Bike park Brandnertal hosted this year the final race for IXS European Downhill Cup. 3 km long track with 300 m of vertical drop was exceptionally fast and slippery in dry conditions. Marko Niemiz and Žan Pirš were there racing for good race results and overall ranking. Marko came to the final race as series leader in U19 category with a slim margin over the second and third place rider in category. Therefore, all eyes were on him to seal the deal with another successful race weekend.

With overall title laying on the table, Marko’s weekend was far from usual race weekend.

But as it turned out, the weekend didn’t go as planned and mixed emotions were present after the race. Marko made big mistake at the top of his final run, where he lost too much valuable time. And with tight racing that meant the end of his campaign for the overall title. He ended the race on 14th place and 3rd place overall. Overall podium place is not bad at all for his maiden year in U19 category!

Marko finding the edge on fast and loose “Tschack Norris” track

“This track in the dry turns out to be suuuper fun, I found the speed quickly and was enjoying it. Unfortunately, the pressure got the worst of me again and couldn’t get it into the right mindset to lay down a proper run. Slipped down to third in the overall and considering everything, I think I can be happy with it. Bring on 2020”

Little bittersweet champagne shower for Marko, but still amazing result with overall podium finish!

Another Sinter Brakes Team rider was Žan Pirš, whose racing weekend was also far from perfect. At the end it was enough for 15th place of the day and 6th place overall.

“This weekend was a struggle from day one, crashed more times than I have had in the whole season. Besides the result and feeling on the bike, I had a great time with Marko and Matej. Finishing 6th overall was not my goal but taking the positives and experience from this season and applying it to the next season,” said Žan after the race.

Now it’s time for riders do get some much needed rest before the proper offseason grind begins in preparation for the next racing season!

Overall results:

Pro U19 Male

1. RAINIO Onni Saracen SportSource 678 pts
2. LEHMANN Hannes MRC Saracen Racing Team 550 pts
3. NIEMIZ Marko Sinter Brakes Team 540 pts
4. GOMILŠČEK Žak Sinter Brakes Team 334 pts
5. HAWKESBY-BROWNE Finn Santa Cruz NZ 292 pts
6. PIRŠ Žan Sinter Brakes Team 272 pts

Eite Men Overall

1. RUETSCH Constantin IXS Gravity Union 870 pts
2. PALAZZARI Davide Scout Nukeproof 666 pts
3. Irmisch Erik TEAM Racing DUDES 659 pts
   36. PINTAR Rudi Sinter Brakes Team 247 pts

Photo gallery by Rick Schubert