Intense racing under ideal conditions at Unior Downhill Cup race and National Championships in Cerkno bike park.
After a two month break the Unior Downhill Cup resumed this weekend in Cerkno bike park in Western Slovenia. The UCI Class 2 event doubled as Slovenian National Downhill Championships race.
The elite titles went to Blackthorn team with Monika Hrastnik in women’s category and to Unior Tools Team with Jure Žabjek in men’s elite class. Both riders confirmed their speed last weekend with 10th places in Lenzerheide World Cup and were considered favourites this weekend. They were both also heading the UDC standings and now remain firmly in the lead.
Both Monika and Jure were fastest in the mid-day semi-final run on the dry and fast 1700m track with 340m of elevation drop. In the final run, they both slightly improved their times and moved away from their chasers.
The 23-year-old Monika who already held the 2015 title was followed in the final run by Špela Horvat (KK Jastrebarsko WD40 Bike) in second and Katarina Primožič (Batt Team) in third place.
22-year-old Jure who is the highest ranked Slovenian mountain biker ever in 10th place of the UCI ranking, became the elite National Champion for third year in a row. But he had to fight for the jersey again since Miran Vauh (Blackthorn), a three-time champion, followed in second, and Jan Cimperman (MTB Trbovlje/Nakita) in third, both within four seconds of his winning time.
Žiga Pandur (Unior Tools Team) followed in fifth and the fastest Slovenian enduro rider Vid Peršak (Team Dorrong) in fifth in his first ever downhill race – on an enduro bike.
Rudi Pintar (Sinter Brakes Team) defended his U19 title with 8th place in the UCI race. Matic Kokelj (Wolf Racing Team) and Ambrož Rijavec (ŠKTD Avče) followed in the category ranking in second and third respectively.
Marko Niemiz (Sinter Brakes Team) celebrated his title in U17, Gašper Jereb (ŠKTD Avče) in masters, Urban Napotnik (KD Lignit) in amateur and Erazem Kos (Supersnurf) in U15 categories.
Riders from Austria, Croatia, Italy and Great Britain also entered the race but did not make it on podium.
Monika Hrastnik: »I was happy to race at home after a while even if there were not many girls on the start list. The track was excellent and the organization as well. I had a solid and reliable run. I’m happy Miran (Vauh) managed to show his spped in the final. I’m sorry I will not be able to start in Canada, I have only Val di Sole left in my World Cup calendar.«
Jure Žabjek: »I was pleasantly surprised with the track, it has everything from jumps to a rock garden. It is a bit short but I still think it is the best track in the series lately. I knew I was fast and that it might not be too difficult for me to defend the title. I made a mistake in the rock garden in the semi-final but my time was still the fastest. I only wished for a flowy run in the final, I managed to do that so I’m happy.«
The next Unior Downhill Cup race follows on September 2nd and 3rd at Soriška planina, also a Class 2 race.
Final results (CN and Unior DH Cup)
Semi-final results (UDC only)
Photos by Klemen Humar