Gravity Fest 2018: Tight Qualifying, Tight Racing

After seeing the qualifying results on Saturday it was evident that race day would consist of some tight riding and potentially some discrepancies. Needless to say, that’s exactly what we saw at Gravity Fest. The day kicked off early with two practice runs then straight to Open racing. B bracket, Luge, Women, and Junior heats filled in throughout the day.

 

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Norman Plante keeps his eyes on the start before kicking off into heat one.

 

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Kolby Parks one thumb up.

 

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A tight pack of luge riders take a practice run before race heats begin.

 

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Justin Rolo from Colorado leads a pack in one of the early heats.

 

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Niko Desmarais keeps it old school with his Landingham helmet.

 

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Tim Koch leads a pack smokin' hot into crash corner.

 

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Nick Broms moments before crashing in the Semi Final heat.

 

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Thiago Lessa glares down the line before taking the win.

 

The IDF has recently indicted a rule for all riders that make it to the Open semis to wear a GoPro on their helmet to help capture any evidence for discrepancies as well as record radical footage.

Below are a few of the contestations that we faced in the later race heats during the day. Each of these were solved through evident GoPro footage, rider feedback, additional cameras, and a strong sense of the rule book and past contestations.

 

Pross V. Engel (Open Final)

Daniel Engel filed a contestation against Emily Pross for a crash that occurred during the Final heat- see below video. Engel had the right of way into the corner as he was leading, however, Pross collided into him from behind causing a crash. As Engel was in 2nd place while the crash occurred he was filing for rule 6.11.3 Protective Position to apply so that he would hold his 2nd place position. The Protective Position rule applies to either the 400 meters before the finish line or the last corner and, in this case, the last corner was defined by officials as the final left bend after crash corner. The Protective Position rule did not apply and Engels's 3rd place finish held.

 

Banks V. Kiefer (Open Semi Final)

Daina Banks filed a contestation against Edward Kiefer for a crash that occurred during the Semi Final heat. During the crash Kiefer made a pass on Banks which resulted in a collision and both riders crashing. The pass occurred in 'crash corner' and from GoPro evidence it appears that Kiefer made the pass and completely cleared Banks prior to the collision which would abide by rule 7.4 Passing. The results held and Edward moved onto the Final heat.

 

Williams V. Kamink (Luge Final)

Frank Williams filed a contestation again Nicholas Kamink for a crash that occured during the Final heat for Luge. The crash was similar to the above case of Banks V. Kiefer as it occurred during a collision leading into Crash Corner. Kamink attempted a pass on Williams which resulted in contact and Williams rode into the bails. From reviewing GoPro footage the attempt to a pass by Kamink did not follow rule 7.4 Passing and he collided with Williams prior to completely clearing him. Kamink had finished 3rd in the heat but due to this obstruction of rules the finishing results were changed and Williams was moved to 3rd and Kamink to 4th.

 

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In the Open division Thiago Lessa continues to dominate the field with his 5th world circuit race win this year. Followed by Thiago was Edward Kiefer (2016 Junior World Champion) and, despite not racing for a year, he is currently in the lead for North American continental points. Daniel Engel rounded out the podium after a slight mix up with Emily Pross.

 

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Open Podium - Gravity Fest 2018

 

Open Top 5 Results:

  1. Thiago Lessa
  2. Edward Kiefer
  3. Daniel Engel
  4. Emily Pross
  5. Daina Banks

 

In the Luge division Tim Koch came out on top ahead of current #1 world ranked Kolby Parks. Both riders were some of the most well acquainted with the hill as they have been racing this course for over 10 years.

 

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Tim Koch and Kolby Parks after podium at Gravity Fest 2008. They both had a bit more hair on their heads.

 

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Luge Podium - Gravity Fest 2018

 

Luge Top 5 Results:

  1. Tim Koch
  2. Kolby Parks
  3. Frank Williams
  4. Nicholas Kamink
  5. David Eberhard

 

In the Juniors division Nick Broms took the W after setting the track record the previous day during qualifying. Nick is continuing to dominate the juniors but it may take some additional race experience before he can come on top in Open. Rounding out Juniors was Matthew Antrum and Jacsen Kutik (both new names to racing the circuit).

 

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Junior Podium - Gravity Fest 2018

 

Junior Top 3 Results:

  1. Nick Broms
  2. Matthew Antrum
  3. Jacsen Kutik

 

In the Womens division current #1 world ranked Emily Pross dominated (or should I say prossecuted) the field and took first. Following Emily was Cassandra Duchesne from Quebec and Ashley Winecoff. We're excited to see these three ladies again next weekend at Killington WC for a rematch.

 

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Women Podium - Gravity Fest 2018

 

Women Top 3 Results:

  1. Emily Pross
  2. Cassandra Duchesne
  3. Ashley Winecoff

 

The Masters division was full of long time legends that are still racing competitively. Niko Desmarais took the top spot followed by East Coast veteran Sean Graves and Pascal 'Rookie' Jean. Each of these guys has been traveling to races along the East Coast for over 10 years.

 

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Masters Podium - Gravity Fest 2018

 

Masters Top 3 Results:

  1. Niko Desmarais
  2. Sean Graves
  3. 'Rookie' Pascal Jean

 

This completes two out of the three races out of the North America circuit. Next weekend we're moving to Vermont for Killington WC. The upcoming race will determine the continental champion and we will likely see some point shifts in the world rankings.

 

Big ups to Emgee Events, Mike Girard, and the Munnsville American Legion Post #54 for the splendid race. Catch y'all next weekend.

 

Photos by Khaleeq Alfred - give him a follow.