After last year's iXS Dirt Masters Festival had to be cancelled due to a pandemic and this year's event in May was also not feasible, the event was moved to September. In the meantime, there were doubts about the possibility of holding the event on this alternative date, but with some effort on all sides, it was finally possible to organize a festival of this magnitude under the current conditions and legal framework, and also to make it safe by taking appropriate measures. In close cooperation between the organizers and the local authorities, a concept was developed that was feasible and thus made the event feasible. Now the festival could start today and both on the part of the participants as well as visitor-technically the popularity seems to justify the efforts of the past weeks after a long dry spell.
After the last exhibitors had finished setting up their stands, the festival was officially opened at twelve o'clock, although this is naturally in Winterberg rather a smooth transition, after all, some events already start with their program before. At the Downhill, the usual track walk was on the schedule after the bibs had been collected, during which the participants were able to get a first impression of the modifications to the bike park course. The crew of Dirtworks did a great job in the last days and added some spice to the not too long track like every year. Also in the Slopestyle area it started early, because the first training sessions were on the agenda. Slowly the expo area filled up from noon on, and also the weather was well the whole day.
At the end, the first festival day was only complete with the Rose Best of Ten contest. Honestly, who doesn't love a jam full of trick banging? It's just the perfect time to drop the hammer and show off the moves that get the crowd going wild. Greats like Erik Fedko, Marc Diekmann and also for the first time a girl - Patricia Druwen - fought their way through the given ten tricks of the Rose Best of Ten. With a lot of style Erik Fedko and Tom Pfeiffer won the most cash. The Music Night continued with the Mountain Reggae Radio Crew, who accompanied the crowd into the night with chilling reggae tunes.
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).
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.
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