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Steve Smith blasted down Whistler’s A-Line downhill airing over the nearly 50 tabletops and ripping around the dozens of hard-packed berms to win the Crankworx Air DH race. The event attracted some of the world’s top racers and a host of amateurs looking to test themselves on Whistler’s signature jump trail.
Smith, a Canadian World Cup downhill racer, won with a time of 4:07.79, 3.75 seconds ahead of last year’s winner Brian Lopes (USA). Mick Hannah (AUS) finished third 5.01 back. France’s Emmeline Ragot won the women’s race, finishing in 4:35.25. Micayla Gatto (CAN) took second place and Claire Buchar (CAN) took third.
“The course was very dry and fast this year,” said Tristan Merrick, event announcer and racer. “Incredibly Steve Smith was able to shave more than five seconds off last year’s winning time and now holds the Crankworx Air DH record.”
The conditions seemed to help Smith. “It was fast and dusty, but I prefer it that way,” said Steve Smith. “It’s pretty exciting to win both the Garbanzo Downhill and the Air Downhill as I haven’t won either of these events before.”
Smith’s Garbonzo victory earlier in the week was his first in four tries at the event. The Garbonzo course is one of the most challenging downhill tracks anywhere in the world, dropping 3,400 vertical feet in 7.5 miles. Smith’s winning time was 12:33.27, nearly three times longer than it took him to race down A-Line. Canadian Casey Brown won the women’s Garbonzo race.
The 2011 Air DH Winner, Brian Lopes, couldn't top Steve Smith this year. (Photo: Blake Jorgenson)