Middlefield Connecticut’s Powder Ridge welcomes Maxxis ESC racers for the first round of Intense DH racing in 2023. This is the first April DH race in the history of the Maxxis ESC and the Northeast was itching to get back on dirt, with 292 racers this weekend. The short Wild Turkey track is the perfect warm up for the rest of the season, boasting several technical sections to keep riders on their toes. Shorter doesn’t always mean easier though, as wet weather would keep things interesting. A mix of peanut butter mud and puddled water made for slower times than normal, but racing was extremely tight with winning margins of less than a second in many classes. With over two inches of rain falling throughout the weekend, we sure hope you brought some Maxxis tires!
Many of our awesome sponsors return this year, and we welcome Oakley to the party. Oakley will be at every Maxxis ESC event this season, where they’ll be displaying and offering their great products in coordination with local Oakley vendors. Oakley is the title sponsor of the Oakley Showdown weekends along with the Oakley Speed Zone at our Intense Cycles DH races.
With mostly dry weather last season, we were overdue for an absolute mudder of a race weekend.
Sloppy, challenging conditions for Round 1 but Anthony Lapedota is stoked to be back between the tape.
When the bike wash line is long some opt for a natural creek wash instead. These two also landed on the Pro podiums this weekend, coincidence?
Soggy, spooky scenes in the hills of Connecticut.
Straight into the gnar at the top of Wild Turkey, Ian Scaglione kicks off the season with a win in the 30-39 Expert class.
Slight change to the Wild Turkey track we’ve raced before, the bottom now routes through Powder’s Halloween attraction features. Jacob Manning gets loose and drifts through the haunted forest.
Extra pedal strokes where possible because every puddle is fighting to slow you down, Dustin Geis would slot into second place for the Expert 19-29 class.
This corner is a blast in dry conditions but definitely greasy this weekend. Luca Catalano somehow carried enough speed to leave the ground and keep it rolling rubber side down to take the Junior Expert class win.
Ty Davis follows the stream down course to earn second in the Amateur U18 class.
Soren Frantz scrubs over a snowmaking pipe slicker than snot, he would finish runner up in the Single Crown class.
Tanner Valhouli points it through the afternoon fog up top, besting the Expert 19-29 class by a margin of 1.34.
Expert 40+ winner Nathan Reed treads lightly through the slippery rock garden midway down the track.
Our youngest racer ever, Chase Ulmer completed the course at just five years old. His first of many race runs to come.
Tucker Shearer takes fifth place in his first Pro race, he’s picked up speed fast with a few years of racing under his belt and is clearly ready to take on the big boys.
Amateur women’s class winner Amanda Domingus tackles the soupy ski slope mud pit that got progressively deeper throughout the weekend.
Terry Gagnon lets it roll through the rocks and roots on his way to the Amateur 40-49 W.
Cat 2 Cyclocross racer Ryan Dorr hangs on to the inside line, taking the GT U16 Boys class win with the sixth fastest overall time of the day. Impressive performance for his first Maxxis ESC Intense DH race!
Juan Leon shows the kids how it’s done through the rocks and secures second place in the Amateur 19-29 men’s class, just 0.12 off the win.
Chris Rowen topped the 50+ Masters class by over three seconds in his first race. Come join the fun, you might be surprised how good you are at racing.
Kate’s Kids U12 class winner Thorin DiDomenico keeps eyes ahead through the last woods section.
Dexter Shearer hangs it out on the final ski trail corner and rolls into fourth place for the U14 boys.
Our 2022 DH series champion Mazie Hayden rode a smooth run to third place. Tight racing from the Pro ladies to kick off the season, the top three were separated by less than two seconds.
Second place for PA ripper Abby Ronca, just 1.27 off the win.
Birthday girl Riley Miller would take the top step with a 2:09 and winning margin of 1.27 seconds. Seems her time spent racing in Costa Rica and Tennessee early season with the KMS team paid off.
Pro Women: 4th – Maxine Bergeron, 2nd – Abby Ronca, 1st – Riley Miller, 3rd – Mazie Hayden, 5th – Kale Cushman
2022 DH champion Dylan Conte would round out the Pro men’s top three.
Nathan Sterckx has been quietly getting faster and consistently landing on both series podiums over the past couple years, giving the vets a run for their money. P2 this weekend, just .17 off the win.
Patrick Paré-Martin would beat out his fellow Canadian to take top honors in the slop. Although he’s no stranger to the podium, this is his first Pro win since 2017.
Pro Men: 4th – Steve Estabrook, 2nd – Nathan Sterckx, 1st – Patrick Paré-Martin, 3rd – Dylan Conte, 5th – Tucker Shearer
That’s a wrap on the first race weekend of 2023, if you survived this one the rest of the season should be a piece of cake. We’ll be back at Powder Ridge for the close to sold out Stan’s Enduro Series May 21st and Intense Downhill racers will be back in action June 18th at Jiminy Peak for our first Oakley Showdown of the season.
Words and photos: Andrew Santoro
2022 MAXXIS ESC PRESENTED BY KATE’S REAL FOOD SCHEDULE
INTENSE CYCLES DOWNHILL SERIES
STAN’S ENDURO SERIES
OAKLEY SHOWDOWN SERIES
MOTOREX EBIKE ENDURO SERIES