Hua Hin's gone downhill

2012Spotlight2 Pongpet Mekloy

With 2018 nearing its end and the International Chiang Mai Enduro having taken place earlier this month, riders and fans of gravity mountain biking thought the racing season in Thailand was already over. But here comes a surprise.

Photo: Pongpet Mekloy

Out of the blue, another downhill competition has been announced for this weekend in the famous resort city of Hua Hin.

Named the "Meeting Exclusive Vee Tire Co", after the Thailand-based bicycle tire manufacturer which hosts the event, the DH competition will be unlike any other ever held in this country.

Instead of racing on just one track as usual, this time riders are required to ride on one in the morning and on another in the afternoon. But it's not simply that the racers with the best time on both sessions will make it to the podium. Winners must also have luck on their side.

After finishing both runs, every rider will have to join a lucky draw. Each of the ping-pong balls they have to randomly pick comes with different numbers of seconds that will be added to the actual time they rode, ranging, with 10-minute increments, from zero to 60 seconds.

Yes, it's more of a fun event than a serious competition. The venue, of course, will be Khao Hin Lek Fai, the famous hill that is home to Hua Hin's scenic lookout point and several DH trails. The two tracks chosen for this weekend's event are Thara on the east sides of the hill and Wallride on the west side. Unless there is a sudden change of plans, the first is set for the morning run and the latter for the afternoon. The starting points of both routes are on the same hilltop.

Unlike other mountain-bike races, in this event riders will not be grouped in accordance with their ages and genders. There will be only two categories, Elite and Open. Both groups will ride on the two mentioned trails. The difference is that in the latter groups, riders' times will not be affected by the lucky draw.

Saturday will be practice day. And Sunday is when the actual race takes place. Registration fee, inclusive of shuttle rides on both days, is 650 baht for each category. Special activities, including a riding clinic with national-team racers, will be held for users of Vee tires. Spectators are welcome to watch, free of charge.

For details and registration, visit facebook/veetirecothailand.