The first downhill mountain bike competition of the country concluded here on Sunday with an overwhelming response from professional bikers all over the world who wished to see international level events here in the future.
A total of 30 professional bikers from UK, Italy, Nepal and India participated in the Woodland Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike race while even more bikers took part in the Woodland Himalayan Trails 'n' Dust Mountain Bike Challenge. Interestingly, the bikers were so fascinated with the rough terrain and challenging trails of the region that they offered to extend all possible technical assistance to improve the standards of mountain biking in the country.
Piyush Chavan from Pune won the first prize in downhill category. Mangal from Nepal and Gautam Taode from Pune finished at the second and third positions respectively. In Trails 'n' Dust off-road biking category, Devender Thakur reached the 22km finish line first, while Shivam and Sunil Barongpa secured the second and third positions respectively. Winners were honored with prizes and certificates. James Frampton, a professional biker from UK who came to India especially to mark his presence in the event, said he had seen almost all the downhill biking trails, but was impressed with the Himalayan trails which were worthy of organising international level events.
He added that slopes, geography, locations, existing trails and accessibility were marvelous here.
Frampton said he would love to assist the youth to make Manali the mountain biking capital of India, and if possible, the capital of the world. Professional bikers from Nepal invited Indian bikers to visit their country to participate in the national events.
The event was organised by the Himalayan Mountain Bike Network. Bikers lauded the efforts of Anil Kumar, a Kullu resident; Vineet Sharma, a resident of Chandigarh and Naveen Barongpa from Lahaul for their arrangements. The country manager of Trek Bicycle Corporation India, Viju Varghese, also reached the venue to encourage the participants. The youth, with help from international professional bikers, are now planning to host an international race here soon. "It was the biggest downhill race ever in the region.We are getting a huge response internationally and are planning to take it to a bigger platform," said Vineet Sharma, one of the organisers.