Troy Brosnan (SA) conquered a demanding course in Hafjell, Norway to collect his first World Championship Downhill medal since moving up to the Elite category.
Racing was spectacular on the sixth and final day of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in Hafjell, Norway.
The story of the day for the Australian men would be the ride that was for Brosnan and the ride that could have been for Sam Hill (WA).
Early racing saw Graeme Mudd (NSW), Bryn Atkinson (NSW) and Jack Moir (NSW) spend time on the coveted World Championship hotseat as the fastest riders at that point of the day.
Hill, a former triple Elite Downhill World Champion (‘06, ‘07, ‘10), knows both the glory of the win and the tragedy of defeat on a winning run, having crashed in the final stages when leading the 2008 World Championships.
He was the 9th-last rider to start and was on the fastest run of the day by over 3 seconds when he would come to grief with a massive crash in the final rock garden.
Amazingly he was able to get back on the bike and race to the finish placing 26th, and while it seemed likely, he will never know whether his run would have been good enough to take the title.
Brosnan was the last Australian standing, as he has often been in the 2014 season, and he was the second-last rider of the 2014 Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships.
A steady start saw him in 10th place at the first time-split, and like Hill before him, he chose the extremely difficult inside line in the second rock garden and reaped the rewards moving up to 3rd place by the second time-split.
He would pick up one more place on the final section to sit in overall second place behind Great Britain’s Gee Atherton with only Josh Bryceland, also of Great Britain, left to race.
Bryceland was the 2014 World Cup Series winner, and he had an amazing run but landed heavily sustaining an injury on a finish-straight jump, his time still being good enough to just pass Brosnan and move into second place.
This left Atherton as the 2014 World Champion, and Brosnan to take away Bronze as his first Elite World Championship medal.
Also riding for Australia was Mick Hannah (QLD) who finished off the pace after a crashing awkwardly out of a fast berm.
Missing today from the action was Brosnan’s junior-days friend and rival Connor Fearon (SA), who crashed heavily in his final practice run and required medical attention.
Tracey Hannah (QLD) excelled in Norway today to take out 4th place in the Elite Women’s Downhill World Championships.
Hannah was the 2006 Junior World Champion and has had a long career with many outstanding results, finishing this year as the 4th ranked rider in the World Cup Series.
She has twice finished on the World Championship podium in 3rd place (‘07 & ‘13) and is the reigning 6-time National Champion.
As the third last rider to start in Hafjell, Hannah had a strong clean run on Championship day, showing a great mix of power and excellent line selection in the treacherous rock gardens.
Her run would at the time put her into second place behind Tahnee Seagrave (Great Britain) who would ultimately finish 3rd.
Two riders remained, Manon Carpenter and Rachel Atherton, both of Great Britain.
2014 has been the breakthrough year for Carpenter and today she displayed a flawless ride to go on to take her first Elite World Championship title.
Atherton almost crashed on her run and ultimately missed out by the narrowest of margins (.088s) to place second.
Hannah will now return this week for follow-up surgery from a serious crash in 2012.
Downhill Results – 2014 World Mountain Bike Championships
1. Gee Atherton (GBR) 3:23.769
2. Josh Bryceland (GBR) +0.407
3. Troy Brosnan (SA) AUS +0.566
10. Jack Moir (NSW) +3.831
18. Bryn Atkinson (NSW) +6.204
26. Sam Hill (WA) +9.187
41. Graeme Mudd (NSW) +12.678
81. Michael Hannah (QLD) +45.366
DNS Connor Fearon (SA)
1. Manon Carpenter (GBR) 3:49.407
2. Rachel Atherton (GBR) +0.088
3. Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) + 3.463
4. Tracey Hannah (AUS)