Second round of Unior Downhill Cup went down in wet conditions, much harder than last week’s IXS EDC race. Žabjek wins in front of Vauh and Cimperman.
Three weeks after starting on Lošinj island, the Unior Downhill Cup continued in Kranjska Gora. Both races were part of national series of Slovenia and Croatia and UCI races – this time a Class 2.
The track in Kranjska Gora bike park was exactly the same as last week for the race of iXS European Downhill Cup. But different because of wet conditions, slippery over the roots and deep holes also developed. There were just a few drops of rain during practice and race but the rain poured down on Vitranc mountain on Friday and Saturday night.
After second place on Lošinj, 34th in Lourdes World Cup and victory in iXS EDC in Kranjska Gora the 21-year old Slovenian champion Jure Žabjek (Unior Tools Team) made the best of the conditions on his fourth consecutive racing weekend. He was second to Miran Vauh (Blackthorn) in Sunday morning semi-final and they were both far from the rest of the field. In the afternoon final Jure first outseated the leader Jan Cimperman (MTB Trbovlje/Nakita Bikes) by three seconds, then waited for Vauh, the last man on track. Vauh was just over a second behind on intermediate time and lost another half a second compared to Žabjek to the finish of the 1,9km, 300m elevation drop track.
So Vauh had to settle for second and Cimperman repeated his 3rd from last year’s Slovenia Cup final in Maribor. Žiga Pandur (Unior Tools Team) finished in 4th and Matic Kvas (Wolf Racing Team) in 5th place.
»After crashing in practice just before the semi-final I’ve been think a bit about my wrist during my runs. I was not risking much. The conditions were demanding and I’m happy with the outcome,« said Jure who also took over the lead in the series.
There were only two women left in the race by the time of the final run and Monika Hrastnik (Blackthorn) was faster than Katarina Primožič (Batt team).
But it was not easy for the European vice-champion either. Monika said: »The track was completely different from last weeks, it’s been torn apart with deep holes and the roots are even more exposed now. It is important the we are down in one piece. I miss more girls racing, I especially miss Zarja.«
Matic Kokelj (Wolf Racing Team) was the fastest junior in front of Rudi Pintar (Sinter Brakes Team) and Žan Teskač (Supersnurf). Marko Niemiz (Sinter Brakes Team) won in U17 category, Gašper Jereb (ŠKTD Avče) in masters, Gregor Ferk (Epic Outdoor Crew) in amateur category and Tilen Horžen (Rajd Funsports) in U15.
Marko Niemiz, U17 winner, was faster than all U19 riders
About a hundred riders from eight countries entered the race – besides Slovenians and Croatians riders from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine added some international feel to the race.
Now the best are moving to round two of iXS EDC in Willingen, Germany, followed by European Championships in Sestola, Italy, and two World Cup races. Meanwhile national riders will have some fun on their bikes until third round of Unior Downhill Cup on July 15 and 16 in Cerkno, Slovenia.
All photos by Klemen Humar, photo gallery