Conclusion with highlights
Today, Sunday, was anything but a tranquil weekend day to rest, at least not in Winterberg. In the small town in the north-east of the Rothaargebirge, the iXS Dirt Masters Festival came to an end with the third and final day and, in addition to the huge expo area and the numerous attractions of the sixty exhibitors, naturally also offered sporting highlights.
Once again, the training for the iXS Downhill Cup was scheduled very early in the programme, so that the more than 500 participants from 23 nations had enough time to practice the last changes of the line choice and to get the necessary self-confidence for the very last run on the quite demanding course. The track in Winterberg is not too long and therefore not quite as physically demanding as some courses in the alpine terrain, but the Dirtworks shapers have put in a lot of effort to get everything out of the possibilities. Already in the seeding run it became apparent that the gaps between the ridden times would be extremely small and thus every mistake, no matter how small, would decide about victory or defeat. The weather was good again and the conditions were perfect for another great day of racing.
So the finals started around noon, while the expo area was slowly filling up and the warm up in the Slopestyle area was the start of the Pro contest. As usual, the first classes of the race were the Open categories, before things got really serious in the licensed classes. The reason for the increased tension was that due to the cancellation of the German Championships in Willingen, the national titles of the Juniors and Masters classes were now awarded during the race in Winterberg. And these honourable jerseys went to the following athletes: Henri Kiefer (Youth), Luis Kiefer (Juniors), Anastasia Thiele (Juniors), Benny Herold (Masters) and Markus Bast (Masters 2)
In the Elite Women class Justine Welzel (GER) won with a time of 2:04.619 minutes and only 4 tenths of a second ahead of Spela Horvat (SLO). The Elite Men class was won by Julian Steiner (GER) with a time of 1:42.588 minutes. Second was Gautier Jung (FRA - JR TEAM), followed by Felix Bauer (GER - Sportokay.com Racing).
After the kids had already made their appearance at the Enduro Challenge yesterday and the prologue was the first classification to herald the seriousness of the competition, things really got down to business today. In the morning, the participants were seen off in the start/finish area at the Winterberg trail park and then set off on the loop, which had sex special stages. The time achieved on each stage was added up at the end and thus the podium places were awarded. Fastest of the day was Moritz Hallmanns (GER - Blue Power Marine Proshop) with a cumulative time of 10:45.42 minutes. Fastest woman was Michaela Messmaker (GER - Happy Trail Friends e.V.).
And then there was a third discipline in the programme. Sunday was supposed to be the big day of the Continental Slopestyle Pro Contest, but unfortunately the wind threw a spanner in the works, so the riders agreed to just do a few easy jumps without any competitive pressure for the spectators and to split the prize money fairly. Well, the long-time Dirt Masters fans will somehow have a déjà vu experience.
In conclusion, it can be said that despite the difficult circumstances and some additional measures, the festival was a complete success and the popularity showed that it was worth the effort to organise the iXS Dirt Masters again in 2021. The postponed date did mean that only three of the usual four days were available, but since the weather was optimal for the occasion and it was possible to hast the big events, the impact was rather small. According to official estimates, a total of about 20,000 visitors came over the three days and celebrated a highlight of this year's MTB events. The date for the next edition has already been set, so everyone should mark 26-29 May 2022 in their calendars and plan a trip to Winterberg early.