Australian DH, Trials & 4X Team For 2016 World Championships

Mountain Bike Australia is pleased to announce the riders selected to represent Australia at the Downhill, Four Cross (4X) and Trials UCI MTB World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy, 3-11 September.

The team of 20 includes current and former world champions plus juniors earning selection on the team for the first time. 

Janine Jungfels (QLD) became the first ever Australian to win a Trials world championship when she defeated the might of the Europeans in Andorra, Spain in 2015. 

The current national champion was also named as Cycling Australia 2015 Female Mountain Biker Of The Year. 

Reigning national elite men and women’s champion Troy Brosnan (SA) and Tracey Hannah (QLD) will carry the hopes of the team in the downhill. 

Brosnan is currently second on the world cup standings, with Hannah third in the women’s, with both having finished second at the Cairns world cup earlier this year. 

In the juniors, Jackson Frew (ACT) will be out to improve upon the bronze medal he won last year in Spain.  

Three-time 4X world champion Caroline Buchanan (ACT) will mark her return to the mountain bike arena for the first time in three years, after she took out the 2013 world championships in South Africa. 

MTBA President Russ Baker congratulated the riders selected to represent Australia in the 2016 World Championships in Downhill, Observed Trials and Four Cross.   

“It is a great honour to be selected to represent your country. This team has a great mix of youth and experience, which includes current and previous World Champions. Their experience will be of great benefit to the new riders and to the whole team. My congratulations and best wishes to all the riders in the Australian Team, and my thanks to the families, clubs, supporters and sponsors who have helped them along the path to the pinnacle of their sport.” 


Australian Team for the 2016 UCI MTB World Championships:

DHI Elite Men                                                 DHI JUNIORS

           

Troy Brosnan                                                  Jackson Frew              

Connor Fearon                                                Joshua Clark

Michael Hannah                                              Remy Morton  

Josh Button                                                     Harry Bush

Graeme Mudd                                                 Harry Parsons

Dean Lucas                                                     Baxter Maiwald

Jack Moir                                                         Ben Zwar

                                                                        Sian A’Hern

 

DHI Elite Women                                            4X

 

Tracey Hannah                                              Caroline Buchanan

Danielle Beecroft

Tegan Molloy                                                  TRIALS

Michelle Crisp *

Ronja Hill-Wright *                                          Janine Jungfels

 

* athlete has declined nomination

Cairns World Cup: A Taste of Possibility

The day started in soggy fashion, riders emerging from the downhill track coated in filth, which sent mechanics from the more well-resourced teams into a frenzy of mud-proofing. Spike tyres, silicone spray, moto-foam in every crevice – it was all about making the bikes shed mud. The particular blend of Cairns mud is so gloopy, it can easily add a few kilos to a bike, which you’ve then got to haul across the dreaded flat sprint into the finish, so keeping it mud free is all important.

As it would pan it, all the panic was soon replaced with more positive vibes as the tropical sun that’s been playing hide-and-seek these last few days finally made a more sustained appearance. Things dried out fast with the 30-degree heat and breeze, leaving the track in ideal condition for downhill qualifying.

Far more cross-country riders were in attendance today as well, with the first official practice sessions getting underway. The XCO course here in Cairns draws universal praise from riders; it’s not just a straight up and down sufferfest, but has some genuinely good fun flow to it as well as plenty of technical challenge. The huge Australian junior contingent eagerly made the most of practice, mixing it up with sweating Europeans who were heard cursing the humidity.

We didn’t catch a glimpse of either of Australia’s medal hopefuls Dan McConnell or Bec Henderson, but Julien Absalon was out there and riding with a dropper post too. He was happy to point out that even if it didn’t actually make him go faster, he was having a lot more fun with it on the bike!

The crowds on course for downhill qualifying were doing their best to make it feel like race day up there. We hope they’ve all still got voices left to yell for tomorrow!

They’ll have plenty to scream about too, with Mick Hannah and Troy Brosnan qualifying in first and second, ensuring they’ll be the last two riders down the hill tomorrow! The atmosphere is going to be wilder than Bull Riding night at Slippery Jim’s Backpacker Shed, Cairns. Tracey Hannah has been looking solid and focused this week too, and her third place today shows that she’s right on pace with Manon Carpenter and Rachel Atherton too. A Hannah double would be the dream outcome; we’ve had a taste that it’s possible now, so join us tomorrow to see if it can become reality.

Cairns Day 2 -6
Lanky Russ Nankervis letting it run on the jump line of the XCO descent.
Cairns Day 2 -7
The XCO descent is super varied – up top it’s steeper and more technical with slower rock rollers and chutes, down low it’s a fast, flowing run with multiple line options.
Cairns Day 2 -4
Julie Bresset, 2013 World Champ, looking comfortable in the greasy run in to the Rodeo Drop.
Cairns Day 2 -2
The Rodeo Drop is a pretty sizeable huck on an XC bike. There is a wheels-on-the-ground option, but it’s much slower. Plenty of riders spent time here today, sessioning this section till they had the speed for the run-in dialled.
Cairns Day 2 -1
Small lady, big drop! This really gives you an idea of how decent a drop it is!

Cairns Day 2 -3

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Holly Harris is riding impressively! She spent a bit of time sizing up the main line on Jacob’s Ladder today, before rolling in and nailing it.
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The TORQ Team watch on as another rider commits to Jacobs Ladder.
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Ethan Kelly, in baggies and smooth as you like.
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The XCO course has been mellowed a little since 2014, but it’s still rocky as hell in many places, and there were plenty of white-knuckled moments on course today during practice.
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Jacobs Ladder is definitely on the steep side of what you’d ever want to attempt on an XC bike with your seat up. But to take the B-line will costs at least a few places.
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PDVP, the big man making some rocks rumble.
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Tristan Ward was impressive at the National Champs recently, so expect some full-throttle riding. Checkers or cooked.
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Aaron Gwin graffitiing some poor child’s clothing.
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Rachel Atherton chills out with her helmet cam footage and an icy pole. That’s the factory racing life – beats pitting out of the back of your Corolla with packet of Twisties and a borrowed pressure washer.
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You should see the other guy.
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As the course dried up, the pressure washer queue got much shorter.
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That’s a choking hazard there, Tim! Timmy Eaton keeps his perm dry.
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Nothing suss here.
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Josh Button is racing the entire season of World Cups. This guy is one of the most under-rated riders on the circuit. 15th in qualifying today.
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Mean pins on Connor Fearon’s pedals to bite through the gloop.
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Scary looking spikes to match his pedals too. Fearon’s rig once again.
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The exit of Alien Tree was still causing dramas, even with the drier conditions it was greasy. Quentin Chanudet.
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Keegan Wright taming the squirrel.
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Thankfully it was a much more relaxed day for the paramedics.
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Remi Thirion. Respect to Flipper for the inspiration.
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Thomas Crimmins doing all he can to not snag up in the rocks before a deafening crowd. 67th qualifier.
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Jack Moir. He’s not yet at 100% after surgery, but he’ll be back to his best soon. He’s sensibly wearing some shoulder protection for peace of mind. Keep it upright, Shark Attack!
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Neil Stewart scraped into the finals, 75th qualifier, with the sickest whip on track too (see below).
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Ooommmmppppffffff!
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Dean Lucas rode into 53rd. He’ll want to go much better than that tomorrow – he’s had a taste of the podium before.
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Somehow Laurie Greenland rode this out to the amazement of the crowd. Madness! 29th qualifier.
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It may have only been qualies, but the crowd up top was big and loud. It felt like race day already. Tomorrow will be huge with all the locals off work, well lubricated with XXXX and hoping for crashes.
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Luca Shaw will be happy with 34th. He’s got a lot of promise as a first year Elite.
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Ed Masters didn’t seem on full pace today, but still rode into 35th. His brother, Wyn, was quite a way back in 74th.
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Loic Bruni had magic tyres on today, finding traction where other people were in a world of floundering. Sublime stuff from the World Champ.
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RatBlur! Josh Bryceland always seems so casual. He bounces and slides his way down, never looking the fastest but somehow setting blistering times. The crowd love him too, and so do we.
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It’s no surprise to see Troy as the fastest qualifier today. His riding flows like water, and he’s spent plenty of time on this track. We hope he can string it together tomorrow.
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Stevie Smith skipping over the roots, feet up. He’s a real dark horse, and looking for a comeback after two season hampered by injury.
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Danni Beecroft is back on it after a year recovering from a nasty broken elbow.
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Local superstar Tracey Hannah took third today, but she only wants the top step here in her hometown.
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The local Mens Shed had the absolutely golden idea of running a sausage sizzle up the top of the hill. Market cornered! They’d better have lots of stock for tomorrow!
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Jackson Frew pops out of the corkscrew. Nailing the right line here was crucial to set up for Mick’s Drop and the stutters beyond.

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Cairns Day 2 -8
A Bird Flew Over the Carnage Nest.
Cairns Day 2 -30
Eliot Jackson keeping it uncharacteristically low and straight. Something must be wrong!
Cairns Day 2 -29
Dave McMillan will always, always put on a show. He carved so hard off the lip of this jump that he almost ended up in the crowd. 63rd for the Vanzac.
Cairns Day 2 -28
Neat form from Jordan Prochyra. 80th qualifier with two crashes! He’ll be the first elite down the hill tomorrow.
Cairns Day 2 -27
Neil Stewart takes us to Whip School.
Cairns Day 2 -26
Rim gooning.
Cairns Day 2 -25
Sik Mik showed us he can win here with a second place in qualies today. He’ll be wanting this one more than ever. Go for it, mate! We want to see Cairns go into meltdown if you win!
Cairns Day 2 -24
Mad man Remi Thirion always takes the big line. 20th place today.
Cairns Day 2 -23
Blenkinsop sailing into the stutters. He was one of the few riders quading into this section with amazing precision.
Cairns Day 2 -22
Sam Hill rode into 24th hampered by illness. He’s not at full speed, but you never know with this guy, he keeps his cards close to his chest.
Cairns Day 2 -21
Minnaar might be somewhat outshone by Ratboy of late, but you’d be mad to think he’s past it. 37th today, but there’ll be more speed in reserve.
Cairns Day 2 -20
Mike Jones, fully committed.
Cairns Day 2 -19
Fearon blasting into the stutters and 9th place, six seconds back.
Cairns Day 2 -18
Loic Bruni is just incredible to watch. He’s stronger, faster and now better supported than ever.
Cairns Day 2 -17
Gee Atherton was very fast in the upper parts of the course, losing a bit of pace down low. He won here in 2014. Will it be an Atherton double again?
Cairns Day 2 -14
Stevie Smith. Railing above the stutters.

Cairns Day 2 -10

Cairns Day 2 -13
100% PINNED. Gwin has a style all of his own, and it’s STRONG.
Cairns Day 2 -12
Tracey Hannah using all the travel she has as she touches down on the Ridgeline.

Cairns Day 2 -11

Cairns Day 2 -9
A bird’s eye view of the event centre. There’s more elevation here than you’d imagine when you first see the hill.



 

Cairns World Cup: Practice Makes Carnage

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Dramatic scenes of sugar cane and big mountains.
Dramatic scenes of sugar cane and big mountains.
Batty locals going balmy.
Batty locals going balmy.
A warm welcome to a city excited to host this event.
A warm welcome to a city excited to host this event.

Cairns has had an incredibly dry ‘wet’ season so far, but that has been threatening to change today. Showers blowing through ensured that even the dense jungle canopy couldn’t keep the rain out, turning sections of the course into an icy gloop that had a least one World Champion Frenchmen muttering, “merde”.

We’re not likely to see the weather deteriorate to the extent of the 2014 World Cup here (AKA. The peanut butter suprise) but mud is definitely going to be part of the game once again. Who can keep it upright when they roll the dice in some of the truly slippery sections?

Mick Hannah, hunting through the Ridgeline. He'll be aching to do well here.
Mick Hannah, hunting through the Ridgeline. He’ll be aching to do well here.

Besides the threat of rain, the other story of the day was, unfortunately, injury. No one likes to see a rider down, but three serious injuries in quick succession on the high speed Ridgeline jumps put things on hold for a couple of hours, while the riders were carted out. Our thoughts and healing vibes go out to all the riders and their families, as there were some pretty frightening scenes.

We also hope that the UCI can work out a better plan for handling severely injured riders on this course, because it’s horrible to see a rider in pain laying trackside when they should be in ER half an hour ago. While the far more important issue is getting the riders to care safely and quickly, the delays also meant that practice was cut short for both Group B and A, which raised a few grumbles on the hillside.

No rain shortages here, despite a comparatively dry 'wet season'.
No rain shortages here, despite a comparatively dry ‘wet season’.

To the UCI’s credit, after the injuries, they were quick to step in and slow down the entry to the jumps by bunting the run-in a little tighter.

The course is largely unchanged from 2014. The rock garden is still one of the most intimidating pieces of trail you’ll ever see; with a bit of mud on it, it’s slicker than a greased piglet. When you see the world’s best riders reduced to a tripodding, traffic-jammed pile you know it’s hard to ride. Brook MacDonold and Josh Button were just about the only riders we saw hammer through cleanly on their first run. Josh Bryceland was reduced to a giggling mess, “Oh my word! I’ll be putting on flat pedals for sure!” he laughed in his usual Manchurian way.

As noted above, the Alien Tree is causing all kinds of dramas too – high line, low line, no line, it doesn’t matter. Only the most committed are getting by without a dab. Speaking of commitment, the way riders were sending the final massive triple on the Ridgeline was pretty terrifying to watch – the sound of rubber and carbon in severe protest as it slams to the ground from 20 feet up at 50km/h is awesome.

The Corkscrew and Mick’s Drop are unchanged, but the whoops have been given a bit of a sharpen up, so they’re even more imposing than before. Two years of weather have made sure the bottom section of the course is raw and exposed – ruts and roots, a proper bobsled. Finally, riders will need to find a little more length than before to clear Ronning’s Ramp, the last jump on the course has been stretched out to give riders a bit more down ramp to work.

As we type, the rain has stopped sprinkling, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? This is Cairns after all.

Aaron Gwin looks insanely stable. A likely winner we feel.
Aaron Gwin looks insanely stable. A likely winner we feel.

Cairns Day 1-19

Brosnan, second in timed practice, still looks like he's riding well within his limits.
Brosnan, second in timed practice, still looks like he’s riding well within his limits.
A toe is not a camel. Appropriate footwear.
A toe is not a camel. Appropriate footwear.
Plenty of this action today!
Plenty of this action today!
Brosnan once again, lethal style.
Brosnan once again, lethal style.
Sam Blenkinsop's style is unmistakable.
Sam Blenkinsop’s style is unmistakable.

Cairns Day 1-13

Atherton, returning from orbit on the Ridgelne.
Atherton, returning from orbit on the Ridgelne.
The Syndicate bros survey the rock garden carnage.
The Syndicate bros survey the rock garden carnage.
Wreckage. Yuck....
Wreckage. Yuck….
Praying for better weather.
Praying for better weather.
After the serious crashes, the UCI re-bunted the course to slow things down.
After the serious crashes, the UCI re-bunted the course to slow things down.

Cairns Day 1-7

Half icy mud, half pointy rocks - it's not a friendly track.
Half icy mud, half pointy rocks – it’s not a friendly track.
Glooped.
Glooped.
The waiting game.
The waiting game.
Remy Morton, burying into some gnar.
Remy Morton, burying into some gnar.
Out of the whoops in a rare spot of sunshine.
Out of the whoops in a rare spot of sunshine.
Graeme Mudd is going to do very well here - top 15 finish at least.
Graeme Mudd is going to do very well here – top 15 finish at least.
On the gas in the final sprint to the finish. It's definitely a faster finish than in 2014.
On the gas in the final sprint to the finish. It’s definitely a faster finish than in 2014.
DISASTER.
DISASTER.
Loris Vergier building speed in Generator, lining it up for Ronning's Ramp.
Loris Vergier building speed in Generator, lining it up for Ronning’s Ramp.
Spike tyres were pretty standard fare today, and probably will be all weekend.
Spike tyres were pretty standard fare today, and probably will be all weekend.
Heaps rooted, mate.
Heaps rooted, mate.
Tahnee Seagrave will find more pace before Saturday. She took silver in Lourdes, can she go one better?
Tahnee Seagrave will find more pace before Saturday. She took silver in Lourdes, can she go one better?
The ruts are growing faster than underpant mushrooms in a backpacker van.
The ruts are growing faster than underpant mushrooms in a backpacker van.
Jackson Frew, cranking it over.
Jackson Frew, cranking it over.
The Queen. Rachel Atherton.
The Queen. Rachel Atherton.
Ratboy. Long hair, don't care. The kid is a unit, but we love him.
Ratboy. Long hair, don’t care. The kid is a unit, but we love him.
Sam Hill, hub deep in Cairns.
Sam Hill, hub deep in Cairns.
Fairclough. This isn't his kind of track, or is it? Too much pedalling, or will the mud suit him?
Fairclough. This isn’t his kind of track, or is it? Too much pedalling, or will the mud suit him?

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Bruni. It's hard to keep it low when you're going a billion.
Bruni. It’s hard to keep it low when you’re going a billion.

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Remi Thirion, out of the whoops.
Remi Thirion, out of the whoops.
DUST! Five seasons in one day.
DUST! Five seasons in one day.

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The man, the legend, the Gwin. He just looks completely at ease.
The man, the legend, the Gwin. He just looks completely at ease.

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Atherton. The defending Cairns champ. Can he do it again? Yes. But Gwin, Loic, Brosnan and Co will make it very hard.
Atherton. The defending Cairns champ. Can he do it again? Yes. But Gwin, Loic, Brosnan and Co will make it very hard.
Luca Shaw
Luca Shaw
Brook Macdonald. Attack!
Brook Macdonald. Attack!
Mick Hannah. This is where he crashed in 2014. Keep the rubber down, Micko!
Mick Hannah. This is where he crashed in 2014. Keep the rubber down, Micko!
Neethling. That didn't work!
Neethling. That didn’t work!
Nickolas Nestoroff.
Nickolas Nestoroff.
Blenkinsop. Ten dabs and laughing his way past Alien Tree.
Blenkinsop. Ten dabs and laughing his way past Alien Tree.
Gwin, uncharacteristically squirmy.
Gwin, uncharacteristically squirmy.
Troy, composed.
Troy, composed.
Sam Hill was moving well from run one.
Sam Hill was moving well from run one.
Bruni.
Bruni.
Devinci's Mark Wallace. Splat.
Devinci’s Mark Wallace. Splat.
Stevie Smith. We're itching to see him on the podium.
Stevie Smith. We’re itching to see him on the podium.

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I see red, lots of red. Hopefully everyone's nerves are settled tomorrow and we see less of this.
I see red, lots of red. Hopefully everyone’s nerves are settled tomorrow and we see less of this.

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Shark Attack Jack (Moir).
Shark Attack Jack (Moir).

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Greasy!
Greasy!
Spiky!
Spiky!
Frondy!
Frondy!

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MC! Sean McCarroll, the fastest qualifier at the 1996 Worlds here in Cairns. Can he do it again? No. He can't, but how cool is it that he's here and shredding!
MC! Sean McCarroll, the fastest qualifier at the 1996 Worlds here in Cairns. Can he do it again? No. He can’t, but how cool is it that he’s here and shredding!
Aiden Varley was second here in juniors in 2014.
Joel Willis grinding some carbon.

Joel Willis grinding some carbon.

GO TRACEY!
GO TRACEY!

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Manon Carpenter. Tough and committed, like a female Chunk Norris, but on a bike. And English.
Manon Carpenter. Tough and committed, like a female Chunk Norris, but on a bike. And English.
Jack Moir, back from yet another collarbone surgery. Good luck, mate!
Jack Moir, back from yet another collarbone surgery. Good luck, mate! 

 

Things You Didn’t Know About the Cairns World Cup

With the Cairns World Cup kicking off in less than two weeks, it’s time to grab your tickets, dust off your cowbell, buy some sun screen and snake repellant, and get pumped. We thought we’d have a chat with Glen Jacobs, Mr Cairns, and learn a few things about the World Cup that you won’t find in a brochure.


GOT YOUR TICKETS? Buy them here! 


5
The Cairns vegetation can leave you with a six-year holiday memory of the kind you do not want!

What is the largest snake spotted while building or maintaining the World Cup courses?

The biggest python we’ve ever seen up there was seven metres. We called him Snappy McToothy, but that was many years ago when we built the original course, so he is either dead or gone into hibernation to shed its skin. In recent times we’ve been fairly lucky, we’ve come across only a handful of baby medium-sized rock pythons on the downhill, averaging around four metres.

It’s good to remember, April is mating season for all rainforest snakes. So we warn everybody not to be too concerned if a large snake wraps around you, and pulls you up into the treetops – just ask someone for help while you are still on the ground or play dead.

When I was a kid I asked my grandad if the large snakes would “eat ya’ whole.” He said “Na, not at all, they spit that part out.”

Flow-Nation-Gorrell-Track-9
Wait-a-while vine, the world’s most effective bunting.

How many stinging trees remain in the Smithfield area that you’re aware of?
All stinging trees have been removed from the main downhill track or spectator routes. But the cross-country course is a different story; due to the limited numbers of track marshals available, we have replanted most of the stinging trees and some large wait-a-while vines on the switchback sections, just to catch any short-cutting by riders.

Deeper in the jungle there are some large clusters of hybrid stinging trees that have somehow bred with illegal marijuana crops, and these plants really mess with anybody smoking the leaves. You usually can tell by the red eyes and swollen lips.

How long does the pain of the notorious stinging tree stay with you?

It depends where you are hit on the body with the leaf. Closer to the bone, the sharper the pain, and longer it lasts.  I had one hit that lasted six years, and every time the weather got cold, it would start stinging.

Over the years we found out a few things, like if you wax the wound, it removes the nettles immediately and the pain is gone. If you urinate on the sting, the initial pain reduces dramatically too, just don’t get stung on the face. Many backpackers seem to get stung when they unknowingly use the soft looking leaf as toilet paper in the bush.

Cairns2014-Trackwalk-69
The rock garden was the trickiest section of all to construct, manipulated by hand to be just about impassable without full commitment!

Which section of the cross country or downhill track was the most difficult to construct?

On the XCO, it was the steep multiple choice climb of Whiskers O’Flaherty, and rebuilding the drop descent of Jacob’s Ladder. On the DH it would have to be the rock garden, manipulating boulders and rocks into place was tough.

Cairns2014-ThursdayDHpractice-53-590x393
The run down the ridgeline features a triple that can be up to 25 metres long if you hit the biggest option.

What is the size, from lip to lander, of the largest jump on the Cairns World Cup downhill track? 

The largest jump is on the ridge line sitting at 25 metres, if riders take the big line. But most riders take a line that averages around 16 metres. Ronning’s Ramp near the bottom of the course, can be stretched out fairly long with enough speed too.

What does the World Cup mean to Cairns?

A lot, historically because Cairns was were the World Cup first came to the southern hemisphere in 1994 and it’s a real recognition of the role Cairns played in Australian mountain biking, but financially too. The last World Cup had an economic impact of over $3.57 million, and brought more than 300 riders from 35 countries to Cairns.

Video: Join Rob and Claudio’s World Cup Bootcamp

Rob Warner and Claudio Caluori are a match made in commentating heaven. One is a multiple Swiss champion and current factory team owner/manager and the other is… Rob Warner.

But just as it’s been a busy off-season for the racers of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, so too has it been for the boys behind the mics. In a bid to make the live coverage of the 2016 race season the best it has ever been, the duo met up in Austria to push themselves mentally and physically to the very limit. And, in Rob’s case, to get a haircut.

Tune in to Red Bull Bike again tomorrow, April 5, for part two of Rob and Claudio’s World Cup bootcamp.

Don’t forget that you can watch all the live action from the UCI World Cup in Lourdes right here on April 10.

2016 UCI MTB World Cup Calendar, Including Cairns!

The UCI announce the 2016 World Cup and World Champs calendar, diaries out, it’s time to book flights to Cairns!

April

9-10 Apr UCI MTB WORLD CUP – DHI Lourdes FRA
23-24 Apr UCI MTB WORLD CUP – XCO – DHI Cairns AUS

Cairns2014-DH-Finals-32

May

21-22 May UCI MTB WORLD CUP – XCO Albstadt GER
28-29 May UCI MTB WORLD CUP – XCO La Bresse FRA

June

4-5 Jun UCI MTB WORLD CUP – DHI Fort William GBR
11-12 Jun UCI MTB WORLD CUP – DHI Leogang AUT
25-26 Jun UCI MTB MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – XCM Laissac FRA
28 Jun-3 Jul UCI MTB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – XCO/XCE Nove Mesto na Morave CZE

July

9-10 Jul UCI MTB WORLD CUP – XCO – DHI Lenzerheide SUI

August

6-7 Aug UCI MTB WORLD CUP – XCO – DHI Mont-Sainte-Anne CAN
20-21  Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro BRA

September

3-4 Sep UCI MTB WORLD CUP – XCO – DHI Vallnord
6-11 Sep UCI MTB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – DHI/4X Val Di Sole ITA

Course Preview of the First XC World Cup in Nové Město na Moravě

Join Specialized Racing’s Jaroslav Kulhavy as he takes us around the Nové Město na Moravě World Cup cross-country course. 

Opening the cross-country World Cup season is the Nové Město na Moravě course. A firm favourite with fans and riders alike, this round is often voted the best XCO event of the World Cup.

The 4.1km course weaves through dense forest – featuring sharp and technical sprints, twisty singletrack, tricky rock sections and a power-draining climb.

Take a look at the track in the video above to find out what makes this course and venue so special for the MTB elite. 

The Cross Country Boys Who Are a Class Apart

Will 2015 see another World Cup duel between perennial favourites Julian Absalon and Nino Schurter?

It was fitting that the two men that have dominated the men’s cross-country circuit in the last decade, France’s Julien Absalon and Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, fought out an epic 2014 edition of the UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup.

Absalon and Schurter went into the seventh and round of last season, at Méribel, locked on three race wins each following a World Cup series dominated by the pair. Schurter finished the French race in first but behind him in second was Absalon, and with that finish the Frenchman secured the overall World Cup title for a sixth time.

There is no doubt that these two will continue to be right in front of the competition for the 2015 edition of World Cup. Younger by six years, Nino Schurter remains the hot favourite for the overall but given last season’s form you can’t rule out the 34-year-old Absalon springing more surprises.

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Will Kulhavy have a better year than 2014?
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Nino missed Cairns World Cup to attend a few road races, we hope we’ll see him all year this time.
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Going for his 30th World Cup win, Absalon is dominant.
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Dan’s 2014 season wasn’t as standout as 2013 with a win in Germany, but still finished high up in the overall series with a consistent performance.
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Man machine, Julien Absalon.

The rest of the field has very much been left in the shadow of these two greats in recent years with no one really emerging as a consistent challenger. Australia’s Daniel McConnell, a winner in Albstadt in 2013 and a man who has finished second and third in the overall in 2013 and 2014 respectively, could be the one to break the Absalon-Schurter hegemony, while other names worth looking out for with an eye to a World Cup win are Germany’s Manuel Fumicand his Cannondale team-mate Marco Fontana.

Check the video above for a quick recap of the 2014 season as a teaser for this year’s World Cup.

Tune in on May 24 to watch live coverage of the women’s XCO race from Nové Město na Moravě. Watch the UCI World Cup LIVE on Red Bull TV – available online and on mobile via Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Watch Out For These Cross Country Ladies in 2015

There’s strength in depth in 2015’s women’s XCO field, but will one name dominate like last year?

The 2014 Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup saw the emergence of one young woman who could be set to dominate the sport for years to come. Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff won three rounds of the seven-race series to take the overall title and become the youngest winner of the World Cup, aged just 21.

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Jolanda Neff

Neff is the overwhelming favourite going into 2015, but there’s plenty of talent bubbling underneath to challenge the Swiss rider. France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot won consecutive rounds last year in Nové Město na Moravě and Albstadt, but a decision not to travel to the North American races ultimately cost her the chance to challenge for the overall.

Ferrand-Prévot’s Rabobank-Liv teammate Marianne Vos is another name to look out for in 2015. Vos is the standout female cyclist of the last decade, riding and winning across multi-disciplines. She’ll be racing in the World Cup this season in preparation for an assault on winning Cross-Country gold in Rio in 2016. Vos’s presence strengthens an already-strong women’s field, where the likes of Tanja Žakelj, the 2013 World Cup Champion, and current World Champion Catharine Pendrel will be hoping their experience will lead to more World Cup wins.

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Bec Henderson
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Bec Henderson
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Jolanda Neff
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Julie Bresset
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Emily Batty

Check the video above for a quick recap of the 2014 season as a teaser for this year’s World Cup.

Tune in on May 24 to watch live coverage of the women’s XCO race from Nové Město na Moravě. Watch the UCI World Cup LIVE on Red Bull TV – available online and on mobile via Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Oh Lourdes! Claudio is back for a new year of World Cup course previews

A new track awaits the world’s fastest as they make their way to Lourdes, France, for the opening round of the UCI MTB World Cup.

Join Claudio Caluori, with special guest, Loïc Bruni, as they take to the French hillside for the first course preview of 2015.

Lourdes is famous for it’s religious pilgrimages, holy water and miracles so it’s only apt that a huge crucifix acts as the backdrop for the start gate as the riders look out over the holy town.

There’s no gondolas at this round and riders have to take an old train up the steep hillside to the top of the hill.

Follow more of Claudio’s antics @claudio_caluori and keep up with his track building projects at Velosolutions.

Will we be seeing any miracles come race day? Tune in on April 12 to watch live coverage of the racingWatch the UCI World Cup LIVE on Red Bull TV – available online and on mobile via Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

 

Rocking and Rolling With Ratboy

Undoubtedly one of the most naturally gifted riders on the downhill circuit, 2014 was the year where Ratboy finally delivered on his talent to produce a consistent set of results.

A rich vein of form saw him record his first ever World Cup win at Leogang, quickly followed by another victory at Windham, while he also became the British National Champion for the first time.

With the 2015 World Cup on the horizon, we met up with fun-loving Josh on his narrow boat home in Manchester, England, to reflect on his incredible season last year and to see how he’s recovered from the busted foot he sustained at the World Championships in Norway.

GT Factory Racing Unveil 2015 Bikes

GT Factory Racing have unveiled the bikes that they hope will carry them to a clutch of World title victories this season.

Watch out World Cup podiums.
Watch out World Cup podiums.

Both the GT Fury and GT Sanction are housed on 650b wheels and are the result of three seasons close collaboration between the Atherton family and their bike partner GT.

Gee and Rachel Atherton first rode the Fury back in 2012 when its original 26’ wheels and carbon frame carried Rachel to World Cup Overall victory, and earned GT Factory Racing the title of World’s Fastest Downhill Team

In 2013 the DH team trialled a completely redesigned Fury frame, to great effect. When Gee and Rach “did the double” on two consecutive race weekends, taking Male and Female World Cup titles at Fort William and Val di Sole, the mountain-bike world went wild.  By the end of the season Rachel had captured the World Cup Overall and the World Championship and the Downhill riders clinched another World’s Fastest Team accolade.

The move to 650b in 2014 was not without a few teething problems as the athletes adapted to new courses and a slightly different “feel” to their bikes but the Downhill team’s haul still included a World Cup and a World Championship win for Gee,  two World Cups for Rachel and World Cup wins for both of GT Factory Racing’s junior riders,  Taylor Vernon and Martin Maes.

How will Taylor Vernon fare stepping up to the elite category this year?
How will Taylor Vernon fare stepping up to the elite category this year?

The five-strong 2015 GT Factory Racing team will be looking to recapture the title of World’s Fastest Downhill team and to establish the Enduro team as a force to be reckoned with.

Martin Maes takes on the famous trails of Coronet Peaks.
Martin Maes takes on the famous trails of Coronet Peaks.

World Champion Gee Atherton said “ This will be our fourth season riding for GT. We had a lot of input into the design of the Fury, especially with the frame and getting the geometry perfect. We made quite a lot of changes to the Downhill bike last year and we ended up in a good place so basically this year’s bike is the bike that carried me to victory in World Champs.  There’s no major component changes, we’ve been working with Fox, Shimano and Continental for so long that the products feel like an extension of myself.  But even with the best equipment in the world it’s vital that the bikes are set-up right. My mechanic, Polish Pete has been wrenching for me for the past four years, I know that he will always have my bike dialled which means I can focus 100% on my ride. I can’t wait to race!

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Gee’s sister Rachel agreed “We’ve made some small but telling changes to the geometry of my Fury for this season and I’m so excited riding it, I’ve been working with my mechanic Joe for two years now, in the first year we won both World titles, so that’s a massive goal for us in 2015!”

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Over on the Enduro circuit Dan Atherton first unveiled his GT Sanction for the 2014 season.He said “ I designed this bike to race, and two years later I still have a massive grin on my face every time I ride it.”

Unfortunately a knee injury sustained on a routine training ride kept Dan out of most of the 2014 Enduro World Series but young team-mate Martin Maes flew the GT Factory Racing flag, racing in the General Classification despite his junior status he racked up an amazing7 stage wins across 7 races.

Speaking about his GT Sanction Dan said “ The bike is unchanged since 2014, apart from a fresh lick of paint.  People often underestimate the severity of the EWS courses – basically they are six World Cup tracks to be ridden in a day, it’s not terrain that all Enduro bikes can deal with.  The Sanction has the suspension and pedaling characteristics of the GT Fury but in a scaled down chassis. It’s a tough bike and 2015 is going to be the year that Martin and I push it even harder.”

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Team Director Dan Brown said “I have never seen the team this focused going into a season.  Without exception the five riders have trained super-hard this winter and cannot wait to get started. Gee has a World Championship that he’s not going to give up without a huge fight, Rachel wants her titles back and Dan is more focused on racing than I have ever seen him, he’s concentrating on Enduro 100%, I haven’t even needed to hide his shovel!

Martin will ride his second season in the EWS  Elite class  while Taylor hits his first season in the senior ranks. Both of them have the confidence of a World Cup win behind them and are starting to put the lessons of the last two years’ into practice. They are still learning but they are aiming for the very top.

The 2015 bikes will carry striking new liveries, for the first time  Rachel will fly the flag for female riders with her own teal colour-way.

Will this be the bike that takes out the women's overall?
Will this be the bike that takes out the women’s overall?

The new bikes can be seen in action when Dan and Martin take part in the Torpedo 7 Coronet Enduro at Queenstown Bike Festival, NZ on March 20th and at Round 1 of the Enduro World Series (part of the Crankworx Festival at Rotorua) just eight days later.

The Downhill team will open their season at the Crankworx Downhill presented by IXS which takes place on Friday 27th March. Expect to see all of our riders in the mix.

The team would like to thank all of our partners for their essential and unwavering support,GT Bicycles, Silverline Tools, Jeep, Shimano, IXS, Continental, Fox Shox, Go Pro, Bell, Stans No Tubes, Pro, Muc Off, Hope, Oakley and SRM.

GT FACTORY RACING BIKE SPEC – FURY

Frame                GT Fury

Shock                Fox DHX2

Fork                Fox 40

Stem                Pro Atherton Star Series 50mm

Headset            Hope Integrated

Grips                Pro Prototype

Bars                Pro Atherton Star Series

Shifter                Shimano Saint

Derailleur            Shimano Saint

Brakes            Shimano Saint 203mm

Seatpost            Pro Atherton Star Series

Saddle            Pro Atherton Star Series

Crank                Shimano Saint 165mm

BB                Shimano Saint

Ring                Shimano Saint 36t

Chain Guide            Shimano CD

Cassette            Shimano XTR 11-36 modified 6speed

Chain                Shimano XTR

Wheelset            Shimano Saint 32h on Stans Flow rims

Tyres                Continental Kaiser Projekt 2.4

Tubes                n/a Stans no tubes system

GT FACTORY RACING BIKE SPEC – SANCTION

Frame                GT Sanction

Shock                Fox Float X Factory Series

Fork                Fox 36

Stem                Pro Atherton Star Series 35mm

Headset            Hope Integrated

Grips                Pro

Bars                Pro Tharsis

Shifter                Shimano XTR

Derailleur            Shimano XTR

Brakes            Shimano XTR Levers/Saint Calipers 180mm

Seatpost            Fox Doss 5”

Saddle            Pro Atherton Star Series

Crank                Shimano XTR 170mm

BB                Shimano XTR

Ring                Shimano XTR 34t

Chain Guide            Shimano CD

Cassette            Shimano XTR 11-40 11 speed

Chain                Shimano XTR

Wheelset            Shimano XTR Trail Wheelset

Tyres                Continental Baron Projekt 2.4

Tubes                n/a Stans no tubes system

2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano: Record TV and Internet Audiences

The 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano not only saw athletes reach new heights, it was also the most successful season yet in terms of Internet and television audiences. The nine rounds of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano were raced in nine different countries and four continents between April and September.

Television: audience more than doubles 

Nearly 37 million television viewers in 19 countries worldwide tuned in to watch either the live coverage, highlights or news broadcasts of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano. This compared with 16 million the previous year. 

Of the nine rounds of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, the final event in Méribel, France, drew the largest television audience and was a fitting end for an unforgettable 2014 World Cup. 

Internet: Live, clips and highlights 

All rounds of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano were also streamed live on the Internet. Exclusive production partner and online broadcaster Red Bull Media House reported a total of 1,2 million live views worldwide on Red Bull TV and redbull.com/bike, plus 800.000 views by VOD in the first four days after each race.

A popular feature in 2014 series were the onboard Downhill runs and course introductions thanks to GoPro cameras installed on selected riders’ helmets. 

“Our leading mountain bike series is very popular and continues to gain momentum,” observes UCI Off-Road Manager Peter van den Abeele. “With more channels in more countries coming on board we are reaching a wider fan base which further serves to develop this exciting discipline.” 

“The UCI is constantly working with its partners to ensure innovative and exciting race coverage,” explained UCI Head of Marketing Cyrille Jacobsen. “Thanks to our partnership with Red Bull Media House, which dates back to 2012, our methods of bringing the action to the fans is constantly improving and evolving.” 

He added that the World Cup series for this Olympic discipline continued to gain momentum thanks to its long-standing partnership with presenting sponsor Shimano, which is also exclusive provider of neutral technical assistance. 

Television coverage at a glance: 

• Broadcast by 53 channels in 19 countries 
• 69 live broadcasts in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Pan-Africa, Slovakia and Sweden 
• Television audience totalled nearly 37 million 
• 1.52 million TV viewers watched live. 

Internet coverage at a glance: 

• 54 hours’ live coverage 
• 1.2 million live views 
• 14 highlight magazines produced 
• 800,000 Video on Demand views within four days of each event.

This is Peaty – Final Episode for 2014

This Is Peaty Season 3 has come to a close, after one hell of a year. The rise of the rat, endless laughing and another packed season full of travelling around the globe with Mountain Biking’s biggest legend to date.

It seems a long time ago since Episode One back in 2012…Like we’ve always preached, It was all about keeping things fun from the start with TIP.

The main aim of TIP was to bring you closer to Steve and co outside of the racing too. It’s not an act, both Steve, Rat and all their mates do have a tonne of fun both at home and whilst racing professionally around the world. The Syndicate is a special grouping of individuals, much more than your average race team, all with huge personalities which keep both the fans and everyone around them inspired and entertained.

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The story between Peaty and his long lost son Ratboy is a genuine as friendships get on the circuit. After bringing him all those years ago, to see him rise to his first World Cup overall win this year was a huge thing for both of them. 

On and off the track they both keep things sideways, like father like son….

Things can’t always be a fairytale ending, but what an ending it was out in Hafjell.

Both Steel City Media and Steve can’t thank all our fans and sponsors enough for the support over the last few years.

See you all soon, 

Cheers.

 

Special thanks to our Season 3 sponsors:

Monster Energy

Santa Cruz Bicycles

Maxxis Tyres

Lizard Skins

Muc Off

Produced by Steel City Media

Video: The Choicest Action From the 2014 World Cup Downhill Season

The UCI Downhill World Cup treated us to one of its classic seasons this year and following it every step along the way for us, bringing you all the best action from trackside were the Parkin Brothers of Orpheus Productions.

They were baked, drowned, scorched and soaked intermittently all year hauling cameras all over the world’s fastest DH tracks. When it came to an end of season package then we decided to ask for the ultimate; no filler, all thriller!

We decided to ask for the ultimate; no filler, all thriller!

There are always one or two shots that come out of a race weekend that get everyone excited to go out and ride. Shots that demonstrate the kind of sublime skill needed to make a big bike dance on the very edge of adhesion. Whips, scrubs, gaps… It had to be the very best.

The above video clip doesn’t tell the story of a timed session or feature blow-by-blow tracking of one of 2014’s epic battles, it’s simply about all those best shots being tied together in just one place. The best of the best, the best of the Wildmen. Enjoy!

Video Premiere: Life on Wheels – A Life Worth Winning

Following the great success of the 2013 season, Creative Concept has spent another year on the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup documenting the Lapierre Gravity Republic team in 2014.

Written and Directed by Aaron Bartlett, narrated by Rob Warner and headed by elite riders Loic Bruni and Sam Blenkinsop alongside Emmeline Ragot and Loris Vergier, we take a step behind the glamour of the motocross style pit setup and into the personal lives and relationships behind the World’s number 1 Downhill Mountain Bike team. Throughout a roller coaster season of ups and downs, emotions run high and dreams can be shattered in an instant as the team push for their first ever elite male winner on the World stage.

Follow the team’s journey from their humble beginnings at Q Bikes in 2005, through to the huge state of the art setup first introduced in 2012 and onto the present day, as well as getting to know all the amazing riders who have come and gone in-between.

But is it really all about winning? Find out TODAY in the 48 HOUR Premiere!

Starring:

Loic Bruni
Sam Blenkinsop
Emmeline Ragot
Loris Vergier

Also Starring:

Cam Cole
Danny Hart
David Vazquez

This Is Peaty – Season 3, Episode 6

After a long season for Steve Peat and co, It all came down to the final round out in Meribel.

Could Rat take the overall or would nerves get the better? Could Peaty regain some end of season form and hit the podium?

After all was said and done out in France, there was no rest for the wicked as it was time to head to Hafjell once again for World Champs.

Ratboy was fully peaking, on the form of his life, whilst Peaty was quietly confident on a track he’s done well on in the past…

Find out how the story unfolded and more in Episode 6 of This Is Peaty!

Produced by Steel City Media

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Video: The Best World Champs Downhill Ever

In what has been an incredible year for downhill racing there’s no doubt we witnessed one of the best ever World Championships  in Hafjell.

A chainless run from Neko Mulally astounded everyone by topping the men’s standings for a short time while Josh Bryceland seemingly snatched defeat from the jaws of the victory by overcooking the last bridge jump as he threatened to beat the leading time of Gee Atherton. In the end, Gee Atherton and Manon Carpenter took the World titles with the British team enjoying a 1-2 in elite men and a 1-2-3 in the elite women.

The boys from Orpheus Productions bring you the best of the action from an exciting finale to the 2014 season.

Brosnan Storms to Bronze at World Mountain Bike Championships

Troy Brosnan (SA) conquered a demanding course in Hafjell, Norway to collect his first World Championship Downhill medal since moving up to the Elite category.

Racing was spectacular on the sixth and final day of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in Hafjell, Norway.

Elite Men 

The story of the day for the Australian men would be the ride that was for Brosnan and the ride that could have been for Sam Hill (WA).

Early racing saw Graeme Mudd (NSW), Bryn Atkinson (NSW) and Jack Moir (NSW) spend time on the coveted World Championship hotseat as the fastest riders at that point of the day.

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Graeme Mudd
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Jack Moir
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Mick Hannah

Hill, a former triple Elite Downhill World Champion (‘06, ‘07, ‘10), knows both the glory of the win and the tragedy of defeat on a winning run, having crashed in the final stages when leading the 2008 World Championships.

He was the 9th-last rider to start and was on the fastest run of the day by over 3 seconds when he would come to grief with a massive crash in the final rock garden.

Amazingly he was able to get back on the bike and race to the finish placing 26th, and while it seemed likely, he will never know whether his run would have been good enough to take the title.

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Sam Hill, devastated!

Brosnan was the last Australian standing, as he has often been in the 2014 season, and he was the second-last rider of the 2014 Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships.

A steady start saw him in 10th place at the first time-split, and like Hill before him, he chose the extremely difficult inside line in the second rock garden and reaped the rewards moving up to 3rd place by the second time-split.

Brosnan into 3rd.
Brosnan into 3rd.

He would pick up one more place on the final section to sit in overall second place behind Great Britain’s Gee Atherton with only Josh Bryceland, also of Great Britain, left to race.

Bryceland was the 2014 World Cup Series winner, and he had an amazing run but landed heavily sustaining an injury on a finish-straight jump, his time still being good enough to just pass Brosnan and move into second place.

This left Atherton as the 2014 World Champion, and Brosnan to take away Bronze as his first Elite World Championship medal.

Also riding for Australia was Mick Hannah (QLD) who finished off the pace after a crashing awkwardly out of a fast berm.

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Bryn Atkinson into 18th.

Missing today from the action was Brosnan’s junior-days friend and rival Connor Fearon (SA), who crashed heavily in his final practice run and required medical attention.

Elite men's podium, minus Josh Bryceland due to injury.
Elite men’s podium, minus Josh Bryceland due to injury.


Elite Female

Tracey Hannah (QLD) excelled in Norway today to take out 4th place in the Elite Women’s Downhill World Championships.

Hannah was the 2006 Junior World Champion and has had a long career with many outstanding results, finishing this year as the 4th ranked rider in the World Cup Series.

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Tracey Hannah, 4th.

She has twice finished on the World Championship podium in 3rd place (‘07 & ‘13) and is the reigning 6-time National Champion.

As the third last rider to start in Hafjell, Hannah had a strong clean run on Championship day, showing a great mix of power and excellent line selection in the treacherous rock gardens.

Her run would at the time put her into second place behind Tahnee Seagrave (Great Britain) who would ultimately finish 3rd.

Two riders remained, Manon Carpenter and Rachel Atherton, both of Great Britain.

2014 has been the breakthrough year for Carpenter and today she displayed a flawless ride to go on to take her first Elite World Championship title.

Atherton almost crashed on her run and ultimately missed out by the narrowest of margins (.088s) to place second.

Hannah will now return this week for follow-up surgery from a serious crash in 2012.


Downhill Results – 2014 World Mountain Bike Championships  

Elite Male
1. Gee Atherton (GBR) 3:23.769
2. Josh Bryceland (GBR) +0.407
3. Troy Brosnan (SA)    AUS +0.566

10. Jack Moir (NSW) +3.831
18. Bryn Atkinson (NSW) +6.204
26. Sam Hill (WA) +9.187
41. Graeme Mudd (NSW) +12.678
81. Michael Hannah (QLD) +45.366
DNS Connor Fearon (SA)

Elite Female
1. Manon Carpenter (GBR)  3:49.407
2. Rachel Atherton (GBR)   +0.088
3. Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) + 3.463
4. Tracey Hannah (AUS)

Tegan Molloy, Junior Downhill World Champ!

Tegan Molloy (NSW) has won the World Champion crown in the Junior Women’s category of the Downhill UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Hafjell, Norway.

After qualifying 3rd fastest on Friday, the reigning Australian Champion today was untouchable on her way to the title.

Molloy leapt onto the world stage in 2013 with a Bronze Medal at the Pietermaritzburg World Championships.

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Congratulations, Tegan!

She carried this form into 2014 and has been the standout junior female on the UCI World Cup Series, with five World Cup wins from seven races on the way to being crowned the overall 2014 World Cup Series winner.

On race day, Molloy was the first rider down the tough Hafjell course.

The course terrain throws the perfect mix of challenges at riders including untamed rock gardens, flowing berms, high speed runs and large jumps.

Compared to seeding, Molloy was the fastest junior woman of the week at every time-check, and her time of 4:16.816 would put her in the hot seat.

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Tegan Molloy on fire, winning the World Champs!

A nervous wait would then take place as she watched the remaining riders in the field descend out of the forest and through the finish arch.

Her time would hold up today and she took the win by a significant 6.225s, earning the World Championship title and the right to wear the prestigious UCI rainbow stripes.

The 18 year old hails from the hills of Jindabyne and trains at Thredbo, an iconic destination in the sport in Australia for over 20 years.

The french pair of Viktoria Gimenez and Marine Caribou would ultimately win Silver and Bronze respectively.

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Junior Men

The day for our Junior Men would belong to Max Warshawsky (QLD) who raced strongly to spend time in the hotseat and finish just one step off the podium in 4th place.

Six Australian junior riders started today’s finals with Matthew McCorkell (ACT) withdrawn due to an injury in seeding.

Warshawsky, 18 years of age from Mooloolah in Queensland will never forget his maiden World Championships.

Max Warshawsky, top Aussie junior in 7th place.
Max Warshawsky, top Aussie junior in 4th place.

He had a solid, clean run today that was the fastest at the time (3:37.721) and earned a long stint in the World Championships hotseat.

He would ultimately be replaced by Jacob Dickson of Ireland who would go on to finish third in 3:36.384.

Aiden Varley (VIC) also had a great day following up on a strong seeding time to finish his Championship race inside the top ten in 7th place (3:41.341).

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Aiden Varley, 7th place.

Andrew Crimmins (NSW) is the reigning National Junior Champion and was Australia’s highest-ranked junior male leading into finals day.

Andrew Crimmins
Andrew Crimmins into 17th after a disappointing crash.

Today wasn’t to be his day with a crash during his race run seeing one of the pre-race favourites finish 17th.

Also representing Australia were Benjamin Dengate (ACT) who finished 19th, Jackson Davis (WA) finishing 21st and Ben Hill (TAS) 41st.

Ben Dengate
Ben Dengate

The Junior Mens’ World Championship title would be won by Loris Vergier of France (3:29.090), with Great British rider Laurie Greenland (3:34.080) in second.

Junior Downhill Results – 2014 World Mountain Bike Championships
Junior Women
1. Tegan Molloy (AUS) 4:16.816
2.  Viktoria  Gimenez (FRA) + 6.225
3.  Marine Cabirou  (FRA) +28.314

Junior Men
1. Loris Vergier (FRA) 3:29.090
2. Laurie Greenland (GBR) 3:34.080, +4.990
3. Jacob Dickson (IRL) 3:36.384, +7.294

4. Max Warshawsky (QLD) +8.631
7. Aiden Varley (VIC) +12.251
17. Andrew Crimmins (NSW) +16.385
19. Benjamin Dengate (ACT) +18.705
21. Jackson Davis (WA) +20.660
41. Ben Hill (TAS) +29.864

World Champs Course Preview, With Claudio and Brendan Fairclough

Our tamed test pilot, Claudio Caluori, has pretty much had it all his own way this season. His companion riders on the GoPro course previews have either bitten the dust or eaten his… So, with the World Champs looming, we decided to up the stakes a little.

We invited his own Gstaad Scott rider, Brendan Fairclough, along to join him. Would Claudio be able to beat him down the Hafjell course or would flat pedals and whips prevail?!

Also, keep your eyes pealed for a spot of celebrity nudity on the side of the track…

Video: Shaun Palmer is Back

Shaun Palmer and Intense Cycles join forces once again, but this time his role isn’t focussed on his wild presence on the race track, rather hand picking and mentoring new and upcoming downhill racers.

With a new downhill bike from Intense due soon and a deep talent pool to choose from, Shaun’s expertise is sure to put Intense back up the top of the international racing scene.

 

Video: Meribel World Cup Downhill Finals Highlights

The 2014 DH season came to a close with a bang in Meribel, delivering one of the best races of the year. Sam Hill returned to the top of the podium with a spectacular winning run, wildcard riders mixed up the usual standings and cheering fans wielding chainsaws, air horns and flags lined the Méribel course from top to bottom. Not to mention the crowning of a new World Cup Champion, Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland.

The Parkin Bros were trackside, capturing all the spills, thrills and highlights from the last World Cup race of the season. 

Claudio Caluori’s Meribel World Cup Finals Course Preview

Wow, what a track for the final round of the UCI World Cup Downhill series!

From the looks of Claudio’s preview, it’s a very natural track, with plenty of un-ridden surfaces and it looks to be widely taped off. This all translates to exciting racing, with the riders able to make line choices and crafty decisions to get the most out of each run. 

Tune in to RedBull.com for the finals, 1.50am, Saturday night Sydney time. Woo!

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Video: Rat Attack! Bryceland wins Windham World Cup Downhill

We knew the racing was going to be close at Windham, but nobody expected Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland to be able to lay down such sizeable a winning margin on the short and high-speed American track. 

Taking the win with an impressive 1.58 seconds, Bryceland secured his second World Cup win of the season, and the second of his career, from Specialized’s duo Aaron Gwin and Troy Brosnan. In the women’s field, French pocket-rocket Emmeline Ragot sprinted to the win by an even bigger margin of 2.88 seconds from Rachel Atherton and Tracey Hannah.

With dry and dusty conditions, mixed with such a short track, riders were pushing it right to the edge. Recap on all the action with this banger of an edit from the Parkin Bros.

 

Santa Cruz Syndicate Reveal New 650B V10

Now the Rat’s really out of the bag!

The Santa Cruz Syndicate are constantly testing new products as they maraude around the globe on their UCI World Cup campaign.  Sometimes these products have subtle adapations that demand a trained eye to pick up on.  Other times it’s a little more obvious.

The rat was out of the bag when Josh Bryceland won the UK National Championships on an unmarked vehicle in Innerleithen on July 20th.

So, while we’re unable to confirm ANY details about the bikes the guys are racing on in Mont Sainte Anne, we’re not going to deny that what you see here isn’t happening…

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Inside Specialized Racing: Leogang

“Today was an emotional roller coaster,” says Eric Carter in this great behind-the-scenes video with Specialized Racing as they take on the round 4 of the World Cup DH series at Leogang.

Troy Brosnan backed up his first win at Fort William with an awesome third place, showing that this isn’t just a track for bigger riders. But it’s Aaron Gwin’s run that people are still talking about, for better or for worse, after he tore his rear tyre off and still put in a ripping race run.

 

Head to head: Manon Carpenter v Rachel Atherton

The battle for the Women’s UCI World Cup overall title really heated up in Leogang when Madison Saracen’s Manon Carpenter became the first and only rider this year to win her second race.

Defeating compatriot, Rachel Atherton, in Leogang made up for her flat tyre disappointment in Fort William and cemented control of the leaders jersey.

It’s interesting to see despite being comfortably ahead at the half way point how she slips back behind Carpenter on the lower half of the track

But Atherton, the reigning World Cup overall and World champ, remains beset by illness. Her usually incredible energy levels and physical fitness seem low; it’s interesting to see despite being comfortably ahead at the half way point how she slips back behind Carpenter on the lower half of the track.

There’s a mid-season break now as we prepare to head to the two North American rounds. Can Atherton fully recover or will Carpenter keep things neat and tidy for the remainder?

 

Fort William POV and team video special

It’s that time again! With the post-race frenzy over, riders are starting to post the POV footage of their race runs from Fort Bill, and teams are putting up their race wrap-ups. A quick warning before you watch, don’t try these sorts of speeds on your local trails!

Josh Bryceland from the Santa Cruz Syndicate

Kiwi shredder Cam Cole

Team CRC Nukeproof is on the rise, with all three team riders placed in the top 25 at Fort William. Be sure to check out Joe Smith styling it up at 3.17, and a rundown of Aussie Sam Hill’s second place!

Australian siblings Mick and Tracey Hannah reflect on the ups and downs of Fort Bill. With Mick crashing and injuring himself and Tracey making the podium, it was a weekend of mixed emotions for the Hutchinson UR team.

All the behind the scenes action from team Specialized as they document Troy Brosnan’s first ever world cup win, and another podium performance from Aaron Gwin.

Must-Ride: Cairns, Smithfield

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This berm alone is worth the trip to Cairns.

The colourful Cairns mountain bike crew deserve a lot credit for the fantastic state of Australian mountain biking today. Back in the 1990s, up in the rainforests of the Kuranda range, a wild bunch on mountain bikes began blazing their own trail. They were developing mountain biking in their own sweaty microcosm, not caring a damn about how the sport was shaping up in other parts of the world. This was Cairns mountain biking; raw, slippery, fun and independent.

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Exceptional trail building on Black Snake.

Soon enough the antics of the Great Cairns Hill Tribe began to capture the attention and the imagination of riders across the country and the world. Word and vision of just how far the Cairns crew were pushing the limits of mountain biking began to trickle out, and along with it an awareness of what an incredible haven of trails this mob had created. Eventually even the UCI caught wind, bringing the World Cup and World Champs to Cairns in 1994 and 1996. Suddenly Cairns was on the mountain bike world map. In this pressure cooker, talented riders blossomed; Kovarik, Hannah, Ronning and many others, all rising to the top of World stage and cementing the status of Cairns as a leading international mountain bike destination.

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But then in the early 2000s, things went off the boil, and the Cairns scene went a little quite. It continued to simmer away until quite recently, when a concerted effort by riders, local authorities and mountain bike luminaries thrust Cairns and its surrounds back to the forefront of Australian and international mountain biking once again. In quick succession we saw the revitalisation of the legendary Smithfield trails, huge new trail developments at Atherton (just up the road from Cairns) and the announcement that Cairns had secured a World Cup round AND the World Champs – all our Christmases at once!

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What locals are keen to emphasise now, is that Cairns itself is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to riding in the tropical north. In addition to the Smithfield trails, you’ve got Atherton, Mareeba, the Cassowary Coast, Port Douglas and a million different hidden trails in between, all within a couple of hours drive from one another.

Given we’d be in town already for the World Cup, the opportunity to explore the region was simply too good to miss. So we packed the bikes, rustled up some Hawaiian shirts and bug spray and hit the trails. First up on our itinerary, Smithfield! No sooner had the course marshals removed the bunting, than we were delving into the jungle to rip it up on the red clay.

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With graded, signposted, mapped trails, Smithfield is hassle-free riding of the finest quality. It’s the perfect place to get your tropical northern mountain bike adventure underway.

Smithfield is the ultimate place to start any riding trip in the Cairns region. Not only is the closest trail centre to Cairns itself, but the trails are signposted, mapped and graded, so it’s practically impossible to get lost and find yourself a victim of the Minjin (local mythical mountain panther).

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Flowing through the sea of green. Everything is alive and growing in the forest.

Given that Glen Jacobs was the driving force in the revitalisation of these trails, it’s no surprise that you feel like you’re carving through the vines on a hoverboard – these are classic flow trails for the most part, with a mesmerising rhythm, punctuated by the occasional A-line that requires you to really think about where you want to put your wheels.

There’s more than enough riding here for a full day of singletrack; get your fill, then head into town for some people watching by the lagoon – that’s our second favourite activity in Cairns!

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Terrible place. Just awful.
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The drive north to Port Douglas is stunning. You can see just how the mountain range plummets straight into the sea.

Just north of Cairns lies the honeymooner’s paradise of Port Douglas. It’s the kind of place where you could easily spend way too much time; most of the ‘locals’ we met had blown in from some far-flung corner of the globe and found themselves mysteriously stuck seven years later.

For mountain bikers, Port Douglas is home to the brake-cooking Bump Track descent, plus a bunch of rough and raw trails that lead you to some fairly special swimming holes – with the range teetering over the coastline, there are innumerable magic spots where water cascades down cliff faces and into deep, clear pools. The trick is knowing where to find them! We joined up with local guide Tom Dayshe of Bike ‘n’ Hike tours to worm our way through the forest and unearth some of these gems. When you’ve cooked your legs on Smithfield’s trails in the morning, this is absolutely magic.

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Bike n Hike Adventure tours, ready for action.

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Get back to work, Mick!
Get back to work, Mick!

 

For more information about all the riding in and around Cairns, check out www.ridecairns.com. 

 

Course Preview: Claudio Caluori Tames Fort William World Cup DH

It’s that time of year again here at the UCI World Cup; the course builders have been out in force, the midges have been starving themselves and we’ve taped a microphone and a GoPro to downhill rider Claudio Caluori.

The guys at Aonach Mor have been busy too – vast swathes of the top section have been filled in and the taping in the woods is incredibly tight. Anyway, enough from us, over to the master.

This Is Peaty – Episode 2, in Cairns.

“It’s been a busy few weeks since South Africa!”

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Peaty wasn’t lying when he said it’d been a hectic couple of weeks since the first UCI World Cup round.

Starting with the annual pilgrimage to the Scottish Six Day Trial with James Dabill, then onto the Swiss Alps with Claudio Calouri to scout a new World Cup track for 2015…

All of this was perfect training for Peaty’s home race, ‘Steel CIty Downhill’, the world biggest/smallest downhill race.
An amazing weekend, with a huge turnout… did Steve take his 4th win in a row?

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When you think Australia, you think dry, barren and dusty. Cairns was certainly the opposite, which made for a memorable week of both racing and off the bike adventures.

Catch up with Steve and co for the fully story and more in Episode 2!

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XCO World Cup Highlights and Replay from Nové Město na Moravě

Third win for Schurter in Nove Mesto – he attacks from outset.

The men’s race was expected to be a showdown between Julien Absalon (BMC), winner of the first two rounds, and World Champion Schurter, who flatted in the first round and skipped the second for a stint on the road. Schurter threw the gauntlet down by attacking immediately, and was in the lead by the first lap.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano returned to Europe for Round 3 of the cross-country series under almost perfect weather conditions in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, and the riders responded with superb racing. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Liv Pro XC) took the first Elite victory of her career in the women’s race.

Ferrand Prevot, an Under-23 rider who is competing in the Elite category, charged to the front on the opening start loop from back on the fifth row in the start order, and had a slight gap on Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), World Cup leader Jolanda Neff (Liv Pro XC) and Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory) as they started the first of five laps. Her gap steadily increased through the race, as she consistently laid down the fastest lap times on every lap.

Click this link for the full replay.

Bec Henderson and Dan McConnell, Meet the National Champions and Uprising World Cup Stars

Meet this Australian power couple and reigning national champions as they discuss their second season with Trek Factory Racing.

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Coming off stellar 2013 World Cup seasons, both are looking to keep that momentum going through the first two World Cups. Hear their stories while training and racing as a couple.

Video: This Is Peaty Returns With Series 3

“He’s one of the best at what he does, so why change him?”

Over the course of Peaty’s career, winters spent with Adella Carter and the Sheffield Hallam team have proved vital in his long and illustrious career.

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Getting time of the DH bike is always tough with such a busy schedule and other commitments, so starting off the season with a trip to Barcelona to catch up with Ivan Oulego for his annual race was rad. David Vasquez, our UCI World Cup delegate and part time tour guide took us to some of the best trails Barcelona had to offer and after two days of smashing laps with Bernat Guardia and co, everyone was psyched.

At the Oulego race the sun was out and so were the fans in their thousands… With a short, fast track times were always going to be tight and come race day it came down to a tight finish with Bernat pipping Steve to the top step… but a solid result on a dustry dry track coming into PMB.

Winter Dual and the local Sheffield scene has been another vital ingredient in keeping Peaty young and having fun during the dark winter months. Racing Rum anyone?

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It’s the final stop at PMB for the foreseeable future, with the Syndicate looking to make their mark on the 2014 season

Did things work out? Find out and more in Episode 1 of This Is Peaty – Season 3.

Cairns 2014: Crashing, a videographer and photographer's view

Standing on the side of a World Cup downhill track is insane. The speeds riders go and how on edge they are means that at times we are centimetres away from disaster.

Here are two points of view from Michael McClean (the unfortunate one) and Damian Breach (the fortunate one) as MS Mondraker’s Markus Pekoll lost a bit of control.

We’re happy to report that Michael is doing fine but his camera was a little worse off.

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Cairns 2014: Crashing, a videographer and photographer’s view

Standing on the side of a World Cup downhill track is insane. The speeds riders go and how on edge they are means that at times we are centimetres away from disaster.

Here are two points of view from Michael McClean (the unfortunate one) and Damian Breach (the fortunate one) as MS Mondraker’s Markus Pekoll lost a bit of control.

We’re happy to report that Michael is doing fine but his camera was a little worse off.

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The Guts Behind The Glory: Eddie Masters

All work and no play makes Eddie a dull boy and that just wouldn’t be right for this Kiwi pinner.
Parental advisory – contains swearing and explicit language.
Fun-loving is just one of many ways to describe Eddie Masters. The flamboyant New Zealander appears to take nothing too seriously, but that shouldn’t distract from his talent on the bike.
After picking up some encouraging results as a privateer over the past couple of years, including a 26th place at Val di Sole last year, Eddie was picked up by the Bergamont Hayes World Downhill Team to race on the 2014 World Cup circuit alongside teammates Canada’s Casey Brown and Aussie Jack Moir.

In what proved to be his best weekend yet on the World Cup, we caught up with Eddie in Cairns to find out more about his philosophy on racing mountain bikes and life.