Is this the future of racing? Everyone on mid travel 5-6” bikes, seven special downhill (mainly) stages and being on your bike for over four hours. Here is the deal, it is a bit like rally car racing or MX enduro. You have an allotted start time for each stage, you ride to the top of the course then when it is your time you take your run. When you get to the bottom your time is recorded and then you move on to the next special stage. You are given a sensible about of time to get to the start of the next stage, you don’t need to be an XC whippet to get there in time. You then wait around for your next start time, and so on. All your times for the special stages are added up at the end and this is what gives you your final time. The pro riders started at 8.30am and finished just after 1.00pm, so around four and a half hours out on the bike. The winning time was 22min 22sec…so over twenty minutes of ‘actual’ racing.
Mickael Pascal on special stage 3/6. Eighth place for the Frenchman.
Kielder Forest was a great venue, the trails perfectly suiting this style of race. There was a large contingent of foreign riders racing, many of them chasing the overall prize of the Avalanche Trophy (the series is made up of five rounds, one of which is the Megavalanche in Alpe d’Huez). There was also a good turn out of UK riders but it would have been nice to see some Pro or Expert riders in the mix to give the French and Spanish specialists a run for their money. Danny Hart (13), Matt Harrington (14) and Toby Pantling (15) led the UK charge but they couldn’t really challenge the main players.
Jerome Clementz never seems to stop smiling and his win here by two seconds won’t have changed that. For those of you that have never heard of Clementz you can take it from us that he is FAST. At the Mega a few years ago he ruled the start. Gregory Doucende took second place, this result helped to move him up into first place overall, with David Vasquez in third.
The Saab Salomon Avalanche Trophy now moves on to the Megavalanche in Alpe d’Huez, then on to Are in Sweden and then the final in Brixen in Italy. Check it out.
1. Jerome Clementz MBK 22min 22sec
2. Gregory Doucende Lapierre Salomon 22.24
3. David Vasquez Lopez Lapierre Salomon 22.32
4. Franck Parolin Rivierabike.com Specialized 22.33
5. Guillaume Braux Two Lambs 22.55
saab Salomon Avalanche enduro trophy kielder forest Jerome Clementz MBK Gregory Doucende Lapierre Salomon David Vasquez Lopez Franck Parolin Guillaume Braux