VPACE Kids Cup

Season Review 2022

This year, the time had finally come! The vision of a Kids Cup could be turned into reality without any restrictions. Smiling, and full of positive memories, we can now look back on a successful season.

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Together with the main sponsor VPACE as well as the supporters iXS and 1stRide by Sixpack, it was possible to bring forth a fully comprehensive race series for the youngest among the bike enthusiasts. At a total of five races, in three different countries, the four to ten year olds could compete with each other. The MTB Agency took care of the on-site support at every race. The focus was mainly on fun and good times during the races and not on competition. Many familiar faces met again and even more new friendships were made.

The opening race of this season took place on the 21st of May 2022 in Willingen. Almost 80 kids from six nations came to the Bike Festival in Hochsauerland. The siblings Alessandro and Valentina De Simone from Italy probably made the longest journey to get there.

In the morning, the kids did a trackwalk with Eric Junker and Jasper Jauch.

Jasper Jauch - VPACE Kids Cup Willingen 2022

During the training afterwards, the riders were able to put the theoretical tips and tricks from the professionals into practice. After that, many of them had not only their first two race runs of the season, but even their first race runs ever. The initial excitement at the start was soon gone and everyone mastered the course with a lot of fun and bravura. The kids were able to show their surprisingly high levels of riding skills already at the first event.

Awards - VPACE Kids Cup Willingen 2022

Also in the Hochsauerland and only half an hour's drive away is the tranquil little town of Winterberg. There, the Kids Cup made its second stop of the season during the well-known Dirtmasters Festival. The Thursday of the festival is usually dedicated to the young athletes, which is why the Specialized RockShox Rookies Cup also took place alongside the VPACE Kids Cup.

Two fun stations awaited the youngest, one more technical and the other more downhill oriented. The bad weather in the morning suggested difficult conditions. Fortunately, it soon got better and a happy and sunny day awaited the kids. After inspecting the course with Gabriel Wibmer in the morning, it was time to hop on the bikes and get some riding time.

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Many participants from Willingen also took part in the race in Winterberg. Everyone had a lot of fun on and off the course and the fastest riders were able to confirm their performance from Willingen. The organiser Sabine Oswald summarised the great impressions from Winterberg in a short statement:

„We couldn't be happier - twice fully booked, 80 smiling and highly motivated kids, nice parents and acquaintances and great support from our partners. The festival provided the perfect setup for the third time and I am sure I will see some of the kids at the RDC in the future.“

After two race weekends in a row, kids and parents had earned a weekend off. But in their minds, the youngsters were probably already a week ahead. Because on the second weekend of June, the Kids Cup was held in the Thuringian winter sports resort of Oberhof. Meanwhile, there is also a lot going on there during summertime; nowadays, the local bike park can now count itself among the largest and most versatile in all of Germany. So the third stop was also a perfect venue for the Kids Cup. More than 60 riders came to the ridge of the Thuringian Forest in perfect conditions. They competed on two fun but challenging courses. The kids showed on what a high level they are already able to ride despite their young age. They delivered at least as exciting racing as the Rookies Cup that took place at the same time. Sabine Oswald accompanied the participants throughout the day. Once again, there was a lot of fun, action and good times.

A special feature of the event in Oberhof was that the kids were offered a race workshop on Sunday. Here, the participants could work on their bike skills again with Ronny Quittschalle (Ronmanshow bike school) and Harriett Rücknagel (multiple DH champion). Like this, the riders had the opportunity to work on their mistakes from the races and learn from them.

VPACE Kids Cup Oberhof Ronmanshow

Four weeks later, the racing circus stopped at a beautiful place in the Italian municipality of Badia. Situated at an altitude of 1537 metres, St. Kassian is surrounded by imposing rock faces of the Dolomites. Thus, the backdrop for the fourth stop was magnificent and represented a highlight of this year's season. In addition to the scenic experience, the race also impressed again with perfect weather conditions. Isak Keskitalo and Konrad Prytz even made the long journey from Norway for this. Pol Rosillo came from Spain. All 30 riders gave their best on the two courses and had a lot of fun. Compared to the other races of the season, there were far fewer participants in St. Kassian. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, everyone was very enthusiastic about the event. The smaller number of participants allowed an even stronger "team spirit" than usual.

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The venue for the big final of the VPACE Kids Cup was Leogang in Austria, at the end of July. The commune in Pinzgau has been an integral part of the Downhill World Cup since 2010. Here the kids could step into the shoes of their idols and gain great experiences and racing experience in the same bike park. Even though the weather was not ideal this time, no less than 164 young riders showed up for the race. In Leogang, the youngest riders rode only one course instead of the usual two, just like their big role models. Compared to the other events, however, this one was significantly longer and also very demanding due to the weather conditions. Nevertheless, the young racers were once again able to show what they are already capable of at a very young age.

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Two girls even took part in every single race of this year's season: The ten-year-old Charlotte Steiert and the seven-year-old Paula Gans. They were the only ones who did not miss a single race of the season. Even though the focus was on having fun, the two were able to show their talent and already achieved several podium positions. They, and also some of the other riders in the Kids Cup, could soon be among the well-known names in German downhill sport. The VPACE Kids Cup was a great success and the level of excitement for an at least equally great season in 2023 is already high.

For all kids who fancy another event this year, there is a great opportunity from 24th to 26th of August 2022 in the Bikepark Oberhof. The "VPACE Kids Cup Racing & Jump Camp" will be held here. Once again, riders will have the opportunity to spend fun days with people of the same interests and improve their skills together with experienced coaches.

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