After two days of zipping through the forest, navigating through boulder fields, struggling up steep climbs and ascending near-vertical rock slabs, Spaniard Faustino Marin took top spot at the Western Canadian Championship Trials event in Revelstoke on the weekend.
“It was an amazing event. I’m really happy because it’s an amazing place to ride,” he said. “The sections were really good.”
Marin finished the two-day event with a score of 50, beating out Kelowna’s Brandon Wince and Australia’s Sam King to take the victory in the Champ category – the highest of four divisions at the event.
Trials is a dirt biking event where riders must navigate through numerous challenging obstacles laid out along a course. The event was brand new to Revelstoke, and the course was set up by “Outlaw” Dave Rhodes, who runs Outlaw Trialsport in Vernon.
“It couldn’t have gone on better,” he said.
The course took advantage of the Revy Riders network of trails in the Frisby Ridge area, along with three old quarries where the majority of technical sections were located. The road-side quarries made for easy spectating.
“The spectators were amazing,” said Rhodes. “We really set this up as a spectator event. I don’t know how many, but cars were lined up along the road with people watching.”
37 riders in four different levels took to the course on both days of the weekend. They each had to complete three laps of the course on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, they had to contend with a wet and slippery conditions that challenged even the best riders. Things dried up on Sunday to make life easier.
“The level for the first day was really tight because it was a little bit wet,” said Marin. “When it’s wet, it’s really slippery. today was a little bit easier, but you can make mistakes. When you make mistakes you are done.”
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The course was set up so different skill levels had different obstacles to navigate. For example, in one of the most spectacular sections, the champ riders had to scale a 5-metre high, steep boulder, with almost no run up to get to speed. Meanwhile, the expert and advanced riders took an easier line to the side of the boulder, while intermediate and junior riders had an alternate route nearby.
Their goal was to make it over without putting a foot down. Each time you put a foot down, you got a point, and if you crashed, it was five points. The rider with the fewest points won.
Marin scored 34 points on day one and only 16 on day two – including a near flawless third lap – for the win. Wince was third with 42 points on day one, but he only recorded 25 points on day two to move up into second. King recorded 41 points on day one and 43 on day two for a third place finish.
“A couple big rocks in the big quarry were a bit nervewracking but I was able to get through,” said Wince, who showed that the Canadians could keep up with the international pros.
Stan Bakgaard won the expert division, Chris Tronnes the advanced division, Brett Clark took intermediate division, and Harold Pospisil won junior division.
Overall, the event was praised by riders, while organizers were impressed by how well things went off, particularly as a number of volunteers were required to score the competitors.
“I thought it was fantastic,” said Florian Schott of the Revy Riders. “It went off better than we had planned in terms of community involvement and the riding that happened. I was really impressed with the riding that came to town.”
Will it back next year? “Ask me again in two weeks,” replied Rhodes.