Norton 2022 Worlds
Team USA

Four Top-10s for Team USA at Downhill MTB World Championships

By: Angelina Palermo  August 27, 2022

Norton, Gwin, Pinkerton, and Driscoll ride to Top 10 finishes in the Elite and Junior races.

Day four of the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships brought the Junior and Elite Downhill Finals. The French crowds came out in full force to watch their athletes compete for the rainbow stripes. The weather was predicted to bring thunder, lightning, and rain, every day of the World Championships, but the rain kept pushing farther back. A race that everyone thought would be mud and ever-changing conditions, ended up being dusty and dry as it was all week in practice and for qualifying runs.

Elite Men’s Downhill Finals

The Frenchmen delivered today in Les Gets and the Americans ended up with great results, as well. It was a dream scenario for France with Loic Bruni, Amaury Pierron, and Loris Vergier sweeping the podium. National Champion Dakotah Norton (Clinton, Tenn.; Intense Factory Racing) and Aaron Gwin (Morongo Valley, Calif.; Intense Factory Racing) sat in the hot seat for most of the day ending up in seventh and eighth, respectively. Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C.; Canyon Cllctv) had an incredible run after coming back from his injury to finish 12th.

Norton was pleased with his run for the day.

He said, “I’m excited to walk away from World Champs with a respectable result for my country. I feel over the last weeks I needed something to build on for confidence, and I was able to achieve that today. I didn’t put down a run worthy of a medal, but for the way I rode I’m really happy with the result. The French crowd was electric and this is a run I will always remember; it was loud out there today!”


1. Loic Bruni (FRA) 3:20.478

2. Amaury Pierron (FRA) +2.581

3. Loris Vergier (FRA) +3.386

7. Dakotah Norton (Clinton, Tenn.; Intense Factory Racing) +4.432

8. Aaron Gwin (Morongo Valley, Calif.; Intense Factory Racing) +4.586

12. Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C.; Canyon Cllctv) +6.100

23. Austin Dooley (Yucaipa, Calif.; Commencal USA) +9.021

35. Dante Silva (Chula Vista, Calif.; Canyon Cllctv Pirelli) +12.242

49. Neko Mulally (Pisgah Forest, N.C.; Frameworks Racing) +16.469

55. Christopher Grice (Brevard, N.C.; Specialized Factory Racing) +18.086

Elite Women’s Downhill Finals

The top American for the day was Anna Newkirk (Riehen, Switzerland; Beyond Racing). She had the 10th fastest time through the speed trap and crossed the line taking 14th for the day. First year elite, Ella Erickson (Hayden, Idaho; NW Gravity Collective) was the first American to drop and had a smooth run. It would be good enough for 26th place on the day with Abby Hogie (Heidelberg, Germany; Beyond Racing) only a few seconds behind in 27th. 20-year-old Valentina Holl went fastest winning her first Elite World Championship title.


1. Valentina Holl (AUT) 3:53.857

2. Nina Hoffman (GER) +0.906

3. Myriam Nicole (FRA) +3.447

14. Anna Newkirk (Riehen, Switzerland; Beyond Racing) +24.439

26. Ella Erickson (Hayden, Idaho; NW Gravity Collective) +51.703

27. Abby Hogie (Heidelberg, Germany; Beyond Racing) +56.283

Junior Men’s Downhill Finals

Junior National Champion Ryan Pinkerton (Aliso Viejo, Calif.; GT Factory Racing) had an incredible day. By the third intermediate split, he was third, then moved into second at the fourth split. Ultimately, when he crossed the finish line, he ended up fourth, only 0.023 seconds off the podium. The future is bright for this first-year junior!

Pinkerton commented on his lap, “My race run today was really good. It was hard to judge the conditions, but knew it would dry up a bit. A couple mistakes, but it was a great run. I’m stoked to get my best result with a 4th and be close to the podium.”

After racing to 16th in qualifying, Andrew Driscoll (Bow, N.H.; Defiant Racing) knew he would be on pace for a Top-15 run if he raced hard and kept it smooth. Driscoll spent some time in the hot seat at the bottom putting down a fast run with a 3:42.142. He ended up 10thon the day, which he was more than happy with in his last year of Junior racing.


1. Jordan Williams (GBR) 3:28:324

2. Remy Meier-Smith (AUS) +5.916

3. Davide Cappello (ITA) +7.697

4. Ryan Pinkerton (Aliso Viejo, Calif.; GT Factory Racing) +7.720

10. Andrew Driscoll (Bow, N.H.; Defiant Racing) +13.818

21. Evan Medcalf (Albuquerque, N.M.; Evolve Racing) +21.560

DNF. Alden Pate (Snohomish, Wash.; Transition)

DNS. Colin McElyea (Scottsdale, Ariz.; Evolve Racing)

DNS. Tyler Zenoni (Short Hills, N.J.)

Tomorrow is the last day of the World Championships and it’s all about the U23 and Elite XC racers! Watch live here.