Aspen, Colo. – Monster Energy congratulates team rider Cody Matechuk on claiming the gold medal in Wendy’s Snow BikeCross event at X Games Aspen 2019. Battling a botched start, poor visibility and treacherous ice patches, the 24-year-old from Cochrane, Canada, brought home a come-from-behind victory for his fourth career X Games medal.
In the first-ever Para Snow BikeCross racing event at a Winter X Games, his Monster Energy teammate and 49-year-old snow racing veteran Doug Henry took gold with a dominant performance.
The roar of engines echoed across Buttermilk Mountain all afternoon as the world’s fastest snow bike racers fought for a spot in the final races. Now in its third year as an official X Games event, Snow BikeCross has riders competing on motocross bikes transformed into snow bikes via custom conversion kits featuring rear-mounted track drives and skis for steering.
This year’s Snow BikeCross course was designed by Snow Park Technologies and challenged riders with technical moguls, steep turns and table top jumps. After taking gold in the event at last year’s X Games Aspen, Matechuk came into the 12-rider final as a favorite. But as every Snow BikeCross racer knows, a collision or slip on an ice patch is all it takes to derail podium aspirations in the blink of an eye.
With that said, the 20-lap race turned into an uphill battle for Matechuk. Not getting the start he wanted, he had to watch 19-year old X Games rookie Jesse Kirchmeyer get the holeshot on the race’s first sharp turn. Battling from behind, Matechuk quickly climbed into third place, only to find himself trailing his friend and riding partner Brock Hoyer. But roost from Hoyer was not Matechuk’s only problem: Half of the course was covered in shade, creating challenging lighting conditions, while ice patches loomed in the corners. Ultimately, one of those patches took out Hoyer, freeing Matechuk to go after Kirchmeyer’s lead.
This proved easier said than done, as Kirchmeyer cemented himself into pole position, leaving Matechuk desperate for a chance to pass. He found it after a botched table top landing left Kirchmeyer exposed in a corner. With three laps to go in the race, Matechuk put the pedal to the medal to build his lead, ultimately finishing the white-knuckle race 4.445 seconds ahead of Kirchmeyer with a 10:31.387 overall time.
The win marks Matechuk’s third consecutive Snow BikeCross podium after winning gold in 2018 and bronze in 2017. Previously a motocross racer, the Canadian is building a legacy in the relatively young sport: In 2018, he won every single snow bike racing event he entered, including the Canadian National Championship series. After he claimed gold at last year’s X Games Aspen, his hometown in Canada’s Alberta province named Matechuk its Ambassador of the Year and bestowed an honored athlete award.
Earlier, the first-ever Para Snow BikeCross at a Winter X Games saw snow bike athletes who are not ambulatory take on the BikeCross course with some alterations to their bikes such as hand control and seat modifications.
Right after the start, Monster Energy rider Henry from Torrington, CT, drew on his decades-long racing experience to clinch the top spot and strategically build his lead round after round on the tight course.
Posting the day’s fastest lap time on his first pass at 44.992 seconds, Henry continued to dominate until finishing 19.051 seconds ahead of the next competitor with a 4:57.599 overall time to claim gold.
Henry's win, his first gold medal in 14 years, brings Henry's X Games medal count to seven, including two gold, two silver and three bronze. A decorated motocross racer until a Supermoto crash in 2007 left him paralyzed from the waist down, the 49-year-old continues his passion for racing as a top competitor in adaptive snowmobile and Snow BikeCross events. The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer has now officially medaled in three different X Games disciplines after winning SuperMoto gold at X Games Los Angeles 2005 and four medals in SnoCross Adaptive.
Visit http://www.monsterenergy.com for exclusive updates from X Games Aspen 2019 including photos, videos, and contest results as they happen. Follow Monster Energy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter for exclusive behind-the-scenes looks in Aspen.