Laurence Crossman-Emms and his trusty camera bring us up to date with what happened in the spectacular qualifying in PMB...
Good morning race fans and welcome to the first qualifying round of the 2014 season. The dust is rising and the riders are looking pinned in what can only be an amazing day of 'unpredictable' racing...who's going to take it?
Stunning blue skies with not a cloud in sight today. Temperatures are hovering around the 25+ marker, which I'm sure is not optimum bike riding temperature!
A drop of morning practice for everyone to get the legs working and see how they are feeling on track. Great to see Elliot Jackson out on track again, on his new Pivot, looking different to the Yeti we have all been used to seeing!
The Jedi showing the true ways to the young apprentice. Such a huge opportunity to be taken under the wing of Sam Hill. There has been an almost instant improvement to Mike's riding style and it can only help push him in the right direction. A tough year for him being first year Elite. Looking great in his qualy run right up until the last minute where he flatted and lost his wheel, marking him with a DNF for the day.
Another rider back from injury and scoring himself a spot on a big factory team, Cam Cole wasn't hanging around. Settled into the bike he scores a 12th qualy run.
You know it is hot outside when even the Aussie's start complaining. Almost too hot to go bike racing!
All round great results for the Syndicate today. All riders inside the top 20, proving that big DH bikes with 26 inch wheels can get you down this hill fast.
Jill Kintner still being able to pull out the good results. National champion and looking strong in practice, she was able to score herself a safe 4th place in qualy today. A little back from first place but with it being tight between the other two positions ahead she could look to do well this weekend.
Nipping at his heels all last year, Luca Shaw and Loris have always been close, but Luca managed to turn it up an extra notch today, putting a huge 5.6 seconds into Loris and taking the 1st place in junior qualification.
Trying to find any bits of shelter to get away from the heat during the warm ups at the top. This is when the infrastructure of a resort pays its weight in gold, nothing here but the shadows cast by trucks and porta loos, even then it is still hot in the shade. It's really making racing conditions tough for the riders.
No gloves but still the need to roll on down with a watch, Sam Blenkinsop does his team proud with a 5th place qualy run, just a second behind Bruni in 4th. The Lapierre team are looking strong this year and can expect results to follow.
Mick Hannah really wants this one! After missing out at Worlds he is here with vengeance and is going to push until the bitter end. Riding his new Proto Polygon with Air rear shock and 27.5 wheels he is really trying it all. Qualys didn't go how he wanted though with a flat in the top section that forced him back down the pack. 92nd place, but don't worry...he's protected!
Worlds winner Greg Minaar is still looking really quick but says he is feeling nervous...which isn't a surprise. Home soil track, the niggling knee injury and the reminder of last year's win here always on his mind. Good qualy run putting himself in 3rd, a fraction behind fellow team rider Josh Bryceland.
Well Mr Bryceland surprised everyone today with his performance in qualys, and really throwing a spanner at the whole big wheels, short travel thing. The V10 slayed its way through qualy and put him into 2nd place only a few seconds behind Aaron, on a track that is not best suited to Josh. Keep an eye on this man tomorrow!
Eagerly sat at the bottom of the hill waiting for the last men to come through to see if they have qualified. Great to see so many British riders through but also a few big names missing out. Join us tomorrow for the big day here in PMB...who will take the win? It's all to play for...
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If you missed Laurence's gallery from the first day of practice then you can see that here.