Ski and Bike center Špičak is located in Šumava mountains, just a few footsteps away from German border. It is well known venue among the racers as it is a regular host of European cup every year for tenth time this year. Racetrack is named as “Struggle Track” and definitely lives up to its name. With a length of 1800 meters and a 320-meter vertical drop the track isn’t exactly the longest and steepest one, but the mixture of slick rocks, roots fast and tight corners makes a good and tight racing.

First win for Marko and first podium finish for Žan in Junior category.

This year the Czech’s round of European cup proved to be very successful for Sinter Brakes Team as riders took the top two steps on podium in Pro U19 men category. Marko Niemiz won and Žan Pirš was 2nd!!! Marko had perfect weekend with wining seeding and finals race. After a podium result (3rd place) in Kranjska Gora, he’s ticked off another goal this weekend with winning IXS European Downhill Cup for the first time.

Fastest bike of the day in Junior class: Devinci Wilson 29

Marko: “I’ve never been so hyped on any race weekend before like for this one. I’ve always had a good feeling on this track from the first time I’ve ridden it and this time was the same – from first run on Friday I was loving the track. I’m stoked to take the win here for the first time in Junior category and for the 2nd time in a row here in Czech Republic (last year I won in U17 Pro men class). I’m also so happy to see the whole team do so well, we’ve got some speed as it seems 😊”

Marko had good memories and race history on “Struggle track” in Špičak

Another big success is 2nd place for Žan – it’s his first podium finish on European Cup circuit in Junior category. After not so ideal start of the season with wrist injury we’re super proud to see him back on podium.

Žan is getting faster and faster, he finished right after Marko

Žan: “I am so happy with my 2nd place finish today. Really didn’t expected it after going twice off-line but after that I pushed hard and pedaled to make up for my mistakes. I’m super happy with the whole weekend, it was just great!!!”

Bad luck with crashes prevents to show his full speed on races. He’s hoping for more luck for the last few races.

We also can’t forget on Rudi Pintar – results on paper doesn’t look extraordinary as he crashed in final run (25th place), but this weekend he qualified for the first time into Super Final race and showed great speed throughout the whole weekend. He’ll have redemption next weekend in his “hometown” race on Soriška planina for the 4th round of Unior Downhill Cup.

Rudi: “I was really feeling excited for this race and really felt good on track. I knew I could do well here in Špičak. The race run was really good and I was fast on the top part. But some rock caught my front wheel on one of the tightest turn and I just went over the bars. Silly mistake that cost me good result… I’m hoping for some better luck on the last couple of races.”

Žak Gomilšček decided to miss the race and focus for the two big upcoming races across the Atlantic sea – World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne (CAN) and the last UCI MTB World Cup in Snowshoe (USA).

Marko getting ready for awards ceremony

Overall standing of IXS European Cup in U19 category saw major shakeup as now the overall leader is Marko Niemiz. The last round of IXS European Downhill cup will be in Brandnertal (AUT) on 20.-22. September.

Overall standing U19 Pro male:

1. NIEMIZ Marko (Sinter Brakes Team) 516 pts
2. RAINIO Onni (Saracen SportSource) 478 pts
3. LEHMANN Hannes (MRC Saracen Racing Team) 454 pts
4. GOMILŠČEK Žak (Sinter Brakes Team) 334 pts
5. HAWKESBY-BROWNE Finn (Santa Cruz NZ) 292 pts
6. PIRŠ Žan (Sinter Brakes Team) 258 pts

Overall standing Elite men:

1. RUETSCH Constantin (IXS Gravity Union) 775 pts
2. IRMISCH Erik (TEAM Racing DUDES) 659 pts
3. PHILOGENE Christopher (2 Bros Racing/Start Fitness) 582 pts
30. PINAR Rudi (Sinter Brakes Team) 247 pts

Photo Gallery from Rick Schubert