Video: Happy New Year from the DHaRCO Collective

Happy New Year from all the crew at DHaRCO. Thanks for an awesome 2017. Time to “let go” and bring on 2018! No holding back.

While you’re here, check out Flow’s Top-3 posts featuring DHaRCO supported riders from 2017:

  1. Local Video: Cannonball – The EWS Dark Horse
  2. Video: Remembering Summer – Whistler 2017
  3. Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Add some stoke to your Instagram feed by following @DHaRCOclothing.

Fresh Product: M2O Cycling Compression Socks

We can’t promise M2O socks will make you ride like Cannonball, but they are a big supporter of his racing and that’s pretty cool.

We’ve just received a few pairs of socks from Australian brand M2O Industries, and after just a few rides they’ve become our go-to (which is nice, because our previous favourites have been worn to death). There’s plenty of science behind the way these socks are constructed, the benefits of which are all laid out for you to read on M2O’s site, but here’s what we like so far.

Nothing is more annoying than when your once proud, upstanding socks are found flaccid hanging around your ankles.

Firstly, they don’t fall down. We like our socks to have a bit of length about them – mid-calf is perfect – but nothing is more annoying than when your once proud, upstanding socks are found flaccid hanging around your ankles like a discarded snake skin. These stay put.

Note the sock/helmet matching?

Second, they’re a compression sock which helps with muscle fatigue, but also means they fit super tight across your mid foot and calf. On hot days, this helps reduce swelling, and it also means they don’t bunch up underneath the arch of your foot or slip and cause friction and hot spots

M2O are supporting Australian riders including local Flow hometown hero, James ‘Cannonball’ Hall.

Third, they’re cool, as in they breath well, which is great as we come into summer. Four, they come a bunch of colours, so you can colour match them to your helmet.

Fifth, and this is really important, is that they’re supporting Australian riders including local Flow hometown hero, James ‘Cannonball’ Hall. M2O stepped up to the plate earlier this year, helping fund James Hall his EWS series, and that alone gets the brand a lot cred in our minds.

It’s almost Christmas, and they’re only $25. Don’t make your feet spend another summer in those God awful old socks. Take a look here.

Socks ‘n’ Stocks approved.

 

 

Cannonball MTB Festival 2017 – Flow Me Sideways

It was a day of playing the long game – over 600 riders lined up at 1800m above sea level ready to take on the 4.5km track. Although not super technical, there’s a stack of steep banked berms and rolling traverses so cornering and pedalling ability was paramount.

“The track was dry and rolling fast by the time I raced, so I just set my pace as it’s just such a physical course, happy to win this one but looking forward to the downhill Sunday” said Dean Lucas winner of the Pro Men’s.


Lucas set the pace winning in 7:47:55 just .68 of a second ahead of enduro specialist Josh Carlson with Thomas Crimmins edging into third spot on the podium.

The women’s pro category saw 19 year old Sian A’Hern first down the mountain, just ahead of Tegan Molloy, with super mum Claire Whiteman jumping into third.

The hotly contested u/19’s saw young pinner Kye A’Hern lay down a hot time of 7:57:51 with Harrison Dobrowolski only a mere one second behind.

As the afternoon light crept across the finish arena the crowds gathered on the side of the hill for the always impressive SRAM Whip Wars. Over 100 riders took on the 30 foot jump – they were judged on the biggest sideways whip with air, style, steeze plus crowd pleasing tricks filled the rider’s pockets with cash.  Trick of the day definitely went to Nik Barber who launched a massive backflip that saw the massive hillside crowd erupt with applause.

“Just go for it, don’t think about the consequences and hope for the best” said Central Coast rider Duke Millington who landed top spot on the podium in the Pro Men’s.

“I’m just so stoked to win, I’ve been looking up to these guys since I was a kid and it’s crazy to be on the podium with them” he said.



Cannonball MTB Festival 2017 – Hero Dirt and Hail Storms

 


Day 1: What a way to kick off racing for the Thredbo Cannonball MTB Festival, Thursday was the Maxxis All-Mountain Assault – two things the competitors were happy to see, the sunshine and the finish line!

A packed field of close to 500 lined up at the top of the Gunbarrel Express around 1790m above sea level, they took in the amazing views and took in deep breaths for the seven kilometre, 450 vertical metre descent to the village.

After a week of rain, the weather turned it on with loads of sunshine and a big blue sky. The track conditions were primo, starting out wet in sections swinging to sweet and tacky once racing was underway, getting faster and faster as the day went one.

The pro division saw Ben Forbes repeat his 2016 win, hitting the line at 12:37:22 around seven seconds ahead of Josh Carlson with Scott Graham nudging into third. In the pro women’s Sian A’Hern took the win only seconds ahead of Claire Whiteman and Tegan Molloy in third.

“It’s was great out there, it’s a really long time to be on your game, you have to be out of your seat the whole way, it was gnarly, but great to take the win” said Forbes.

When riders were asked to describe the race they said “it was brutal” with technical descents, natural features, jump options and pinch climbs, it pushed even the most seasoned enduro rider.  This is one of the longest enduro race tracks in the country, so solid slabs of time were won and lost, but in some categories it was only a matter of seconds that separated the podium places.

“It was a massive day of racing – sunshine, record number of riders and a fantastic track that just kept on getting better and better as the day went on.  The next few days are set to be epic with everyone raving about the Flow and Downhill track conditions” said Tim Windshuttle – Thredbo MTB Assistant Manager


Day 2. Two gates, two mates, one winner….The crowd gathered, the clouds parted, the track was swept and it was game on in the fifth edition of the ROCKSHOX Pump Track Challenge.

The social event of the Cannonball MTB Festival took place as the sun went down, but there was plenty of action to light up night and fire up the field.

The track was in top shape with world class showdowns revving up the 1000 strong crowd.  Riders raced the clock to narrow down the field of 300 to the top 8 in each category.

The new dual format saw head to head Pump Track racing in the upper categories Racers dropped in on opposing sides of the pump track, meeting in the middle for a side by side battle to the finish.

In the Pro Men’s, proving he is a quality all-rounder, Thomas Crimmins set a blistering pace in qualifying before meeting up with his mate David McMillan in the final.  Crimmins crossed the line first by the narrowest of margins to McMillan with Duke Millington coming in third.

“Great atmosphere, big crowd and a fun format of racing made for a fantastic event” said Thomas Crimmins.

It was a parade of women’s world beaters with Danni Beecroft, who is more at home on the downhill track, taking the win. Sian A’Hern maintained her podium place of yesterday to ride in second with BMX rider Harriet Burbidge-Smith coming in third.

“I loved the dual format, it’s good to battle it out amongst each other to see where you are at, it really pushes you to the edge,  so much so I almost crashed” said Danni Beecroft.

The young guns scorched the course burning out of the berms and over the rollers at pro pace.   Local kids Thomas Krpan, Jackson Connelly and Angus Falconer impressed with their speed and agility filling 1,2,3 on the podium in the u/15 men’s category.




Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Did you miss any of Cannonball’s journey so far?

Read our interview with The Ball and watch Matt Staggs Visuals raw edit of him shredding his home trails here.

Then hang out on a chairlift ride to Whistler’s ‘Top Of The World’ as Matt Staggs once again captures his speed and mindset leading into race day, here.

So, how did Whistler play out, and will we see Cannonball in the series finale in Finale? Find out below.

Flow: Whistler was your second-best result of the series so far, just a few places behind your 32nd in Derby. Did you approach Whistler any differently to previous rounds?

James: Having a few more rounds with several more crashes under my belt, my mental game was to keep my cool and ride a little more consistently. Smoother, slower into corners and faster out. Knowing how rough the terrain in Whistler can be from having lived there 9 years earlier, I got the awesome guys and good friends at Dunbar Cycles Vancouver to bump up my fork to 160mm and give my fork and shock a pre-race service. What may have helped me most was my tyre choice for this round and how that boosted my confidence. Up until this round I had been playing off my strength in technical terrain by sacrificing a little less tyre width for a faster rolling tyre to help in the longer pedally sections. With a Maxxis 29er DHR2 2.3 3C up front and an Aggressor 2.3 3C rear this was ideal for me on the trails in Derby where the stages were short and rocky with a few pedally sections. Since Derby I noticed a few times when I lost confidence, and perhaps wider front tyre would have helped. In Madiera I recall sections where I rode stiff and scared on stages 1 and 3. For Ireland, in hindsight, packing a set of full mud tyres instead of just one Maxxis Shorty would have made a huge difference, but that’s part of building upon racing experience. Coming back to Whistler I was practicing on 2.3” tyres but I felt that I wanted more grip and after getting some time on the tracks and terrain it became apparent there wasn’t much pedalling in this round. So, I scrounged up what must have been the last Maxxis 29er DHF 2.5 3C in town from the helpful guys at Bike Co. Running this up front and moving the DHR2 to the rear made an immediate difference. I felt so much better in all the blown out corners and felt like I was spending more time in an aggressive flow state rather than holding back.

Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Flow: Privateering the EWS is hard work. You told us previously about how your mates helped you get to the European rounds, but it seemed like Whistler would be the last race of your 2017 series. Tell us how racing Finale became a reality?

James: Again, huge thanks to all those mates that chipped in, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them. Finale came about from light-heartedly joking, with some hope, with Trent from M2Oindustries/JetBlack. I had worked for Trent and JetBlack for 5 years and still do contract product development work for him, so I have a pretty good relationship there already. Trent had also seen the coverage of my season so far on Flow and social media, particularly the video edits and imagery from Matt Staggs Visuals. I guess these things made it a worthy and reasonable risk for him to invest a little more into the final EWS round. So, without hesitation, Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state.

Flow: Since confirming your entry for Finale, what’s your standard week involved? How many hours are you ‘training’?

James: I’ve been focusing on getting more time on trail. I’ve been getting out on the bike at least every second day and often riding three days in a row with every third or fourth day being a high intensity day depending on how my body is feeling. Averaging four to five days on the bike a week, anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours and a weekly average at only about 8 hours on the bike. Priority for me has been better focus on resting appropriately between high intensity days and getting on rough technical terrain. There are often sections in an enduro stage that are small pinches or traverses over technical terrain. I’ve been adding priority to my hill climbing on tech trails locally. We have a few technical climbing trails that are around 11~13 minutes in length here on Sydney’s northern beaches, which is about the length of some of the longer stages at a round. Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state. My times have been improving since before Derby so I’m feeling pretty good.

Flow: We checked out your Pivot Switchblade in Whistler and it was looking well ridden! What changes have you made to it before Finale?

James: With big thanks to Shimano Australia, I’ve replaced my drivetrain with new XTR rear mech and XTR crankset. Along with this, they have also upsized my rotors from the not so suitable 160/180mm combo to some new Ice-Tech rotors at a much more respectable 180/203mm. JetBlack have helped with new RIP grips and freshly laced set of new NoTubes Arch hoops that will be wrapped with new tread from Maxxis/BikeCorp on race day. Finally a custom fork and shock tune from Simon & Lachlan at MTB-suspension-centre.

Flow: Sounds like you and your bike are prepped better than ever for Finale. We’ll be cheering on from behind our computers as we see your stage results roll in. One final question, do you prefer sunset walks on the beach or sunset shreds at the trails?

James: (laughs) I can offer dreamy and intimate romantic sunset walks on the beach Monday to Saturday, but sorry ladies, Sundays are reserved for sunset dirt jump sessions with the lads (dirt jumping ladies welcome too, of course).

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Finale’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

EWS Whistler: Hanging Out With Cannonball

Want more action? Check out Cannonball’s previous video where he rips his home trails, along with photo story and interview here.

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Whistler’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

Local Video: Cannonball – The EWS Dark Horse

Cannonball – RAW razz of his home trails

James ‘Cannonball’ Hall can move dirt. Building and riding bigger jumps has always been high on his list. But he’s not just brawn, he’s also the brains behind the designs of mountain bike trails, jumps and pump tracks around Australia and North America. His industry experience is immense; from life lessons learnt as a shy school kid in the greasy Bike Addiction workshop through to sweaty meetings in Taiwanese factories frustrating over how important a 0.05mm tolerance is to us, the end users of patented cycling products he’s designed. He’s always been fast. Riding a hardtail for longer than many, he’d drop most riders on any track riding his stiff-as-a-board Sasquatch with near-slick rear Hookworm at 50psi.

Cannonball’s now taking his innate speed along with some new found fitness, plus a more suitable bike, and having a solid crack at privateering the 2017 Enduro World Series. He’s tallied up a lot of crashes but has also earned a 6th place in Rotorua’s Stage 3, 15th in Derby’s Stage 4 and a round PR of 32nd in Derby. After Aspen Snowmass, he’s the 6th highest ranked Australian. Flow caught up with him just after arriving in Whistler for his sixth round of this year’s EWS.

Flow: You kind of epitomise the whole dark horse thing – going from a weekend warrior to EWS racer – tell us about your journey? When did you decide to give it a crack?

Well, racing isn’t entirely new to me; I had done a fair bit of elite downhill racing ten years ago when I lived in Whistler for two seasons. Funnily enough I never actually owned a DH bike I always raced on a 6″ trail bike, I guess that was training for the enduro races of today. There was, however, one time my trail bike was out of action for the Canadian national champs at Sun Peaks and I borrowed a DH bike for my race run from my boss at the time, good mate and owner of Dunbar Cycles, Rob Venables. To my surprise, I jagged myself 8th place in elite along with some UCI points. Since those days I haven’t raced much as life and other priorities kind of got in the way. It was not until September last year on a Canada trip I randomly found myself tagging along with Chris Johnston and Dylan Wolsky to a BC Enduro race in Revelstoke. With poor preparation and only a few hours sleep, I managed to pull together a pretty decent result and had an absolute blast on the loose, steep and wet BC trails. That’s all it took to get the bug to race again and sign up for the EWS.

Flow: Please tell us the story of your friends chipping in for your airfares etc.

James: First off, WOW, these guys blew me away. Without me knowing, a group of fifty-odd friends and riders got together and as thanks for my trail advocacy work and excitement over my Rotorua and Derby results, chipped in to pay for my airfares, entries and accommodation for my Europe leg of the EWS. This allowed me to take on EWS Madeira and Ireland! I would never have asked my mates for money or for such a thing, so I honestly was taken back by their offer and totally overwhelmed. I feel so grateful to these wonderful friends; what legendary mates!

“Without me knowing, a group of fifty-odd friends and riders got together and as thanks for my trail advocacy work and excitement over my Rotorua and Derby results, chipped in to pay for my airfares, entries and accommodation”

Flow: What do you do when you’re not ripping trails?

James: Too much (laughs), but it’s all in the name of living the dream, that I’m very grateful for. My main job is being a full-time firefighter based in Sydney which is one of the best things I’ve pushed myself towards for so many reasons. I balance this on the side with being involved in a few product design projects for bike accessories, helping take ideas to market by liaising with engineers and factories. I also love getting involved in trail designing and building projects for a couple of Aussie companies. Somehow I also find time to ride my bike and fit in a day or two repairing bikes at my mate’s local bike repair shop.

Flow: What bike and gear do you ride, and why?

James: I’m really happy to be riding for JetBlack Products, a Sydney based company who distribute Pivot Cycles, Stans rims and many other cool products. My choice from the Pivot line up was the Pivot Switchblade set up as a 29er. It’s 150mm front and 135mm rear and as I’m not one for big travel bikes this suits me to a tee. This paired with some super grippy Maxxis tyres from Rick at Bikecorp has me pretty sorted for my bike. I’m also very fortunate to have been sponsored some rad clothing from Mandy and Mathieu from DHaRCO, another Sydney based company.

Flow: It’s been a decade since you first went to Whistler. How does Whistler compare to the other EWS rounds you’ve raced? Are you feeling confident?

James: It’s going to be ROWDY! Steep and tech, my favourite! I’m pumped about the course here; I’m feeling more excited about this round than any of the others. There are a few tight technical trails that I think I have a good chance to do well on, so if I can keep it smooth, consistent and rubber side down throughout the day I could be in for good chance to see a tidy overall result.

“Steep and tech, my favourite! I’m pumped about the course here; I’m feeling more excited about this round than any of the others.”

Flow: Why are you called Cannonball?

James: It came about from early days spent repairing bikes at the local bike shop in my late teens. We occasionally would take a long lunch to go cliff jumping into the harbour.  Turns, a mechanic at the time, nicknamed me Cannonball because I apparently had high-velocity rotations like a spinning cannon ball, let alone the splash…

Flow: What makes ice cream better?

James: (Laughs) You know me too well! Firstly, ice cream makes everything better, but what makes ice cream better is ice cream enhancer, aka Milo. Unfortunately, my ice cream and Milo intake over the last year has drastically gone down.

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Whistler’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts, in Fern Green.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

Record Riders at Thredbo Australian Interschools MTB Championships

With a mountain of excited school kids, five huge events and a big crowd of family and friends, the stage was set for an epic display of young gun racing.

Junior pump track rider
Junior pump track rider
Lining up to take on the Downhill
Lining up to take on the Downhill
Great crowd support across the weekend.
Great crowd support across the weekend.

The championships are open to school aged from around the country, it is all about participation and this year there was a record breaking 470 riders representing 74 schools across four age divisions riding in three point scoring competitions plus two fun exhibition events. Downhill, Cross-Country and Flow riding all accumulated points for their school and the fast and flowing Pump Track Challenge and a Sprint Relay drew good numbers and big crowds.

Thredbo turned on perfect autumn weather with early fog and a sprinkle of overnight rain settling the dust on the gravity trails.

The Flow Motion race saw around 350 riders and had a solid field in all divisions.
“The Flow Motion Race on Friday was new to the Interschools schedule, it gave competitors a chance to race a gravity trail without the technical features of a pure downhill track. It was unbelievable to see riders as young as eight giving the Flow race a go” said Danny Taliana – Thredbo MTB Operations Manager.

Downhill day saw the track a little tacky to start but quickly become loose and dusty. As this event encourages participation, riders had the choice to take on the more technical

Cannonball Downhill or a modified b-line option. Fastest on the day was Knox Grammar’s Chris Pulsar setting the course alight with a 5:00 run. Local Snowy Mountains Grammar School rider Mackenzie Diver set the quickest pace in the female division.

The Pump Track Challenge was a crowd pleaser, schools nominated three riders in each division for this exhibition event – one pedalling lap then it was all free-rolling. The big crowd certainly were behind Pump Trackers as they cheered them around the berms and over the rollers to the finish.

Free rolling fun at the pump track.
Free rolling fun at the pump track.

The cross country event wrapped up the weekend, with around 300 kids lapping the 2.5 kilometre Friday Flat loop. The course was 70/30 uphill to downhill and at altitude, it certainly tested the fitness of the XC competitors. It was a close tussle in the division 1 men’s with Cameron Butcher of Chevalier College narrowly edging out Jindabyne Central School’s Lachlan Harrigan.

The hotly contested overall champion school saw Heathcote High School take the shield for the tenth year in a row.

Consistency was key with the crowning of eight divisional kings and queens of the mountain for those who participated and placed well right across the weekend.

XC through the trees.
XC through the trees.
Great support and cheer squad at the XC finish.
Great support and cheer squad at the XC finish.
Flow trail riders.
Flow trail riders.

With big crowds of friends and family supporting riders and their schools, there was a great fun vibe across the weekend.

Over the 20 years, the event has launched the career of many Australian and world champions including Troy Brosnan, Tegan Molloy and Andrew and Thomas Crimmins. With participation on the increase and record numbers at Thredbo gravity events, we are sure to see Australian riders star on the world stage for years to come.

Next stop on the Thredbo MTB summer calendar is the Rocky Trail Downhill Enduro and SuperFlow Roller Coaster 1-2 April.

For full results click here.

Cannonball MTB Festival 2016 Event Recap

The weather was at its alpine best with blue sky and sunshine across the weekend. Amateurs, pros, juniors and novice riders were competing for a share of the $50,000 prize pool. There was a roll call of big name riders including Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon and New Zealand’s Brook Macdonald, plus home town heroes Andrew and Thomas Crimmins.

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Brosnan busted through to hit a sub-five minute time, definitely a new track record.

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On the famous 3.5km Cannonball Downhill track, Troy Brosnan took out the main event, the Go Pro Australian Open Downhill, in an scorching time of 4 minutes and 56 seconds. Luke Ellison and Thredbo rider Thomas Crimmins took home 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The strongly contested event pushed riders to their physical and mental limits, all vying for the biggest prize purse on the Australian Mountain Biking event calendar.

Brosnan keeping it breathtakingly low and fast into the finish of the GoPro Australian Open Downhill.
Brosnan keeping it breathtakingly low and fast into the finish of the GoPro Australian Open Downhill.

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World Cup rider Troy Brosnan was ecstatic with his win. “It’s such a great event, I love coming here and to win for the second time is amazing. The track, the race, the whole vibe of the festival is amazing and something I love being part of,” said Brosnan.

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A big contingent of pros turned out to race, including Josh Carlson.

The weekend opened with a new event- the Canyon All-Mountain Assault –where a mix of gravity and XC skills were key. Riders took on the epic 7km flowy descent through the diverse Thredbo alpine terrain, with a nice little pinch climb at the end that left riders breathless at the finish.

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This is how excited people were about the All-Mountain trail.
This is how excited people were about the All-Mountain trail. Carlson, frothing as usual.

The ROCKSHOX Pump Track Challenge rounded out the first day of competition, with young gun Remy Morton tearing up the new look Pump Track to take home the coveted title. The action was big in the SRAM Whip Wars, with over 100 riders lining up to impress the judges. The flips, old school manoeuvres and massive whips excited the massive hillside crowd. Connor Fearon was eventually crowned the King of Style.

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CRACK IT!

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P-U-M-P-I-N-G
P-U-M-P-I-N-G

With both sides of the resort pumping tunes from DJs and live acts, and Thredbo’s stellar offering of bars and restaurants alive and pumping, Thredbo again proved why it’s the ultimate holiday destination for summer. The riding is not just for pros, with a range of new trails to suit every level of rider added to the already extensive network. Thredbo boasts 25 kilometres of epic riding in the region, including the latest and greatest Thredbo All-Mountain Trail.

Cannonball MTB Festival 2016 – Day One And 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.

This is the vibe right now at the Cannonball MTB Festival.
This is the vibe right now at the Cannonball MTB Festival.

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.

The Rockshox Pump Track Party attracted a huge crowd.
The Rockshox Pump Track Party attracted a huge crowd.

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.

Josh Carlson took the win in the Flow Motion Cup.
Josh Carlson took the win in the Flow Motion Cup.

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.

Connor Fearon didn't only go crazy sideways, but was bringing them back every time.
Connor Fearon didn’t only go crazy sideways, but was bringing them back every time.

Stay tuned for all the Sunday action tomorrow. It’s the GoPro Australia Downhill event this afternoon and we can’t wait for it!

Thredbo Mountain Bike Park Now Open!

Friday night, bike laden cars snaked their way up the Alpine Way, the forecast was full of sunshine and anticipation was high. Chatter in Pub was a lot like winter on a powder day, who is lining up for first lifts?

Come Saturday morning and we were ready to roll – an hour before lifts opened, riders were lining up at the access gates and those who weren’t, were pushing up the hill to ride the fresh lines into the finish arena.

The lift spun and bikes were loading, the line meandered around the chair shed with pumped riders talking amongst themselves about bikes, parts, places they have been and the day ahead – everyone was eager to hit the slopes.

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We can’t wait to do some Thredbo fire road bombing when we head to the Cannonball MTB Festival in just a few weeks time!

Over 350 riders ripped into a mountain of freshly built trails on opening day – what was great to see was the great mix of ages and abilities, full and open face helmets, downhill and all-mountain bikes, Thredbo had swung open the doors to everyone.

The Thredbo trail crew had a hectic lead in turning the mountain from winter to summer in a matter of weeks but they rewarded riders with stand-out opening conditions. Both long-time Thredbo riders and those here for the first time were enjoying the opening day vibe.

Australian pro-rider Thomas Crimmins was one of the first on the mountain.

“It’s probably the most fun I’ve had at Thredbo. All of the work the Thredbo trails crew and Dirt Art have done is amazing, and can’t believe how many riders are here. It’s by far the best trails I have ever seen at Thredbo said Crimmins.

While others who have not visited in a while were equally as impressed at the calibre of trails.

“Last time I was in Thredbo was back in the early 2000’s and all I can say is WOW. The expansion of the Thredbo Mountain Bike Park is rad to see and I can’t wait to get down for some more laps this summer said Andrew Threlfall – Intense Cycles Australia Brand Manager.

The Kosciuszko Flow Trail was the voted most popular on the day, all refreshed boasting more flow and features. The traverses have a line-up of rollers that can be pumped, doubled or tripled and the berms are massive, with plenty of riders ripping into them across the weekend.

The skilled up riders let loose on the Cannonball Downhill, they loved the new jumps lines with plenty of riders sending it into the perfect blue sky. With snow still covering the top section of the All-Mountain Trail, a steady flow of riders took to the lower eucalypt forests, switchbacks and berms – with one rider exclaiming it was the hidden gem of Australian mountain biking.

There is so much to look forward to in the Thredbo Mountain Bike Park this summer. Still to come:

  • New Beginner Skills Park
  • New Intermediate Skills Park
  • Opening top to bottom of the All-Mountain Trail
  • Upper section re-direction of the Cannonball Downhill from Kareela to Snakes & Ladders giving it double black diamond status
  • New access to All-Mountain and Flow Trail eliminating the use of the fire road
  • Kids skill park
  • Huge line-up of events including the famous Cannonball MTB Festival and the new and exciting Thredbo Super Enduro.
  • Gravity Girls Sessions
  • Refreshed Pump Track

All this plus with a huge hire fleet and lessons, clinics and trails for all levels. Thredbo Mountain Bike Park has something for you to enjoy this summer.

What's not to love about a climbing free ride and some of the best views you'll ever see.
What’s not to love about a chairlift and some of the best views you’ll find anywhere.

To find out more check out – https://www.thredbo.com.au/activities/summer-activities/biking/

Cannonball MTB Festival 2016 – Entries now Open.

The richest and most exciting event on the Australian mountain bike calendar, the Thredbo Cannonball Festival, is back with a fresh line-up of events and entertainment plus a massive prize purse of $50,000 up for grabs.

The mountain will be alight from 8-11 December, 2016 as amateurs, rising stars and the world’s best descend on Thredbo for four days of non-stop gravity action. Thredbo, will play host to five major events highlighting the array of terrain on offer throughout the Thredbo Mountain Bike Park, bring it on!

Registration is now open for the event – click here to visit the website and register now. Save 15% off your entry fees when you enter before midnight October 31st and online registration closes 6pm Wednesday December 7th 2016.

This is set to be a huge weekend filled with action both on and off the mountain with incredible biking over the four action packed days and an awesome line-up of DJ’s and live music firing up the village all weekend long.

Video: Toyota Cannonball Festival, Thredbo

The Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival saw some of the world’s best mountain bikers hit the resort for a massive five event program.

The festival is Australia’s biggest gravity mountain biking event they had a roll call of the big name riders including Luca Shaw, Sam Hill, Andrew and Thomas Crimmins, Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon and Tegan Molloy; mixing it with everyday riders for their share in the massive prize pool worth over $45,000. This weekend had it all…..

Thredbo Wraps Massive Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival

The Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival returned to Thredbo this weekend, bringing with it some of the world’s best mountain bike riders for a non-stop spectacle of dirt, thrills and spills.

Over the weekend, 470 riders descended on Thredbo, making this the biggest gravity mountain biking event in Australia. The roll call of big name riders included Luca Shaw, Sam Hill, Andrew and Thomas Crimmins, Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon and Tegan Molloy; all battling it out for the massive prize pool worth over $45,000.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith
Top of the Cannonball DH.

On the famous 3.5km Cannonball Downhill track, Troy Brosnan thrashed out the main event, Sunday’s Australian Open Downhill, in a scorching time of 5:04, edging out Connor Fearon and Sam Hill who took home 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The strongly contested event pushed riders to their physical and mental limits, all vying for the biggest prize purse on the Australian Downhill calendar. 

Connor Fearon wins the ODI Whip Wars.
Connor Fearon wins the ODI Whip Wars.

The weekend opened with riders battling it out in the SRAM Dual Compressor, with Blake Neilsen expertly navigating the course’s jumps, berms and rhythm sections to come out on top of the competition’s elimination format. The ROCKSHOX Pump Challenge rounded out the first day of competition on Friday night; young gun Remy Morton didn’t miss a beat, tearing up the new look Pump Track to take home the coveted title. 

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith
RockShox Pump Track Challenge winner, Remy Morton.
(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith
Dave McMillan on the new Thredbo Pump Track.

The weather was just as spectacular as the riding, with blue sky and sunshine right across the weekend.  The action was big in the ODI Whip Wars with over 100 riders lining up to impress the judges. The flips, old school manoeuvres and massive whips excited the massive hillside crowd.  Connor Fearon was eventually crowned the King of Style.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith
ODI Whip Wars with Dave McMillan.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

Playing the long game, local riders Thomas Crimmins and Tegan Molloy used their home track advantage to take out the Maxxis Flow Motion Cup, where the 4.5km track was certainly a test of endurance and stamina. 

Thomas Crimmins winning the Flow Motion Cup.
Thomas Crimmins winning the Flow Motion Cup.

With both sides of the resort enjoying tunes from DJs and live acts, and Thredbo’s stellar offering of bars and restaurants alive and pumping, Thredbo again proved why it’s the ultimate holiday destination for summer. The riding is not just for pros, with a range of new trails to suit all level of riders added to the resort’s already extensive network. Thredbo boasts 25 kilometres of epic riding in the region, including the latest and greatest Thredbo All-Mountain Trail

Troy Brosnan winner Toyota Australian Open Downhill Photo credit Tim Bardsley-Smith
Troy Brosnan winner Toyota Australian Open Downhill.
(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith
Tegan Molloy wins the Toyota Australian Open.
Rock garden on the Cannonball Downhill photo credit Tim Bardsley-Smith
Rock garden on the Cannonball Downhill.

  (c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

International Luca Shaw on the Cannonball Downhill.
International Luca Shaw on the Cannonball Downhill.

To check out Thredbo accommodation packages, please visit Thredbo’s website, call the Thredbo Resort Centre on 1300 020 589, or visitFacebook, Twitter and Instagram

Photo Feature: The Best of Thredbo Cannonball MTB Festival

Thredbo will be going off December 4-6, three days of racing, live music and DJs.

The line-up of events includes the side by side SRAM Dual Compressor, RockShox Pump Track Challenge on Thredbo’s new look pump track, the ODI Whip Wars Big Air, Maxxis Flow Motion Cup and the jewel in the crown, the Toyota Australian Open Downhill.

Event website.

Click here for online entries.


Coming into its third year, we reflect on some of the great images from up on the distinctive Thredbo mountain.

NEWS_THREDBO_CANNONBALL_DH-1-710x472

Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-9 Thredbo_Cannonballl_Day2-6-710x472 Thredbo_Cannonballl_Day2-23-710x472 D33_7970-710x472 NEWS_THREDBO_CANNONBALL_DH-4-710x472 (c) Tim Bardsley-Smith Cannonball-Fest-2014-41 Cannonball-Fest-2014-5 Bruce Moir sneeks in a run of the downhill track as the bad weather got closer. Cannonball-Fest-2014-6 Cannonball-Fest-2014-71NEWS_THREDBO_CANNONBALL_DH-14-710x471NEWS_THREDBO_CANNONBALL_DH-16-710x472D77_1570-710x471D77_1303-710x472Thredbo_Cannonballl_Day2-20-710x472Thredbo_Cannonballl_Day2-14-710x472D77_1872-710x472D77_1679-710x472D77_2658-710x471D77_2599-710x471(c) Tim Bardsley-SmithAngus Maddern looking stylish in his race run.Cannonball-MTB-Fest-2-2(c) Tim Bardsley-SmithCannonball-MTB-Fest-2-3Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-7Cannonball-MTB-Fest-2-1Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-1D77_2280-710x471Bruce Moir sneeks in a run of the downhill track as the bad weather got closer.Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-18Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-5Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-6(c) Tim Bardsley-SmithCannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-17Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-13Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-10Sam Hill leaves a less than perminant mark on a very happy fan.Cannonball-MTB-Fest-2-14Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-19Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-11Cannonball-MTB-Fest-Day-3-8

Video: Cannonball MTB Festival Wrap Up

The 2014 Cannonball MTB Festival at Thredbo again attracted its fair share of weather. Last year, it was snow, this time around rain and lightning came into the mix and shut down Saturday’s racing. Despite the compressed timeframe this gave racing, the event was again a huge success. Thredbo just makes for great racing! Make sure you check out Damian Breach’s photo galleries each day of the event too:

Day 1: http://flowmountainbike.com/post-all/cannonball-mtb-festival-day-1/

Day 2: http://flowmountainbike.com/post-all/cannonball-mtb-festival-day-2/

Day 3: http://flowmountainbike.com/post-all/cannonball-mtb-festival-day-3/

Read the official word from Thredbo below.


 

The Toyota Cannonball Festival in Thredbo this weekend saw some of the world’s best mountain bike riders mix it up with Mother Nature’s most extreme weather on Australia’s famous downhill all racing for their share of the $45,000 prize pool on offer.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

Blending mud, a mountain and adrenalin certainly created exciting racing across the weekend with over 300 riders ascending to Thredbo for a weekend of gravity fuelled battles across five big events.

Rain postponed Saturday’s racing, making Sunday one massive downhill day. The headliner event the Australian Open Downhill had the crowd on the edge of seat right up to the last rider of the day. Young Thredbo MTB rider Andrew Crimmins pulled out the ride of his life and smashed the 3.5km course in an unbeatable time of 5 mins 17 secs just ahead of his brother Thomas, with 5 x world champion Sam Hill in third place. But it was the Bredbo brothers and Thredbo MTB riders Thomas and Andrew who had the crowd on their feet elated with the local win.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

“I had an amazing run, conditions were pretty wild all weekend but the track turned it on this afternoon, so it was pretty well perfect for my race run.

“I’ve been racing here for 6 or 7 years so it’s pretty handy to know where I can make up time” said Andrew.

In the pro women’s division, hot favourite junior World Champion Tegan Molloy took a heavy fall in practice and could not defend her crown. Tracey Hannah picked up top prize with Sarah Booth and Kellie Weinert placed second and third respectively.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

The Flow Motion Cup started above the clouds with both local and international riders racing the five kilometre Kosciuszko Flow Trail course in cracking times, considering the early wet track.

Mud was a menace for some, while others revelled in the conditions. Thredbo MTB rider Thomas Crimmins used his local knowledge to pick the best lines and pick up first place in the pro men’s division. Sarah Booth stood high on the winner’s podium in the women’s pro category winning by the narrowest of margins, 1.5 seconds over Claire Whiteman.

(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

Friday’s warm sunny conditions were ideal for the ODI Dual Compressor that saw dirt raising head to head action, the quickest out of the drop gate held the advantage.

In the pro division Graeme Mudd won the battle of the bikes and Harriet Burbridge-Smith racing over in front in the pro women’s event, just ahead of Thredbo MTB rider Tegan Molloy.

The Rock Shox Pump Track Challenge, had a mix of young guns and old dogs hitting the rain soaked, free-rolling technical track. Pro men’s set a blistering pace with Blake Neilson narrowly edging out Thredbo MTB rider David McMillan and Ryan Hunt in third.

It was a parade of women’s world champs with BMX and MTB star Caroline Buchanan styling it up on the muddy circuit and taking the win, Danni Beecroft rolled into second and Tegan Molloy showing she is a quality all-rounder taking third place.

“It was first Cannonball event in Thredbo, and it was a huge success. Minus the weather, mountain bike lovers of all ages trooped it out. Winning the Rock Shox Pump Track Challenge was my highlight of the weekend. The changes made to the mountain biking in Thredbo was really refreshing and a great vibe all round” said Caroline Buchanan

A fun new twist for 2014 event is points from each event will be tallied to crown the King and Queen of the mountain in the Pro Division, the higher you place, the more you score. This year Thomas Crimmins and Kellie Weinert were officially placed into Cannonball royalty.

Cannonball MTB Festival – Day 3

After the heavy rain and consistent electrical activity that caused the postponement of yesterday’s activities it was a relief to wake to no rain and a good forecast. Amazingly the soaking did little to the track conditions with only a few slippery places to be found, and as the day wore on the racing conditions got even better.
Tracey Hannah took the win in the Australian Open Downhill and the $2500 cash. We hope that's enough to cover the petrol bills for the drive home to Cairns.
Tracey Hannah took the win in the Australian Open Downhill and the $2500 cash. We hope that’s enough to cover the petrol bills for the drive home to Cairns.
Due to the previous day’s events, racing of the Flow Nation Cup and Australian Open Downhill were now compressed into the single day and the idea of double-duty racing did means less numbers on the Flow Nation. However, both Sarah Booth and Thomas Crimmins proved their pedigree with strength and stamina with wins in the Flow Nation Cup and podiums in the downhill.
After the downpour the day before the mountains hung onto the morning cloud. Considering the amount of rain, the track was in amazing condition.
After the downpour the day before the mountains hung onto the morning cloud. Considering the amount of rain, the track was in amazing condition.

The Australian Open Downhill is the premiere event of the Thredbo Cannonball MTB Festival and oodles of money is up for grabs. $2500 first place for the women’s and $5000 for the men’s to be precise. The women’s racing was always going to be a close battle between current Junior World Champion Tegan Molloy and seasoned World Cup’er Tracey Hannah however Tegan had to pull out of the race following a crash in practice. Tracey took the win comfortably, making it two for two, and now has plenty of cash to pay for the petrol for the long drive back home. Sarah Booth landed in 2nd place and Kellie Wienert in 3rd.

The postonment of the previous day meant schedule changes and if you were up for it, both the Flow Cup and downhill were not to be raced on the one day. Many took the option of dropping the Flow Nation event to save their legs for the downhill. However women's Flow Nation Cup winner Sarah Booth showed stamina, and backed-up with a podium spot in the downhill as well.
The postonment of the previous day meant schedule changes and if you were up for it, both the Flow Cup and downhill were not to be raced on the one day. Many took the option of dropping the Flow Nation event to save their legs for the downhill. However women’s Flow Nation Cup winner Sarah Booth showed stamina, and backed-up with a podium spot in the downhill as well.
Also doing double-duty was Tom Crimmins. First place in the Flow Nation Cup and second place in the Australian Open Downhill is no feat to be sneezed at. We think his legs are going to hate him for a while though.
Also doing double-duty was Tom Crimmins. First place in the Flow Nation Cup and second place in the Australian Open Downhill is no feat to be sneezed at. We think his legs are going to hate him for a while though.
The men’s race was all about Sam Hill, who was the hotly anticipated favourite.  However, given that Thomas and Andrew Crimmins know Thredbo like the back of their hands you’d be a chump not to throw a few bucks each way on all three. In the end it was another repeat winner, as Andrew Crimmins stormed home (pun intended) to take the win over his brother, Thomas in 2nd and Sam Hill in 3rd.
Just before finals the clouds got dark. Lucky it was only a brief passing episode and the track remained dry and perfect for racing.
Just before finals the clouds got dark. Lucky it was only a brief passing episode and the track remained dry and perfect for racing.
We love the Cannonball MTB Festival and love mountain biking in Thredbo – this place just has such a great vibe, and this event already has a fantastic reputation after just two years. Bring on 2015!
Tegan Molloy had a crash during practice and was unable to race. Word from her father is that she's ok.
Tegan Molloy had a crash during practice and was unable to race. Word from her father is that she’s ok.
Aiden Varley rails down a new raw and wide section of the Thredbo downhill track. It was great to see some sections just like this that had different line choices and an element of pure World Cup roughness. More please.
Aiden Varley rails down a new raw and wide section of the Thredbo downhill track. It was great to see some sections just like this that had different line choices and an element of pure World Cup roughness. More please.
U19 men's Australian Open Downhill winner Jackson Frew is quick and even had an off on his race run.
U19 men’s Australian Open Downhill winner Jackson Frew is quick and even had an off on his race run.
The crowd favorite Whip Off Wars was cancelled due to weather and the even-more-crowd-favorite Dave McMillan missed out on showing us his whip tricks. We'll be waiting for them next year.
The crowd favorite Whip Off Wars was cancelled due to weather and the even-more-crowd-favorite Dave McMillan missed out on showing us his whip tricks. We’ll be waiting for them next year.
Andrew Crimmins is at home at the Thredbo track and his win today showed just how well he knows the Thredbo downhill. With Andrew now on the Kona World Cup team we're pretty excited about seeing him racing the world's best on tracks further from home.
Andrew Crimmins is at home at the Thredbo track and his win today showed just how well he knows the Thredbo downhill. With Andrew now on the Kona World Cup team we’re pretty excited about seeing him racing the world’s best on tracks further from home.
You can't have a downhill photo gallery without a long pan shot. 1/20th of a second of downhill racing.
You can’t have a downhill photo gallery without a long pan shot. 1/20th of a second of downhill racing.
Remember that little bee from our day one coverage? Well, it's in this birds mouth now. Such is the circle of life.
Remember that little bee from our day one coverage? Well, it’s in this birds mouth now. Such is the circle of life.
Dowhill racing is all about you, and the clock, and that little beam of light you have to break at  the bottom. It's pretty simple really.
Dowhill racing is all about you, and the clock, and that little beam of light you have to break at the bottom. It’s pretty simple really.
Angus Maddern looking stylish in his race run.
Angus Maddern looking stylish in his race run.
Thredbo has always been on the top of Australian gravity racing and the Cannonball Festival has been a showcase of the mountain. Mark December'ish 2015 in your calendars for version 3.0.
Thredbo has always been on the top of Australian gravity racing and the Cannonball Festival has been a showcase of the mountain. Mark December’ish 2015 in your calendars for version 3.0.
Breathing hard and sucking air. Andrew Crimmins worked hard and was rewarded with an over four-secong win. That's teo from two for Andrew.
Breathing hard and sucking air. Andrew Crimmins worked hard and was rewarded with an over four-second win. That’s two from two for Andrew.
Women's Australian Open downhill podium. 1st - Tracey Hannah, 2nd - Sarah Booth, and 3rd - Kellie Weinert.
Women’s Australian Open downhill podium. 1st – Tracey Hannah, 2nd – Sarah Booth, and 3rd – Kellie Weinert.
Men's Australian Open Donwhill podium. 1st - Andrew Crimmins, 2nd - Thomas Crimmins, and 3rd - Sam Hill.
Men’s Australian Open Donwhill podium. 1st – Andrew Crimmins, 2nd – Thomas Crimmins, and 3rd – Sam Hill.
Thomas Crimmins and Kellie Weinert were also crowed King and Queen of the Cannonball Festival. Congrats to both for racing every event and holding your own in each.
Thomas Crimmins and Kellie Weinert were also crowed King and Queen of the Cannonball Festival. Congrats to both for racing every event and holding your own in each.

 

Cannonball MTB Festival – Day 2

Day two of the Thredbo Cannonball festival was greeted with the threat of bad weather. It’s all part of racing in the Australian alpine region but with a day jam packed with action – with the Flow Nation Cup, downhill seeding – and Whip Off Wars all planned, we all had our fingers crossed.

Tim Eaton hit the trails early and beat the weather with a couple of runs down the Kosciusko Flow Trail in preparation for the Flow Nation Cup.
Tim Eaton hit the trails early and beat the weather with a couple of runs down the Kosciusko Flow Trail in preparation for the Flow Nation Cup.

However the weather got the better of the action. Lightning and chairlifts aren’t the best of friends and just moments before the first racer’s took off for the Flow Nation Cup the clouds moved in for hours of persistent electrical activity and heavy rain. It was a tough but nessasary call and all racing for the day had to be postponed.

Hot off his win at the Pump Track even the night before Blake Nielson was also up early and getting his eyes fixed on some Flow Trail action.
Hot off his win at the Pump Track even the night before Blake Nielson was also up early and getting his eyes fixed on some Flow Trail action.

Rather than being defeated by the weather the Thredbo Cannonball organisers enthusiastically moved the competitors indoors for a bit of fun with giveaways, a little competition, and some autograph signing from the top pros (and maybe a few beers). All the race action but has been moved to tomorrow with a full day of Flow Nation Cup and Australian Open Downhill planned. Unfortunately the Whip Off Wars will have to be battled next year.

Joing his Giant team mate for some early practice was Tom Crimmins. He knows Thredbo like the back of his had but still hit the trails for a bit of fun.
Joing his Giant team mate for some early practice was Tom Crimmins. He knows Thredbo like the back of his had but still hit the trails for a bit of fun.

Cannonball MTB Fest 2-6

We all had our fingers crossed that the nerds at the Bureau of Meteorology were going to be wrong. But from the first run up the chairlift it wasn't looking promising.
We all had our fingers crossed that the nerds at the Bureau of Meteorology were going to be wrong. But from the first run up the chairlift it wasn’t looking promising.
As the morning wore on the weather was slowly deteriorating. Micheal Long rails a corner as the sound of distant storms got closer and closer.
As the morning wore on the weather was slowly deteriorating. Micheal Long rails a corner as the sound of distant storms got closer and closer.

Cannonball MTB Fest 2-10

Closed for the day. Sad to see the racing for the day postponed, but it's all re-scheduled for Sunday.
Closed for the day. Sad to see the racing for the day postponed, but it’s all re-scheduled for Sunday.
Madison Giles was one of many who were pumped for the Flow Nation action and got in a last minute run before the event was postponed until tomorrow due to weather.
Madison Giles was one of many who were pumped for the Flow Nation action and got in a last minute run before the event was postponed until tomorrow due to weather.
Bruce Moir sneeks in a run of the downhill track.
Bruce Moir sneeks in a run of the downhill track.
Balance your bike for a set of Rock Shox forks. That has to be easier than trying to win them in a race run!
Balance your bike for a set of Rock Shox forks. That has to be easier than trying to win them in a race run!
The big names of Australian racing also moved indoors to spend a bit of time with the fans and sign a few autographs. Sam Hill, Andrew and Tom Crimmins, Tracey Hannah, Tegan Molloy, and Remy Morton we're all on hand for the fans.
The big names of Australian racing also moved indoors to spend a bit of time with the fans and sign a few autographs. Sam Hill, Andrew and Tom Crimmins, Tracey Hannah, Tegan Molloy, and Remy Morton we’re all on hand for the fans.
Sam Hill leaves a less than permanent mark on a very happy fan.
Sam Hill leaves a less than permanent mark on a very happy fan.

 

Cannonball MTB Festival – Day 1

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.

$45K in Prizes AND Sam Hill to Race at the Cannonball MTB Fest!

Thredbo has just released the Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival event Schedule with 3 epic days of high flying adrenalin filled action and entertainment plus some massive prizes on offer.

The festival, which takes place across the weekend of December 5-7, will have the biggest mountain biking prize pool on the Australian mountain biking circuit with $45,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. The Industry best are supporting the event including major sponsor Toyota along with Maxxis, SRAM, Rock Shox, ODI, Avid, Truvativ and Joes No Flats,

The complete schedule is now online at thredbo.com.au/cannonballfestival and registrations are still open but filling up fast so jump online and register to ensure your place.

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Schedule highlights include: 

Friday 

11:00am – 4:30pm – ODI Dual Compressor

4:30pm – 5:00pm – Big Air // Whip Wars Practice

6:00pm – 9:00pm – ROCKSHOX Pump Track Racing, DJ, BBQ and presentation

Saturday 

11:30am – 2:30pm – Flow Motion Cup Racing

3:00pm – 4:30pm – Australian DH Pro and Under 19 class seeding runs

4:30pm – 5:00pm – Big Air // Whip Wars Practice

4:30pm – 7:30pm – DJ & BBQ at the base of Kosciuszko Express

5:00pm – 7:00pm – Whip Wars Jam All Divisions

7:00pm – Flow Motion Cup & Whip Wars Presentations

Sunday 

12:00pm – 3.30pm – Racing Australian DH All Divisions

3:30pm – 6:30pm – Greasy Pole Party with DJ & BBQ

4.30pm – Australian DH Presentations

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King and Queen of the mountain 

A fun new twist for 2014 is points from each event will be tallied to crown the King and Queen of the mountain in the Pro Divisions. To win this prestigious accolade, the higher you place, the more you score, with the winners launching into Cannonball royalty.

The Thredbo MTB season kicked off last week, with riders revelling in the chance to hit the mountain tracks before the Cannonball Festival. Junior World Champion and Thredbo MTB rider Tegan Molloy was one of the first on the hill.

“Thredbo have really raised the bar with the downhill track this year, with sections running a lot more open and fluid. Although a long and technical course, it seems that everyone is having a blast. 

With the new lower section packing in nicely, it will definitely please spectators and riders alike. The track is in awesome condition in the lead up to Cannonball, the stage is set for one of the best races in Australia. 

I’m lucky to have a world class training ground right here in my backyard in the lead up to what I hope will be a successful World Cup season ahead” said Tegan.

Tegan will be riding alongside other world class riders including Sam Hill, Troy Brosan, Andrew Crimmins, Ben Cory, Thomas Crimmins, David McMillan and Tim Eaton.

“Cannonball for me is definitely one of the best events on the calendar, simply because it’s not super competitive like the national series, just a bunch of guys and girls having fun in Australia’s best MTB destination. Thredbo is always known for pulling the huge crowd and I think this year will be the biggest yet, plus it hosts Aussies only whip comp! Who doesn’t want to sit on the side of the hill and watch people throw down? I’ll definitely be back to try and back up my win from last year!Andrew Crimmins 2013 Australian Open Winner 

“I’m really excited about coming back to Thredbo for the Cannonball Festival this year! Getting 2nd in the Australian Open last year has just fuelled the fire for me to take the win this year” Troy Brosnan Current World #2 

There is something in this multi-faceted festival for any level rider, here are all the events over the long weekend.

1. The Australian Open Downhill 

The main event, the Australian Open DH on Thredbo’s infamous Cannonball will take riders to their physical and mental limits. The 3.5km course of fast, intense, non-stop gravity starts at the top of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift and will be the best one yet. We will see the return of the old favourite, the no holds barred Thredbo Fire Road and this is exclusive to the Australian Open DH. Along with other substantial changes that will widen sections and add more fall line riding. With the biggest prize purse on the Australia DH calendar, this will be one not to miss!

2. Flow Motion Cup 

Utilising the Kosciuszko Flow Trail this all mountain race will snake its way down Thredbo’s famous ski runs. With around 6km of flowing single-track to negotiate with the odd flat pedal, this event can cater to all levels of riders. However only those with the will to win will head home with the cash!

3. ODI Dual Compressor 

A new event for 2014. Racing at its most raw, the Dual Compressors crowd-pleasing format pits two competitors side-by-side to battle each other & the clock as they race to avoid elimination each round. The finely tuned course of jumps, berms, rhythm sections and drops makes for a gruelling battleground, challenging both pump-track specialists and the true downhillers. Riders will race on equal courses side by side before integrating and pushing one another through to the finish.

4. Big Air / Whip-Wars 

A crowd favourite will see the best riders in the country send their bike sideways off a purpose built show-time jump at the Thredbo base. This will see a mix of downhillers and free-riders come together to settle the debate of the King of Style. You may not win the main event, but you may take home some cash for a crowd-pleasing trick.

5. ROCKSHOX Pump Track Challenge 

Get ready for the ROCKSHOX Pump Challenge on Friday night. See Thredbo’s brand new updated Pump Track on The Village Green in full flight as the smooth momentum masters set the perfectly sculpted course on fire. A test of ultimate skill & stamina, as riders pump, double & manual around the 2-3 lap course without a single pedal stroke.

The complete schedule is now online, download and plan your weekend of adrenalin filled mountain bike action.

Visit thredbo.com.au/cannonballfestival for full event details OR join the Thredbo MTB facebook page facebook.com/ThredboMTB for all event updates.

For any Thredbo accommodation and festival package enquires visit thredbo.com.au or call Thredbo Resort Centre 1300 020 589. 

Confirmed Cannonball Riders 

Sam Hill – The man, the myth, the legend, Sam Hill will be competing at Cannonball 2014! Sam is by far the most recognised and successful DH mountain biker in Australia over the past 10 years. With countless World Cup and World Champs wins, he has every title in the sport and there is no sign of him slowing down with 2 more World Cup wins this season! Sam has found form again and will be the favourite for most in the Australian Open DH!

Troy Brosnan 

Troy Brosnan of the Specialized Racing Team loves coming to Thredbo and it is one of his favourite MTB destinations in the world! He is 2 X Junior World DH Champ, ranked #3 in the World and was a close 2nd in last year’s Australian Open along with taking out the Rock Shox Pump Track Challenge. Troy is one of the top contenders for King of Cannonball!

Andrew Crimmins 

What can we say about Andrew Crimmins? He came from nowhere last year to take out the Australian Open DH and beat some big names in doing so. Still at only 17 years of age, Andrew is now riding for the Kona Factory Team & Monster Energy. With a full World Cup season under his belt, can Andrew back up his incredible performance from last year? Only time will tell.

Tegan Molloy 

The 2014 Junior World Champion will be back on her home mountain for Cannonball and will be fired up for all events. We saw her take out the Rock Shox Pump Track Challenge & Flow Motion last year but was pipped by Tracey Hannah in the Australian

Open. Tegan will be looking for the trifecta and is a hot contender for the Queen of Cannonball!

Ben Cory 

Ben Cory knows Thredbo like the back of his hand. Being a Canberra local he regularly uses Thredbo as a training ground. His smooth style & local knowledge got him the win in the Flow Motion last year and he will be ready to back that up in 2014 and show the young bucks whose boss!

Thomas Crimmins 

Local legend Tommy Crimmins has just returned from a full season racing World Cups and will be itching to prove himself again on the Australian Stage. A slight home advantage saw him get 3rd last year in the Australian Open DH and this will make him a threat over the entire weekend in all events!

David McMillan 

Dave ‘Magician’ McMillan was the eventual winner of the Whip Wars last year and will be the name on everyone’s lips again! Dave is known for his effortless & smooth style that leaves every spectator in awe! Look out for the style-master in all events!

Tim Eaton 

Another Canberra local that is a force to be reckoned with in Thredbo! Riding for Giant Bikes Timmy Eaton will have is full quiver on show for Cannonball and will be hoping to take one of them to the top step!

Must-Ride: Thredbo, NSW

But despite its strong history, over the past ten years it had started to become clear that Thredbo’s lustre was fading a little; other alpine resorts were investing heavily in mountain biking and Thredbo was losing ground. Simply having ‘the hill’ was no longer enough. Thankfully, rather than allowing the mountain biking program to slip metaphorically downhill, Thredbo too have launched a program of rejuvenating the mountain bike side of their operations. Since our first trip to Thredbo over 15 years ago, we’ve held this place in high esteem, and so we had to come see for ourselves just what changes were underway at Thredders.

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Tim Windshuttle from Thredbo MTB, feeling the love on the freshened-up downhill track.

What we found left us feeling extremely positive. After years of talking about expansion, it’s really happening. With Resort Operations Manager Stuart Diver at the helm and a seriously passionate crew running the Thredbo MTB outfit, the wheels are in motion. Already there have been some great revitalisations to the downhill track, the new Kosciusko Flow Trail has been souped up, the magnificent Thredbo Valley Trail is ready to roll and a master plan for 40km of new trails has been unveiled.

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One hell of a place. Thredbo’s setting in glorious.

We spent four days in Thredbo: you can read about each of them here, here, here and here. During that time we checked out the absolutely stunning Cascade Trail, rode the downhill and Flow Trails, and took in the Thredbo Valley Trail too. Whereas in the past we’d only considered bringing our downhill bike to Thredders, there’s now a true variety of riding on offer and you’d be silly to leave your trail bike behind. It’s only going to get better too, with more cross country trails planned for the valley floor, and an new 11km-long all-mountain trail going in from the peak too.

As we said in the video, this trip to Thredbo left us feeling more positive about this old dame than we’ve ever been before. New trails, spruced up oldies and big plans for the future make us sure we’ll be spending a lot more time in Thredders than we have for many years, and not just for racing, but simply to ride. Thredders, it’s good to see you back on top form.

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Our first ride in Thredbo was actually outside the village, on the Cascade Trail, which Stuart Diver called the ‘original Thredbo downhill’.
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The Cascade Trail. Idyllic.

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It feels vast up here at Dead Horse Gap. If you come to Thredbo and don’t ride this trail, you’re really missing out.

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Brumbies. We were very excited to catch a glimpse of some wild horses, but the locals tell us they’re everywhere.

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The second day of our trip to Thredbo was a real contrast! After sunburn the previous afternoon, we awoke to snow! Even in December, the high country weather can be pretty unpredictable, so it pays to be prepared. Thankfully it had largely melted by the following morning.

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The valley terminal hire centre is huge now. The workshop has been greatly expanded, as has the hire fleet of Giant Glorys and Reigns.
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Workshop guru, Petri, in his domain.
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The view from Eagles Nest at the peak of Thredbo never gets old.
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That Thredbo fire road corner. Gotta love it.

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The new nine-metre canyon gap on the downhill adds some huck to the mix.
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The Snakes and Ladders section of the Cannonball downhill has been opened up to make it faster and more flowy. A welcome change.
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The bottom of the downhill track gets some flavour too, with a new wall ride, doubles and a big 30-foot table top.
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Good cub scouts are always prepared. Jackets, hats made from dead animals and beer.
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The Flow Trail adds a whole new dimension to the hill, offering a 10-minute chair-lifted descent that’s purpose built for the kind of bikes most of us ride.

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The Thredbo Valley Track is a multi purpose trail running alongside the Thredbo River. It’s not the world’s most technical trail, but it’s absolutely stunning.

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Along its course, the Thredbo Valley Track criss-crosses the Thredbo River eight times, on bridges that are built to withstand a once-in-a-hundred-year flood.

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Cannonball MTB Festival, Thredbo – Day 3

 

We love downhill race day at Thredbo. The long, rough, fast and physical track always makes for awesome racing, so were super excited about the third and final day of the Cannonball MTB Festival.

Thredbo has played host to more legendary downhill races than just about any other venue in Australia, and with $5000 on the line for the men’s win and $2500 for the women, the Australia Open Downhill was going to be another one to remember. Seeding on Saturday afternoon hadn’t thrown up too many surprises, but as we found out, seeding results mean nothing.

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There is no place quite like Thredbo for a DH race.

A warm morning and dry, strong winds ensured the race track was in absolutely prime condition; Friday’s snow and slush had given way to dusty bomb holes, particularly on the new sections of track which were becoming whooped out and choppy, just as you’d hope. In the more open sections of trail the gusty westerly wind was becoming a bit of an issue, and more than a couple of riders found themselves launching the canyon gap a lot further than anticipated with a tail wind pushing them along.

When the start times were revealed it was a surprise to see the women running in reverse order, with fastest qualifier Tracey Hannah up first, followed by Tegan Molloy. Tracey, Tegan and Danielle Beecroft (who had a big off in her seeding run) were definitely the three favourites and apparently the call to swap the race order had been made to ensure both Tracey and Tegan got a clear run at the track.

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As the first women on course, Tracey Hannah had the hot seat all to herself, with no rider able to threaten her time. She is still on another level when compared to the much younger Dani Beecroft and Tegan Molloy – her years of experience racing at a World Cup level shone through, and she took the win (though perhaps not as comfortably as she’s anticipated, with Molloy only 12 seconds back). Danielle Beecroft’s form keeps getting better and better too, her third place after a huge weekend of competing was a fine way to cap off what must’ve been a seriously tiring three days!

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Tegan Molloy raced the pump track, the Flow Motion Cup and the downhill, and nearly got a clean sweep of every event she entered – only Tracey Hannah got in her way.

In the men’s race all eyes were on the highly anticipated showdown between Mick Hannah and Troy Brosnan – surely it would be one of these two World Cup stars who’d know how to tame a long, physical track like Thredbo?

No one was surprised when local rider Tom Crimmins slotted himself into the hot seat with five riders still to go, posting a time of 5:30 – the older of the Crimmins brothers calls Thredbo his home track and his form is superb. But he didn’t get to keep the seat warm for too long. His 16-year old brother Andrew Crimmins came flying out of the final woods section at insane speed, and when he stopped the clock at a ridiculous 5:26 we don’t think even he could believe it.

Andrew Crimmins was on a borrowed bike and by the looks of it borrowed clothes. He had only just signed a new deal with Kona a few days prior to this race  and getting used to his new rig obviously wasn't a problem.
Andrew Crimmins was on a borrowed bike and by the looks of it borrowed clothes. He had only just signed a new deal with Kona a few days prior to this race and getting used to his new rig obviously wasn’t a problem.

It was the Crimmins family in first and second with only Brosnan and Hannah left on the hill. Hannah was the first to appear, and when he shot out into the final berms it was clear that he hadn’t done enough. His 5:32 was well back and ultimately good enough for fifth place, with Hannah quick to acknowledge that he’d been too conservative and knew he’d finished with far too much energy in reserve. With both Crimmins boys now guaranteed a podium, Troy Brosnan was the only threat to the $5000 winner’s cheque. But even with an admittedly clean run, the two time junior World Champ couldn’t match the pace of the younger Crimmins, coming in two seconds back for second place.

The weekend wrapped up with poolside, with the presentations accompanied by a ‘greasy pole’ session, with riders attempting to ride over a 10 metre log across the pool (a spectacle last seen back at the 1994 National Champs!). Awesome stuff.

All in all, it’s got to be said the inaugural Cannonball MTB Festival was a massive, emphatic success. We’ve been coming to Thredbo for years, and this was hands down the best mountain bike event we’ve ever been to at this grand old venue; the mix of events, the quality of the riding, the trails, the festival vibe… it all added up a seriously fun weekend. There were around 240 riders this year and we’d be very surprised if that number doesn’t double for next year.

Flow will be bringing you a full event video in the coming days, so stay tuned, and we’ll see you at Thredbo next year!

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The conditions for racing were fantastic. The sun was out and most of the snow had thawed.
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Ricky Lee of Canberra proved a point and placed 19th in Elite men on his single-crown all-mountain machine.

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The time machine was in operation – Justin ‘The Hurricane’ Havukainen came back to race with his old bike.
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Josh Button made a return to racing with a new team (Giant) and a 4th place. It’s great to see him back on the scene again.
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Sik Mik must stand in the mirror and practice his race face for hours. There is no other rider with such an intense stare!
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Another young pinner coming up the ranks – Luke Ellison.
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David Sharp looking very sharp.
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U17 men’s winner Alex Dickson flying down the open slopes.
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Blue skies and dust – perfect.
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The big booter in the middle of the track had a tailwind in the finals and a few launched it a bit too far.
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Troy Brosnan knows too well what it’s like to beat his older competitors so it must have felt familiar (in a weird reverse kind of way) to come in 2nd to the 16 year-old Andrew Crimmins.
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We witnessed Danielle Beecroft bin it pretty damn hard in the seeding round but she still smashed it in her race run. The battle between the top three women meant pushing everything to the limit.
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Style for miles. No matter what he’s riding, Dave McMillan looks great on a bike.

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Zac Green lays it over on the home straight.
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Andrew deserved the win, big time. You know the sport is healthy when younger riders start taking the top spots.
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Mick Hannah had a lot of the attention over the weekend and it’s great to see rides of his level racing at Thredbo. Mick hadn’t touched a bike since the last World Cup and the physical nature of Thredbo might have been a shock to his system.
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A bit of poolside fun before the DH presentations.
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Tracey Hannah could hardly lift the winners trophy – 3 x cannonballs. First place to the Cairns local, with Tegan Molloy second and Danielle Beecroft in third. Speaking of Dani Beecroft, she deserves loads of respect – she competed in every event over the weekend, the pump track, whip wars, Flow Motion cup and the downhill.
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That’s a big cheque that will help pay for more than a few tickets to the next Justin Bieber concert. Jokes, just because Andrew is young doesn’t mean he like Justin.
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Tracey enjoys the spoils.
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The end.

Cannonball MTB Festival, Thredbo – Day 2

It was a seriously jam-packed day on the hill at Thredbo for day 2 of the Cannonbal MTB Festival, with finals for the Flow Motion Cup, downhill seeding and the Whip Wars to cap it off.

For the Cannonball team it was a dream outcome. A cloudless sky and toasty temps had melted off all but the most resilient snow by mid-morning, and only the upper wooded section of Flow Trail remained really muddy. After the axle-deep drifts of the previous morning, it now looked like riders would be up against genuinely dusty conditions by the weekend’s end.

The Flow Motion Cup was a great scene, attracting a real mix of riders. From kids and old blokes on cross country bikes all the way through to some of Australia’s best downhillers who’d traded the big bikes for their trail bikes for the race.

Tegan Molloy proved that local knowledge counts, convincingly taking out the elite women’s race as many had expected and making it two from two for the Jindabyne rider. The men’s race was wide open however and only a handful would’ve picked Ben Cory as the eventual winner. But the big Canberran stopped the clock at 8:11, three and a half seconds ahead of Graeme Mudd and Timmy Eaton.

It was a quick costume change for the pro downhilers, before they headed up the hill for their seeding runs ahead of tomorrow’s Australian Open Downhill. All eyes were on Tracey Hannah, and despite binning it in the very first fireroad corner she did the job by 12 seconds with Tegan Molloy in second. Danielle Beecroft was looking dangerouns but took a high speed digger.

Troy Brosnan had been keeping a low profile on the downhill track but showed his stripes in seeding, putting two seconds into Mick Hannah. We get the feeling that both Troy and Mick have a fair bit hidden in reserve for tomorrow. Young Andrew Crimmins was the real surprise of the afternoon – everyone knows he’s a threat, but seeing him just a couple of seconds behind Hannah was pretty impressive.

The afternoon wrapped up with the crowd favourite: the Whip Wars. The comp took a freestyle jam format  and after half an hour of sessioning the 40-foot table top, Dave McMillan and Luke Ellison were eventually declared joint winners. But it was 10 year old Troy Weinert who got the crowd really pumped as launched higher than anyone, on a bike that probably weighs as much as he does. Danielle Beecroft was the only woman to step up to the plate, sending it big despite undoubtedly feeling the effects of her crash earlier in the day.

Tomorrow is the big one; the Australia Open Downhill. With $5000 on the line for the men’s win and $2500 for the women there’s going to be some serious business done on the slopes of Thredders.

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The Flow Track was almost split in half in terms of conditions; the top was still a challenge in the wet, but the lower two-thirds was dry and fast.
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Mick Hannah. Even the pros were all talking about the fact Mick had gapped the top two water bars on the Eagles Way fire road. With the snow on the left of the road now, we don’t think anyone else will give it a go.
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Playing in downhill practice. A bit of snow has stuck around up top, with just enough if the white stuff to give everything a beautiful backdrop.

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Tracey Hannah tucks on the fastest part of the downhill track, the run-in to the nine-metre canyon gap.
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Sebastien Deubel of Deubel Bicycles is as enduro as it gets, loving life in the Flow Motion Cup.

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Dennis Turkey Turkovic…. gobble, gobble, gobble.
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Tegan Molloy made it two wins from two events in the festival so far winning the Flow Motion Cup. Can she cause an upset and grab the downhill crown as well?
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Ben Cory showed us all that he’s got the fitness to match the skills, setting a new course record of 8:11 on the Flow Track on his way to a win.

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Even the ‘second tier’ events at the Cannonball Festival have solid cash prizes. Molloy and Cory bagged $500 and $750 respectively in the Flow Motion Cup. The downhill has a $5000 first prize for the pro men too. For Australian racing, that’s big money.
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Troy Brosnan spent plenty of time in the hot seat in seeding. He was the second rider on course and no one could match his time.

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Luke Ellison with effortless, light style in the Whip Wars.
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The Whip Wars had an awesome vibe, just like the pump track event had on day one. Music, great banter from the MC and plenty of room to lounge in the grass while spectating.

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Tim Eaton busted out some of the most consistent whips of all but missed out on a podium spot.
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Dave McMillan had his name on all over this event from the word go. His lazy, effortless style is so relaxed. In the ended the judging panel couldn’t split the difference between Dave McMillan and Luke Ellison, awarding joint first place.
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Bad ass whippers: Luke Ellison and Dave McMillan.
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10-year old Troy Weinart was the crowd favourite, boosting almost into orbit. As Danny the MC put it, “For Troy, that jumps actually 70 feet long!”

 

Cannonball MTB Festival, Thredbo: Day One

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.