Colombian crowned King of Crankworx 

Gutierrez Villegas wins Canadian Open to be named best of fest, Brown becomes Queen

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIC MACKENZIE - royals Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas and Casey Brown show off their King and Queen of Crankworx hardware.
  • photo by eric Mackenzie
  • royals Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas and Casey Brown show off their King and Queen of Crankworx hardware.

After two wins, more than $12,000 in prize money and another near miss at a third downhill podium, Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas took home yet another title Sunday — King of Crankworx.

The Colombian rider won the Canadian Open DH to close out Crankworx Whistler on Aug. 17, achieving the royal status bestowed on the festival's top rider overall, while B.C.'s own Casey Brown earned a runner-up finish in Sunday's pro women's race to be crowned Crankworx's Queen.

Gutierrez, who won the Garbanzo DH and placed fourth in the Fox Air DH earlier in the week, blasted down the Canadian Open course in two minutes, 50.92 seconds to edge Giant teammate Danny Hart by seven-tenths of a second for the pro men's win. Australia's Connor Fearon (+1.05) rounded out the podium.

"I'm surprised how good I did," Gutierrez said of his overall performance during Crankworx. "It's been a tough year, the results haven't been as good as I've been expecting, but I always come here to Crankworx to try and have a good time on my bike and try my best in every single race.

"Winning the Garbo was amazing... and to win the Canadian Open, I knew there were some fast guys out there... I'm super stoked with it and excited to come back next year."

Absent this year was three-time defending Canadian Open champ Steve Smith, who injured his ankle a couple of weeks before Crankworx and spent the festival on the sidelines. In his absence, Mark Wallace took top Canadian honours on Sunday, finishing fifth. Pemberton's Kyle Sangers was seventh.

Hart was a little disappointed to come up just short on Sunday. He had taken the lead away from Fearon with just two riders left to go behind him, but his time wasn't enough to hold off Gutierrez.

"I did everything I wanted to do, apart from the last corner, where I totally messed up and lost all my speed," said Hart, who had quickly recovered from a crash in the morning practice session. "All in all, it's been a good week. I've done quite well with prize money, got a few podiums."

Tracey Hannah, racing the Canadian Open for the first time, snagged the pro women's win Sunday with a time of 3:18.96, squeaking it out by just 0.63 seconds over Brown.

"I knew that the local girls would be really fast here and probably felt more confident on the track than I did... so I didn't think it would be a winning run," said Hannah.

Brown, meanwhile, picked up her third podium of Crankworx, adding to her Official Whip-Off World Championship win and silver-medal finish in the Garbo DH.

"I'm stoked on my result and my performance today. I thought I was toast at one point on the track today but somehow made it through," said Brown, whose Crankworx was as busy as it was successful. "It's a fine balance between going for it and saving yourself for the next World Cup."

Whistler's Claire Buchar also claimed her third podium of the festival on Sunday — if you include her placing top-three as one of the featured GoPro Dirt Diaries riders — by taking bronze in the Canadian Open.

"Not too shabby at all," said Buchar. "I don't race big, big races anymore, so I had a bit of nerves this week... but it was awesome. I did really well in the overall scheme of things."

See www.crankworx.com for full results.

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