Winter X Games | Snow Bike Cross | Friday Practice
By Billy Rainford
Presented by OTSFF.
The Snow BikeCross riders were on the new course for the 2018 Winter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. With an increased number of Canadian riders competing this year, we’re looking pretty strong, even if the two favourites, defending champion Brock Hoyer and 2017 bronze medalist Cody Matechuk, falter.
Saskatchewan Superman #7C Blair Morgan is back on a bike and competing in the inaugural Adaptive Snow BikeCross event. He’ll be going up against last year’s Adaptive SnowCross racer, Doug Henry.
Here’s a look at some of the riders putting in laps from a chilly day up on the mountain.
American Paul Thacker is also racing the Adaptive race this weekend and is traveling in style.
I interviewed #19 Doug Henry at the end of last year’s X Games. He’s going to be tough to beat.
Making some last-minute adjustments to a ski.
Steve Simms rolling out Ryan Villopoto’s Yamaha machine.
There was a little bit of a Rockstar Monster issue, but they got it all sorted out…
Don’t count #44 Nolan Heppner out of things tomorrow. He looked really good last year.
Justin Roney and Nathan Bles waiting for their turn on the track.
#53 Yanick Boucher is from Hearst, Ontario.
#111 Cody Matechuk lives in Cochrane, Alberta, and finished 3rd last year. He hopes to improve on that this time.
Steve and Blair Morgan having some fun before first practice.
I walked out of the media tent at lunch time and snapped this one of Josh Penner practicing his back flips. He’s an alternate for the finals which are set to happen shortly here.
#11 Paul Thacker.
Doug came in hot here…
A little too hot, evidently. He was fine.
Blair got off to a slowish start but started turning it up after the first practice.
Washington’s Dean Hunt couldn’t seem to keep his feet on the pegs out there.
Nolan Heppner was breaking in what looked to be brand new boots.
Nathan Bles will try to put his CSRA title to use tomorrow.
Ryan Villopoto is a bit of a question mark. He really shouldn’t be a factor, but the guy is pretty good on a bike, so…
Axell Hodges should be another rider who could battle for the win or at least a podium.
Cody Matechuk says he’s hoping to improve on his 3rd last year. We did a quick live video with him earlier that you can check out on our Facebook page.
#353 is Kody Kamm. He’s great on the snow and paced himself behind Brock Hoyer during one of the practice sessions. He’ll be fast.
Brock Hoyer has a bullseye on his back but is keeping it fun. He was really revving his bike out out there.
I thought Josh Hill would have gone electric. He looked a little off the pace today so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Jeff went on record as picking Cody for the Gold tomorrow.
Needed another shot of those white boots. Brings me back to the 1980’s…
Mark Wilson is from down the road in Denver. I thought he looked really fast. He’s a darkhorse.
The berms set up really deep today. It should make for some good racing tomorrow.
You sensed Brock enjoyed closing in on and passing the other #2.
Brock will obviously be fighting for the win tomorrow.
Jake Scott was 4th last year and should be looking for a podium.
Joe Duncan is in charge of the non-gravity-powered stuff here at the Games and asked me not to take any photos of him. Ya, right… “See you at the races…”
Saturday (all times Local/Mountain)
Snow BikeCross practice goes from 9-11:30am and the last 45 minutes or so of it is for seeding.
2:30-3 Snow BikeCross Round 1 and 2
3:15-3:30 Adaptive Snow BikeCross Demo
3;30-4 Snow BikeCross Final
5:30-6:30 Snow Bike Best Trick