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
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!
Winning is Costa Rica was last modified: April 14th, 2021 by Flick