Hey 19: Iles comes of age with Fox Air DH win 

First Look: Kintner wins sixth consecutive edition

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Whistler's Finn Iles whips off the last jump as he cruised down to a win during the Fox Air DH on Aug. 15.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Whistler's Finn Iles whips off the last jump as he cruised down to a win during the Fox Air DH on Aug. 15.

Finn Iles became legal with his 19th birthday on the same day as the Fox Air DH, Aug. 15.

His speeds on course, however, likely still broke some laws some place.

Iles was the lone rider to crack the four-minute mark, finishing the A-Line special in three minutes, 58.06 seconds (3:58.06) to hold off national downhill champion Magnus Manson (2.29 seconds back) and Bas Van Steenbergen (2.56 seconds back). Kiwi rider Sam Blenkinsop was fourth, adding 50 points to his King of Crankworx total and extending his buffer on France's Tomas Lemoine to 165 points.

"It's pretty special to be able to win at home," said Iles, who didn't participate in any Crankworx Whistler events in 2017. "Coming back this year and doing A-Line on my birthday is pretty special and I'm happy to take a win on a trail I've ridden since I was an eight-year-old."

Manson, meanwhile, didn't come in with any major expectations and was more than pleased with his runner-up result.

He noted that while some of the course was blown out by the time he descended, he took mental notes on the way up.

"It's a fun trail so it was great," he said. "You could see all the corners that were ruined from the chairlift, so it was easy. You just go fast and it's good."

On the women's side, American Jill Kintner extended her dominance in a race she hasn't lost since Iles was in middle school, securing her sixth consecutive triumph.

It was a tighter finish than in previous years, as Kintner edged Canadians Vaea Verbeeck by 0.40 seconds while third-place finisher Casey Brown was 3.78 seconds off the pace.

"This is the one event I don't get too stressed about just because it's such a fun trail and experience really pays off on this one," Kintner said, noting the biggest decision she had to make was between her trail bike and her downhill bike, though the latter ultimately won out.

Kintner also acknowledged that smoke from the wildfires burning in the province had an effect on her performance.

"It just kills your lungs and you can't breathe," she said. "Hopefully it gets better. It looks like blue skies are coming."

Kintner's win extended her Queen of Crankworx advantage to 425 points over Brown and 550 points over Verbeeck, though she's assuming nothing until she's officially clinched.

Verbeeck, meanwhile, was encouraged by the closing gap between herself and Crankworx's most-decorated competitor.

"I did not exclude the possibility of winning. I definitely wanted to try to win, but I'm not far off and that's motivating. In years past, I was definitely a step below Jill's skills, so I'm happy to see some progress and I'll keep working," said Verbeeck, who was third in 2017.

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