September 23, 2016 dcam

MMBA Wheel Wizard Downhill Series 2016 - Round 1

WARDIJA DH 17.09.16

The first downhill race from the Malta Mountain Bike Association for 2016 which brought 19 riders to the location. The event was held in Wardija on one of Malta's fast tracks which found the riders exceeding 50k speeds over the rough and challenging terrain (view trail segment on Strava).  The race was won by Jonathan Darmanin in the men's category and Gabriella Veneziani for the ladies category. Great start to the season which will be followed by 2 more races in 2016.  The next race will see athletes competing for the Downhill National Champion title.

The race started off with a short rock garden challenging the suspension set-up of the bikes.

Isaac Galea (above) coming out of the rock section and preparing to get on the pedals.

Above: Jonathan Darmanin, the race winner, preparing to enter the fastest section of the course.


The race took the format of best out of two runs per rider.  The top riders positions remained unchanged for both runs with Jonathan Darmanin dominating the first spot followed by Mark Zammit and Wayne Schembri.  The final results saw the first three positions within 0.21 of a second between them.  View the full results here. 

Above:  Mark Zammit, first runner up for the event, heading into the speed track with full concentration.


Below: Gerth Lapira testing his Mondraker with hands on the brakes down one of the most challenging sections on the course..

The loose and dry terrain allowed for the spectators to experience the adrenaline of the riders from the sidelines.  There was no doubt that all the riders pushed their bikes and fitness to the limit from top to bottom slashing approximately 3 seconds from their training times.

Above: Wayne Schembri tackling a steep drop leaving a trail of dust and debris behind.


Below: Claudine Gatt keeping control of her bike with hands on the brakes.

Left: Wayne Schembri climbing the steepest section of the course.  Right: Team MTBM post-race discussions.


Once again the Malta Mountain Bike Association brought us another well organised event.  For future events we hope to see more riders as well as spectators joining in the action.  We'll keep you updated.

Above: Jonathan Darmanin celebrating his first Downhill win beside Mark Bonnici from The MMBA.

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