Val di Sole 2012 Geek Stats

Our king of the stats Mark Shilton has once again been crunching those times, and so here’s his low down on what went on in Val di Sole this year…

What to analyse when one rider so completetly dominated the field? It’s a difficult one but I’ll give it a try… The 7.85sec gap from Aaron Gwin to second place Greg Minnaar was only half a second shy of the 8.3sec gap between Minaar and 20th placed Mickael Pascal, that was how dominant he was. In fact, this will go down as one of the biggest winning margings ever seen.

It is hard to compare across races but the fairest way is to look at the percentage difference between the winning and the second placed time. Looking back across the last three years, three quarters of races were decided by a less than 1% time difference. Before Sunday, and apart from Danny Hart’s one of a kind ride in the wet at Champery last year, the biggest winning margin of the last three years was only 1.6% – also claimed by Aaron Gwin at Windham last year. Gwin’s time on Sunday was 4.1% faster than Greg Minnaar on a dry track that was the same for everyone. Not quite at the level of Hart, or Chris Kovarik’s 14 second demolition job at Fort William in 2002 (which was 4.9% faster) but it’s still the stand out World Cup winning margin of the last three years, and probably more (sorry, no time to look further back!).

What about the rest of the field? The one thing that stands out in the heatmap of the top 20 is how no-one apart from Gwin managed a consistently paced run. Minnaar was 3rd on Sector 1 and 2 and then only 7th in Sector 3. Gee Atherton and Marc Beaumont could only manage 21st and 11th respectively in Sector 3. Conversely, Sam Blenkinsop had a slow first two-thirds of the race with a 22nd and 14th but hauled himself up to 8th overall with the second fastest Sector 3 of the day, only 0.474 secs off Gwin. Bernard Kerr also managed a career best World Cup result with the 6th fastest final sector boosting him up to 13th after a 28th fastest first split.

Darker colour = higher placing. Lightest colour = placing outside top 20

Although Gwin won every single split, the pattern was similar to last year where he absolutely destroyed the field in the first two sectors then consolidated on the final run into the finish. Unfortunately for the others, the guy that got closest to him in Sector 3 (Blenkinsop) was running 14th after split 2.

So, Aaron Gwin – faster AND more consistent than the rest of the field. What odds on him making an attempt at Kovarik’s 14 second margin at Fort William?!

For more of Mark’s race analysis check out his blog here

  1. dirt dodger

    Lord I hope NOT ! Is my response to the last question above.

  2. john

    Thanks a lot for those stats. You rock!

  3. James

    Love It!

    Vouilloz 15 secs in Chateuax D’Ox, Hill had some big wins in his hayday – over 8 secs in Schladming i recall.

    But Gwin was on another level on Sunday.

  4. luap photo

    Judging from the stats it looks like Hill is still building up confidence. And he’s still got the mad line choice. He’s still on my team. And I ain’t gonna drop him.

  5. Pedro

    Well, its not the same as a win but Hill did have 14sec on the Champery qualification in 2007 on dry.
    I think its quali time was still 6 secs faster than Lehikoinens winning time on sunday (also on dry course)…

  6. Garrett

    Not to mention Hill in Pila back in 06. It was a wet course but he tore Kovarik and the rest to pieces. I think we are writing him off too quickly, his last few years have been plagued by injury and bike changes. Big things yet too come from him, Gwin is still rocking though and Minnaar and Atherton are at least consistent, something Hill has always had a time with.

  7. Mark

    Cheers for the kind comments folks.

    I had a look back on rootsandrain.com (THE source for DH race stats!) and none of the races mentioned have gaps of more than 4% for the winner. Hill’s 8 sec margin at Schladming and 6 sec margin at Pila were both on 4 minute plus courses so not as big a percentage gap (3.4% and 2.6%). Vouilloz at Chateaux D’Oex was a 6 sec gap but the course was over 6 minutes long(!) so it was only 1.6% faster than 2nd place. I thought someone might find something bigger but it looks like a 7.8sec gap on a 3 minute course is pretty unheard of at World Cup level!

  8. Benji

    Nice work Mark. As a statisticial and a mountain biker this kind of analysis makes me smile… if only the teams had the money to employ us to do analysis (like in F1) my life would be complete!

  9. Benji

    Doh… statistician. Damn typos!

  10. Andy

    These stats are EPIC! thanks for doing them.

  11. Rick T

    Loving this geek analysis. Keep up the good work!

  12. Down n Dirty

    Aaron as come into the worlds over the last 3 years with no guts no glory attitude.And holy shit he going to be on top of this game if others cant step up to the new mark..
    Hats of to him i say

  13. Max

    This is the fact. I’m scared of what Gwin is able to do in Ft.W. Considering how he got 3rd last year with a fall in a flat and super fast section and how disapointed not to have a few hundred points of margin on the lead.
    I’m scared

  14. Pedro

    Did the math for Hills quali time at Champery in 07 and he got 6% gap on 2nd place Pascal.
    His quali time was actually almost 9sec better than Lehikoinens winning time on finals.

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