Oakley & Bearclaw Raise Bar
Darren Berrecloth is one of the world’s most successful mountain bike slopestyle competitors. He’s known for putting together insane movie segments and whether he’s winning the Qashqai Challenge in Europe or mixing it up at Crankworx, Bearclaw is setting the bar for what it means to be a professional athlete. The second Bearclaw Invitational further cemented his standing as an ambassador for the sport.
The Bearclaw Invitational was located at Mt. Washington resort on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Out of the way for most, the resort is an easy trip from Whistler where the sport’s best riders had assembled only a week earlier for Crankworx. Bearclaw promised a course with more flow, fun and creativity than seen at recent contests and riders showed up en masse.
"The step up contest idea came to me from Paul Bass as we were in europe at dinner," said ‘The Claw’. "I thought it might be a rad idea but never thought it would go off in such a sick manner. All the riders were boosting way higher than anyone thought was possible and having Oakley involved, sponsoring this event, was a huge help."
Bearclaw wanted the contest to be as rider and spectator friendly as possible. Riders took only two judged runs and the highest score counted. Competitors had several days to practice and when the contest began, several riders were already favorites for the podium. Andreu Lacondeguy was going huge throughout practice, tossing tabletop-backflips and superman whips. Cam McCaul, Berrecloth, Brandon Semenuk, Ben Boyko, Kyle Strait and Alex Prochazka were charging hard too, and would prove to be fierce competitors.
Berrecloth took the first run easy and the crowd was eager to see what he’d throw his second time around. He started with a huge 360 off the top ladder drop, a signature Bearclaw move, unfortunately, the bad luck that began with his crash at Crankworx followed him home and he suffered a huge shotgun blow out in his rear tire after the mid-course drop, ruining his chances for victory. In the end, McCaul walked away with top prize and $7,000 in cash. Semenuk took second, followed by Strait in third.
After the main event, Bearclaw and Oakley teamed up and organized a moto-inspired high jump contest. He took two logs, skinned them down and branded them with Oakley icons, strategically placed every six inches, up to 25 feet. McCaul was having so much fun he even backflipped it. As the bar was raised the field was narrowed to Semenuk, Oakley Factory Pilot Thomas Vanderham and Berrecloth. Vanderham fought hard (he really wanted the Oakley Minute Machine) but when the bar reached 15 feet above the quarter, the Claw was the only rider to clear it. He earned the coveted Oakley timepiece and $500 in beer money. It was a suitable ending for one of the sport’s best riders, putting on a show—and a world-class event—on his home turf.
Great job, Claw!
Slopestyle Final Standings
- Cam McCaul
- Brandon Semenuk
- Kyle Strait (Oakley)
- Andrew Taylor
- Alex Pro (Oakley)
High Jump Final Standings
- Darren Berrecloth