Day one at the Cannonball MTB Festival saw over 500 riders populating the Thredbo Mountain Bike Park trails with enough speed and airtime to show skiers and snowboarders a thing or two.
With rainfall across Thursday evening and the sun arriving just in time for Friday morning, riders were provided with perfect conditions to test their skills on the All-Mountain, Downhill and Flow trails before getting stuck into competition mode.
The Canyon All Mountain Assault was the first event to kick off the festival, and the 500 plus field of competitors flew down the 7km long track at high speeds, navigating their way through tight trees, rocks and a variety of berms all the way to the finish line.
There was an awesome and friendly vibe in the air for the first day of competition with families, riders, kids and some of the best pros in the world all enjoying the mountain biking festivities in the competitors area, accompanied by tunes blasting from Red Bull’s specialised DJ booth.
It was tight competition between the competitors but Benjamin Forbes came out on top in the Pro Men’s competition. Claire Whiteman won the Pro Women’s category, showing off her years of experience and skill on All-Mountain style terrain.
The times throughout the Pump Track Challenge were tight, with riders having to either complete one lap or a figure 8’ish double lap of the insane course. Coming out on top was Daniele Beecroft in the Pro Women’s category, narrowly followed by local ripper and Thredbo rider Tegan Molloy. In the Pro Men’s category it was Remy Morton who took out the 2016 Rockshox Pump Track Challenge for the second year in a row.
On the second morning, riders eagerly got out on the mountain at 9am to get practice laps underway before racing started at 11:30am. The Flow and Downhill trails were jam packed with novices, amateurs and pros all figuring out the fastest line to shave crucial seconds off their time.
With cloudless skies and warming temperatures the Maxxis Flow Motion Cup got underway. The women hit the Flow trail first and took the definition of speed and control to a whole new level, with local Tegan Molloy showing the boys a thing or two about riding the technical Flow trail.
The men’s race was a wide open field and a definite winner was hard to pick. High speed also means high consequence and there were some of the biggest bails we’ve seen so far this mountain biking season. Coming out on top was Josh Carlson In the Pro mens category and Tegan Molloy in the Pro Womens.
The Sram Whip Wars were up next, with non-stop freestyle whipping mania for a full hour on the 40-foot table top. Conner Fearon took out the event for the second year in a row, however there were some definite contenders in the mix with Ryan Dawson sending it bigger than most of the pros and Ellie Smith and Ronga Hill being the only women to step it up to the insane whip off.
Stay tuned for all the Sunday action tomorrow. It’s the GoPro Australia Downhill event this afternoon and we can’t wait for it!