC rider, Kate McKenzie would round out the podium in 5th place.
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Bailey Goldstone (Corsa Cycles/Dunbar Cycles) from Squamish repeated as Canadian Champion for the second consecutive year by edging out Enduro World Series leader, Emmy Lan (Forbidden Synthesis), who finished in second place, followed by Ainhoa Ijurko of Brackendale in 3rd, Eva Leikermoser (Gravity MTB) of Comox, and Rachel Pageau of Quebec.
The Norco Factory Team went 1-2-3 on the Elite Men’s podium with Lucas Cruz of Pemberton getting his very own maple leaf jersey on his birthday, while teammate Mark Wallace from Sechelt finished in 2nd place, and Kirk McDowall of Anmore in 3rd. Seth Sherlock (Intense Factory) of Squamish and Gabriel Neron (Corsa Cycles) finished 4th and 5th respectively.
Anthony Shelly (Instinct Development) of Whistler, BC, won his first-ever Canadian title with the fastest time in the U17 Expert Men’s category. Meanwhile, Tayte Proulx-Royds (Liv Canada Off-road Team) took the title in U17 Women’s category.
2022 Canadian Champions Robert Venables (Dunbar Cycles) of Vancouver and Don Van Eesteren (Rippers Lounge Racing) of Squamish defended their titles in Master Men B (45-54) and Masters Men C (55+) respectively. A new champion was crowned in Master Men A (35-44) as Kristopher McMehan from Nelson, BC, took the win.
View Full Results at https://zone4.ca/event/2023/Nxv7qP/
Next up on the Canadian Championships calendar is the Canadian XCO & XCC MTB Championships, which will both be held from July 20-23 in Nova Scotia. The full calendar of national events can be found on the Cycling Canada website.
Downhill racing action in BC continues at Panorama Mountain Resort with the Panorama BC Cup/Canada Cup/Dunbar Summer Series #2 mid-week race from July 17th-19th.