Clouds rolling in and a bit of wind over the mountains this morning With no more rain after yesterday's down pour, the track was soon to dry out and the pace pick up again. Beautiful here in the sunshine, but can get quite demanding in the torrents of rain that fall here.
To spike or not to spike? That was the questions on many rider's mind this morning. After a down pour during practice yesterday and the rain forecast to come in, teams were seen all over the pits prepping up some cut spikes to run if the going got muddy.
Everyone seemed keen to get out on the hill in the morning for some pre-quali practice. A huge line quickly formed at the top of the track. Most likely being held up by people re adjusting their cardboard pads to pass them off as armour.
After a bout of morning practice, qualis soon came shooting round. With plenty at stake on all levels today, everyone will be hungry to pick up as many points as they can in this tight season. Juniors up first with seeding followed by Women & Men Qualifiers.
Dropping in hot, Taylor Vernon had a good top half of the track until loosing some time in the last wooded section. Although ending up back in 7th, he was still the fastest British Junior of qualis, just falling behind a couple of Euro locals.
Loris Vergier once again looking strong on track, he manages to pull a good run out for quali, but not quite enough. 1.7seconds off the top spot, Loris will have to pull it out the bag again in his final run.
Once again Luca Shaw is able to put down the top seeding time of the day in the Juniors. Almost two seconds up on Loris, the two of them have just spent all season leap frogging one another, with not many of the other juniors being able to touch them. Putting this down in finals could see him snatch back the leaders jersey.
Morganne Charre hasn't been able to repeat that 2012 World Champs victory so far, but back on the track she won at those few years ago she could pull something out of the bag and surprise us all. Not a surprising results in quals unfortunately as she goes a minute back after a big crash in the roots.
A number on her shirt to match her position. 4th in qualy for Myriam Nicole today but after here podium in Fort William she will be hungry for some more top step action. 6s back though is a large window to close over a day.
Struggling in the points department after Fort William, Rachel was keen to pick up her game this round and bag some tokens in qualis. Openly disappointed about her place today but with an 'its only quali attitude, she will be keen come racing.
Manon now has quite a comfortable lead in the standings..
Elite men qualifying up next after the women and with the sun shining down hard on the track, the ruts were firming up well. A mixed field of success and disappointment as riders triumph or fall at this hurdle. With a stacked field of local Euro talent it made it difficult for many riders that are close to that top 80 boarder. Harry Heath, along with plenty other Brits, made it through and he chats about his day. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/12_audio_01.mp3"]"
A tidy set of results for Lapierre today with all riders top 10 with 3 of them in top 3. When they get all the cogs turned they are a team to rival the podium, but it takes a lot for all of them to fit in well on track and get it dialled. 9th for Blenki in qualis.
Danny Hart was hoping for some more rain over race days, but it didn't come. The track bone dry in places as if it never rained. One of the hot riders to look out for this weekend, Danny rounds out the top 10, only with 4.8secs in it. Crazy how tight the times are.
As Peaty put it 'small mistakes cost big in a bike park!' Off the pace a little, but only 10 s, it put him back to 35th. Times today are so tight on this short flat out track and all the milliseconds you gain or loose can make all the difference.
Both Gee and Rachel have seemed to be suffering over the last few days and it showed in their runs in quali today, sitting back in 8th Gee will have a nervous afternoon tomorrow as he will watch the top tackle his time and put his race on the line.
A track that Brook actually feels suits him quite well with the flat out, big turns, he seems to be enjoying riding his bike. Which has reflected in the speed he is going. Top result for Brooke so far this season with a 7th.
Sam Hill unusually off pace today in quali, back in 18th. A safe run, but not the run he could have done with. After a crash last year here in Leogang, he didn't race and with that knee brace being a tell tale sign that its giving him some issues again this year.
Winner of last the last round in Fort William and hoping to roll on through with that momentum, Troy Brosnan puts down a smooth 6th place quali. This year with no one rider taking two rounds so far, the odds are against the repeat win, but with all to play for, Troy could pull a fast one and set history.
Stevie's second race back since his injury last year and after he was disappointed with not being on the podium in Fort William, he came into this round ready to blast off the cob webs and win some races. An impressive result sees him 3s back but sitting tight in 5th. After all he did win here last year.
After Andrew Neethling didn't qualify last round in Fort William he came into this round to prove his worth. Which he sure did in qualifying today. An impressive 4th place for the South African, out doing doing his team mates. Possibly a dark horse to look out for tomorrow in racing.
Another blinder for Ratboy Bryce sees him 3rd in qualis today. Just out on track having and not letting the Bike Park get to him too much, he relaxed into it and put down a toprun. Another result like that of Cairns would do his year well mid way through the season. All top 3 riders sharing the same second, with Ratboy 0.8 off. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/22_audio1.mp3"]"
Almost have to start bring back Gwinning because he looks like he is on a bit of role. After setting off his season with a bang in PMB, Aaron has kept momentum through the season with good results. Coming into today after not racing last year he is able to secure 2nd place, up to speed on this unfamiliar track.
But today, all eyes on the French man Loic Bruni. Not such a great start to his run, he quickly picked up momentum and nailed the woods on wards, not even up at any splits he still managed to take the win in qualis today. All he has to do now is do the same tomorrow, but this wouldn't be the first time he has been in the position and ended up throwing it all away.
But it wasn't everyone day. A couple of big crashes and mechanicals ended a few riders weekends a little prematurely. Adam Brayton didn't have the run he was looking for after a flat caused some issues, along with missing a mech.
Closing up the quals for today with some exciting results to set the tone nicely for tomorrows finals. No rain forecast as of yet, but not to be optimistic about it, it could go the way of the racing, any way it wants to!
The stands are slowly filling up in preparation for racing tomorrow. I don't think it will be much to rival Fort William, but expect shoulder to shoulder screamers up here in the stands. Plenty still going on for everyone and with so many trails around it would be rude not to go for a bike ride at the same time.
Manon Carpenters number 1 plate a fixed her clean steed in preparation for tomorrows race. No special trickery of components here, just honest bike racing that lets the riding do the talking.
Caught up with Mr Mick Hannah down in the Hutchinson’s pits today. Coming right off of surgery on Tuesday, he is back up in Leogang to cheer on his sister. Actually in a lot of pain from his shoulder, he looking at around 6 weeks off the bike with the intentions of racing Worlds...and winning! I caught up with Tracy Hannah about her day and a quick update on Mick. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/29_audio_01.mp3"]"
Yet no new bigger frames for Loic and Blenki, they are making use out of the original one from last year, but it is funny to see them both in the stands in the pits. It really does back up the theory that its the rider not the bike most of the time, with Ragot and Loic both able to set good results, even wen they are running different frames.
The action didn't end with the DH quali today. 4X World Championship finals were on in the evening. Hosting the event here 3 years running on the same track, it was almost predicatble what the out come was going to be. But either way, some dramatic lines and unpredictable head wind made for some exciting racing.
Racing that led to Thomas Slavik and Brit Katy Curd taking the gold medals. A huge result for both, but more so far Katy after this had been 3 years in the making for her. Tight racing for Slavik, but after Beaumont crashed out on the first corner in the finals, it was a sure win for him.
And then to top off the day, finals of the FMB 26Trix Slopestyle event took place. Big shapes were thrown including double back flip no hander and a triple whip. The overall unanimously went to BMX transfer rider Nicholi Rogatkin. Matt Jones pictured here with a big tuck no handers secured 3rd place.
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The British riders out at the 2014 Leogang World Cup qualifying showed a great set of results, Josh Bryceland took the highest place in 3rd and across the Men, Women and Juniors there were 10 riders in the top 10. The rain has been coming down in Leogang but as soon as it stops the sun comes out and things get dry again. The super hard pack track seems to be holding up solid after any rain but things could get wild if it really pours down for racing.
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