Words: Brice Minnigh
Following the success of the two previous St. Patty's Day Feast races at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada, the organizer is upping the ante with a new pro-am race in January that is promising a $20,000 prize purse.
The new race, the "Dam Cold Downhill," is designed to give local pro racers and amateurs a rare opportunity to race against some of the world's fastest professionals. Many top pros spend much of the winter in southern California to train in the temperate weather, and several have verbally committed to race in the inaugural event, which is scheduled for January 16-17, 2010. Among those expected to participate are the likes of Sam Hill, Cedric Gracia and brothers Gee and Dan Atherton.
"Gee and Dan [Atherton] have told me if there's a $20,000 prize purse then they will definitely show up to race," said organizer David "Crash" Collins, a former pro downhiller who has organized the previous St. Patty's Day Feast races at Bootleg Canyon. "Being a pro-am, it will give amateurs the opportunity to be on the same course with the pros and compare their times with the likes of Sam Hill.
One of Hill's major sponsors, Troy Lee Designs, is said to be pushing heavily for Hill to participate in the race.
The prospect of racing against top pros, coupled with what would be one of the biggest prize purses in U.S. downhill racing, is expected to draw a formidable field of racers, and Collins predicts there will be some 200 racers over the course of the weekend.
"Most of the pros from southern California and the southwest will turn up to battle for big money," said Collins. "For the pro-am on Sunday, we should have a 100-person field for the men's event alone. With the race being in the off-season, nobody has a reason not to be out here."
As a precursor to the pro-am, there will be amateur DH and Super D races on Saturday, January 16, offering racers the chance to pre-ride the bone-jarring Bootleg Canyon course to warm up for the pro-am the following day. In Saturday's amateur races, there will be a $500 prize for the fastest downhill time—a hallmark of the increasingly popular St. Patty's Day Feast races.
In Sunday's pro-am, the $20,000 cash prize purse will be divided between the top 10 men and the top five women.
There is a $55 entry fee for Saturday's amateur races, while the entry fees for Sunday's pro-am are $150 for men and $100 for women.
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