June 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Bikers hit the slopes at Mount Brighton

Mt. Brighton Dual Slalom Bike Series
Mt. Brighton Dual Slalom Bike Series: Mt. Brighton's ski slope was converted Thursday, June 6, 2014 into a challening dual downhill track for bike racing.

Brighton This summer, daredevil motocross and mountain bikers will be able to speed down Mount Brighton, which has been converted from its wintertime ski slope to a downhill double slalom course for bike racing.

The course includes seven banked turns with numerous jumps, said Pat Schutte, spokesman for Mount Brighton, who joined the racers.

This is the first time theyve literally built a course, almost like a bobsled run (on) the ski hill, said Schutte.

The MTB DH Dual Slalom Series is the headlining event for the Thursday Mountain Club at the Brighton ski slope. More than 100 bikers and their families came out Thursday to enjoy the sunshine and the challenging course that left more than one rider face-planted in the mud.

Cristin Cataldo, a skier who takes to the same slope in the winter, said she was excited to try out the course on her mountain bike.

Ive spent all winter doing the beer league ski racing at Mount Brighton, said the Brighton resident, who was waiting in line for the retrofitted ski lift that would carrying her and her bike up the slope. Its just a whole different feeling.

Downhill bike racing used to be popular in Michigan, but it has died off in recent years, said Cataldo. Now, with the dual downhill slalom course, Mount Brighton has brought something great to the community, she said.

Its a shot in the arm that Michigan needs, said Cataldo.

Prior to the slalom races, which cost $10 to join, bikers took free practice runs starting at the top of the mountain and finishing at the lodge at the base.

Cyclists tore across the race hills steeper upper section, banking in and out of clay corners, then speeding back under the chairlift and through a series of ski gates to the finish line.

It took a combination of BMX and motocross skills, something rider Matthew Maximoff knows all about.

A retired professional motocross racer who has been riding since he was 9, Maximoff said riding the course was thrilling.

I think its awesome, said the 37-year-old Brighton resident. I went out and bought a new bike just to ride it on here.

The slope will remained transformed all summer for bike races. Upcoming dates include June 26, July 10 and 24, Aug. 7 and 21, and Sept. 4 and 18. Check-in for riders is from 5-6 p.m. with races starting at 6:30 p.m. Helmets are mandatory.

Maximoff says he has signed up for the entire racing series.

This is the only time you can ride like this, he said. This is something everybody should try. Its unbelievable this is in Michigan now.

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Richard Eimlott, right, and Andrew Heidacker, both of Farmington Hills, race down the dual slalom bike course during a practice run at Mount Brighton on Thursday. Bike races will be held throughout the summer. / Photos by Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit
Matt Kofahl of Brighton races with other bikers testing the new slalom ... (Bryan Mitchell)