WEST JEFFERSON — This year’s North Carolina Downhill Race at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area will be an official World Cup Event, which will make the park one of only six venues in the world to host such an event.
Park Superintendent Joseph Shimel made the announcement on Jan. 11.
“We are excited to be hosting this event yet again at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and are thrilled it is a World Cup event,” Shimel said.
The scheduled dates for the race are Aug. 15 and 16.
Mount Jefferson has hosted this event for the past five years. In 2018, the World Cup qualifying race was held and its purpose was to help racers qualify to be entered in the downhill cup races.
The only other venues worldwide to offer such a race at the World Cup level are Goldendale, Wash.; Vulcan, Romania; Kosakov, Czech Republic; Cavite, Phillippines; and Bathurst, Australia.
Chief Ranger Jeff Matheson spoke about the logistics of the race and the groups who serve a sponsors.
According to Matheson, Saturday will be a practice day for riders and Sunday will be the day of the timed race.
As in years past, a shuttle will provide rides from the old Lowes Food parking lot for the public up to the mountain to watch the race. There will be no vehicle traffic in or out of the park that weekend to ensure the safety of the riders.
Mount Jefferson will be in charge of the logistics and getting the spectators to and from the two main spectator spots, which are the first and second overlook.
The two main groups who assist Mount Jefferson in putting on this event are the North Carolina Downhill Federation and the Human Powered Transportation Club at Appalachian State University. Both groups help with logistics such as practice days, having the correct number of marshalls on the course and putting out protective straw bales for rider safety.
The biggest difference between this race and those held in previous years is that since it is a World Cup Event there will be an increase in the number of in international riders who attend the event.
“This should draw more national attention,” Matheson said.
Mount Jefferson staff plan to begin meeting soon with the NCDH and the HPT club to discuss more about food vendors and spectator areas.
NCDH will post any additional information on their website at www.ncdownhill.com and on their Facebook page. The group will also be in charge of registration for the race.