[Race report] Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo 2018

[Race report] Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo 2018

This year Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo promised to be a well documented event and it achieved it. For the first time in its history, the race was televised by RedBull.com as an online signal to the world. With regard to the actual race track, the layout was basically the one used in previous occasions, but with some minor changes. All in all, the riders were quite happy with the size of the jumps and landings, which were apparently a bit better laid out and safer in general.

As for security, everything near the track was kept under watchful eye, but this does not mean that it is exempt from random dogs showing up where the racers pass through, but … that’s Valparaiso and that’s what what makes this place special.

We’ll cover more from the scene, in the extensive race report below…

The same nice breeze that made the flags fly (at the time of this photo) stuck around a large part of the day; and was well appreciated due to the heat at 3:00 PM which became untenable.

Mauricio Acuña fixing his rear wheel minutes before starting practice. The issue was that in the first descent, after falling short on a wallride, the wheel exploded and broke into 4 parts. The unfortunate thing about this was that Mauricio Acuña could not participate in the race.

For Dennis this is the third time he participates in Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo, unlike previous occasions, this time he came with an Enduro bike.

Part of the Chilean racers who were going to participate in the race minutes before training.

The nervousness and tension could be felt in the air and little by little it was dissolving when the trucks began to arrive to begin to take racers to the top of the track.

One of the main candidates for the podium was Johannes Fishbach from Germany, who despite not being able to attend las year due to a fracture in one of his clavicles, is a very strong and determined candidate.

Concentrated and well known for his DH prowess, Marcelo Gutierrez warmed up from one place to another before the training began.

First time in Chile and the first time running an urban race. Will Valpo be the gateway for Brook MacDonald to urban DH?

Due to the endless stairs that are in Valparaiso in some places the elevators areused. The starting point for this year began in one of them.

The practice began punctually and extended from 11:00 to 1:00, after that the qualifying rounds began, where there would only be 15 racers for the grand final.

Antonio Leiva is the only one who has three consecutive victories in Valparaiso Cerro Abajo and one that he won years later. Without going any further, he is the most victorious racer in at Valpo and after a couple of years out of the event, he is back.  It should be noted that Antonio has the ability to use platform pedalsand clipless pedals depending on the conditions, in this opportunity he decided for the clipless…Perhaps the stairs have led to this decision?

Bernardo Cruz representing Brazil, flying from the stairs to the street, in an improved new jump that was at the end of the first section of stairs.

Johannes Fischbach looking to renew the title he won in 2016 when he took first place.

The classic and always complicated stairs put everyone to the test, this time there were three jumps which were possible to connect.

Although Marcelo prefers the terra firma in comparison to the stairs, his speed to flow in them was staggering.

There are various security methods but for sure this is one of the most effective you can find.

This is the second time that Bernard Kerr has been in Chile, and like last time, he came just for the race.

Adrien Loron is back in Valparaiso to experience his second urban descent in Chile.

Matias Nuñez flows through the stairs seemingly without a care in the world.

There are some falls that that never seem to end, such was the case with Rodrigo Farias, who shattered his helmet’s visor when it hit the stairs and walls.

Alejandro Caerols was one of the Chileans within the 15 selected for the final.

Alberto Nicolas flying from the blue house and into the street.

This was the last descent that Rémy Metailler did before having a huge fall that left him even unable to make his qualifying run.

Everyone leaves the house differently but Felipe Vial does it with his own unique style.

Valparaiso is a great opportunity to share some moments with the locals and there are times when they are willing to open the doors so you can watch from their perspective. In the photograph, Mario Jarrín from Ecuador.

The local Matias Nuñez got second place in the qualification round and promised to shave some time in the final.

Milciades Jaque was the one who undoubtedly blasted highest when leaving the Wallride section of the course.

Marcelo Gutierrez exited the Wallride with more style and speed, staying lower. 

The Wallride God asked for several sacrifices in this race and claimed several falls, tires and a frame, as it was possibly one of the most complicated obstacles.  Slavik, passing through without a problem.

Rémy Metailler could not finish his qualifying descent due to an big crash at high speed, inthe beginning of the track.

Rémy fractured a couple of ribs skiing in Whistler (a couple of weeks ago) and perhaps this fall will keep him resting for a few days and so he can recover completely.

Tomas Slavik was impatient to get into the start, and the trucks had already started climbing up. As a backup plan Slavik climbs into an ambulance for an uplift.

The first on track and in the Hot Seat was Oscar Harnstrom of Sweden, who stayed there for a few minutes. Style for days.

But Santiago De Santiago came after some time and claimed first place from Oscar, at least for the time being.

Rivals in the race but above all friends, Jeremias Maio went to greet and congratulate Santiago after crossing the finish line.

Milciades Jaque was the only racer who qualified with an Enduro bike. In his final descent he had incredible speed but would fall on the Wallride losing enough seconds to fade to the back of the pack. 

Alberto Nicolas was loudly cheered all the way to the Hot Seat.

However, applause only goes so far, and Nicolas was bumped by Marcelo Gutierrez after a few good minutes.

This is the first Valparaíso Cerro Abajo in which Brook Mac Donald participated in. He recently joined the Mondraker team and as he commented, he is very, very happy.

Although he tried to seize the extra seconds like he did last year, Bernard Kerr did not make it to the podium.

Pedro Ferreira spent a few seconds looking at the ground after he just missed upsetting Marcelo Gutierrez.

Johannes Fischbach was another racer who looked very frustrated when crossing the finish line, apparently hoping for a better result to take back the throne.

The Hot Seat was where you saw the racers exchanging congratulations every now and again. In this instance Marcelo Gutierrez had to deliver and congratulate Matt Walker.

Matt Walker watching Matias Nuñez’ descent … There were only a few minutes and it was all or nothing.

Chilean Matias Nuñez drew huge cheers as he managed to stay in third and fill the hearts of all the attendees with joy. Congratulations!

The champion … Matt or Tomas?

This was the moment when Tomas learned that he made the fastest time yet again.

Matt Walker remained tense at all times, and the moment he knew he landed in second place, by thousandths of a second, he smiled and went to greet Slavik.

The nicely placed and appropriately designed awards podium.

1- Tomas Slavik
2- Matt Walker
3- Matias Nuñez

And so, Valparaiso Cerro Abajo comes to an end…starting now, the countdown begins until next year, where the streets of the city get prepared for racing again.