IXS Downhill Cup


Nick Beer dominates the first race of the «iXS European Downhill Cup» in Scuol

Nick Beer, Miriam Ruchti and junior rider Rhys Willemse were the winners of the «iXS European Downhill Cup»’s first race in Scuol, Switzerland. A total of 250 riders from 15 countries and 4 continents made sure that the first race of this international racing series was a complete success.

Changing weather conditions with intense rain showers established the setting for Sunday’s racing runs. All the roots, the meadow sections and the rocks had become slippery and the visibility at places was seriously reduced by the rain. During the last training sessions the course still had been dry and dusty so none of the riders had a chance to actually adapt to the slippery conditions well.

Team Sport Promotion’s Miriam Ruchti won the women’s race by a big margin. Her French teammate Caroline Sax finishes second ahead of Team Zonenschein’s Harriet Rücknagel from Germany.

Lots of internationally well-known names showed up for the junior category’s race. After having lost a lot of time due to a flat tire in his seeding run, Germany’s Maximilian Bender (Fly-Zonenschein) spent quite some time in the Red Bull Hot Seat until Switzerland’s Nicolas Gspan (ewz Loop) could take his place as race leader. The next rider to post a new best time was Austria’s Boris Tetzlaff (AClass-Solid). But Australia’s Rhys Willemse (Tomac Factory Racing) took over the lead when he finished another 2.6 seconds faster. As the fastest rider in the seeding run, Great Britain’s Joseph Smith who is also racing for the Tomac team was the last starter, and he managed to nestle between the two top finishers posting the second fastest time.

Austria’s national champion Markus Pekoll (AClass-Solid) was occupying the leader’s Hot Seat for more than half an hour during the men elite’s race. After he had been facing tough luck in his seeding run, he profited from the changing weather on Sunday. Just after he had finished his run, another strong shower set in, slowing down most of the riders as a consequence. Initially, Pekoll was not too enthusiast about his run as he would have liked to ride more aggressively. But when rider after rider failed to improve on his time his grin became wider and wider. It was not before Switzerland’s Marcel Beer (iXS Sports Division) that someone came halfway close to his time: Losing three seconds, Marcel Beer finished in third and added another good result to this season’s record. The last three riders really got the worst conditions: Marcus Klausmann could not avoid crashing and got to the finish way back and with crash marks on his outfit. Local hero Claudio Caluori (Tomac Factory Racing) barely missed the time of fourth-place finisher Martin Frei from Switzerland (Solid Swiss Team). So it was up to Nick Beer to get the Austrian rider out of the Hot Seat. After he had won the seeding run with a more than notable advantage of – believe it or not – ten seconds, he came out of the forest and into the final slope comprehensibly early in his racing run. For more than a minute, the spectators were following his ride on the final slope, always keeping an eye on the clock managed by TAG Heuer. When he was heading for the last three jumps, the crowd at the finish got noisier as the Swiss national champion and winner of both iXS cup series was well on track to a new best time! Amid loud applause of all attendants he crossed the finish line with an amazing advantage of ten seconds, thus proving again that he is in peak form this season.

The Via Nova race track is one of Europe’s courses that is the most rich in tradition and very demanding. The Via Nova’s steep pitches lead down no less than 800 meters in altitude. Many sections of the 3.5 kilometer long course are being ridden at high speed, but repeatedly the brakes are being put to hard tests. As a consequence, lots of braking bumps suck the power from the riders’ lower arms, and Scuol is considered a real test for each and every rider in terms of stamina. In 2009, the race track will be out of use as the Motta Naluns gondola lift gets a complete renovation. But until October, when 2008’s season comes to an end, you can test yourself on this legendary race course.

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