It was a hazy morning at the Laguna Downhill as a thin layer of clouds kept the pavement at optimal temperature for racing. Riders showed up just before noon for practice, qualifying, and racing.
Practice saw riders testing their limits and seeing how fast they could entry the first turn and what line they wanted to take through the lumpy pavement of the last turn. With corner speeds close to 50mph, lines and body positioning had big effects over average speed.
This is a unique IDF event, as a separated non-IDF amateur class is held in the morning to encourage participation. Many riders selected the amateur class for the opportunity to get more rounds of riding instead of the possibility of being eliminated in the first round of racing. This cut the open class down to 26 of the best riders. While the WQS rider field was small, the bracket would be competitive from the start as the heats will be stacked with talented riders.
Following practice, two rounds of ‘Race to Qualify’ were sent down the hill to seed the riders into the bracket. Jimmy Riha, Carlos Paixao, Oscar Gutierrez and Dillon Stephens once again asserted themselves as the favorites by winning both of their qualifying rounds.
With the brackets set, first round heats lined up. Racing started smoothly as there weren’t any upsets as the top seeded riders advanced.
With the quarterfinals set, heats were getting tight. Carlos was the only rider who was able to pull away from the pack. He had the first corner more dialed and was entering and exiting the first corner with more speed then any of his competitors. All the heats had clean racing with minimal crashes. Unfortunately event Organizer, Gerado Moreno, dislocated his shoulder on the push during the quarterfinals.
Tension was building as the semifinals headed to the top of the hill. The first semifinal heat saw Dillon Stephens kicking out in front of Jimmy Riha followed by Sebastian Aguila and Marco Palafox. Dillon scrubbed a little too much speed on the entry of the first corner and was overtaken by Jimmy on the exit. Jimmy and Dillon were able to hold the gap and advance to the finals.
The second semi-final saw Brazilian riders, Carlos and Andrez meet up with local favorites, Miguel Azanza and Oscar Gutierrez. Carlos was once again able to separate and a battle for second between Andrez and Oscar came down to the final straightaway. Oscar was directly behind Andrez entering the last corner but Andrez was able to perfect his exits speed through the lumpy final corner to fend Oscar off and advance to the finals with Carlos.
The consolation final was a battle for the right to be the fastest Mexican rider at the Laguna DH. Sebastian Aguila, Marco Palafox, Oscar Gutierreez, and Miguel Azanza lined up to decide 5th-8th. Oscar Gutierreez was able to hold the lead and take 5th followed by Miquel Azanza 6th, Marco Palafox 7th, and Sebastian Aguila 8th.
The final was next on the line. Carlos Paixao won the kick followed by Dillon Stephens, Jimmy Riha and Andrez Krob. Andrez was able to draft Jimmy into 3rd place behind Dillon coming into the first corner. Carlos did minimal breaking and entered the first turn at a pace where he was once again able to create space from the pursuing pack. Dillon scrubbed too much speed and was passed by Andrez and Jimmy before the second turn. Carlos didn’t make any mistakes and held on to the lead to take victory with Andrez Krob 2rd, Jimmy Riha 3th, and Dillon Stephens 4th.
The Luge Class had 5 participate as Chris McBride dominated his way to victory. Local, Fernando Vega was able to take 2nd with Oscar Perez 3rd. Fabian Gutierrez Roa was battling with Fernando but washed out as Fernando made a pass on the inside of the second to last turn.
Women Class saw Valeria Figueroa take a comfortable 1st with Gloria Gutierrez 2nd, and Sylvia Mena Cortes 3rd. Valeria is generally known for her stylish freeride but showed the skills transfer over to racing as she took fast lines all weekend.
In Juniors, Martin Gallegos, took victory over Angel Casillas. Martin gained valuable race experience from participating in the open class as well. He advanced to the quarter finals before being eliminated. Be on the look out next year as he could be a contender.
Special thanks to Tree Skateboarding and Gerado Moreno for organizing a smooth event and the town of Atoyac, Mexico for hosting and supporting the Downhill Racing Community.