Cannonball MTB Festival, Thredbo: Day One

Words by Flow | Images by Damian Breach

Baking under the late afternoon sun around the pump track it seemed impossible that the inaugural Cannonball MTB Festival had gotten underway with an epic session of snow shovelling.

With a good 10cm of snow blanketing the hill all the way to the village this morning, it was action stations for an event team who are accustomed to taking the high country weather in their stride. Out came the snow shovels – it was particularly awesome to see Mick Hannah clearing out the run in to Bunny Walk. “It’s just like being back in Colorado,” he laughed, having just escaped -12 degree weather in the USA for the Australian ‘summer’.

Thankfully the sun came to the party too, and by 10:30 riders were on the hill, albeit using the slower Snow Gums chair and only running from mid-station. Conditions were much better than anyone had dared hope, and while the chairlift up was still chilly, the ride down was actually pretty primo; wet in the woods, but hero traction everywhere else.

Come late afternoon things had thawed enough to let riders up to the top of mountain. With the snow melt turning parts of the track into deep mud, it was a memorable arvo for many. The temps have thankfully remained high enough for shorts and the clouds have kept away, so by tomorrow the whole mountain should be running superbly, including the Flow Trail which was only opened from mid-way today.

Practice for tomorrow’s Whip Wars got underway on the newly built 40-foot tabletop at the bottom of the run too, with Crimmins and McMillan looking ridiculously comfortable.

The final event for Day 1 was the Rockshox Pumptrack Challenge, held down by the Thredbo River on the village green. It was a great scene; grandstand seating, a DJ and MC ¬†and the pump track in absolutely perfect condition after a night under a layer of snow. Local hero Tegan Molloy took out the pro women’s category after Tracey Hannah and Danielle Beecroft both suffered a bit of a brain explosion in the final and accidentally chucked in a forbidden pedal stroke.

The men’s race held everyone in suspense a little longer – without any live timing there was no telling who’d thrown down the fastest laps. In the end it was Troy Brosnan, who rode a super consistent race, his wheels barely leaving the ground on the way to victory, leaving him $750 better off.

Tomorrow should be another glorious day with the Flow Motion Cup finals, the Whip Wars final and a lot less snow!

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The scene this morning did not look promising. This is the bottom of the hill – it was much, much deeper up top.

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Getting the pump track drained was a priority for the morning, so the sun and wind could bake it dry.

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Troy Brosnan checks in. There’s plenty of talent here to race this weekend.

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Mick Hannah – no dig, no ride.

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Wet in the woods of Bunny Walk.

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The new wall ride near the bottom of the downhill track is just one of the cool features that have given this old girl a lot of appeal again.

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This ten year old fella (didn’t catch his name, sorry) sent the final table top higher than anyone. Zero gravity.

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Dave McMillan’s lazy man style is awesome.

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Ellison, crooked.

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Mick Hannah practicing on a borrowed bike, wearing Asics runners, for the pump track.

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Right: Ryan Hunt attempts to double in, double out of a super tight corner on the pump track.

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Tegan Molloy took out the pro women’s race – even if her competitors in the final hadn’t been DQ’d, it’s likely she would’ve taken the win, though without live timing, who knows?

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Troy Brosnan rode it clean and calculated, mistake free, to grab the win.

 

 

 

 

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