Patrick Laffey of the Gravity MTB Youth Development Race Team, at right, placed third in the junior men’s division at a race in Scotland. Photo supplied

Youth mountain biker racing in Europe

Laffey reaches podium in Scotland

Patrick Laffey of the Gravity MTB Youth Development Race Team reached the podium at a World Cup downhill mountain bike race in Scotland. The 17-year-old Comox Valley rider placed third in the junior men’s division, June 2 in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.

The following weekend, Laffey had a fifth-place finish at a race in Leogang, Austria.

“It’s kind of like his destiny,” said coach Chad Hendren, co-owner of Gravity MTB. “He is involved with the Devinci development team, which is based in Quebec. And he’s still with us, strength training and mountain bike training.”

The development team also includes Kyle Mitchell, Calum Barr, Connor Nettleton, Cole Stinson and Emmy Lan.

Last year at the Canadian downhill national championships at Panorama Mountain Resort, Laffey was second in the U17 boys expert category while Lan won the U15 girls division. This season, the 15-year-old Lan won each Island Cup Enduro race to finish atop the expert women’s division, and the first two stops of the Canadian National Enduro Series in the U21 category.

“She’s charging on,” Hendren said.

The youth team is in Revelstoke this weekend for a National Enduro, followed by their first downhill race of the season next weekend in Whistler. Then it’s off to Big White in Kelowna and Sun Peaks on successive weekends for more racing.

“Then we get a couple weeks off,” Hendren said, noting the intensity of training involved in downhill mountain bike racing.

“It’s not just about having fun any more, because everybody else is training and taking it seriously, so we need to make sure we’re doing the same thing. And it’s paying off — big time.”

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