Words by Damian Breach | Images by Damian Breach
This weekend is the 2nd annual Thredbo Cannonball MTB Festival – three days of action, with five gravity-fed events down the steep hills of one of Australia’s most iconic mountain bike destinations – all for $45,000 in cash and prizes. Today saw the return of no-pedalling skill of the RockShox Pump Challenge and the introduction of the new (but old-school) head-to-head racing in the ODI Dual Compressor.

It was dry for most of the day and conditions were great for traction. It quickly changed for the eveing though as steady rain arrived.

It was dry for most of the day and conditions were great for traction. It quickly changed for the eveing though as steady rain arrived.

Thredbo threw open its arms with a warm and sunny day as the race action began in the ODI Dual Compressor. The Dual Compressor is a mix of dual slalom and 4X with two riders racing head-to-head on a short course. We saw some great racing and it was even greater to see some elbows (and heads) being thrown into the mix. In the elite women’s field Tracey Hannah ended up third, with Tegan Molloy in 2nd, and Harriet Burbidge-Smith in 1st. The men’s racing with super close with Graeme Mudd taking the win, Blake Nielson in 2nd, and Thomas Crimmins in 3rd.
Sometimes you just want to lean your head on your oppisition, just for a little rest. Head-to-head racing isn't as popular as times past but Thredbo re-introduced classic elbow-to-elbow (and head-to-back) racing with the ODI Dual Compressor at the Cannonball Festival. Old shool is the new school.

Sometimes you just want to lean your head on your opposition, just for a little rest. Head-to-head racing isn’t as popular as times past but Thredbo re-introduced classic elbow-to-elbow (and head-to-back) racing with the ODI Dual Compressor at the Cannonball Festival. Old shool is the new school.

Sam Hill is here racing. Although he didn't race either of the day's events (the Dual Compressor or Pump Track) he did a few runs of the downhill race to prepare for Sunday. Everyone is tipping Sam to take the win. Do you?

Sam Hill is here racing. Although he didn’t race either of the day’s events (the Dual Compressor or Pump Track) he did a few runs of the downhill race to prepare for Sunday. Everyone is tipping Sam to take the win. Do you?

Flat turns might be a relic of mountain bike racing of the past, but we love them. Here Graeme Mudd leans it in to get the holeshot and eventual win over Blake Nielson in the Dual Compressor final.

Flat turns might be a relic of mountain bike racing of the past, but we love them. Here Graeme Mudd leans it in to get the holeshot and eventual win over Blake Nielson in the Dual Compressor final.

Tracey Hannah drove solo to Thredbo all the way from Cairns and pushed her bike up the hill countless times on her way to 3rd in the Dual Compressor. It's this commitment that shows how much she loves to ride.

Tracey Hannah drove solo to Thredbo all the way from Cairns and pushed her bike up the hill countless times on her way to 3rd in the Dual Compressor. It’s this commitment that shows how much she loves to ride.

The womens podium in the Dual Compressor. Tracey Hannah took 3rd, current junior World Champion Tegan Molloy came in 2nd, and BMX racer Harriet Burbidge-Smith made the switch and took home the top prize.

The womens podium in the Dual Compressor. Tracey Hannah took 3rd, current junior World Champion Tegan Molloy came in 2nd, and BMX racer Harriet Burbidge-Smith made the switch and took home the top prize.

The weather didn’t hold though and Thredbo showed its rainy side as the heavens opened on the Rock Shox Pump Challenge. Pump track racing is always popular and a huge field of young and old riders took the challenge against a technical and tight course. Even though the rain stuck around it didn’t get in the way of some great fun racing. The women’s race was won by former 4x World Champion Caroline Buchanan, with Daniel Beecroft in 2nd, and Tegan Molloy making her 2nd podium for the day in 3rd place. The men’s event was taken out by Blake Nielson (also for his 2nd podium of the day), with the always stylish Dave McMillan in 2nd and Ryan Hunt in 3rd.
The crew worked hard trying to keep the track dry and perfect. In the end, they did a great job.

The crew worked hard trying to keep the track dry and perfect. In the end, they did a great job.

Sometimes it doesn't go to plan but at least you can smile about it.

Sometimes it doesn’t go to plan but at least you can smile about it.

Eventual 2nd place getter Dave McMillan takes a moment  to rest and think about his lines.

Eventual 2nd place getter Dave McMillan takes a moment to rest and think about his lines.

 

The afternoon brought the Rain? Ducky don't care. And neither did the racers.

The afternoon brought the rain. Ducky don’t care. And neither did the racers.

Caroline Buchanon spends little time on a mountain bike these days but still proves that she has the skills for thowing around the bigger bikes with a win in the Pump Track event.

Caroline Buchanon spends little time on a mountain bike these days but still proves that she has the skills for thowing around the bigger bikes with a win in the Pump Track event.

Tim Bardsley-Smith let us take a photo of him taking a photo. Did anyone get a photo of us doing this? And maybe someone got a photo of.....never mind.

Tim Bardsley-Smith let us take a photo of him taking a photo. Did anyone get a photo of us doing this? And maybe someone got a photo of…..never mind.

Men's Pump Track winner Blake Nielson was smooth and aggressive in taking the win. Tomorrow brings more Thredbo Cannonball action with the Flow Motion Cup and Whip Wars, but as we type these words the heavens have opened. It could be an interesting day.

Men’s Pump Track winner Blake Nielson was smooth and aggressive in taking the win. Tomorrow brings more Thredbo Cannonball action with the Flow Motion Cup and Whip Wars, but as we type these words the heavens have opened. It could be an interesting day.

Saturday brings the enduro event, the Flow Motion Cup, and seeding for the Australian Open Downhill race. Stay tuned for more action!

Everyone is talking about this, and for good reason. Thredbo has lead the way and installed simple and effective chairlift bike carriers. No more dead legs, and we think it's a bit of leadership that will encourage more people to get on a chair with their bike.

Everyone is talking about this, and for good reason. Thredbo has lead the way and installed simple and effective chairlift bike carriers. No more dead legs, and we think it’s a bit of leadership that will encourage more people to get on a chair with their bike.

If you look closely you will see a bee flying towards a flowering plant. It really has nothing to with the Cannonball Festival, but hey, nice shot hey? Fingers cross for sunny weather on Saturday.

If you look closely you will see a bee flying towards a flowering plant. It really has nothing to with the Cannonball Festival, but nice shot, hey? Fingers crossed for sunny weather on Saturday.

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