PRESS RELEASE: Maxxis Eastern States Cup
An English poet once said: “The waiting time, my brothers (and sisters), is the hardest time of all.” Well the hard wait is over because the Maxxis Eastern States Cup Specialized Enduro and the Maxxis Eastern States Cup Specialized Downhill race schedules are ready for prime time. From Burke Mountain to Blue Mountain, George Ulmer and his crew have put together a slate of more than 20 races at some of the finest venues in the Northeast. The season will feature a mix of classic venues, the return of an old favorite and a few exciting new stops. Now in our 11th year, the series is well known in racing circles as well-run, organized and always fun. Joining the team as sponsors are some of the finest brands out there and all these companies have seen the value in high-quality racing. This year’s sponsors are Maxxis, Specialized Bikes, Clif Bar, Julbo, Motorex, Intense Bikes, Fly Racing, Strider Bikes, Küat Racks, Fox Suspension, Flat Tire Defender, SDR Clothing and Box Components. Lets dive into what the upcoming season has in store!
The season starts off with a bang as Thunder Mountain hosts the earliest downhill event in our history on April 19th. Anything is possible that time of year so the only guarantee is a good time. Thunder Mountain will only be open for racers that weekend so it will be a private race party. The Maxxis ESC Specialized tour will return to many of our favorite mountains this year. In addition to stops at Thunder Mountain for both downhill and enduro, we’ll be returning to classic venues like Blue Mountain, Killington, Sugarbush, Burke, Diamond Hill, Glen Park, Windham (Citizen’s Downhill track!) and Mountain Creek. We’ve also got some new networks lined up and a surprise resurrection of an old favorite so read on for details.
The first new venue for 2020 is in Woodstock, Vermont, one of the prettiest classic New England towns you’ll ever come across. Local racer Gavin Vaughn, a veteran downhill and enduro pro, has had a big hand in developing the trail system on Mount Peg, right above town. According to Vaughn, the event will feature five stages accessed by three climbs. The stages will offer 500-700 feet of vertical descent and each will be 1-1.5 miles longs. The terrain is of moderate grade with a few short bands of rock and ledge. The trails are modern playful flow with plenty of natural tech mixed in on beautiful Vermont dirt. With Woodstock being a tourist town, there are plenty of places to stay and eat and camping will be available at Suicide Six bike park just up the road. The race is on May 31 and should be a blast.
Our other new venue is Bolton Valley in Vermont which will host an enduro on June 28. Bolton was an early adopter of lift-access mountain biking and hosted a rowdy series back in the day before suspending bike operations more than a decade ago. Bolton is a hidden gem that has been resting quietly in the moss of Vermont’s high alpine terrain until its expansive network of technical trails got overhauled in the last two years to make this event possible. Local pro Adam Morse, who competed on every stop of the Enduro World Series tour two seasons ago uses Bolton as his training ground. Morse says: “Expect this round to be different from any other east coast venue. With its base lodge and trail network sitting above 2,000 feet in elevation Bolton has a unique ecosystem of trails which will both excite and challenge riders of all abilities. This has been a personal training ground for me to continue to advance my riding year after year and I could not be happier to share it with the ESC community. Put it on the list everyone!”
After being a regular downhill stop for years, Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires of Massachusetts came off the schedule following our 2015 event. Well its back! As many veteran racers can tell you Jiminy is a legit mountain with a variety of interesting terrain and we’ll get to sample much of it this year as both downhill and enduro will be contested on its flanks. The races will be held on September 13 which should make for a beautiful weekend as late summer in the Berkshires is special.
On July 26th, Mountain Creek in New Jersey will host a Maxxis ESC Specialized enduro that will also be a stop on the Enduro World Series Continental Championship Series. The Continental series is designed to provide an elevated platform for riders wanting to race on a bigger stage than a national race – but with lower travel costs than an EWS. The North American series is comprised of seven rounds in the U.S., Canada and Mexico but to keep the costs and pressure on the riders low only a rider’s best four results will be counted towards their overall series rankings. Riders will also be eligible to collect EWS Global Ranking points at every continental level event plus the top three riders in every EWS category will automatically qualify for a spot on the Reserved Entry list for the following EWS season. This race takes place a week before the full EWS event at Burke Mountain in Vermont so we expect to see some heavy hitters at The Creek keeping their competitive juices flowing. Regular Maxxis ESC racers will get a 25% points bonus from their results at this event so don’t miss it. The Killington enduro on August 16th, while not part of the Continental Championship Series, will be an EWS Qualifier event where category winners can gain entry to EWS events and others can earn points towards qualification. This event will also have a 25% points bonus towards the ESC season championship. Get all the details HERE
One other venue deserves a quick mention. Unless you been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Burke Mountain in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is hosting the first-ever east coast stop on the Enduro World Series. All the big guns will be there from Richie Rude to Sam Hill to Isabeau Courdurier. If you weren’t one of the lucky few to get a spot in the big dance (which sold out in minutes) you can still race on some of the same EWS tracks when the Maxxis ESC Specialized enduro tour comes to town a few weeks later on August 30th.
Here’s something that doesn’t seem to add up: Entry fees for everyone are staying right where they were last year but purses are soaring. You heard that right. If you have aspirations to turn pro there’s now even more more incentive. Total purses at all Maxxis ESC Specialized downhill and enduro events are going up to $2,800. Our commitment to gender equity remains with equal payouts for men and women. The break down this year is $750 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, $200 for 3rd, $100 for 4th and $50 for 5th. The overall series championship purses have also grown. Pro payouts for the overall Enduro and Downhill titles will now be: 1st: $2,000, 2nd: $750, 3rd: $300, 4th: $250, 5th: $200, for a whopping total of $7,000 for each series. All totaled the Maxxis ESC will award over $72,000 cash to racers in 2020. Did we mention entry fees are NOT going up?
In addition to the great prizes for podium winners, there will be stacks of great swag for “race within a race” competitions. Here’s the rundown:
Küat LAST CALLl
An exciting new addition this season is the Küat Last Call. It will work like this: At every Maxxis ESC stop, at the end of awards, we will draw one plate number from the weekend’s registered racers and IF they are present they will win a Küat Hitch Rack. The hitch for the Hitch rack is: you’ve got to be present to win!
BOX Components will be back on board this season sponsoring our BOX Showdown weekends which feature both Enduro and Down Hill races at the largest resorts on our schedule. BOX Components and the Maxxis ESC will present high end prizing for the top three men and women that race both Enduro and Downhill during the weekend.
FOX TRANSFER SEATPOST CLIMBERS CHALLENGE
All enduro racers are automatically entered into the FOX Transfer Seatpost Climber’s Challenge competition with no extra fees. The seatpost will be awarded to the fastest Amateur on a preselected climbing transfer. The fastest in every class also get some cool FOX swag. The timed transfer does not count in the overall race time.
FLAT TIRE DEFENDER SUPER STAGE
All racers are automatically entered into the Flat Tire Defender Super Stage competition with no extra fees. One Flat Tire Defender foam tire insert will be awarded to the fastest male and female amateur on the super stage and the fastest in every class gets a Flat Tire Defender drawstring backpack.
FLY SPEED ZONE
The fastest racers in every class through the FLY Speed Zone at downhill events are awarded a FLY aluminum waterbottle and the fastest man and woman amateur will receive a certificate for high end FLY Racing gear.
SDR RACER REWARDS
SDR Racer Rewards will again be available for both enduro and DH: When a racing class reaches 50 entries a cash bonus to the top three amateurs in that class will be awarded. $100 for 1st, $75 for 2nd and $50 for 3rd plus normal prizing.
INTENSE CYCLES PODIUM PAYBACK
The Maxxis ESC is one of a handful of race series that will participate in the Intense Cycles Podium Payback Program. This promotion pays additional cash to the top five men and women pros and awards the top five amateurs Intense Store Credits. “Intense was built on racing, and we are proud to be offering this program in support of Privateers who ride Intense bikes at Maxxis ESC races and other key regional series this summer” said Jenn Gabrielli the Chief Rider Experience Officer at Intense. To qualify for these additional payouts you need to race an Intense bike and register online. Click https://intensecycles.com/pages/podium-payback-program for details. There’s even talk of some of the Intense Factory racers attending an event or two so keep your eyes out for some big guns on the hill.
Motorex will be back extending all podiums with 4th and 5th place prizing! It’s great to get more racers on the podium and in Pinkbike.
Now in its third season the CLIF Kid’s Class is back. This program provides free enduro or downhill race entries to racers age 12 or younger. Everyone knows bike racing carries some financial burdens but this Clif program takes some of the sting out for families with youngsters wanting to get involved. On a similar note, The ESC is adding a CLIF Enduro Lite option to all its races where newcomers and casual riders can participate for a reduced price and race an abridged version of the full enduro. This easy-going introduction to enduro racing has proven hugely popular and is a fun way to get introduced to the sport.
The Maxxis ESC is proud to announce the free Strider Riders program for the 2020 race season. At every event the Maxxis ESC crew will set up a safe area for toddlers and young children to have fun riding bikes just like the rest of the community. We’ll supply six Strider bikes, Strider helmets and pads for their fun and safety. We plan on a friendly, no stress competition for the kids if there is interest. A parent or guardian will have to fill out a Maxxis ESC waiver, then we’ll give you a free Strider Race Plate to identify the kids. The plate is theirs to keep, and we ask parents to remove them when their children are not riding and to put them back on when they are, so other can enjoy the bikes.
The Maxxis ESC season-long series championship will culminate at Mountain Creek for the downhill series and at Thunder Mountain for enduro. On the downhill side a racer’s six best results out of the eight-race series will count towards the overall with the finals once again offering double points. For enduro a racer’s eight best results will be used to calculate the overall title with a 150% premium for the final race.
The season is just around the corner and registration for all events as well as season passes are available now. Lube your chains, bleed your brakes, throw on some fresh rubber and lets go racing!
Words by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Pics by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur and Andrew Santoro
2020 Maxxis ESC Schedule
April 19 Thunder Mountain MA
June 14 Blue Mountain PA
June 21 Thunder Mountain MA
July 12 Sugarbush VT
August 9 WINDHAM NY
August 16 Killington VT EWS Qualifier
Sept 13 Jiminy Peak
Sept 27 Mountain Creek DH Finals (200% Series Points)
May 3 Diamond Hill RI
May 17 Glen Park PA
May 31 Woodstock VT
June 14 Blue Mountain PA
June 21 Thunder Mountain MA
June 28 Bolton Valley VT
July 12 Sugarbush VT uro
July 26 Mountain Creek, NJ EWS Continental Championship Series (125% Series Points)
August 16 Killington VT DH/Enduro EWS Qualifier (125% Series Points)
August 30 Burke Mountain VT
Sept 13 Jiminy Peak MA
Sept. 20 Surprise to be announced at a later date
Oct 18 Thunder Mountain MA ESC Enduro Finals (150% Series Points)
East Coast Junior MTB Championships
July 17-19 Blue Mountain PA DH/Enduro/Xc/Ds