Downhill mountain biking is no flash in the pan. Since the first Phat Wednesday Downhill Series race in 2004, the local race event has grown in leaps and bounds. In 2010 the series broke 200 riders for the first time. This year the series breaks the 200 mark at every single race, prompting organizers to move up registration and start times while moving the cap from 200 spots to 300.
If the July 18 race is any indication, even that might not be enough. Some 285 riders turned out, the biggest turnout yet. The selection of trails, Dirt Merchant and Del Bocca Vista, probably had something to do with that.
The Male Open category was massive with 172 riders at the start. Fastest of all them was, once again, former World Cup racer Chris Kovarik, who cleaned the course in a blistering 2:55.69, almost seven seconds ahead of Tyler Allison's time of 3:02.26. Nick Geddes was a close third in 3:02.72.
Rounding out the top 10 were Stephen Matthews in 3:03.92, Adam Billinghurst in 3:04.15, Denis Courchesne in 3:05.02, Trev Burke in 3:05.06, Simon Buzacott in 3:05.38, Andi Tillman in 3:06.28 and Berend Boer in 3:06.52.
Kovarik's wife Claire Buchar, also a former World Cup racer, also won the women's race by a healthy margin in 3:14.97. In second was Katrina Strand in 3:19.35, followed by Maria Darquier in 3:21.53. Rounding out the top 10 were Sarah Leishman in 3:24.45, Lisa Mason in 3:29.96, Simmone Lyons in 3:32.48, Erica Lawson in 3:33.34, Annie Bisson in 3:33.35, Trish Bromley in 3:35.03 and Carrie Poole in 3:37.37.
Jack Iles won the Junior Male race in 3:05.08, followed by Zander Geddes in 3:07.92 and Felix Klee in 3:08.61. In the top 10 were Adison MacDonald in 3:09.70, Carole Jerome in 3:10.91, Antoine Bagnoud in 3:11.53, Bracken Camilleri in 3:15.58, Felipe Swerts in 3:15.61, Junior Felix in 3:19.35 and Jesse Merks in 3:19.70.
There were two junior females in the race this week. Holly Feniak placed first in 3:20.14 and Ava Buchan second in 3:43.23.
In Master Male, Robin Potvin was the fastest rider in 3:05.94, followed by Chris Dewar in 3:08.02 and Jon Moon in 3:09.78. In the top 10 were Mathieu Hebert in 3:10.14, Andrew Gunn in 3:10.48, Steve Storey in 3:11.02, Luke Radnor in 3:11.62, Alan Golds in 3:11.80, Corrie Mullin in 3:16.21 and Alex Attard in 3:16.27.
There are two events remaining on the schedule, taking place Aug. 1 and Aug. 29. Registration starts at 4:30 p.m.