Fierce competition was the order of the day for riders competing in the third race of the Malta Mountain Bike Association Downhill National Point Series, recently held in Dwejra. With a first prize consisting of a ticket to compete in the Megavalanche, the world’s most famous Downhill Marathon in the Alpe D’Huez, the adrenaline pumping action came as no surprise.
The action started immediately with a few crashes in the race run – Mark Zammit (previous winner Elite Category) suffered an unfortunate crash which left him out of the podium fray. Open category newcomer Luka Grixti, who registered the best qualifying time suffered a similar fate to Zammit. Elite rider Ryan Darmanin suffered a bad crash in the qualifying run but managed to pull it together to clinch his first Downhill Race win. Darmanin has been performing well in the cross country open category, becoming a familiar face on the podium. Some other minor crashes were encountered on the rock section.
The Open Category saw Andrew Caruana, Francesco Sultana and Chris Galea top the podium. For Caruana it was the second time on the top podium place having won the first race of the Series in Wardija. Whilst Galea has participated in all three races of the Series so far.
The Masters’ Category was a three-rider affair between John Micallef, Kenneth Galea and Derek Pepe. All three are currently on the upper part of the overall leader board.
“Downhill racing is a particularly niche sport and definitely not for everyone, however we have seen the race atmosphere improving with every race that goes by and more spectators are coming to watch our races – having a final straight finish with a kicker jump at the end resulting in riders flying through the finish is spectacular and definitely attracts the crowds” said Pierre Zammit Endrich, President of the Malta Mountain Bike Association.
The final race of the National Points Series will take place on Saturday 10th June at Gnejna and promises to be a thrilling finale where Mark Zammit, Ryan Darmanin and Matthew Gauci will be pushing for the overall prize.
Elite – 1st Ryan Darmanin, 2nd Jonathan Darmanin, 3rd Mattew Gauci
Open – 1st Andrew Caruana, 2nd Francesco Sultana, 3rd Chris Galea
Masters – 1st John Micallef, 2nd Kenneth Galea, 3rd Derek Pepe
The Downhill National Point Series is being supported by MTB Malta, HSN Signs, Wheel Wizard, Pro Action, Dacoby and Epic No Limits.