Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Matt Coonfers CEC-West Report: Western B Champion!

Kamloops, B.C.
July 9, 10, 2011


Sun Peaks Resorts hosted the first round of the WEC series and I was excited
to take it all in.  I’ve never been to Kamloops or the resort and was
surprised by the great facilities and fantastic scenery. 

I walked the tests on the Friday and was excited to get the race underway.
My GasGas teammate, Chris Van Hove, helped me pick lines and work out a
strategy for the race. 

Saturday started without a transfer section and straight into a motocross
test.  This proved difficult to get warmed up properly and find a good flow.
Every rider was in the same boat, so I wasn’t at a disadvantage.  The moto
test was hard with lots of off camber corners with deep ruts.  The track was
soft with mulch and the rain didn’t help!  Unfortunately I had bike issues
in the first test.  Not a good start to my day!  I banged through it and
knew I had ground to make up.  The transfer sections were super fun with
lots of mud and water crossings.  They were extra cool as it’s not every day
you get to ride a dirt bike up a ski hill.  Guy Perrett and his army of
volunteers did a great job in setting up fun yet challenging transfer
sections.

By the time I reached the second test, I was really tired.  The enduro test
was super gnarly with huge roots and bike swallowing mud holes.  Fortunately
for me, I wasn’t one of the riders who fell victim to these mud holes.  The
enduro test was definitely the hardest part of the weekend.  It changed the
race from being about speed to being about survival.  Overall it was a good
test that pushed all the riders and I had a lot of fun riding it.

The extreme test was challenging.  I’m glad I didn’t have to do the pro
line; I’d probably still be there!  It was perfect for the spectators as you
could see it from the road.  The mud, the ruts and the creek climb drew a
big crowd.  The extreme test wasn’t my best, but I worked hard to keep my
times in check with the rest of the field. 

Overall my weekend went really well.  My times were consistent and I rode
smooth.  It paid off with a fourth place on Saturday and a second place on
Sunday.  At the end of the weekend I was hoping I could carry this positive
energy with me to Blairmore for the second round.

Blairmore, B.C.
July 16, 17, 2011


Bob Reed, Clint Riviere and their volunteers hosted the second round of the
WEC series in Blairmore.  These guys are famous for putting together tough
races so I knew that I had my work cut out for me.

Walking the tests on Friday was quite an adventure.  Between almost getting
Geoff Nelson’s truck stuck and bushwacking through the mountains, following
Ben Rego to find the moto test, it was already a funny start to the weekend.

I was really looking forward to the moto test because of the big uphill
climbs and lots of altitude changes.  It was fast, flowy and my style of
riding.  I got hung up on a hill and lost some time, but it wasn’t enough to
ruin the rest of my day. 

I was a little hesitant going into the enduro test at Blairmore because it
has built a reputation for being hard, muddy, and relentless.  I found my
flow in the first couple feet of the test and the rest just seemed to fall
into place.  The enduro test was my favorite test of the weekend and it was
defiantly reflected in my times.

The extreme test was the most challenging part for me.  Lots of loose shale
and long rocky climbs gave my legs a workout from all the paddling!  Bob and
Clint put in some cool stuff in this test including an old brick building
that you had to ride through and some crazy downhills.  After day 1, my
extreme test times laid out what I had to do for day 2.  Day 2 continued to
be positive with solid, smooth test times that were an improvement from day
1.  I managed to get my poop in a group for the extreme test and had a solid
ride.

The competition was tough this weekend and I had to work for my two second
place finishes.  What made the event even sweeter was all the Von Zipper
swag that I scored for having the fastest enduro test time in the Amateur B
class.  My consistency paid off in the Western rounds and I managed to take
the Amateur B Western Canadian championship.

Blairmore was one of my favorite races this season, thanks to Bob and Clint
and all people who made the event possible.  Thanks to Dave Fehr and the
entire GasGas Pacific team, Dave French at A & E Racing and Marine, Bowridge
Cycle, Pro-Action Suspension, Motovan, and all my friends and family for
their support!