Words & Photos: Alex Boyce
With the recent news that the Red Bull Wide Open was cancelled, brought
dismay and confusion to the professional riders who were signed up for
the race. We wanted to understand why the problem occurred and what
the race actually was going to be. So, we took a track walk down the
almost finished race track to have a look at some of the features and
we also managed to chat to some workers and locals who were involved
in the project.
Livigno is a very sports orientated town in the middle of the Italian
Alps. With the last World Cup race being in 2005 and only dirt
jumping competitions in recent years, the most recent being the Nine Knights a few weeks back. This event was going to be a showcase event for Livigno and would have brought the world’s attention to what is fantastic riding area.
The race track itself was built with the idea of 6 riders riding next
to each other at high speed at and over very large features. The
original plans for the track meant that it would be between 4 and 7
metres wide at various sections. However, to build the track, earth
and rocks were moved outside of the race line which apparently caused
problems with the Livigno Forestry Service. After complaints from
a well known local who apparently informed the Forestry Service, the
track was shut down when it was 90% complete, despite the 200,000 Euro
cost of building the track, (Ed – unconfirmed cost). The huge loss of bookings to the tourist sector, and all of the logistical plans made by competitors, sponsors and spectators, on top of this, the damage to reputation of Livigno to successfully host a sports event.
When we walked down the track we were blown away by the extreme nature
of the race line. From the start, there was a 50 metre drop which
would have fired the riders into a high speed berm and table top
section, which is insanely difficult and we couldn’t even walk down
it, let alone ride. The middle section of the track was a continuous
line of berms and gap amazing 4-5 metre gap jumps with very high
consequences for any rider that made an error. The lower section of
the track which was almost complete had a road gap jump of at least 10
metres and would have sent riders into a finish area.
There is no doubt in our minds that this race would have been one of
the most extreme MTB events in Europe within the last few years. The
fact that ridiculous bureaucracy and short sighted political interests
caused a monumental loss to everyone makes it much harder for all
those involved to want to organise events like this in the future.
The environmental impact was negligible as the race line was built on
a ski piste anyway and would have remained as a important part of the
infrastructure in Livigno for years ahead.
Check out the gallery of images right here…