With a winning run on Sunday (July 28) at Silver Star, Whistler’s Finn Iles completed a hat trick of provincial championship titles that took less than 18 months to complete.
Iles was among a handful of local riders to hit the podium at the B.C. Downhill Mountain Bike Provincial Championships when he won Sunday’s U15 men’s race. But the 13-year-old’s victory gave him the unique distinction of having won provincial crowns in three different sports since the winter of 2012, when he was a B.C. champ in hockey and alpine skiing.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Iles, adding that it was tough to pick which one meant the most to him. “They’re all pretty significant, so I can’t really choose one that stands out the most.”
Additionally, Iles has won the past two Dave Murray Awards at the K2/U14 level, which goes to the top Canadian male skier in the Whistler Cup.
Iles finished the Silver Star course in three minutes, 24.77 seconds, which put him nearly five seconds ahead of runner-up Kendall McLean of Victoria. He said he figured he had put together a pretty solid performance upon reaching the finish since he shaved about 10 seconds off his time from last year’s race at the same venue.
“The race went pretty well, but the course was really beat up and every run you went down the lines were changing because of how blown out the course was getting,” said Iles. “So on my race run, the course was getting pretty bad.”
Iles credited some of his success to riding more with older brother, Jack, as well as local coach Chris Kovarik. He saw both of those mentors stand on the podium at Silver Star as well.
Kovarik claimed the elite men’s title by more than 1 ½ seconds, finishing in 3:03.46 to hold off Anmore’s Kirk McDowall. Meanwhile, wife Claire Buchar took top spot in the women’s race, finishing more than eight seconds clear of the field to make it an elite sweep for the Kovarik Racing team.
Jack Iles finished with a bronze medal in the junior expert men’s (17 to 18) category, clocking a time of 3:11.90. The elder Iles crossed the line about 2 ½ seconds back of Squamish’s Lee Jackson, who earned the provincial title.
Whistler’s Aiken Collinge was the top B.C. rider in the citizen men’s 19 to 29 race, finishing second overall behind New Zealander Sam Perry, to round out the local podium finishes.
In other results from Whistler riders, Bracken Camilleri finished sixth in the U17 expert men’s race. At the U17 sport level, Brad Jansen placed sixth and Alex Auger wound up 10th.
Issac Marangoni ranked eighth in the junior expert men’s race. Fellow Whistler rider Bowen Irvine finished 12th in the category.
Adrian Camposilvan competed in the senior men’s division and rode to an eighth-place finish. Remy Mettalier recorded a 14th-place showing in the elite men’s race.