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Whistler racers top Mt. Washington

Beatty top downhiller, Allison takes XC, DH titles

Mount Washington Alpine Resort played host to one of the last Cycling B.C.-sanctioned mountain bike events this past weekend, the Island Throwdown, with points from cross country and downhill results going towards overall standings.

Although there is one Island Cup race left, and athletes can earn points at the Sept. 23 Cheakamus Challenge, most age categories are already decided.

There was a small field in the Mt. Washington cross-country race, which took place on the same course as previous B.C. Cup events in the area.

Whistler’s Tyler Allison placed first in the Under 15 category with a time of 48 minutes and 45 seconds, almost three minutes ahead of Sebastian Sleep of the Sunshine Coast.

Nick Geddes, who spends his summers in Whistler, placed third in 57:15.

"It was the same guys I race against in all the competitions, and it was a fun course," said Allison. "It was dry this year and there were some good climbs and singletrack, and I felt pretty good from the start."

Allison’s cross-country race season is winding down after starting up this past April. He now has a lock on the overall provincial title, and placed a close second in the nationals. All that’s left in terms of races are the West Side Wheel Up and Cheakamus Challenge, where he hopes to cut between 20 and 30 minutes off his time from the previous year.

Several members of Team Whistler took part in the race. Kerry-Anne Hamilton, who is racing for Epic Ride and Team Whistler, raced unopposed in the women’s Under 13 competition while her father Craig was first in the Master Sport 40-Plus category. Trevor Hopkins placed first in the Master Expert 30 to 39 category by close to two minutes. Dustin Gordon, riding for Team Whistler/Nature’s Path, placed fourth in the senior elite category.

Bob Allison, Tyler’s father, was first in the Master Expert 40 to 49 race, while Epic Rider Mason Protter ran unopposed in the boys Under 13.

Team Squamish riders in the pack include Jacclynclaire McClements, second in Junior 17-18; Alison McClements, second in Under 17; Kyle Salter, third in Junior Expert 17-18; and Philip Cairns, second in Junior Expert 15-16.

Sunday’s downhill event was a little better attended, but still lacked the numbers of past events.

Whistler’s Jeff Beatty, who is still recovering from a serious crash in the national downhill championships back in July, didn’t head to the Island to race but made a last minute decision to enter the competition.

He’s glad he did. Beatty finished the course in 3:42.27, better than 10 seconds faster than the next closest competitor. More importantly, he has his confidence back.

"It definitely felt good to win," he said. "I was over on the Island working with Mad March Racing, and just decided to race at the last minute.

"It felt good – it’s the last race of the year, and to be able to get a good one like this under the belt is just awesome."

The course was dry and dusty, and several competitors were knocked out early by sharp shale on the top section. Beatty had a good start, and according to other riders he was easily the fastest rider through the last technical section on the bottom.

"It’s the same course it’s always been, I know it pretty well by now," he said. Beatty won the Island Throwdown last year as well.

"It feels really good to be able to finish off the year this way, it’s been a hard season with injuries and crashes and not finishing races – it’s been discouraging. But this puts the faith back into me, lets me know I can still race, still get results, and I’ll head into training with a different attitude."

Beatty was the second-fastest qualifier in the national downhill championships in Whistler, and was burning through his run in the finals when he lost control in a newly created section of the course he wasn’t that familiar with. He suffered a concussion in the crash and after making his way to the bottom he was transported by ambulance to Lions Gate hospital to scan for spinal injuries. He has since been cleared to race again, and won the second last Phat Wednesday race by a large margin, although he will still need physiotherapy on his neck for several months.

Steve Chan placed second to Beatty, while Whistler’s J.S. Therrien took third place.

Whistler’s Tyler Allison raced again on Sunday, placing first in an Under 15 category that was stacked with Whistler racers. Nick Geddes placed second by just over four seconds, Simon D’Artois was fourth, and Mason Protter 10 th .

In the Under 17 Expert Men 15-16 category, Whistler’s Alex Prochazka finished second to local rider Simon Garstin.

Chris Armstrong placed sixth in the Master Sport Men 30 to 39 group, while Craig Hamilton was second in Master Sport Men 40-plus.

Several members of Team Squamish and Mad March Racing, a Squamish club put together by local pro Shaums March, also took part.

Miranda Miller placed first in the Under 17 women with a 16 second gap on her closest competitor. Kerry-Anne Hamilton, who usually competes in Under 13, was third.

Aislinn Merkel was second in the Junior Women 17-18 category.

Trevor Halvorson of Mad March was eighth in the Junior Expert Men 17-18, while Scott Halvorson and Clinton Gould were third and fourth in Under 17 Sport Men. Kyle Quesnel of Team Squamish was ninth in that category. Jordan Drinovz of Team Squamish was ninth in Junior Sport Men, and teammate Kodi Stoddart placed third in Under 17 Expert Men.

Overall provincial rankings will be posted at Cycling B.C.’s website, in early September.