Here’s the report from the Avalanche Trophy race in Åre (Sweden). It was written by the Frenchies so there are a few grammatical errors but I find that just adds character.
This first Saab Salomon Avalanche Trophy in Åre (Sweden) proofed to be on the same level as any classic Marathon Downhill race found in the Alpes. In the heart of amazing landscapes composed of beautiful lakes, forrest and mountains, the resort of ÅRE was the host for the 4th and second last leg of the SAAB SALOMON AVALANCHE TROPHY.
This challenge aims to emphasize on the pilots versatility who have to show strenght, balance as well as fitness and courage. Just a bit over 16 minutes of intense racing was enough for the top riders to race down the 1000 vertical meters on the 8 km long track. This course displayed all the obstacles and the specific characteristics of a classic Marathon Downhill race.
As expected, all the top riders had No problems in qualifying themselves on Saturday for the finals on Sunday. A total of about 100 participants consisting of many young swedish, norwegian and riders from Finland made their way to ÅRE to discover this mass start formula for the first time. Gregory DOUCENDE (Lapierre Saab Salomon) was leading the overall ranking after the Megavalanche of Alpe d’Huez but Franck PAROLIN (Specialized Riviera Bike), Remy ABSALON (Commencal) and even Gregories team mate, the spanish rider David VASQUEZ promised they would do their Best to chase him and take the lead themselves.
The wish to close the gap to the leader became truth for Remy and Franck who fought a great battle at the head of the race during both heats. Only David VASQUEZ who is a true Downhill rider was capable to close the gap to Franck PAROLIN in the final part of the track which bears many Enduro elements. The young Dany HART (Lapierre Saab Salomon) was rewarded with a great 5th place in the overall ranking, in front of famous riders such as Mickael PASCAL (MSC), displaying joy during the first part of the track which is almost pure DH.
Due to a short cut in the village, Jerome CLEMENTZ was punished by the race judges with a 2 minute penalty which pushed him back to 11th position and eliminated all his hopes to win the overall title. The two local riders David AXELSSON and Juhani KETTUNEN were the surprises of this competition and achieved excellent ranks with position 7th and 8th.
They will have to be taken seriously into consideration for next years competitions. Before the last race in BRIXEN (Italy) which will take place in two weeks time, Remy ABSALON managed to take the overall lead with his win at the ÅRE SAAB SALOMON Avalanche Trophy. ABSALON’s lead with 100 points in front of Gregory DOUCENDE, followed by Franck PAROLIN and therefater by David VASQUEZ does not allow him to commit the slightest mistake in the final show down in BRIXEN. One of these four riders will be the winner of the SAAB SALOMON AVALANCHE TROPHY and the proud owner of a 9.3 SAAB SPORT COMBI.
SAAB SALOMON AVALANCHE TROPHY ÅRE RANKING
1st Remy ABSALON (Commencal)
2nd Franck PAROLIN
3rd David VASQUEZ LOPEZ (Lapierre Saab Salomon)
4th Gregory DOUCENDE (Lapierre Saab Salomon)
5th Danny HART (Lapierre Saab )
Åre Avalanche Trophy