Aug 04, 2014

India hosts 1st international downhill mountain biking competition

Held in July near Manali at the base of the Himalayas, the competition had 18 participants from across the country, Nepal, Britain and Italy taking on the bumpy, dirt trails for the top prize.


Anil Nair

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Images Courtesy: Jigme Bodh and Vineet Sharma

Manali, July 1: India’s only downhill mountain biking competition was held in July at Solang, the race venue and a popular adventure sports spot near Manali.

Top Indian bikers Vinay Menon, Piyush Chavan and Ajay Padval, British rider James Frampton and the team from Nepal reported a week in advance to get used to the hilly terrain and monsoon conditions, says Vineet Sharma, of Himalayan Mountain Bike Network, the competition organiser.

“With mountain biking culture catching up  fast in India and only XC (cross country) races being organized so far, the team of Himalayan Mountain Bike Network decided to have a competition for downhill mountain bikers in India. The participants were highly impressed with the race venue and compared it to other bike parks around the world. Few of them even nicknamed it as a Mini-Whistler. The track was not completely sculpted purposely. Most features were natural and were well appreciated,” Mr Sharma told The Outdoor Journal.

Images Courtesy: Jigme Bodh and Vineet Sharma

Solang, the race venue and a popular adventure sports spot near Manali, was abuzz with activity on race day with curious local onlookers standing along the barricade watching riders zip past and spray dirt all over.

In the amateurs category, India’s Jeewan Jeet Singh Dhillon, an upcoming long distance rider, was the fastest by completing the 2Km run in 5 min and 19 sec followed by Akshay Chaudhary who took 6 min and 28 sec.

Gurman Reen came third with a timing of  7min and 45 sec.

In the expert category Piyush Chavan showed his dark side by completing the run in 4min and 42 seconds making him the fastest downhill mountain biker of India.

Mangal Krishna Lama from Nepal was few seconds behind him and took 4min and 49 seconds. Gautam Taode from India came third by clocking 4min and 53 sec while Piyush Chavan grabbed the Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy.

Images Courtesy: Jigme Bodh and Vineet Sharma

Trail marking in India for competitions has never been an easy task for the organisers and the Himalayan Mountain Bike Network team also had their share of bloopers with mountain cows removing some of them as they grazed on the slopes.

“The race was made possible with the help of  Woodland, Firefox Bikes, Ski Himalayas and Psynyde bicycle components and the support of  Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine, Big Rush, Havoc Wear, Gravity. The next Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy will be held in June 2015 during Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival (Manali),” says Mr Sharma.