Iles wins whip-off 

Perennial women's champ Brown does it again

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - A WIN FOR FINN Finn Iles took his second victory at the Official Whip-Off World Championships at Crabapple Hits on Aug. 18.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • A WIN FOR FINN Finn Iles took his second victory at the Official Whip-Off World Championships at Crabapple Hits on Aug. 18.

Finn Iles had a little extra to prove at the Official Whip-Off World Championships in 2014.

He didn't need a campaign just to make it in as a 15-year-old under-ager like he did the first time — this time, two years later, he could just focus on business. Both times, he pulled out the win.

On Aug. 18 at Crabapple Hits, he overcame runners-up Thomas Vanderham and Allan Cooke to take his second title.

"This one is the same feeling. Not better. I'd say the same," Iles said after the victory. "The first one was big because I wasn't allowed in and then, I was allowed in and I did my best whips ever and then I was just so happy.

"This one, I was not being able to whip at the start of the year and then I came out here and it was nice to be home and I felt good all day."

The wind was a factor, seeming to affect riders and keeping tricks a little on the safe side earlier in the finals. But it died down as the championships went on, leading to a bigger show as the riders pleaded their cases right down to the very last run.

"It was kind of windy, but I felt if I timed it right, there was no wind," Iles said. "It was gusty, so it was here and it was gone and it was here and then it tailed off, so I felt I could throw my best ones right at the end, which was awesome to have.

"You didn't really know until you were at the bottom of the lip and you could see the flags blowing, so if it was really windy, you'd take it down a notch, but if there was no wind, you'd just go for it."

Iles noted he was just trying to have fun, but hadn't had much chance to tackle the course before the competition, having just ridden it a couple times in the week before the championships. He was pleased with the newly sculpted, longer second jump with a bigger lip.

"You could go higher and you'd have more air time," Iles said.

Men's runner-up Vanderham also was thrilled with the alterations to the course.

"I really did like the jump this year a lot more than last year. I was just having a blast hitting the jump and I got comfortable on it pretty quickly," he said.

Vanderham, a North Vancouver resident, is no stranger to second having now taken it thrice. He was happy with his performance and had no qualms about finishing on the left-hand step.

"It's an event that's for fun and I'm not overly competitive with it," he said. "It would be nice to win one one of these years, but it's not something that bothers me at all."I was really happy with how consistent I rode."

On the women's side, Casey Brown of Revelstoke beat out hometown rival Lorraine Blancher for her fourth consecutive win in the event. Squamish's Jaime Hill took third.

"I was catching the trade winds on my bicycle. It was a bit scary," Brown said in a release. "It was good. Everyone was kind of concerned about the wind, but we just kind of got through it and learned to whip in the wind."

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