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Pro GRT Killington Race Report - Befriending The Beast

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The Pro GRT in Killington, Vermont, shaped up nicely over the last few days as the sun came out and the track speeds increased. It was going to be a close race once because the track was staying dry and was now firmly bedded in.  Perfecting the tricky corners separated the field and sneaky lines chipped away at the times. The track riders faced for race day was easy to ride but very challenging to race. Keeping momentum was critical, any misplaced wheel into an errant root, rock, or rut could mean losing precious tenths.  Brakes were seldom used and tire pressure was actually something to consider heavily. It was a technical race from all angles.

The winners of the Pro and Junior categories put on exemplary performances, finding time that left everyone rethinking their runs.  It was exciting to see such a battle take place, as a lot of competitors were concerned the track wouldn't produce very interesting riding.  The weather certainly made the greatest contribution, keeping the track dry and running fast.  As the weekend came to a close, the word "fun" was heard more than anything else, which is a good indicator for the overall impression of the event.  Spirits were high and people are fired up heading to nearby Mont-Sainte-Anee for the next World Cup, where the USA will have a stacked roster of riders in attendance. Dig into a great weekend of high-impact DH racing from Vermont.

by Zach Faulkner

You remember these wild men from the US Open right? Wolfpack racing Jordan Daigle, Ant Bielefeld, and Dustin Mason psyched to be racing!

Ant Bielefeld and his colorful kit were a welcome relief from the perpetual green of all the mid-summer foliage.
Jordan Daigle, speed tuck and pump.
Rounding out the Wolfpack, Dustin Mason.

The trail bike seemed to work for Seamus Powell, 24th in finals and just having a chill weekend riding bikes.

The other half of the Windrock Bike Park project, Sean Leader knows how to ride a bike too. He said he struggled with the dappled light in finals, which was relatable - it was like a strobe light at times. 27th in Finals.

First year Pro, Josh Rogers put down a solid time for 25th.
Recent Canadian convert, Brendan Looby found his way back from Quebec to join in the fun this weekend, slotting into 26th after a little bit of time off the bike - always good to have buddies back in town.
Adam Delonias has been on the scene for a long time and continues to get faster. 32nd in Finals.
When you think of East Coast DH, Jordan Newth is one of the faces that comes to mind. The local shredder kept it consistent and focused all weekend, finding 22nd in Finals. His end-of-season form is looking strong.
I think I first met Dylan Conte at a Killington event when he was 14 or something. Some years on now and he is shredding just as hard. With a whole crew of fans in attendance, he sent it into 21st.
Voiding warranty and sending it anyways, Galen Carter was rocking a trail bike with a BoXXer. 23rd for the innovator.
The man with a unique style and name, Sebastian Posada Colorado bettered his plate number by one, going 20th in Finals.

Jordan Newth in audio

Dylan Conte in audio

Yes, that is a serious whip...Ming Goetz lauching into the finish properly. 6th place in Pro Women.

Rachel Kelleher kept it tidy and consistent all weekend to finish out in 5th place in Pro Women.
Emily Gacad may have almost taken me out in Seeding, but she kept it on two wheels in Finals for 4th place in Pro Women.

Emily Gacad in audio

Angelina Palermo retains her points lead in the Pro GRT Pro Women's field with a 3rd place at Killington.

Angie Palermo in audio

Ella Skalwold needed to ice her hand at the end of the day from all of the high fives she got after confidently sending it into 2nd place in Pro Women!

Ella Skalwold in audio

32 seconds over 2nd place, and a time that would have put her in 32nd in Pro Men, Frida Helena Ronning threw down an amazing run to win Pro Women.

Frida Ronning in audio

Pro Women {LtR): Ming Goets; Emily Gacad; Ella Skalwold; Frida Helena Ronning; Angelina Palermo; Rachel Kelleher.

From Skier Cross to DH MTB, Killington local Mazie Hayden is quickly affirming her place in people's minds as an all around badass. 1st place in Junior Women, remember her name.

Mazie Hayden

Junior Women (LtR): Allison Gaetner, Maize Hayden, Chelsea Crooke.

The least Junior-looking Cat 1 U18 rider, Damon Sedivy fought against the flat, technical track and managed a solid 5th in Junior Men.
Smooth in the face of a challenge, #007, Zach Gareis, did his best Bond impression staying cool under pressure and floated into 4th in Junior Men.

Damon Sedivy in audio

All the way over from Washinton, Declan Ervin isn't a heavy rider and had to work extra hard to keep his speed up, which was a wild sight to see. 2nd place for the young pinner.

Declan Irvin in audio

Flatout from Day 1, Aiden Casner was here to make a statement. 2nd place in Junior Men, he is finding that mid-season stride!

Steve Walton is on quite the unique program in life and it's working. 1st in Junior Men.

Steve Walton in audio

Junior Men (LtR): Zach Gareis, Aiden Casner; Steven Walton; Declan Ervin; Damon Sedivy.

He's a dad, he build trails all week at Mountain Creek, and he still finds time to let loose on a bike for 19th in Pro Men. George Ryan, the people's champ.

Making the trip over from Cali just for this event, Jarod Hanson made it count with a 17th in Pro Men.
When the rider sees you posted up for the shot, they tend to send it a little bit more. WIley Kaupas delivered the shapes and landed in 16th.

Taking a tactical approach to the less-gnarly track, Isaac Allaire raced a reduced-travel Transition TR500 with a 170mm FOX 36 fork. This was one of the only places to let the hands rest on the chattery track. 14th in finals.

Riding in an unassuming kit and raw frame, Dan O'Connor still managed to turn heads thanks to his cool riding style. 13th in Pro Men.

The man of many roles, Jason Shroeder ran a flawless pit set-up for the boys to hang out in and socialize while still riding flat-out. 12th in Pro Men, nice!
Seth Hanson has some wicked style, with speed to match. 11th in Finals.

Quintin Kurtz is a big dude, and only just in his first year of Elites, he has plently of time to keep improving - which is saying something considering he finished in 10th!

Playing it smart is always the right call in racing. Demetri Triantafillou sat out the race after taking a heavy slam in practice. He'll be back on it for MSA though!

Demetri Triantafillou

Each day was a different ingredient, and by Finals, Tanner Stephens had made himself a solid 9th place sandwich.
I met Hugo Langevin in Bromont the day before coming to Killington, which gave me the heads up that he'd be one to watch. The dude can ride a bike: 8th in finals.

Tanner Stephens in audio

Trackside banter was talking up Logan Binggeli to be in the Top 5 or better, and if a slow leak hadn't happened that might have been the case - 7th, even with that issue.
Riding with some extra zest, Austin Hackett-Klaube looked determined and slotted into 6th place.

Logan Binggeli in audio

Austin Hackett-Klaube in audio

It's good to have people in your corner cheering you on! Bruce Klein getting some extra wind in his sails from TM Quinton Spaulding as he scrubbed into 5th place.

Bruce Klein in audio

Fun is always fast, and Shane Leslie put the good times to good use, going 4th in Finals.
The racing might have been over, but the work was not; Shane Leslie had some Econ homework he needed to attend to...not a half bad place to hangout and get some work done!

Shane Leslie in audio

Mauricio Estrada is a powerhouse and incredibly nice dude. I was surpirsed to learn that in four years, he had never podiumed at a Pro GRT before! 3rd place on his first visit to the box.

Mauricio Estrada in audio

It was like rolling thunder when Kiran MacKinnon would come charging by on the rough track. He put down a killer run and finished out 2nd in Pro Men.

Kiran MacKinnon in audio

He wanted to win, but with authority. Dakotah Norton put down a storming run to take his first Pro GRT win in his second trip to the podium at this level of racing.

The huck that made the difference. Dak in his race run filmed by Clay Harper

Pro Men (LtR): Austin Hackett-Klaube; Shane Leslie; Kiran MacKinnon; Dak Norton; Mauricio Estrada; Bruce Klein; Logan Binggeli.

Austin Hackett-Klaube leaving in classic fashion. We are all off to MSA next and will be back in Windham for the next Pro GRT after that!

RESULTS Pro GRT Killington DH

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