Words & Photos: Pivot Factory DH Team
Whistler and Crankworx are an iconic duo, the final stop in the Crankworx World Tour in Whistler is the biggest, busiest, and most exciting stop of the year. A frantic week trying to squeeze in as much riding, racing and socializing as possible.
Air DH kicked off the racing at Crankworx for the team, flying down the most famous trail in the world; A-line is 4 minutes of jumps, drops, and berms - always special. Riding such a fun trail, jumping high, and adding in some style is fun but not fast, at race speed the key to a fast time is keeping the air time low, big scrubs and pedaling hard is the aim of the game.
Bernard always goes fast at Air DH with his jumping and scrubbing skills serving him well, dropping into the famous trail and keep the bike super low on all of the jumps and getting more sideways than any other racer was an impressive combination of style and speed. Sprinting across the finish line into the village Bernard posted the 17th fastest time. Unfortunately, no hot seat for Bernard but with very poor air quality from nearby forest fires he was struggling to breathe and put enough power through the pedals, but happy to put a show on for all the fans.
After a few days rest and recovery after a fantastic EWS, Eddie was ready to race again. Opting to use the same bike he piloted to 3rd in the enduro, Eddie was up to speed after a few training runs knowing where to avoid holes, where to pedal, and where to tuck.
A fast run and a strong pedal put Eddie into 12th and his fastest ever Air DH time!
Whip-off always brings huge crowds onto the mountain to watch the worlds most stylish riders showcase their skills.
Competing on the biggest jumps in whistler, Crabapple hits gives the riders plenty of air time to show off. Bernard was getting energy from the crowds pushing him to get more and more sideways each jump. Flying past 90 degrees with a huge whip Bernard couldn't quite get it back in and landed blowing the tyre off but riding out the wild jump!
Meanwhile, Eddie was having a blast coming down run after run in huge trains with the other riders. After the initial jam format and a speedy puncture repair on Bernard’s bike he made it into the final 20 riders. Bernard’s whips were pleasing the crowds but not quite enough for the judges and a top 3.
With Bernard and Eddie scoring a first and second at the last slalom race in Les Gets hopes were high of a similar performance in Whistler. The track ran down through the ‘Bone Yard’ weaving its way through the huge slope style course over smooth and fast jumps, rollers and berms.
The guys were looking fast in practice finding the rhythm of the course, figuring out where to pump for speed and where to jump. A round of qualification cuts the numbers to 32 for the head to head battles, Bernard qualified strongly with a 3rd and 7th fastest time on the left and right courses respectively. Eddie put a good run down right hand course for 10th fastest time but a small mistake on the lower half saw him miss a gate. In previous competitions riders were allowed a 3rd qualifying run to improve their time, however due to time constraints at Crankworx riders were not give this and disappointingly Eddie was out before the first rounds.
Bernard cleared the first few rounds with ease, pumping the corners and jumps to progress into the quarter final. With the right-hand lane running between 1 to 1.5 seconds faster than the left lane the winner of each rounds came down to time differences. With Bernard up by 0.7 seconds after running on the right lane it was anyone to win. A small mistake on one of the dusty tight corners and Bernard visibly lost time on his opponent. Missing out on a place in the last four by less than one second.
Canadian Open DH
The classic at course at Whistler has hosted the Canadian Open the last 10 years, each year getting rougher, rockier and tougher on both bikes and riders. With another dry summer the track was covered by a fine layer of dust making the bone-dry rock slippery and unpredictable. Both Eddie and Bernard were enjoying practice on the track and working hard to get up to speed.
With no qualification at Crankworx events, it was straight into racing. Bernard came into view of a packed finish arena looking fast and smooth on the final jumps and corners, crossing the line into 7th. He was frustrated to have played it too safe on the top half of the track and eventually finished in 12th.
Both Eddie and Bernard were on the live TV feed and Eddie put on a show for the fans. With an expected loose and wild run, we saw Eddie gapping and jumping the gnarliest rock steps through the steep, rocky forest. Pedaling at every possible opportunity in the open bottom section Eddie whizzed across the line into 2nd! A spell in the hot seat as the final riders dropped in saw him finish in a very good 6th and carrying his downhill form from the race in Andorra despite swapping onto the trail bike for over a month and claiming some podium finishes in the EWS.
Whistler never fails to disappoint and this year was no exception. With the best riding, amazing company, and exciting racing the team are already counting down the days until next year.