Yesterday the world’s best downhillers congregated at the top of the famous Willingen track, ready to race towards a prize purse of 30,000 euros. Amateurs also pinned it down the mountain, hoping for a chance to compete with the big names of downhill in tomorrow’s final.
The day began with the amateur finals, which saw thirty-six amateur downhill riders racing against the clock and each other for a top eight spot. The top eight amateur downhill riders will have a chance to compete against a stacked field of pro downhill riders.
The amateur field was packed with German riders, but the two top riders came from Denmark and Canada to top all of the local talent. Whistler, BC rider Alex Prochazka came down the hill with a time of 2:12.11, less than half a second away from first place! First place went to Mads Weidermann of Denmark with a time of 2:11.79 and third place went to German rider Marcel Basener. These three riders made the podium, but they can’t celebrate too much tonight, because tomorrow’s race is going to be even more difficult!
Wheels Of Speed – Top 8 Amateurs
1. Mads Weidermann 2:11.79 (DEN)
2. Alex Prochazka 2:12.11 (CAN)
3. Marcel Basener 2:14.99 (GER)
4. Kristof Lenssens 2:15.42 (BEL)
5. Dennis Stratmann 2:15.87 (GER)
6. Stefan Herrmann 2:16.77 (GER)
7. Manfred Stromberg 2:17.90 (GER)
8. Sebastian Klein 2:18.46 (GER)
After the amateur riders finished their runs, the pro class began to session the downhill track. Clay Porter, the famous videographer behind the movie “Between The Tape” said, “The course is really jumpy, there are a lot of huge jumps at the very top.” This style isn’t characteristic of most downhill tracks, but none of the spectators were complaining as riders like Cedric Gracia and Sam Hill were styling out their runs with big tabletops and whips over the huge dirt hips and step-downs that were mixed in with the course.
The pro riders had a one-hour practice session, then qualifying for tomorrow’s final began. Mick Hannah enjoyed a lengthy stay in the hot seat with a time of 2:00.13, but was eventually unseated by Greg Minnaar, the top qualifier for the day.
The pro class was very close with their times, with only a four second spread between first and tenth place. Tomorrow the riders will have to once again take the course to improve their times and also battle it out with the eight hungry amateurs vying for a spot on the podium.
Wheels Of Speed – Top 10 Pro Qualifiers
1. Greg Minnaar 1:59.01 (RSA)
2. Mick Hannah 2:00.13 (AUS)
3. Sam Blenkinsop 2:00.88 (NZL)
4. Steve Peat 2:01.14 (GBR)
5. Chris Kovarik 2:01.26 (AUS)
6. Bryn Atkinson 2:01.68 (AUS)
7. Jared Graves 2:02.75 (AUS)
8. Andrew Neethling 2:02.85 (RSA)
9. Cedric Gracia 2:03.08 (FRA)
10. Justin Leov 2:03.93 (NZL)
The crowd is here for another exciting Willingen Bike Festival, for the tenth consecutive year. Thousands of spectators milled around the exhibitors’ booths today and lined the course for the downhill racing action. Tomorrow should be an even bigger spectacle with the pro downhill finalists racing against the eight top amateur riders. Pro or amateur, they’ll all be racing against each other to get their hands on the 30,000 euros in prize money that is up for grabs during tomorrow’s downhill final.
Greg Minnaar – Over a second quicker…
Today the world’s best downhillers congregated at the top of the famous Willingen track, ready to race towards a prize purse of 30,000 euros. Amateurs also pinned it down the mountain, hoping for a chance to compete with the big names of downhill in tomorrow’s final.