Disclaimer: I have not shown Bug's my maths or totals, this is an unofficial tally of points done on the back of an envelope, I'm happy to be corrected if I have made a mistake. 12 hours later, in the spirit of Cunningham's Law, I have been shown my errors, and I have updated my totals.
As of the writing of this article, IDF has not updated their ranking due to some late official results from Europe. I originally wrote that Daina was not number one, that is incorrect, he is currently one and Harry two in the rankings. The speculation online all will be decided at the La Leonera World Cup this weekend. From the back of the envelope calculations we have done, that is not true.
Lets do a quick recap on how the International Downhill Association (IDF) calculates the World Cup rankings. For the top competitors it is all about their top 3 World Cup race results and their top 3 World Qualifying Series (WQS) results.
As pointed out by Andrew Atchison, there is another aspect to rankings this year I did not take into account, only one WC race per continent counts. Which means I had Harry's and Chase's totals over inflated. Candy Dungan rightly points out, it was the intention of the previous board to have this rule in place, and that should be honored. This article was not to try and exploit any loophole but to stoke genuine interest in this weekend's race and the World Championship.
Here is our updated calculation of the current rankings after La Virgen, the 10th race of the year.
1. Daina Banks (4738) = WC results 1st Kozakov (1000) + 2nd Killington (961) + 3rd Newton's (943) + WQS results of 1st La Virgen (650) + 5th Verdicchio (592) + 5th Gravity fest (592) =4738
2. Harry Clarke (4743) = WC results 2nd Kozakov (961) + 7th Killington (883) + 6th Newtons (896) + WQS results of 1st Seaside (650) + 1st Moon Rock (650) + 2nd TTT (625) = 4665.
3. Chase Hiller (4705) = WC results 1st Transylvania (1000) + 7th Newton's (883) + 5th Killington (911) + WQS results of 2nd Moon Rock (625) + 3rd Gravity Fest (613) + 3rd Verdicchio (613) = 4645.
It is still good news for Harry , he can take the lead with a win at La Leonera. The bad news is that after La Leonera his season is done and if he wins he will almost be at his maximum points for the year, and Daina and Chase can slowly chip away at that lead by improving their WQS results. The reason is, La Leonera is the last World Cup of the year, all the other races are WQS. Harry has almost maxed out his potential WQS points with a 1st, 1st and 2nd. If Harry manages to win Maryhill later in the year, it will only add 25 points (upgrading a 2nd to a 1st). Lets look at each riders maximum points they could get for the year.
If Harry wins La Leonera and one more WQS (Maryhill) then his points would be 4807.
If Daina wins La Leonera and two more WQS (Maryhill and Violenta) then his points would be 4911.
If Chase wins La Leonera and two more WQS (Maryhill and Violenta) then his points would max out at 4861.
Both Daina and Chase have bigger year end points potential because their totals include lower place WQS points. From now on every time Daina wins a WQS he replaces a 5th place (592) with a 1st place (650) = an extra 58 points.
A win this weekend in Colombia is essential for Harry. He needs a WC win to have a shot at the title. He would replace a 7th (883) with a first (1000) an extra 117 points.
For Daina a win and neither Harry or Chase on the podium would give him the World Championship. A lead of at least 150 points with Harry and Chase only able to claw back 25 or 99 points respectively.
A win for Chase at La Leonera (4762) would not give him the lead but it is a step closer.
Whatever happens this weekend, it looks like it will be a drag race to the finish at Yaku Rami in Peru. It could come down to who has the budget to keep going? A sponsor flex? For Harry his year is done. After La Leonera the maximum points he can get is an extra 25 for winning a WQS: either La Violenta, Maryhill or Yaku Raymi. I don't think an extra 25 points is going to matter this year, unless he wins La Leonera.
Lets say Harry wins La Leonera. He has been 2nd in the last two World Cups, so he is due for a win and he must be frothing. If Chase finishes second and Daina third then the points look like this: Harry 4782, Daina 4738 and Chase 4723. This would put the pressure on Daina and Chase to win a WQS race, possible with three WQS races left. However one of those races is Maryhill, notorious for tight racing, riders getting taken out and unexpected results. So not an easy task.
It is still very possible that the difference between 1 and 2 will be less than 25 points with one race left. That would force Harry to race in Peru. There is also racing to defend a lead. Winning more WQS races would make catching his lead harder even if it is not adding to his overall points total.
Chase has to podium in Colombia or his year is over. Even if Chase gets 2nd and Daina wins, he is only 72 points behind. He just has to win two more WQS races and he is in the lead. I know, I make it sound so easy.
What about Daina?
Daina has the best chance of being World Champion. Even if he does not podium at La Leonera, every time he wins a WQS race he adds 58 points to his total. As he is currently in the lead, he has the most options to extend his lead or defend it.
The only way the Championship is decided in La Leonera is if Daina wins and Harry and Chase do not podium, highly unlikely. The likely result is someone will come out ahead, but there will be options for everyone else. There is a lot of racing still to do before we can crown the 2019 IDF World Cup Champion.
La Leonera starts on the 9th August!
Who do you think will be the 2019 IDF World Cup Champion?