Sports

Mountain bike brothers looking to go international in 2013

Kelowna mountain bike racer Bas van Steenbergen and his brother Tom, have both taken the sport of downhill biking by storm, placing first and second in a US based racing circuit this year.  - David Buzzard
Kelowna mountain bike racer Bas van Steenbergen and his brother Tom, have both taken the sport of downhill biking by storm, placing first and second in a US based racing circuit this year.
— image credit: David Buzzard

A couple of Kelowna mountain biking brothers are looking to the new year to continue to take the world of downhill mountain biking by storm.

After making the switch from BMX riding to downhill mountain biking a couple of years ago, Bas and Tom van Steenbergen have found themselves climbing the ladder of the sport, culminating earlier this year in a couple of invites to the prestigious Crankworx mountain bike festival in Whistler.

And they weren't intimidated by the top riders from around the world at Crankworx. Bas, 18, placed third in the pro dual slalom event while Tom, 16, ended up winning the junior dual slalom event and the best trick on the slope style course.

The excellent results have both young riders looking forward to even more solid performances next year.

"This is only my second season racing downhill but I am definitely sure that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life," said Bas, who placed first overall in the Northwest Cup series for junior men. "Next year I want to get a decent amount of experience....as my first year in the elite male category. My main goal is to improve on the mistakes I have made and become an overall better rider."

Younger brother Tom also competed in the United States-based Northwest Cup and finished in second place in his first year competing against his older brother. The pair signed one-year sponsorship deal with Transition Bikes to compete in the Northwest Cup.

The brothers have been riding bikes since growing up in Holland where they were into BMX riding. When they moved with their family to Kelowna nearly three years ago, both brothers made the transition to downhill mountain biking where they have clearly found a niche.

Along with racing, Younger brother Tom has taken to slope style, an event where riders take jumps and perform tricks. Earlier this year he won the best trick at the Wam Bam Dirt Jump Jam and placed second at the Best Trick at the Claymore Challenge. Those placings got him invited to Crankworx in Whistler where he also won the best trick event.

"Dirt jumping is a passion of mine," said Tom. "I started training with (well known mountain biker) Casey Groves and I surprised myself with my progression."

As for what the future holds, the van Steenbergen brothers are looking to compete even more in 2013 and plan to take part in some international races in Europe next season.

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