The Pacific Northwest always has provided some of the best tracks in the Nation particularly the one on Dry Hill in Port Angeles, Washington where the notorious under world cup race event happens every year. This Northwest cup race will bring the best racers from East and West coast areas also including some of the best downhill racers from the borders of Canada to all come together and compete against each other for the top spot.
With Steven Walton staying back home to finish up some suspension testing it was up to Kailey Skelton and Nik Nestoroff to hold it down for the team in the PNW. The team would arrive Wednesday in Seattle to make their four hour journey North to Port Angeles. The official first day was Thursday with only track walk and sightseeing of the course.
After track walk both athletes were very excited to gear up for Friday’s practice session. After seeing the awesome well maintained track with tricky sections, lots of cornering, steep sections and roots to deal with, they were up for the challenging conditions.
Friday’s practice went very well for both Nik and Kailey; they adapted to the track very well and to their benefit they have raced this track for many years at past events. With that said they were getting up to speed very quickly and making very little changes to the bikes and they’re set ups.
Qualifying day came very quick and they were excited to throw down a hot lap to see where they would stand up against the competition. First they had a great three runs of practice before a late evening 5 PM qualifying session which would seat Kailey in 2nd and Nik in 6th.
With Sunday came the Downhill final event for the team they were gunning for top spots and podium positions both in the professional men and women’s Downhill category. Kailey Skelton would come across the line in an overall position of second place with a very solid run! Kailey stated “I struggled with confidence on this track all weekend and I was super grateful to walk away in second place” Kailey has put in the hard work and her consistent podiums have definitely been shining throughout the 2021 season. In the men’s category it was Nik Nestoroff who would stick in a consistent six place overall just one position off the podium. For the pro men’s category times were very tight with Nik only being five seconds off the winner of Charlie Harrison.
The team’s overall performance was awesome throughout the weekend and showed that we can compete with the best no matter what track destinations we end up at. The team is always striving for the top spot and will continuously be our goal throughout the season!
Now with a three week break the team will refocus and get some good training and testing in before the first Downhill UCI World Cup event happening in Leogang, Austria quickly followed up with next week’s crankworx, Innsbruck event also happening in Austria!
It would be Steven Walton Kailey Skelton and Nik Nestoroff competing in Saturday’s Enduro and also Sunday’s final downhill race. Fontana has produced some of the best Enduro and Downhill racers in America and continues to do so. Saturday would fire off with Enduro racing with three complete stages the team would have to really focus in and stay consistent throughout each stage.
Kailey Skelton would have some tough competition. She was leading stage one and two but with some minimal mistakes on stage III she would end up second place overall in Saturday’s final pro Women’s and Enduro category.
As far as the pro men’s Enduro category goes it would be a battle between teammates Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton would be battling each other throughout all three stages to see who would come out on top. After stage one it was Nik Nestoroff leading the pro men’s category with a super blazing time. They would have to transfer over the Southern California mountains to stage two which Steven Walton would throw down a blistering time to win stage 2.
It was very intense coming into the final stage with time so close and basically whoever won stage III would win the overall Enduro Pro men’s category for the day. After it was all said and done Nik Nestoroff would take the win in the pro men’s Enduro category. After combining all three stage times it would only be a three second difference between Nick in first place and Steven in second place.
Sundays Downhill finals started off with great practice for Steven Walton and Kailey Skelton. Nik Nestoroff would be on the sidelines due to Mother’s Day and his big win and the enduro category. The track was very technical and fast and the two KHS athletes were really enjoying the final Fontana course. In fashion it would be Kailey Skelton who takes the big win in the professional women’s Downhill category and to top the day off it would be Steven Walton who would come down with a blistering time to beat some of the top factory athletes to take the win!
It was awesome to see a KHS Bicycles take both wins in the Downhill category on the same day. History was made with both professional men and women taking top spots and continuing the teams domination of the Fontana Winter series.
The team has made it down South to Costa Rica for their first international race of the 2021 season! They would be competing against the highest level of South American athletes as well as contenders like Charlie Harrison Neko Mullally and Dakota Norton.
It was a big international flight all the way from LAX down to Costa Rica and then another three hours to the venue. The team arrive Tuesday to acclimate themselves and prep their bikes gear for the future weekend.
Wednesday was the official UCI downhill track walk and the course had a lot of great obstacles, jumps, high speed sections and overall an exciting track to be racing on Sundays finals. The team really enjoyed the track walk and was excited for Thursdays training session.
Thursday was an excellent day of training and practice for the team conditions could not have been better and they were really enjoying the track and the atmosphere down South. Conditions presented as dry loamy dirt that the team was very used to riding back home with similar conditions.
Friday came quick with another day of training and practice the team was really getting up to speed on the track, but as soon as they woke up Friday morning it had rained over 3 inches and it was going to be a whole new ball game with the wet and slippery conditions. All three team members were prepped and ready to get muddy on the slip wet jungle track. With such wet conditions they were only able to get three runs per rider which really wasn’t enough time on the changing track conditions. The athlete stated it was very slippery and it was almost impossible to stay up on their bikes.
Saturday was qualifying day for the team and the track was still getting pounded down by 3 to 4 inches of rain per evening. It was difficult for the local shuttle system to get all the racers and riders up to the top. After qualifying was wrapped up it was Kailey Skelton who qualified with the top three and Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton would qualify in the top 13 with both of them sliding out in their qualifying race run.
They were very excited for Sunday’s finals also they where more excited about the weather because it was supposed to rain a lot less and they would have a better chance at staying on their bikes. All three athletes knew that they could do much better in the final race run if they could just keep their bikes upright and not slip out in the wet conditions for their final race run.
It was time for their final race run and they are very excited to lay one down to try and win the race. It was Nik Nestoroff who came across the line in 6th place for the pro men’s category. Steven Walton would have a great run putting him in 4th place overall. And it would be Kailey Skelton who would claim the victory and when the overall Costa Rican open downhill race for the 2021 season in the female pro category. All the athletes were very pleased with the results since the track was still very slippery and wet conditions that made it very difficult to ride.
The team and athletes always want to thank all their fans, family and sponsors for all the continuous help and support throughout the season they are very grateful to be traveling around the world and racing bikes with some of the best athletes in the world till next time we’ll see you at the races soon!
The first race of the year was held in Oak Ridge Tennessee at the Windrock bike park. The fastest racers in America were all there to compete for the number one spot. Our team definitely had our work cut out for them also along with some continuous changing track conditions.
The team started off Wednesday with pit set up, bike set up and the official track walk. All the athletes were very excited after track walk to get going with practice Thursday they all stated that the track was very high speed and had a lot of great obstacles that would favor them in the finals.
The first day of practice was Thursday and the track was beyond its normal dry conditions. Being in Tennessee it is usually known for its wet muddy conditions but Thursday’s practice was dust ball city and very unfamiliar for some of the locals and the true nature of the normal track conditions. The team members each put in about seven laps each to get their bike set up and tire choice. They were all feeling very good and excited for qualifying Friday morning.
Qualifying day was upon us and also was the weather it had in store some rain for the afternoon which was right when pro men’s qualifying would be going off. First qualify on the day was Kailey Skelton and she had a great unchanged track with the same dry conditions she rode on Thursday’s practice. Kaylie managed to qualify in the top spot and she was feeling very good on her bike going into the finals Saturday. For the elite men’s qualifying Steven Walton would be dropping almost 30 minutes before Nik Nestoroff due to Windrocks format. Steven was able to come down the race track with a very fast run to qualify him fifth place. Unfortunately for Nik he came down much later and the rain had started to come down which made for a slippery track he did his best and would qualify 12th. All the team members were very excited for the finals Saturday!
Finals day came very quickly for the team they had an excellent practice session in the early morning and then had to wait around for almost 6 hours for their final runs while the other competitors were doing their race runs. Finally it was about 3PM when Kailey dropped into a race run and was on her way for the win. Some of her nerves got to her mid race run and she fell off course to make a pretty big mistake, but was able to finish strong and come in second place with only 1.5 seconds off of first. She was very happy to be on the podium. And healthy going into the 2021 season.
Around 4PM Nik would be dropping into his final race run with great weather and track conditions for all the elite men. Nik stated he had a very average run and wanted to push harder after it was all said and done but was still very happy to come in fifth place and on the podium with only 3.8 seconds off the win! 4:30PM Steven would drop into his final race run and have a blistering amazing run to put him third place in front of riders like Aaron Gwin and only 1.5 seconds off the win!
After a great day of racing the team was ecstatic and very happy to be able to get up on the podium with the fastest Americans present. History was also made by the team at Windrock bike park with two elite men pros getting up on the podium along with Kailey getting second in the Pro women’s category with a total of 3 KHS athletes on the podium.
With all that great success the team still had racing to do for the pro elite men’s category in Enduro. Nik Nestoroff would be holding it down for Sunday’s Enduro finals. Nik had absolutely zero practice on these courses and would be going into a three stage format completely blind. His goal was to accumulate EWS points! After three grueling stages Nick was able to grab a top 10 with some of the best Enduro riders in America and also capitalize on getting EWS points.
The team will be heading back out West to compete in the Fontana Winter series and continue their testing and training for the next big national round. Also the team wants to thank all their fans and sponsors for the continuous support. We all greatly appreciate your time and energy that gets us to the top of the podium.