Race number three for the Tuf Rack Ontario Cup Downhill Series went down last weekend at the beautiful Horseshoe Resort. This was the series’ second stop at Horseshoe Resort this year and the venue continues to be a favorite among the riders. Small time gaps between riders are the norm here, which makes watching and participating in the event very exciting.
The course for this weekend did not disappoint. A last minute course change meant that the expected “Tuf Enuff” course from previous years would not be used. Instead the popular bike park trail “Fast Track” would host the event. This meant less traversing, less hiking, and more practice runs for racers; changes that were welcome by all.
At the top of the course riders were faced with a couple tight switch backs, followed by a series of high-speed bridge sections forcing the riders to sprint nearly the entire first quarter of their run before a tricky short wooded section. From there the trail led to a nifty step down to step up section that was a popular location among riders and photographers allowing for some big whips and overall good times.
Immediately after the step up riders found themselves back in the woods at high speed entering a series of “smashable” berms and high-speed off-camber sections. The wooded section ended with an optional triple jump that was the topic of debate among riders all weekend. Whether it was faster to hit the jump or not seemed to be a matter of rider preference. Do you jump and hope for a smooth landing or do you keep the tires on the ground and sprint by on the left? At the end of the day the answer was still not clear.
What was clear though, was that times were closer than ever with winning times across most categories being within about 8 seconds of the fastest time of the day.
Josh Toohill was the man who would post fastest time of the day winning Sr. Elite with an amazing time, followed by Mike Hermanovsky by a slim .09 seconds. Third was current series leader Taylor Rowlands, and rounding out the podium was Ken Brake and Joe Jenkins in fourth and fifth respectively.
“Sum up the race in one word?… FAST! Tuf Rack and Horseshoe put together a track with high speeds and some creative (b) line choices. Sprinkle that with loose horseshoe dirt and you’re in for a good time. The key to laying down a good time was carrying your speed. Sneaky pedal strokes and scrubs were the name of the game. Taking my first elite win feels so good! It’s been on my to-do list for quite some time. Stoked!” – Josh Toohill | Silent Norco Racing
The girls had a strong showing this weekend with Arianna Vegter taking the win by a solid two seconds over second place Paula Drozdzal and third place Diane McCullagh.
“Horseshoe always delivers a great event, but being able to race a different track than in previous years was a real treat! The track was fast, and had great flow, resulting in some very close times. I was stoked to pull together a fairly clean run and take the win! Even more stoked on seeing new ladies out and killing it! All in all, great weekend, I’m still smiling!” – Arianna Vegter | Sweet Pete’s / Primary Racing
We had a few new faces join us for the race this weekend. One of which was Meagan Broughton. We recently featured Meagan in an interview about her popular ladies downhill clinics with Blue Mountain.
“Advice from the TUF Rack crew on the importance of a course walk, eavesdropping in the lift corral for secret lines, and realizing that even the pro’s get nervous all added to a massive learning curve this weekend at my first DH O-Cup. The scene is so welcoming, one I will return to for sure. A huge thanks for all the wise words of wisdom I received.” – Meagan Broughton
Other notables from the weekend include the domination of the enduro bikes in Sr. Expert that helped Tyler Pratt take the win over Nick Outram who was also on a lower-travel sled. Brandon McQuaid took home third place. The Senior Sport category saw arguably the closest battle for the podium. Jeff Sevenson blew the rest of the field away by two seconds to take the win, but the time gap between Brock Reinhart in second, Stephen Hayes in third and Quinn Wigle in fourth was less than two tenths of a second.
Tuf Rack’s now infamous 16” bike race went down Saturday night before the downhill finals on Sunday. Colin MacIntosh proved once again that he is nearly unstoppable on a child’s bike taking the win in what was probably one of the most intense 16” race finales we’ve ever seen. Kaleb Hellreichtook second and Jordan Anderson took third.
Here are a few images from the great weekend of racing at Horseshoe Resort.
Watch the 16” Finale:
The next race for the Tuf Rack Downhill Series is the series finale and Provincials at Sir Sam’s Ski & Bike in Haliburton Ontario. With the titles of Provincial Champion and O-Cup Overall Champion on the line, this event promises to have racing even more exciting than this one.