Marc Beaumont at the Jim Beam Air Downhill
Today was the Air Downhill – quite a long trail made up of table tops, step ups, step downs, you name it, one after another linked up through a labyrinth of bermed up corners.
It’s better known as ‘A-line’ to any Whistler fans and the well used track is baked hard, which makes it super fast from top to bottom. At race speed the fun jumps turn into awkward little humps which you have to scrub to keep low and make the backside, or in most cases sail past and flat land each one!
In the last two years Brian Lopes has been the king of Air Downhill, winning each year riding a short travel bike (with 5 inches of travel) and using his BMX and 4X skills, linked with his supreme fitness to smoke all other downhill guys riding their downhill bikes.
My race run went pretty well, I could not believe how long the course is when you sprint out of every turn, some of the straights are so long!
It’s a very physical course. When I finally hit the bottom I crossed the line and went into the lead. Chris Kovarik came down a few riders later and the Aussie power-house just managed to swipe away my lead. Lopes was next down putting in a really fast spilt time, 3 seconds faster than mine. Crossing the line he was into the Hot Seat with only Greg Minnar on the hill.
He was only a second off Lopes at the mid way split but Lopes didn’t look nervous! Greg lost a few more tenths at the bottom coming in 1.4 down on the King of Air Downhill, Brian Lopes.
I ended up 4th, which I was pretty happy enough with, next year I’ll bring the Santa Cruz Bullit to the gun show for sure.