Racing resumed this weekend for the team up in Tamarack, Idaho for round three of the Northwest Cup. It would be Kailey Skelton who would be holding it down for the pro women’s Downhill category. With Steven and Nik still over in Europe awaiting World Cup round two and Luke Whitlock is still finishing up film projects in Virgin, Utah.
This would be Kailey’s second time at this venue; she would complete a track walk Thursday which would entail a steep dusty loose track with lots of technical drops corners and tree sections that the Idaho mountains would create for this weekend’s race. Being a dry track Kailey was very familiar with these types of conditions which would play in her favor for Sunday’s finals.
Friday’s practice started off early morning and would go till 1 PM which would give plenty of time for Kailey to get up to speed and dial her lines in. With Kailey being solo at her first regional race in her career she had a lot of pressure on herself and would have to really tackle the course with her own set of skills without having the backing of Nik & Steven to trade questions and bounce ideas off each other. Friday’s practice went very well, a lot of confidence was gained on Kaileys part and would help out going into Saturday’s qualification.
Qualification would be going off Saturday late afternoon Kailey would be up against some tough competition. The ladies that she was competing against are some of the best known racers in America. Kailey would fire out the gate and start heading towards the finish line on a great qualification run until about midway when she had a slip up and accidentally would wash the front and run into a tree. Luckily Kailey was OK and got right back up on her bike, straightened her handlebars out and continued on her qualification run. Even with a mishap crash Kailey unbelievably would still be able to qualify in the number one spot going into Sunday’s finals.
After the qualification Kailey would have to do some simple bike work to straighten out her handlebars and make sure her bike was running properly going into Sunday’s finals. Kailey knew if she could just keep two wheels up and stay off the ground she had a very good chance at winning this race! Sunday morning would Intel for each rider’s final race run and only one sighting lap would be allowed for each rider. Kailey took her sighting lap really slow and steady to make sure that all her lines were staying consistent and nothing drastically would be changing on the track.
Kailey would come out of the start gate on her final run with lots of confidence and pressure on herself to win the race. She was on an amazing run all the way through start to finish. Kailey stated “it was the best run all week for myself, everything came together and I stayed on my bike” with that being said Kailey crossed the line over 15 seconds up on the competition having a fabulous weekend and the overall win being hers! She had a blast racing the Tamarack track and gained oodles of confidence going into her next race which would be U.S National championships in Winter Park, Colorado only two weeks away! The entire team Pits and Racers will all join back together at the U.S National Championships here very soon. We are all very excited to have a shot at winning the National title in the men’s and women’s downhill category! See everyone back between the tape in the next two weeks!
Winning at Tamarack Resort was last modified: June 28th, 2021 by Flick
Being one of the most pristine races that gathers all disciplines of mountain biking under one event was held this past weekend in Innsbruck Austria! The team would be competing against the best top riders in the world in Sunday’s Downhill Finals.
They would begin their journey with Thursday’s track walk which would be showcasing in the Austrian Alps with heavy vegetation, lots of roots and a big challenge ahead to memorize, calculate and get the best lines down to put in there one shot on Sunday to grab a solid result.
Friday would be day one of training which would consist of a dry track with over 200 Pro Downhill men fighting to get the top spot. With ever so many people including amateur racers going down the track every day the conditions were changing drastically every run for team athletes Steven and Nik. They would continue their training and practice into Saturday which did not hold a qualifying session being a Crankworx event they do not have qualifying and everyone is able to compete in Sunday’s final race.
The athletes were really feeling up to speed and enjoying the nice weather that the venue was giving out. It was mostly sunny every day except for a few quick thunderstorms that rolled in late PM hours. These mountain areas which are known for quick rain storms only made the track conditions better and kept the dust down with so many riders on the mountain practicing day in and day out.
Sunday’s finals came quick with only a couple practice runs to get up to speed and get the blood flowing before their final race run of the weekend. Both Steven and Nik we’re looking forward to the challenge and would put in their best to get the job done. Steven would have a few bobbles and wasn’t on his best form unfortunately would cross the line in 62nd place. Words from Steven “I guess I was just off the pace today. Not stoked on it but I don’t have any big excuses for my race run, I just straight up got my ass kicked today not stoked about it”
Nik would take off with a blazing run and would also fall short with a place of 49th. Needless to say this track was very short and times were very tight. Both racers are not super impressed with the results and will continue training efforts with an off week before round two of the World Cup series in France. Racing is always tough and the goal is always to win and get up on that podium. The athletes have been training super hard and will be brushing this event off and looking forward to another shot at getting that solid result! The team would like to thank everyone who has dedicated their time, effort and energy to always supporting us and giving the team the best shot at winning! See everyone in a few weeks in France!
Photos by: Sebastian Sternemann
Crankworx, Austria was last modified: June 22nd, 2021 by Flick
It’s the most exciting part of the year with World Cup racing beginning in Leogang, Austria! It would be Steven Walton & Nik Nestoroff who would be making the European trip to compete at the highest level of racing. They would be flying from Los Angeles, California all the way into Munich, Germany to race. A lot of pre-trip planning and documentation would go into this trip to make it as safe as possible and following the CDC guidelines. Nik and Steven would be showing up one week in advance before the first round. To dial in their KHS Downhill bikes and get their feet underneath them with time changes, jet lag, language adjustments and do some overall testing to adjust to the European Alps.
They would need a place for all this testing to happen, it would be in Schladming, Austria just down the road from the actual race venue to complete some of their crucial testing and get them up to speed and rolling at top-notch levels! The KHS athletes had sunshine and a great few days of riding some of the best DH track in the world. After testing was completed and the athletes were feeling up to pace they would move onto Wednesday’s track walk which was a crucial day for nNik and Steven to get a look at the track that they were going to have to compete on Saturdays finals. The track walk weather was very good with sunshine and clear skies everyone was very excited for day one training which would be Thursday!
Thursday would be a training day only to get everyone up to speed, but with Thursday’s training day came some horrific thunderstorms that would produce over two inches of rain and would completely switch from the dry conditions that track walk had to full mud tires, tear offs and rain gear just to get down the track. It was a very tactical task just to complete a total of five runs for both Nik and Steven and accomplish line selections and overall get the track down and memorized going into Friday’s qualification day.
Friday’s qualification day would come with training and practice just before qualifying once again the rain came down that evening which would play a consistent part in keeping the track very tricky and slick. All the athletes would be on their toes and struggle to just keep the bike up off the ground. Qualification would get underway, it would definitely be a track that would be hard to keep consistent on. It was a tough day on the hill for many with some of the most talented riders not qualifying along with a massive bummer for Steven Walton who would crash midway on the track and would not qualify for Sunday’s finals. With that burden of the news there would come positivity with Nik Nestoroff making it into the finals and would be on the hunt for Sunday’s finals.
Sunday’s finals came very quickly and the ever-changing track would be drying out and the weather in the Austrian Alps would be sunshine and blue sky‘s for the finals! With that said with the track conditions being so wet the track was becoming very blown out and you had to stay very focused on your lines with the track literally changing every run for each rider. Nik would be roughly starting at 2pm and would put massive pressure on himself to perform and do his best. Nik would have a blistering run with very minimal mistakes which was basically impossible for anyone to have a clean run on this type of track and its conditions that were presented. Nik would cross the line with the top 50 result with the best downhill athletes in the world. It was definitely a battle from the first day and goals were met and we were walking away with healthy riders going into next week’s race in Innsbruck Austria for the first round of the crankworx series.
Both Steven and Nik learned a lot from this first World Cup race and would continue to better themselves going into next week’s race. I believe we achieved a lot of data and confidence getting the first round under the teams belt and will only progress from here. Once again we want to thank all our fans, family, friends and ever dedicated sponsors that provide us with all the immaculate tools to compete at this level of racing and make dreams come true. The team will be heading on a short trip to the other side of Austria to prepare themselves for the first Crankwox event of the year! Both Nik and Steven will be completing in Downhill only and will be once again on the hunt to better themselves and get that podium result the team has been working so hard for! See you next weekend for once again some of the most action packed and highest level of racing for 2021!
World Cup Racing Starts in Leogang, Austria was last modified: June 22nd, 2021 by Flick