Iles wins Fox Air DH on birthday 

Kintner wins sixth consecutive edition

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - TROY'S TIME Australian Troy Brosnan earned his fourth consecutive Canadian Open DH on Aug. 19.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • TROY'S TIME Australian Troy Brosnan earned his fourth consecutive Canadian Open DH on Aug. 19.

Finn Iles came of legal age on Aug. 15, and he celebrated with some speeds that were probably illegal somewhere.

In winning the Fox Air DH, 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).

"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."

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.

Brosnan, Hannah repeat at Canadian Open DH champs

On Aug. 19, Troy Brosnan and Tracey Hannah wrapped up Crankworx by repeating as Canadian Open DH champions.

The Australian riders dominated the course once again, with Brosnan winning for the fourth time in a row on the men's side while Hannah captured a third-consecutive win on the women's side.

In a tight contest, Brosnan nipped fellow Aussie Connor Fearon by 0.51 seconds and Canadian Manson by 0.91 seconds.

"The first win here was something really special and then to get a three-peat was really crazy and now I've got four," he said. "I'm over the moon, really happy about it.

"Hopefully we can come again next year and go for five."

Though some riders said the course was rockier and had less dirt than in years past, Brosnan downplayed those effects.

"It's always been this dry for so many years," he said. "I've done so well in all these years previous, so I had that confidence and that might have helped."

Fearon, for his part, thought he might have put down a winning run, only to have his hopes dashed by his countryman.

"You've really got to put it all out there because it's such a short track. I gave it 120 per cent here and had a really good run," he said. "(I thought it was) good enough for the win, which I would have really liked to do, but being close to Troy is a confidence boost, really."

Hannah, meanwhile, bested a pair of Canadians, blowing past Brown by 4.62 seconds and Verbeeck by 5.99 seconds. Hannah explained she took the same approach to the race in spite of the hazy, dry conditions, but her preparation was impacted.

"This year was tougher because the smoke is real thick and there's less and less dirt every year on the track," she said. "(With the smoke), you can't prepare as well. You can't get your heart rate up. You try to take deep breaths but you don't really want smoke in your lungs. When you get into the race, you try as hard as you can anyway."

Hannah also claimed the overall downhill world tour title for the women, while New Zealand's Sam Blenkinsop, who finished fourth in the Canadian Open DH, won the men's honour.


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