21 Jul 2017
DFT United Race Report - NW Cup #5 - Kellogg, Idaho
With racing season in full swing, it was time to head back to Silver Mountain in the historic mining town of Kellogg, Idaho for round 5 of the NW Cup. This would be the first time the full team would be back together since Round 2 at Port Angeles in May. After coming off a stellar weekend two weeks prior at Silver Mountain, the team was looking to build upon their top-5 finishes where they scored 2nd in pro (Kent), 2nd in U21 (Josh), 5th in jr expert (Sylas), and 3rd in 17 & under (Louie). The team was looking forward to heading back to Silver Mountain once again on the DH bikes to continue their mastery of the tricky dirt at Kellogg.
For most of the team, the DH bikes have been hanging in the shop with the focus this season on Enduros. Friday practice for the team was positive. Since the trails used for the NW Cup were also used for the Enduro, the boys had a pretty good feel for them right away. The weather on Friday was right around the 100° F mark and made for some tough riding conditions. It was clear that the trails were going to get more and more blown out as the weekend went on with the dusty and dry conditions. By the end of practice on Friday, the boys felt good on the big bikes and headed off to the Silver Mountain Water Park for a much deserved cooling off.
Overnight and into the morning, rigorous thunder storms with lightning and rain came in and hit the area hard until about 10am. The rain was much needed for the trails and turned the moon dust into a whole new track for most of the day, before drying back up just in time for qualifying. With the pot-holes growing larger, we made a few changes to the bikes to keep the boys motivated on the set-up going into qualifying.
Up first was the Jr Experts with Zach McCracken the first one to complete a full course track. This was Zach’s first race back on the DH bike since Round 1 of the NW Cup where he had some blinding speed before he broke his wrist on a freak crash. Zach came charging to the line seeding 6th. A good effort for his first race back on the big bike.
Sylas Linnemann was up next and he was loving the track going into qualifying. After a top 5 in the Enduro, he was looking for big things this weekend. Sylas came storming through the finish slotting him in 3rd just 3 seconds off the number 1 qualifier. The always stoked Sylas was very happy with his efforts.
In Pro Men, DFT United had all 3 Pros in the lineup and were looking to continue the Silver Mountain magic that Josh and Kent have had over the last two years. Bailey was looking to keep his growth as first year pro. Josh was the first rider down of the DFT boys slotting in 7th in only his 3rd Pro DH race. Bailey was next coming in 19th with a couple of mistakes and Kent was next coming in 8th.
Sunday morning brought low 70’s temps (°F) and a nice breeze for ideal racing weather conditions.
Up first on Sunday was Cam Gibb in the age 15-18, Cat 2 with the largest turnout of all the classes. This class is one of the toughest in the NW Cup series. Cam chose to ride his trail bike on the short track at Silver and had a solid run, finishing 15th. He may have second guessed his choice of the trail bike vs a DH bike on the very beat up and blown out race track.
Up next was Louie Blair in U-14, Cat 2 where he chose to race his ultra-trick TR500. Blair was on point all weekend and dropped the hammer on his class once again with his 4th DH win of the year and 11th podium in a row this season!
Zach McCracken was up next in Jr Expert and had a solid run for his first race back on the DH bike with a 7th place finish. Sylas Linnemann finished 8th after a run he was disappointed with. The always incredibly positive Sylas said he will get things cleaned up at the next round and is as stoked as ever!
First up in Pro was Bailey with a two spot improvement over his qualifying and 17th place finish. Bailey is staying positive with his result for the weekend and is looking forward to his home turf at Stevens Pass, WA.
Kent was the next DFT rider to drop. He made the switch after qualifying from his trail bike back to his TR500 for his race run. Josh’s complete set up was put on Kent’s bike for Sunday morning and the ripper from Montana was set to drop the hammer come race run. He shaved 2 seconds off his qualifying time to bump up to 5th overall for the weekend and another podium finish for the season jumping Kent 5th in the overall points.
Josh was the last DFT rider to drop on Sunday at Silver Mountain. After a great run in qualifiers, Josh had another good run going, but one small mistake on the super blown track cost him a second and dropped him to 9th overall. Josh was very positive about the whole weekend and happy with his result. He had not ridden the DH bike since Round 1 of the NW Cup and was having fun slinging the big bike around on his weekend off from the prep of getting ready for the upcoming EWS races at Aspen and Whistler.