Talk about a day of emotionally charged racing. We’re exhausted, and we haven’t even turned a pedal. Australians walk away from the Cairns World Champs men’s downhill racing with bittersweet feelings today. With five Aussies in the top ten in Elite men, we should all be over the moon, but seeing Mick Hannah’s shot at a hometown World Champs snatched away by 0.3 of a second was brutal.
It was a truly amazing race. Sam Hill, the people’s champ, held the hot seat for over 50 riders before Mick Hannah strung together the perfect run and knocked him to the second step. It looked like an unbeatable ride, but Loic Bruni did it to us again here in Cairns, grabbing the rainbow stripes out from under Mick’s nose. Jack Moir and Troy Brosnan, the last two Aussies down the hill couldn’t make it an Australian gold, and so we settle for silver.
All the results are available here and jump into the photo gallery below to feel all the drama.
Sam Hill was the first rider down the hill and he held the hot seat for over 50 riders before he was bumped off.
Hill lunges for the line.
Sam Hill settled in for a long stint in the sun.
And the winner for the loudest air horn of the day goes to… this bloke.
Gee Atherton has had a season to forget. 18th place.
Connor Fearon charges into the finish.
Josh Button had a tough run. Cooked.
The lunatics had really taken over the asylum up on the hill.
Dean Lucas, 12th.
Don’t ask. This crew were going bananas.
9:30am, World Champs Downhill Finals Day. Tim and Danny from Thredbo.
Greg Minnaar was seen running some pretty light tyres in practice. Not sure if he kept them on for racing, but he was the victim of a flat and out of contention.
Mick Hannah was the man everyone was watching. The pressure must’ve been huge, but he still strung together a flawless run to take the lead by 5.5 seconds over then leader Sam Hill.
Hannah through the dusty first corner.
Would the dream of a World Champs win finally come true for Mick Hannah?
Aaron Gwin’s run was peppered with little mistakes that all added up, including forgetting to unlock his rear shock after the whoops.
Jack Moir was another top contender, tipped hotly for the win. He’d finish fourth in the end.
Bruni arrives and crushes the Hannah dream by 0.339 of a second.
America’s lone top ten appearance was Aaron Gwin.
Awaiting the arrival of Loic Bruni.
Troy Brosnan was the last rider down the hill, but he couldn’t knock off Bruni.
The junior men’s racing always has an element of crazy to it, but amongst the madness, there was one battle that everyone was focused on – the showdown between Matt Walker of Great Britain, and Canadian star Finn Illes.
Illes was the last rider down the hill, and he buckled under the pressure, making mistakes that were seriously out of character. Walker will wear the rainbow stripes, and we’re sure that Illes will learn a lot from the experience. Full results are up right here.
There’s always something a little loose about the juniors…
Josh Clark was the top ranked Aussie, and the second last rider down the hill, but ended up in 14th.
Ben Zwar was the top placed Aussie junior man, in 6th.
Darcy Coutts, 11th.
Custom Aussie Junior helmets, made possible by Office Works.
This horrendous crash early in the day was a stark reminder just how rough downhill can be. We’re glad to report this rider is ok-ish, with a broken hip.
Finn Illes was the favourite, but he threw it away with silly mistakes, including blowing both feet out of the pedals after the rock garden.
A devastated Finn Illes.
Matt Walker of Great Britain takes the win by over three seconds.