17th Indian National MTB Championship 2021 – Downhill | Gadag, Karnataka

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For FRMTB by: Shashank CK – Chain Adventures

Becoming a strong fixture of the Indian National MTB Championship, the 2nd official year of Downhill Nationals was flagged off in Gadag, Karnataka. The 17th Indian National MTB Championship 2021 hosted by the Karnataka state cycling association, saw the XC/DH course running through a designated forest zone. The Gadag Zoo, was ground zero for the Cross Country as well as the Downhill races for the weekend.

The 17th Indian National MTB Championship 2021 || 2nd National Downhill Championship
The friends and crew from GT Adventures, LBB Cycles and Freeridermag were on site getting the show rolling.

A short track Downhill course was scoped out by India’s winning-est downhill racer, Gautam Taode and India’s freeride icon, Vinay Menon, both from Pune, Maharashtra along with the Karnataka State Cycling Association team with guidance from Cycling Federation of India. After much deliberation by the federation, it was decided to include the downhill discipline at the 17th Indian National MTB Championship 2021. With no availability of a long descent at the state body approved venue, the trail team scoped out a sprint course with small features along with alternative ‘B’ lines to allow beginners and amateurs to effortlessly complete the 400mts sprint course. Due to the low number of experienced downhill participants, the Cycling Federation of India kept the downhill competition open to all ages and genders, so the fastest man or woman could take the title!

Young gun Sammander Thakur from Himachal Pradesh memorizing his run for finals while a volunteer kid quickly grabs on to the slick bike!\\ Photo: Nikhil Das – @taming_the_tiger
Walk up to rip down! Young competitors from Karnataka were saving their fuel to boost full throttle in finals \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran
Testing the dry soil in practice, Assam’s Ismamul Howk. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran
The 2020 Indian National Downhill Champion – Ismamul Howk from Assam was well prepared to destroy the competition yet again. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran

Buzzing with the cross country energy, Gadag Zoo was roaring with over a hundred spectators on Sunday afternoon, lining up the short descent down to the finish line. After a hot seeding run with spills and drama, the spectators and the racers were pumped to give it their best and be India’s downhill mountain biking champion.

Everyone with an interest in mountain biking and its growth in India contributed in their best capacity. Sports photographers and filmmakers made their way to the Gadag Zoo in Karnataka, to document all the action from the 3 day Cross country and Downhill fight.

A large crowd descended upon the DH course to catch the high speed drama. \\ Rider: Errol \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran
Age is just a number! 40 year old Manik Taneja is a pro whitewater kayaker, responsible for pulling the sport of kayaking in India to higher grounds. Also a mountain biker, Manik was all smiles through the weekend down the 400mts short track downhill course. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran
16 year old Sid from Bengaluru, Karnataka blazed down full throttle in his final race run. After a nasty slam off the final feature, his podium plans and his bike were wrecked. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran
Maharashtra’s Virendra Mali kept his race day speeds up to land a 3rd place on the podium \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran

Mini jump, high speeds! New kid on the block, Sammander Thakur from Himachal Pradesh flying with confidence.
Speeding to a 2nd place finish, Himachal Pradesh lad, Sammander Thakur. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran

India’s first official CFI National DH Championship 2020 Bronze medalist, Gautam Taode from Maharashtra has been winning races for over a decade. With multiple national and international podiums in downhill racing, Gee Tee as he’s called, is no stranger to the top pedestal.

Getting his speed game on, Maharashtra’s Gautam Taode gliding through the short rock section during practice. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran

With India’s highest number of Downhill racing podium finishes under his lid, Gautam Taode pulled off another victorious run down the course in Gadag, Karnataka.

More boost than the competition can fathom. Gautam Taode cruising over the crowd favorite feature on course. \\ Photo: Praveen Jayakaran

Here’s the winning 400mts sprint by Pune, Maharashtra’s Gautam Taode. India’s 2021 National Downhill Champion.


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A post shared by Gautam Taode (@gautam_taode)


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A post shared by Gautam Taode (@gautam_taode)

The winners of the Cycling Federation of India – 2nd Indian National Downhill MTB Championship 2021 – Gadag, Karnataka \\
1 | Maharashtra – Gautam Taode | 44.646
2 | Himachal Pradesh – Sammander Thakur | 44.804
3 | Maharashtra – Virendra Mali | 45.299


With another successful edition of the Indian National Downhill Championship inked in the books, the Cycling Federation of India has positive plans for the coming years.


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