Quirin Ilmer won the first ever King's Gate yesterday in a final featuring a spectacular collision between Zak Maytum and Aaron Hampshire at the fastest part of the track. In Women's, Emily Pross proved that even a broken toe couldn't slow her down, while Lyde Begue and Paloma Dorado were impressively quick in taking the other two podium spots in a strong women's field.
Quirin's path to the top spot featured a share of luck; in the quarter-finals he was first out from the push but then received an unintentional shove in the back in the first corner that took him way off line and allowed all three riders to overtake. Despite that he battled back to third place across the finish line, and a successful protest converted that to second place, and a spot in the semis.
The final was a classic. Coloradans Zak Maytum and Aaron Hampshire led out and were side-by-side going into the critical King's Gate section of the track; a high-speed chicane with only one line, and no room for side-by-side riding. Neither rider backed off; both started their slide at the same time, and the inevitable happened - they tangled up and were sent sprawling into the hay. Quirin miraculously threaded his way through the carnage, but Tristan Cardillo wasn't so lucky and also hit the hay. In the ensuing confusion, Aaron Hampshire recovered fastest, then Tristan, while Zak struggled to find his board.
The Juniors was dominated by Tristan Cardillo of Switzerland, who easily won all his heats. He seriously threatened in Opens as well, qualifying 5th fastest and taking out 3rd. Taylor Cook of New Zealand took 2nd in Juniors and had a long ride in the Opens, battling through the repechage to take the 64th spot in the finals, where he made it through to the quarter finals.
Mikel Echagaray Diez won every heat with ease to take the Luge prize, while Abdil Mahdzan placed second and Will Stephenson recovered from poor form during qualification to take third.