It was a busy week for brothers Jack and Finn Iles during Crankworx, the two local juniors standing on the podium a total of seven times between them, and walking away with three gold medals each. Both won their categories in the Garbanzo DH and the Canadian Open DH, Jack won the Fox Air DH and Finn was eventually allowed to enter the Whip Off Championships, in which the 14 year-old beat some of the world’s best riders for the top spot. The last minute approval for Finn to compete in the Whip Off was spurred by a series of viral social media posts featuring the hashtag #LetFinnIn, coined by local rider Adam Billinghurst.
“When I found out I could compete I was almost as happy as when I won,” said Finn. “There’s no way I could have gotten in without all (the support), I know there’s a lot of people who helped behind the scenes, like Sven Martin, Adam Billinghurst and Katrina Strand. A massive thanks goes out to the people who stood (by me).”
Just how did a 14 year old learn how to whip it better than the pros?
“It just kind of came through this year,” said Jack of his little brother’s ability. “He was whipping pretty good last year but not as good, this year he started biking and it just happened.”
Added Finn: “I had people telling me all year that I could win if I did my best whips. On my last run (at the Whip Off) I was super confident and did one of the better whips I’ve ever done.”
While the Whip Off event received the most buzz for him during Crankworx, Finn remains focused on his racing and hopes to follow his older brother into the junior World Cup circuit in the next two years. Jack will be moving up to the pro category of World Cup next year, a prospect that he doesn’t seem too intimidated by.
“There’s not really that much pressure on me,” said the 18 year-old. “The first year in pro you just have to get some top 40 or top 50 results then you just have to keep progressing every year.”
When asked who he trains with, Jack replied: “I wish I had an older brother, but I ride with Chris Kovarik a lot. He gives me a good sense of how fast I can go and he (chooses) all these lines that I never would have seen.”
If this season of racing is any indication, the training is paying off. Jack managed a top 10 finish at three UCI World Cup stops in Fort William, Scotland and Leogang, Austria and earlier this month stood on the podium in second place at Mont Ste Anne, Que.
With Finn already posting times fast enough to compete in his brother’s category, it may not be too long before the name Iles will be appearing twice on the professional World Cup Circuit start lists.