New track in Cerkno bike park to host 26th Slovenian Downhill Championships race this weekend as well as a round of Unior Downhill Cup and a UCI Class 2 race.
After a two month break – after the opening in Lošinj in April round two was in Kranjska Gora on May 14th – the Unior Downhill Cup continues this weekend in Cerkno, Slovenia. Downhill Cerkno will be the first ever race in Cerkno bike park after the organizers from Pedal Racing Team already organized the race under the same name lower down in the valley, closer to town, last time as Slovenia Cup final in 2012.
Eye watering track… because of the speed
For the occasion they built a brand new track in Cerkno bike park, a 1700m track with an elevation drop of 340m. It is fast and wild, with a rock garden and some big jumps. It finishes at the base of Počivalo chairlift.
International stars Monika and Jure and the rest
Jure Žabjek (Unior Tools Team) will be defending his two consecutive men’s elite titles. During the series break he scored three World Cup top 15 spots, finally a historic 10th in Lenzerheide. A third title would tie him with Miran Vauh (2009, 2011, 2014) and Jan Cestnik (2006-2008) and next year he could challenge the all-time best Janez Grašič (1996, 1998-2000).
Jure is also the UDC leader after two races with two 2nd semifinal places and a 2nd and 1st from the final runs.
His main rivals will be the other two Slovenian World Cup regulars, Vauh (Blackthorn) and teammate Žiga Pandur. Some iXS EDC races like Jan Cimperman (MTB Trbovlje), Miha Ivančič (ŠKTD Avče) or Tilen Ferk (Batt Team) could also threat him. It will be interesting to follow top Slovenian enduro rider Vid Peršak (Team Dorrong) in his first ever DH race as he might even show up on an enduro bike.
In women’s race we will be remembering the late Zarja Černilogar as she will pass on her 5th title. Of course the first candidate is Monika Hrastnik (Blackthorn) who is coming from two 10th places in the World Cup and was already the National Champion in 2015.
Rudi Pintar (Sinter Brakes Team) will be defending his junior title. He is currently only 7th in the standings while Matic Kokelj (Wolf Racing Team), kast year’s U17 champ, is in the lead. Marko Niemiz (Sinter Brakes Team) is the favourite in the U17.
Registration closes Wednesday night and there are riders from Austria, Croatia, Italy and Great Britain registered so far.
Free practice starts at 10am on Saturday and official training will be held from 2 to 6pm. On Sunday the semi-final run starts at noon and the final one at 2.30.
Pigs Parlament, a punk-ska-hardcore-metal band, will be playing at the DH Cerkno party Saturday night.
Photos by Klemen Humar