India witnessed the fourth edition of the wicked Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival in Manali, where mountain bikers from all around the world ride and race together for 1 week in the holiday season of the beautiful Himalayan town ‘Manali’, aka “The Mountain Biking Capital of India”.
Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival which is organized by Himalayan Mountain Bike Network hosted a BMX Jam session, flagging off the week’s two wheeled festivities. The weekend included, India’s roughest Downhill Mountain Bike Race and a challenging 2-day Cross Country MTB stage race.
The concept behind this festival is to bring all the riders together in the best riding destination of India where they can share their riding skills, experiences, and enjoy together. This event has also brought positive change in the young and growing mountain biking community of India where the sport is fairly new and progressing rapidly.
The 4th Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival started on 12th October with BMX Jam in Nehru Park Manali where professional BMX riders from Mumbai, Chandigarh, Delhi and Hyderabad showcased their riding skills.
Insane action and hair raising moments summed up the biggest downhill mountain bike race of India – The Himalayan Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy.
Karnataka’s Nilesh Dhumal sneaking besides a jump, saving time.
The main highlight of Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival is the ‘Himalayan Downhill MTB Trophy’. For 2017, Ski Himalayas Park in Solang, hosted the race once again. Lift up to shred the trail down works well for downhillers globally and India is no exception! Most riders hadn’t visited a gondola equipped park before and made complete use of the weekend at this park in the Himalayas.
Maharashtra’s Gautam Taode kept it pinned to grab a 3rd spot.
Managing Director of Ski Himalayas Ropeway, Mr. Amitabh Sharma, a passionate adventure sports practitioner has been supporting various events in the region and has shown his support towards mountain biking since the early Himalayan Mountain Bike Network events.
Indian Freeride pioneer, Vinay Menon styled it through the 2.5Kms course.
Managed by Himalayan Mountain Bike Network, Ski Himalayas Mountain Bike Park is also one of the best DH courses in the sub continent that will not fail to impress gravity lovers.
This facility is equipped with modern gondola, used to transport downhill mountain bikes of the participants. 26 Downhill Mountain Bikers competed on a technical 2.5 km steep and technical track located on a ski slope.
Maharashtra’s Piyush Chavan keeping the speed up, out of the start line.
Abhishek Thakur from Manali hitting the first section of the race.
This race track is equipped with jumps, drops and natural rock gardens on which the riders from ‘Expert’ and ‘Novice’ category competed.
Teen spirit! Manali’s local ripper, Rinku Thakur killed it in the ‘Novice’ category clocking the fastest time of the day. Next year he’s going to give the ‘Experts’ a run for their money.
Champion across sports! Kerala’s Harith Noah, is as fast on a mountain bike as he is on his SX bike! Boosting to the top spot in Experts.
The race was divided in 2 categories: Expert and Novice.
The Expert Category was won by Harith Noah Veettil from Shornur, Kerala. Piyush Chavan from Pune, Maharashtra came second and Gautam Taode from Pune grabbed third.
The Novice Category was won by Rinku Thakur from Manali. Abhishek Thakur from Manali in 2nd and Aryan Patil from Pune landed a 3rd.DH TROPHY - timing sheet
The third event of the Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival was the 8th edition of Himalayan Trails n Dust Mountain Bike Challenge, which is a very demanding cross country MTB race that was conducted on 14th and 15th October.
20 riders from Manali, Kullu, Lahaul, Chandigarh, Shimla, Calcutta, Guwahati, Bombay and Nepal raced on the beautiful singletracks through local villages and forests, sections located in and around Manali.
This race also helps participants to check out the local culture which is not visible to general audience. This XC stage race is by-far the most technical mountain bike race of India.
The 8th Himalayan Trails n Dust MTB Challenge was won by: Rohit Thakur from Manali, Shiven from Haryana and Rahul Thakur from Manali.XC CHALLENGE - timing sheet
All the winners from both the races were given cash prizes and high-end products that were sponsored by Track and Trail, Haul Apparel, Loose Riders India, Ski Himalayas and F-stop Gear.
“Himalayan Mountain Bike Photo Contest” was also started this year in association with F-Stop Gear during the festival.
This contest was a shout out to specially invited photographers who competed and displayed their creative skills during the event and made this festival unforgettable.
The photographs were judged by Malcolm McLaws; renowned action sports photographer from Canada who has contributed a lot to our sport of mountain biking since its progression days. McLaws also regularly covers prestigious mountain bike events like Crankworx and the Red Bull Rampage.
Malcolm’s work has graced many mountain bike and travel magazine covers.
The winners of photo contest Gitesh Gupta from Manali, Kimaya Morye from Pune and Nitin Rawal from Manali were given high-end products by F-Stop Gear.
The 4th Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival also celebrated the life of fellow rider Ajay Padval who lived fast and died young. Ajay was a passionate mountain biker who was missed by all the participants. His parents who always supported were kind enough to be present at the venue to encourage the growing mountain biking community of India.
5th Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival is scheduled for October 2018 which will also see the addition of Enduro Mountain Bike Race “Himalayan Enduro Challenge”. All these events will be organized in the Himalayan town Manali (Himachal Pradesh) where famous mountain bikers like Andi Wittmann, Guido Tschugg, Rene Wildhaber and Steve Storey have left their tread marks.