British rider Brendan Fairclough caught a few lucky breaks on the way to the podium of the inaugural Dual Speed and Style presented by Avid on Saturday night, with a huge crowd of fans lining the course to watch some of the top freeriders in the world face off.
The course was similar to a dual slalom with riders going head-to-head on a course that included jumps and berms, with a few added features thrown in - namely a wall ride, and a few bigger jumps where riders could throw tricks.
The race is timed, but riders could earn deductions by throwing the biggest trick on each feature. If you had the best tricks you could deduct up to 1.2 seconds from your time, and still win even if you were second to the finish line.
At the end there were just two riders remaining: Brendan Fairclough and Andreu Lacondeguy. Lacondeguy had the style while Fairclough had the speed - and a bit of luck.
Lacondeguy disqualified himself after he missed the mandatory wall ride. His two backflips were easily the best tricks, but he also crashed in the gates in a cloud of dust that covered him from head to toe. He also scraped his arm in the fall, but didn't seem too concerned - and fans can probably expect him to be at the Teva Best Trick Showdown and Red Bull Joyride.
Fairclough was excited by his win: "I got lucky in a few (heats), but I rode hard and had a good day," he said. "It was a shame for Kyle (Strait), a shame for Andreu, but I needed some love.
Fairclough noted that he wasn't picked to race for Great Britain at the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships, and was focusing his efforts on the Jeep Canadian Open DH on Sunday, which offers a $10,000 prize for first place and one of the big cash purses in the world this year.
Kyle Strait won the small final against Martin Soderstrom to claim third place. Prize money included $2,500 for first, $1,500 for second, $1,000 for third and $500 for fourth.
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