Ladakh Mountain Bike Festival 2019

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One of the highest riding zones of India, Ladakh runs the magnificent Himalayas through its horizon. Known for its mountaineering, bicycle touring, bouldering topography, Ladakh now has a new feather in the cap, the “Disko Valley Bike Park” by Unexplored Ladakh.

Ladakh’s first Pump track and Downhill comp at the Ladakh Mountain Bike Festival 2019 was clubbed with the inauguration of the Disko Valley Bike Park. In its first phase, the Disko Valley Bike Park currently includes a 200mts dirt pump track, table top jumps, a 500mts short track DH course, a 50ft double jump dedicated to late Ajay Padval. Surrounded by mega mountains on all sides the Disko Valley will see more features dug up this winter.

Pump Track
Freshly packed dirt and over 40 riders with their race plates got the 200mts track lit. The Experts Category saw some fast timings. Leh’s local ripper, Sonam Norbu clocked the third fastest time of the day on a borrowed bike! Pune’s Vinay Menon landed a 2nd and Manali’s young blood, Rinku Thakur took the win with his ‘Run 1’ time.

Leh’s local ripper, Sonam Norbu (18) is one fast kid on two wheels! Taking 3rd place in the Pump Track Challenge.
Pune’s Vinay Menon landed the 2nd fastest time of the day.
Rinku Thakur from Manali clocked the winning time at the Pump Track Challenge.

In Jrs, local lad, Eshem Latif in 1st followed by Stanzin Angchuk in 2nd and 3rd spot, Stanzin Gayfail.

Eshem Latif taking the win in the Juniors category.

Short Track Downhill

Small hike for a slick descent.
Skaldan Urgyan from Unexplored Ladakh ready to blast off the Start line.

The 500mts track resembled a slalom course. Berms, tables, drops and even a trench! A new experience for the local spectators, the downhill action kept everyone entertained. Landing into 3rd, Srinagar’s Fhazal Wani, Vinay Menon in 2nd and Manali’s Rinku Thakur took the lead with 44.48 seconds.

Local ripper Sonam Norbu dropping into the trench!
Tsering Sangrup drifting to a 5th place finish.
Unexplored Ladakh’s Skaldan Urgyan pulled off a 4th place on a borrowed bike.
Always a good time with bikes and budds!
Srinagar’s Fhazal Wani (19) surprised everyone with the 3rd best time in Finals.
Freeride OG, Vinay Menon cruised to a 2nd spot in his Final run, after clocking the fastest time in seeding.
Young gun Rinku Thakur took a close win from the 2nd spot.
Downhill Podium

After the race dust settled, it was time for the jump session. A free run for everyone, the jump sess started getting radder pretty quick.

Another hike up for the sess.
The views in Leh are unbeatable.
Unexplored Ladakh’s Gyatso Tundup sending his hardtail down the jump section.
Ladakh’s local ripper Sonam Norbu ready for lift off.
Some tweakery on the table by Vinay Menon.
Flight time for Rinku Thakur.
Vinay Menon hitting the largest feature at Disko Valley Bike Park, dedicated to late Ajay Padval.    #AjayShredsForever

A beginning of things to come, the Ladakh Mountain Bike Festival 2019 marks a stern push to downhill mountain biking and pump track riding in the region.

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Photos: © Praveen Jayakaran

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