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
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!
Kailey Skelton Calms her Nerves to the Podium was last modified: May 24th, 2021 by Flick