A Welsh man called Damian who now lives in Stockholm, Sweden got in touch with us and said: “Do you know Sweden doesn’t have an ‘official’ dh race series this year?! It’s a great shame as there are good riders and great venues here!”
We said: “What?!”
Damian said: “Yip, but in spite of this, a group of Stockholm based riders have come together to create an unofficial downhill cup, by the riders for the riders sort of thing. We are organising, building and doing all the timing. There’s no uplift apart from foot and lung power but it’s all good fun!”
So here’s a race repo and video from what could be seen as the Unofficial Swedish National Series.
And so it begins
Another snowy winter seen through, months of brake finger itching. Tuning, un-tuning, tuning and un-tuning some more just to keep expectations high and to keep excitement at the door, not yet allowed to creep in. Over the last few weeks though it has not only crept in but also managed to kick the door down and to drag the Spring with it, except it’s not quite back as we know it, or have experienced it before.
Some time ago it became clear that no formal Swedish series would be established with the chance that a whole season – interspersed with local runs and great trips to bike parks up and down the land – would be missing a crucial part to complete any bike season; a race series. Ask some riders and you may get a shrug of the shoulders as many find that racing downhill is a bit of a struggle of love. Why spend a whole day for a few runs, which are focused on time and less about style and flow, when you could be in a park somewhere wearing your tyres thin, nailing all those doubles, gaps, berms. Day in day out.
But downhill racing is special. It is special as it puts you up against your biggest adversary; yourself. No matter how hard you try to play it cool and say it doesn’t matter; it matters. It matters because you get a sense that racing is not like the weekend runs you are used to pulling off with maximum style. It matters because you realise that some pressure has found it’s way into your head and you need to manage it and keep your speed. It matters because it is a great biking challenge, much like that gap jump that haunts you or the manual you have struggled with for years. And it matters as you get to spend a day in an awesome atmosphere with all your friends and all your bikes, and whoever says they don’t care who wins is lying!
So it looked like 2013 in Sweden would be missing this vital part of a good bike season; a downhill race series. Sweden has a positive tradition for co-operation (although when you ask the older folks they will tell you it ain’t the way it was) and with this in mind many of Stockholm’s freeriders and riders decided to make it happen themselves. An unofficial downhill series by the riders for the riders is the result!
Round 1 was held on Sunday 5th May in Högdalstippen. The course, a series of jumps into sweeping no brake berms, followed by a ‘proper’ rock garden and finished off with a big air opportunity, was fast and hardpacked. The ethos for the DH cup is making the courses suitable for all types of riders, gnarly old heads to the first timers, keen to try it but not sure, and as such the course was well laid out with options for all rider abilities.
The courses around the capital will never win prizes for length but you do have a great and enthusiastic bike community who will make the day memorable in other ways. On the day over 30 riders pitched up to test themselves against each others and the clock, with a great crowd, beats and weather pushing all things on nicely. To those in the know the top 5 places were filled with some familiar names, to those who don’t, then Sweden is not short on DH talent!
Unofficial community organized events don’t natural gain much visibility and it says a great deal for Sweet protection, Red Bull, Specialized concept store and sportson Södermalm, that they were willing to provide great support and gifts for the day. Thanks.
Round 2 will be held on 19th May in Hagakullen, Stockholm. It is open to all and Stockholm DH cup strongly welcomes all riders, bikes and abilities. There is enough downhill for all!!!
Check out www.facebook.com/events/274236669378476/