It’s not all about Mont-Sainte-Anne this week. While Greg Minnaar and Myriam Nicole are in race mode at the World Cup in Canada, the prodigies of the sport are heading to Bikepark Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria. Over 180 young shredders are expected to be dropping into the downhill course during the MTB-Festival Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis this weekend. On Saturday they will be racing for points for the “Specialized Rookies Cup” and on Sunday the rookies will be sending it for unofficial Youth World Championship Titles during the “iXS International Rookies Championships”.
Hundreds of young riders will be on their way to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis for bucket loads of MTB action this weekend. By the time Friday and the weekend hits us, hundreds of other kids will join in the action for the Pumptrack Session, Specialized Rookies Cup, iXS International Rookies Championships and Family Challenge.
Here are the riders you’ll want to keep an eye on:
Henri Kiefer, Germany U13 male
Henri and his two-year-older brother Luis ride for the SRAM Young Guns. Both have impressed during the season so far and it’s obvious these two love mountain biking. Henri definitely has speed in his blood and has a little winning streak à la Rachel Atherton going on: He has been the fastest over the finish line on his Canyon at every race so far this season.
Ike Klaassen, Holland, U15 male
Ike already proved last year that difficult conditions and technical tracks are no match for him. Born in the Netherlands and residing in South Africa, Klaassen defended his title in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis last year. The 13-year-old is doing everything he can to follow in the footsteps of his idol Greg Minnaar and surely knows how to rush his Santa Cruz over the finish line in first.
Jackson Goldstone, Canada, U15 male
It seems as though Jackson was born to ride a bike. Just watching him shred, makes you want to jump on your bike with a big grin on your face. When he was 8 he lead Tyler McCaul down the Dirt Merchant trail in Whistler Bike Park and the clip of him shredding at the age of 10 has over a million views on YouTube. No doubt about it: This kid can ride! His all-round ability is impressive; whether he is on a downhill or dirt bike, whether he is in the bike park or Woodward West this kid just loves to be on two-wheels.
Valentina Höll, Austria, U19/U17 female
Valentina Höll is already on her way to becoming a superstar. At the age of 15 she is pushing the limits year for year and is unbeaten on her YT in the Pro U17 “iXS European Downhill Cup”. The boys in her age-group can’t come close and even the older ones have a hard time trying to keep up. It’s no wonder she received fan mail from Rachel Atherton at the age of 13.
Maya Atkinson, Great Britain, U19/U17 female
Maya started mountain biking at the age of 12 and just became the UK National Champion in the U19 category; a dream come true for the Australian-born youngster. When Maya is not wreaking havoc at British downhill contests, you may find her on a fat bike with fluorescent pink tires. This weekend however, Atkinson will be competing against some of the best rising stars on her ROSE bike.
Mille Johnset, Norway, U19/U17 female
Mille was hand picked by Rachel Atherton for the Atherton Academy thanks to a message she received on Instagram. The 16-year-old Norwegian has been riding bikes since 2010 and has been killing it on her TREK for a while now. Last year she drew the short straw against Valli Höll at the MTB-Festival Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. Seeing as she has made the Top 2 at every race on the British Downhill Series this year, it will be exciting to see how the showdown will turn out this year.
Leah Maunsell, Ireland, U19/U17 female
Leah is an enduro prodigy. The 17-year-old Kona athlete has been addicted to two wheels since she was four and progressed ever since. Leah was able to win the Enduro World Series in the U21 category at home in Ireland in the past two years. Although her focus is on enduro, Leah has been competing at the MTB-Festival in the past years and will be heading back to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis to celebrate mountain biking with over 180 other youth riders on the downhill track this weekend.
Don’t miss the next generation of mountain bikers sending it in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis this weekend and catch the live stream on Saturday from 1pm CEST and on Sunday from 12 pm CEST.