Words by Flow | Images by Flow, Damian Breach

“It’s just a passing tropical shower.” Yep, right. Mother Nature reared her ugly Queenslander mug today and gave Smithfield a true soaking, right on cue for the start of group A downhill practice.

The results were in equal parts horrendous, exciting, frustrating and awesome. With any line choices from yesterday’s track walk going right out the window, riders were faced with a track that changed from run to run. Vision was next to nil by the time riders reached the lower portions of the track, while the off-camber red clay of the Alien Tree was causing havoc up top.

At the end of the day, timed practice showed that Gee Atherton had made it down the hill fastest, with Ragot on top in the women’s. But when the course is more a matter of survival than skill, timed practice results mean nothing at all. Bring on qualifying tomorrow!

Yep it was wet, there's no hiding it. It was brutal for everyone on the mountain, riders, spectators, and media and as we type this caption it's still raining. Lets pray for a dry race as it's undoubtedly better for the riders, spectators and the media.

Yep it was wet, there’s no hiding it. It was brutal for everyone on the mountain – riders, spectators, and media – and as we type this caption it’s still raining. Let’s pray for a dry race as it’s undoubtedly better for the riders, spectators and the media.

Marc Beaumont clears one of the big triples on his second attempt. "You've just got to pull up". Right.

Marc Beaumont clears one of the big triples on his second attempt. “You’ve just got to pull up”. Right.

Cairns2014 ThursdayDHpractice 20

Visibility, traction, and a clean line could all go out the window in a flash.

This guy, Mick Hannah looks so insanely fast. Carrying incredible pace into the whoops like they were nothing at all. No wonder why he's a serious contender for the win.

This guy. Mick Hannah looks so insanely fast, carrying incredible pace into the whoops like they were nothing at all.

Sick Mick Hannah has the weight of Australia on his shoulders this weekend. Everyone wants him to win but we're sure he wants to win even more.

Sick Mick Hannah has the weight of Australia on his shoulders this weekend. Everyone wants him to win but we’re sure he wants to win even more.

 

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