2022 Maxxis ESC Season preview

If the racing offseason feels like an endless low-angle churn up a forest service road, we’re about to reach the top and the payoff for our patient labors. It’s almost time to drop in and get racing! If you’ve been a part of the Maxxxis ESC family in the past, welcome back, you know the excitement and camaraderie that awaits. If you’re new to this scene, welcome aboard, we’re thrilled to have you! Now entering its 13th season, the Maxxis Eastern States Cup exists to ensure the future of gravity mountain bike racing on the East Coast. The series is recognized for its professionalism, high level of competition, and an emphasis on fun. After starting as a downhill-only event, the series has evolved over the years with the addition of enduro racing, ebike racing, night racing, and numerous kid and entry-level options. The Maxxis ESC has also expanded geographically over the years, from a few sites in Vermont and New York to a revolving stable of dozens of top-level networks, interspersed with the occasional new venue, distributed across the east.

Maxxis returns as the title sponsor of the ESC series. Maxxis tires have been the industry leader in the MTB world for years and their commitment to grassroots racing is unsurpassed. Maxxis Minions and High Rollers have been ubiquitous on ESC race bikes for years, the Shorty is the go to tire on our not so infrequent mud fests and Greg Minnaar’s signature Assegai and Troy Brosnan’s signature Dissector are gaining traction (ha ha) with the downhill crowd. You can expect lots of rubber rewards at our podium ceremonies as usual.

Kate’s Real Food returns as a presenting title sponsor for 2022. Started in Jackson Hole by skier and mountain biker Kate Schade, Kate’s Real Food produces delicious organic energy bars with clean whole food ingredients Kate Schade grew up on a family farm in New York that was passed on through generations, spanning over 200 years. Working on a farm in Idaho helped shape her perspective on food and the importance of soil health and organic agriculture. The company has made it their responsibility to raise consumer consciousness and to provide customers with convenient, organic, nutrient-packed snack options uniquely crafted to fuel and nourish all bodies with real ingredients. Kate’sReal Food will once again be the title sponsor for the beginner-oriented Kate’s Enduro Lite Class and the Kate’s Kids Class, which features free racing for kids under 12.

“All Kate’s Enduro Lite Class participants will receive some organic, delicious Kate’s Real Food snack bites to enjoy.”The Maxxis ESC has been partnering with Stan’s NoTubes for a few years now and is stoked to announce that they will be the title sponsor for our hugely popular Enduro series. If you’re wondering who Stan is, he’s Stan Koziatek, a rider who was fed up with punctured inner tubes and thought mountain bike tires could perform better without them. In 2001 Stan developed a way to replace inner tubes with a liquid sealant. Stan’s system created a tire that sealed itself almost instantly when punctured. With no inner tube, tires treated with Stan’s sealant offered more traction, more control, and more comfort. They also rolled faster. The performance advantages were tremendous, and soon racers at the highest levels of the sport were asking Stan to help them go tubeless.

Intense Cycles returns as title sponsor for our Downhill race series. Intense has one of the longest, and most illustrious histories in mountain biking, with its roots deeply embedded in racing – a truly iconic mountain-biking brand since 1993. 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. To qualify for these additional payouts you need to race an Intense bike and register online. Click [L=https://intensecycles.com/pages/podium-payback-program]HERE[/L] for details

Our showdown weekends return this season with a new title, the “KASK Showdowns” feature both Enduro and DH races on the same day at the largest resorts on our schedule. KASK Helmets are made in Italy and pass through the most rigorous safety and quality tests of the KASK’s distinctive CSD Project – Comfort, Safety, Design. KASK helmets are innovative, proprietary, and protected by numerous patents. Winners at every KASK Showdown will take home a certificate for a KASK Helmet with a value of up to $299! The overall Kask Showdown Series champion will be awarded a custom KASK gold-wrapped Rex “Kask Champions Helmet.”

Runners up in the KASK Showdown Series events will win KOO California Sunglasses ($149 Value) while the overall championship will earn a pair of KOO Edge Goggles and a Sweatshirt. 3rd-place place finishers will get KASK/KOO soft goods and swag. KOO is also sponsoring our downhill speed trap contest this year. The fastest amateur female and male racers will wins a pair of the KOO Edge goggles and the fastest in every class wins KOO Softgoods.

The Maxxis Eastern States Cup added eBike racing to its slate of offerings last year and the competition charges up again this year with eight battery-assisted enduro events. Motorex, a Swiss family-owned company specializing in the development, production and marketing of lubricants, has been working with the ESC for several years now and their products have proven hugely popular. This year Motorex will again be the title sponsor for our eBike Enduro Series.

Our numerous other race-within-a-race promotions and incentives all return for 2022. You may need a personal assistant to keep track of everything, but we aim to please with a plethora of products:

FOX
All enduro racers are automatically entered into the FOX Transfer Seatpost Climber’s Challenge competition at no extra charge. The Transfer seatpost will be awarded to the fastest Amateur on a preselected climbing transfer. The fastest in every class also wins some cool FOX swag. Thankfully the timed transfer does not count in the overall race time.

FLAT TIRE DEFENDER
All enduro 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 Flat Tire Defender Super Stage.

KÜAT RACKS
An exciting addition last season that is returning for another year is the Küat Last Call. It works 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!

GT BICYCLES JUNIOR CLASSES
GT Bicycles is showing its commitment to growing the sport by partnering with the Maxxis ESC for the GT Bicycles East Coast Junior MTB Championships to be held on July 16-17, 2022 at Blue Mountain.

GT Bicycles and the Maxxis ESC will be offering the Boys U15 GT Junior Class and the new Girls U18 GT Junior Class for both the DH and the Enduro ESC series’. Here’s the exciting part, the GT Junior Boy and the GT Junior Girl with the most total 2022 Maxxis ESC Series points at the season’s end will earn a spot on the GT Flow Athlete’s team in 2023. The two winners of the GT Flow Athlete award will receive a GT Bicycles frame to race on next season, a bunch of GT swag, and entrance into all four disciplines at the 2023 GT East Coast Junior MTB Championships!

DH SPLITS!
We are adding a fun new element to our downhill races this year, a split time on the course, just like at world cup races. Split times will be announced during the race and displayed live on live-timing.com. They will also be printed on results sheets so racers will be able to see where they lost time or made up ground.

We’ve also made some important tweaks involving race classes and payouts. We’ve added a single-crown category to our downhill classes for those of you who don’t mind thrashing your trail whip. We’ve also added an 18-and-under junior girls category to both our downhill and enduro events. Our payouts in the pro class have increased his season with the male and female winners now pulling in $600 for an event win and a whopping $1,200 for a series win.

VENUES AND SCHEDULE 
So where are we going to put tires to dirt this season? The venues are really what makes the series special. New networks have been springing up all over the northeast in the past few years and more and more ski resorts are spinning their lifts for riders in the summer. As usual, the Maxxis ESC crew has put together an enticing lineup of new venues, tried and true favorites, and the return of some classics. Here are some of the highlights of the coming season:

The newest arrow in our venue quiver is Woodstock in central Vermont. Veteran racer Gavin Vaughn has been riding the area for years and has helped develop a couple distinct networks above the historic town. Suicide Six ski area just up the road began lift serviced biking a few years ago so the area is becoming a hub of two-wheeled activity. The Maxxis ESC series will be in town in early October for an enduro event.

After a much missed absence of a couple of years, Killington Resort returns to the schedule in a big way with a KASK Showdown weekend featuring both the Intense DH and Stan’s Enduro series races in early August and the Beast of the East will also host the Intense DH Series championship in mid-October.

As has become a bit of a tradition, Diamond Hill in Rhode island kicks off our earliest start ever to the racing season with an enduro in April. This first event has no lift-assist so get some miles in the saddle before this one if you can (or enter the eBike race).

Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires returned to the schedule last year after a lengthy absence and things went so well we’re upping the ante this year with a KASK Showdown weekend and a separate standalone downhill race weekend.

Sugarloaf Resort in northern Maine jumped into the racing pool last season and is scheduled to host an Enduro World Series event in late August. Maxxis ESC racers can get a jump on the world and ride some of the same tracks as the big boys and girls when we host a KASK weekend in June. The Sugarloaf enduro will be an EWS qualifier event, one of only four in the country, and promises to bring out some big hitters.

Powder Ridge in Connecticut also burst onto the scene in recent years and will host our first downhill event of the season and the Maxxis ESC’s unique night enduro event.

Arrowhead in New Hampshire will be our lone stop in the Granite State for an enduro in September. Last year’s inaugural event at the mountain was a big success and we’re looking forward to what the Claremont crew has cooked up for us this year.

Thunder Mountain will play host to a Kask Showdown weekend in September and the Stan’s Enduro Series finale in October. Thunder Mountain has been a popular mainstay on our schedule for years now and will be joined in the returning veterans club with the likes of Sugarbush, Blue Mountain, Windham, and Glen Park.

2022 MAXXIS ESC PRESENTED BY KATE’S REAL FOOD SCHEDULE

INTENSE CYCLES DOWNHILL SERIES 
May 22 Powder Ridge, CT
June 12 Jiminy Peak, MA
June 26 Sugarloaf, ME
July 10 Jiminy Peak, MA
July 24 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 7 Killington, VT
Aug 28 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 4 Windham, NY
Sept 25 Thunder Mountain, MA
Oct 16 Killington, VT Finals

STAN’S ENDURO SERIES
April 24 Diamond Hill, RI
May 21 Powder Ridge, CT –Night Enduro
June 5 Glen Park, PA
June 26 Sugarloaf, ME
July 10 Jiminy Peak, MA
July 24 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 7 Killington, VT
Aug 28 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 11 Arrowhead, NH
Sept 25 Thunder Mountain, MA
Oct 2 Woodstock, VT
Oct 23 Thunder Mountain, MA Finals

KASK SHOWDOWN SERIES
May 22 Powder Ridge, CT
June 26 Sugarloaf, ME
July 10 Jiminy Peak, MA
July 24 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 7 Killington, VT
Aug 28 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 25 Thunder Mountain, MA

MOTOREX EBIKE ENDURO SERIES
April 24 Diamond Hill, RI
May 21 Powder Ridge, CT –Night Enduro
June 5 Glen Park, PA
June 26 Sugarloaf, ME
Sept 11 Arrowhead, NH
Sept 25 Thunder Mountain, MA
Oct 2 Woodstock, VT
Oct 23 Thunder Mountain, MA Finals

GT BICYCLES EAST COAST JUNIOR MTB CHAMPIONSHIPS
July 16-17 Blue Mountain, PA – DH – DS – XC – Enduro

Words: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Images: Andrew Santoro and Jeb Wallace-Brodeur