ESC North American DH Team
After a successful inaugural season, the Eastern States Cup North American Downhill Team is back in 2017. The team is the first all-junior squad to receive full trade team status from the UCI. The ESC North American Downhill Team is the brainchild of George Ulmer founder of the new CLIF Enduro East and the popular Vittoria Eastern States Cup enduro and downhill series. Ulmer is a huge champion of east coast racing and sees this as an important next step for the sport: “I really want to give back and feel this is a good way to do that. I hope to make this a long term venture as it will help the future of junior downhill racing by providing direct access to World Cup events.”
Last year the ESC North American Downhill Team debuted with nine Junior Experts drawn from the Vittoria ESC ranks. The team had over 130 starts in regional, national and World Cup competitions.
In 2016, the team was represented at every World Cup except Cairns, Australia and nearly every ProGRT and Canada Cup as well as the World Championships at Val di Sole, Italy. The team had 37 podium appearances for the season. The East Coast is fertile ground for developing racing talent. The ESC North American Downhill Team will keep the competitive pipeline loaded with talent and offer a launching pad for the next generation of young racers. Having a clear path to the highest levels of racing is a huge incentive for young racers. A ten-year-old kid and his parents can now dream big and, with some hard work, make that dream a reality.
The team’s training grounds will again be the Thunder Mountain Bike Park at Berkshire East Ski resort in western Massachusetts. Team members will train there. Danny’s Cycle’s is providing the teams jerseys again this season. While a group of parents and industry professionals will guide the team, including George Ulmer, team owner and manager, Sarah Wegiel, Assistant Team Manager and Jeb Wallace-Brodeur, Media Manager.
The 2017 ESC North American Downhill Team
The 2017 squad features two returning members. Robert Bonometti hails from Rye, NH and this will be his 7th season racing downhill. Bonometti competed in the Lenzerheide and Mont-Sainte Anne World Cups last season, qualifying for the finals at MSA.
The second returning member of the team is Aidan Casner from Montpelier, VT. Casner had seven podium appearances, including two wins, last season and competed at the Lourdes, Lenzerheide and Mont-Sainte Anne World Cups. He missed the finals by one spot at Lenzerheide and qualified at MSA.
Newcomer Avi Ehrlich, from West Hartford, CT, had a very successful run in Cat 2 before moving up to Junior Expert in 2016. He earned three podium spots at the Cat 1 level last season and plans to hit several of the European World Cups.
The UCI has added a separate junior women’s category this season, and coincidentally the team has its first junior woman member. Mazie Hayden is a world-class ski cross competitor and attends the Killington Mountain School. Hayden is a relative newcomer to DH racing, with only 16 starts under her belt, but her natural athleticism and ski cross mindset have served her well with half of her starts resulting in victories.
The fifth member of the team is Skyler Primack from Briarcliff Manor, NY. Primack moved up to Junior Expert in 2016 and has been racing for Team Jersey Homegrown. Skyler has shown a lot of promise and is focused on racing the world.