Cooke, Brown top whip-off 

First look: Canadian continues Whistler dominance

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - The Official Whip-Off World Championship podium celebrates at Crabapple Hits on Thursday, Aug. 16.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • The Official Whip-Off World Championship podium celebrates at Crabapple Hits on Thursday, Aug. 16.

When it comes to rotating her bike 90 degrees or more off a jump, Casey Brown can rarely be outwhipped.

A second-place finish at the Official European Whip-Off Championships in Les Gets, France in June proved that the Revelstoke resident wasn't invincible, but you wouldn't know it watching her at the Official Whip-Off World Championships up at Crabapple Hits on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 16).

Brown is the only women's winner the event has ever known as she's now won it six years running despite the challenge that the massive jumps present.

"It feels good to be back on top," Brown said of her rebound after being edged by New Zealand's Vinny Armstrong in France. "I've definitely struggled on these jumps and the wind is always playing on my mind but the last few runs down, I was like, 'Eff you, wind! I'm going to ride my bike.'"

Great Britain's Manon Carpenter took second and Pemberton's Jaime Hill ended up third.

With the breeze presenting changing conditions even in the moments between runs, Brown said it was tough figuring out what to do each time out. However, Brown found if she could ride in other riders' drafts, she could compete on her own terms.

"It was pretty gusty, so one run could have been OK, but the next, you had a headwind and the next, you had a side-wind. It was hard to judge," she said. "I decided to follow people so I would at least have enough speed if they had the headwind. I was struggling. I'm pretty small for that."

The win helped Brown bank a helpful 100 points as she seeks to chase down American Jill Kintner for Queen of Crankworx, though she still trails by 325 points.

On the men's side, American Allan Cooke found himself on top for the second consecutive year. The Santa Cruz team manager was once again in Whistler to focus primarily on supporting the team's riders, but with their competitions all wrapped up, he had the chance to let little loose.

"It's pretty special," he said. "To be able to ride and have some success for all the people that support me?having the job at Santa Cruz is one thing, but they support me with bikes and everything?so to be able to give back (is great)."

Cooke, who also plans to race the Canadian Open DH on Sunday, said he's out for victory, but also for a good time.

"I'd be lying to myself if I said I wasn't trying to win, but ultimately, I'm hanging out with my friends and if that means winning, then that's cool. I'm just happy not to crash and come away with a big fall," he said, noting he nearly suffered a crash toward the end of the day. "I'm proud of it because I saved it. The tailwind caught my back tire and pushed it so far.

"I contemplated jumping off and then I remembered how old I was ... I ended up pulling it. It's always fun when you roll away and your friends have the look on their face like they just saw your life flash before their eyes."

The men's podium also included slopestyle athlete and fellow American Carson Storch in second and Canadian Thomas Vanderham in third.

Storch's approach to mitigate the wind's effects was to backflip on the third jump on order to gain more speed for the fourth jump, the biggest air where riders would make or break their days.

"Flipping meant more speed, so I was just doing it over and over. It was fun," he said with a chuckle. "The wind was a straight-on headwind for the whip jump, so you had to really tuck and pump for this jump if you wanted to clear it."

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