2020, downhill mountain biking has officially been included in the Indian National Mountain Bike Championship by the Cycling Federation of India. After years of contemplating, the CFI agreed to flag off the DH Nationals. Previously in 2017 and 2018, Downhill was introduced at the National MTB Championship in its demo status. This year it has officially been included in the Nationals.
What better location than the mountains of Uttarakhand for some scenic and flowy riding. Surya Village, Haldwani was the action zone for cross country and downhill fight. To build the DH course and add excitement to the XC course, India’s National DH team member, Pune, Maharashtra’s Gautam Taode was on site with his work hat. Joining him, India’s freeride OG Vinay Menon took on the shovels to prep the downhill race course.
New kid, high speed! Fhzal Wani from Srinagar, J & K was having bike issues on race day, but managed to pull a 4th place finish in Finals.
A short track DH, the sprint trail included enduroisque features that could easily be handled by XC folks too, as the DH course was also a part of the XC race course! The finish line patch was on tarmac, bringing DH to the spectator’s door step! Participating states included, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh.
It was a great experience racing in the National Championship, an event where Downhill finally got its long awaited acceptance into India’s cycling competition listing by our national cycling federation. The track was well built and competing with some new riders was a good experience. Learnt a lot in this race. Will be working harder now to represent India in International DH races. – Ismamul Howk
With the inclusion of Downhill in National MTB Championship, the future of downhill mountain bike racing in India looks lit!