Beginner racing domination
Two names that still stand out in junior racing are Canadians Jackson Goldstone and Gracie Heimstreet. Both riders dominated the junior arena as the Snowshoe gave both four wins in 2022. For Jackson, this was his third straight win. With his winning streak, he is now just over sixty points ahead of Jordan Williams meaning we could see the overall title wrap up at Mont-Sainte-Anne, which is a very special feat if Jackson can make it.
Gracey Hemstreet could wrap up overall in Canada as she’s currently in the 40-point clear. Grace will have to fight even harder for the series title in her home race, but with four wins, a second place, and a third place, she has the skills to do just that.
Camille Balanche is unstoppable in the mud
Just like her previous performances in the muddy slopes of Leogang, Camille Balanche once again proved that she is in her own league in the mud. Not only did she make the challenging track look easy, but she didn’t seem to crash all weekend. With a track or at least stopping most of the riders in their final runs, Camille was able to accumulate quite close to the feet for a big four-second win against Myriam Nicole.
Camille’s win in the Snowshoe boot consolidates five straight qualifying wins with three in 2022. These impressive results put Camille 230 points in the lead for the overall group; If she can win another qualifier and Myriam Nicole qualifies in third place, the 2022 total will be restricted before the finals start.
Great weekend for Continental tires
Snowshoe not only delivered great racing but also brought in the best weekend ever for a Continental tire with three elite men on the podium and a second place finish in the Junior Women’s race for Aimi Kenyon.
While we usually see podiums dominated by the likes of Schwalbe and Maxxis, it was interesting to see the new tires from the German brand doing well in the mud. With a fantastic weekend of Continental we witnessed the best finishing touches by Bernard Kerr, Andreas Kolb and Ronan Dunn.
The Amaury Pierron is a race-winning machine
The men’s elite race was one of the wildest of the year, with a fine line between potential race win and disaster. As we’ve come to learn this season, Amaury Pierron is the master of riding on this rim and has outdone the drying track to claim his fourth win of the season. With this feat, Amaury also became the fourth elite man to win four World Cups in one year, with Mont-Sainte-Anne and Val-de-Sole remaining in the future, we can say he could improve this record.
Looking at Amaury’s race times, he only advanced in the final splits with a second split result of 12 and a third for fifth. Both of these divisions were sections with some of the worst conditions with Amaury putting blister times in the safer top and bottom slots. Looking at all the top four runners, their final positions were reached at the fourth split with no changes up to the streak.
Snow boots wild in the wet
So far we have only seen the dry and dusty World Cup races in Snowshoe where many people said we were lucky the track wasn’t wet. Finally, after three previous races at this venue, we saw how challenging the course was. You know the World Cup cycle is tough even when the best qualifiers are beaten across the track, and even putting on the foot is not the end of a potential race to win the race.
Harsh conditions demonstrated some interesting streak choices with Dakota Norton riding a wild streak through a double descent that looked incredibly fast, and we don’t think anyone else has tried to line up all week.
Where were all the knights?
While it’s great that World Cup races are being held not just in Europe, the apparent lack of riders who attended the World Cup race last weekend is hard to overcome. Across all categories, we saw a significant drop in numbers. Young women knights dropped two of the previous lowest numbers and young men lost seven. In the elite women’s races, numbers have fallen below 30 for the first time this year with only 20 female riders on the starting roster. Elite men also dropped below 100 for the first time in 2022 with 93 riders, which is 54 from the previous lowest number.
With the news that next year we may only see 30 riders in the finals and a more international racing calendar, it’s hard to see how that will be worth it for riders who have a clear gap in the number of runners able to race in North America.
Riders on the starting roster in every round so far in 2022:
Elite Women – St. 1: 33 // St. 2: 31 // St. 3: 31 // St. 4: 39 // St. 5: 35 // St. 6: 20
Elite Men – St. 1: 153 // St. 2: 147 // St. 3: 180 // St. 4: 164 // St. 5: 149 // St. 6: 93
Junior Main – st. 1: 61 // st. 2: 54 // st. 3: 71 // st. 4: 80 // st. 5: 64 // st. 6: 47
Little Girls – Street 1: 14 // Street 2: 15 // Street 3: 18 // Street 4: 22 // Street 5: 19 // Street 6: 12