Two days ago, Mason Cruickshanks showed good form in a top-five performance at the Canadian Open Downhill. Today, he showed even better form to strike gold at the U17 men's Air DH.
As the final rider in his division to drop in, Cruickshanks gave his fellow Squamolians reason to cheer. He bested Cohen Bundy by less than seven one-hundredths of a second, pouring it on throughout Whistler's renowned A-Line track to break the beam in four minutes and 40.086 seconds. Bundy had thrown down the gauntlet with a fast time of his own (4:40.153), but in the end it was only enough for silver.
Max Caro was likewise just off championship pace and settled for bronze (4:41.062).
"It was really awesome. Very tiring, but I had a lot of fun," Cruickshanks said in an interview with MC Derek Foose. "I knew the rain was coming, so I went with harder tire pressures. [I needed to] get in as many pedals as I could, every flat section, just sprinting the whole time."
While she didn't end up winning, Mhairi Smart delivered a solid run of her own in the U17 women's event to snatch third place (5:12.217). She wound up behind Aletha Ostgaard (5:00.621) and Matilda Melton (5:01.692), the same Americans repping Transition Factory Racing who had gone one-two in the Canadian Open. Ostgaard was later presented with this year's Stevie Smith Legacy Award.
Smart was candid in her own post-race interview. "It was the most pedalling I've ever done in my life," she admitted. "Quite muddy, [but] not super slippery."
Cody Kelly acquitted himself well in the men's U15 competition with a runner-up effort and his second medal in three days (4:51.238). He couldn't quite match the speed of victor Camden Rutherford (4:46.963), but gained the upper hand over bronze medallist Noah White (4:53.861). Emmett Guy missed the podium in fourth (4:55.708) but is sure to be thrilled for his fellow Pembertonian Kelly.
Over on the U15 women's side, Cami Bragg rebounded from a tough 10th-place result on the 1199 track to lock up an air DH silver, her second medal in the event in as many years (5:05.509). She was on the wrong end of a razor-thin margin to victor Addison Rutherford (5:05.021) but superseded the rest of her field by at least 10 seconds, including third-place rider Nory Klein (5:15.543).
Three Kidsworx riders grabbed the A-Line by the horns for a local podium sweep in the boys' U13 race. Mack Manietta added another gold to his haul as the only rider to break five minutes in his age category (4:58.955), while Xavier Harrisson (5:07.874) wound up second after his B-Line DH breakthrough. Olivier Courcelles rounded out the podium in third (5:07.960).
With only a pair of U13 girls in action, Natalie Uskoski (6:03.167) outperformed Peyton Lee (6:10.782).
Moving up in age to the women's senior bracket, Pip Parr led an all-Canadian podium (5:19.799) alongside Marley Sheppard (5:21.397) and Dawn Cashen (5:23.663).
Aiden Greanya was the lone Maple Leaf in the men's senior top three (4:41.306), sandwiched by winner James Thompson (4:35.213) and David Weeks, who was third (4:41.628).
The men's masters podium included Mario Jarrin (4:33.941), Adrian Martinez (4:45.301) and Gonzalo Serenelli (4:45.765) in that order.
Tim Coleman emerged on top among veterans (4:44.177) over Dean Richards (4:56.275) and Martin Raffo (4:56.453).
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