With the final round of the World Cup now upon us, it really has been amazing season, and sure to be an incredible end as well.
Tomorrow will see the battle truly commence, only three points now separate Stevie Smith and Gee Atherton and those three points are in favour of Stevie. The whole series rests on the shoulders of tomorrow’s final, and it could go either way!
It appears that Danny Hart and Sam Hill have injured themselves in practice and ended up DNFing hoping to have full recovered for tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately Greg Minnaar is slightly worse off and has torn his ACL, a truly disappointing end of the season for him.
Jill Kintners best qualifying result so far this season saw her pip Manon to the spot with a 3rd, although 4 seconds off the pace she will have some catching up to do if she is to win.
Snapping down on Rachel's heels, Emmeline Ragot would have really benefitted from winning here in qualys. Points are still tight and she can still take it if Rachel has a bad run tomorrow, but wouldn't be smart to lay it on chance, 2nd in qualy for her!
Last years champs winner here in Leogang and still feeling strong on the track here, Morgane Charre pushes through for a 6th place qualie run. She will be looking to better it tomorrow but in such a heavily stacked ladies field, it could be difficult.
Stevie not opting for his 275 proto in qualys this morning, but with it sitting in the pits on standby, a last minute decision change could see him jump on and really throw curveball.
Heading up the lift today for some exciting qualifying action. Mixed feelings in the pits and with riders dropping out all over the place…nothing better than some real tension coming into finals.
Managing 3rd place qualy in Hafjell but missing out on the podium, Loic Bruni and has come here with vengeance. Back a few months ago he managed to win an IXS Cup here which already puts him in a good mindset. 4th in qualy today but he will have to dig deep for the win tomorrow.
Danny Hart this morning, after finding out about Greg Minaar and Sam Hill's injuries had been doing some math and found out, with a good result here, he could take 3rd place overall. But just as the words came out his mouth he was stepped down a notch, injuring his wrist in practice. Breaking the beam in qualys, we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if he actually rides. Similarly with Sam Hill who too only broke the beam!
Greg Minaar managing to tear his ACL in practice yesterday. Not where you want to be at the end of the season, but after such a great season and winning the race he set out to win at the start of the season, he can still go home a happy man, but it wont be enjoyable missing out on valuable training time coming into next season.[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/23_audio1.mp3"]
The finish area filling up to watch the last few riders cross the line in qualys today. A mixed bag of results with a few unexpected twist to really mess about the points. But with everything still to play for and the face off becoming tighter than ever, it will be a hard night sleep for some riders!
Andrew Neethling seems to ride better under the pressures of bad seeding and race runs. Once again crashing out in qualies, making it 3 for 3, he will be looking to go right into that hot seat again when he comes downs tomorrow. But even with the crash he managed a 59th, not bad considering how tight qualifying was today! [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/17_audio.mp3"]
Following closely after the junior and women, the elite men started to drop. With a large field of 170 riders to grace the hill it was going to be a long afternoon of ups and downs. Troy Brosnan here scrubbing over the jumps in the middle section. I caught up with him before his 6th place run to get his thoughts on the track! [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/16_audio1.mp3"]
The man in the lime light today, and winning round one of this historic face-off, Stevie Smith puts him self into the lead today, of not just qualys, but the points race too! Now 3 points clear of Gee in the overall it really is down to who ever beats who tomorrow. Who you gunning for?
The pressure getting to Gee a little and as much as he pushes it out of his mind, the cracks are starting to show. Still looking good in practice but managing to let 2 key riders slip through his fingers in qualies, he drops to 3rd, 1.2 seconds back.[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/19_audio.mp3"]
But Rachel Atherton still showing that she is top dog. Comfortable throughout practice and pushing just as hard in her qualy run as she would a race run, she bags the whole 50 points with 1.5 seconds up on Ragot!
Tracey Hannah spinning off at the top of the track before her run. She has done her self damn proud to come back off of injury mid way through the season and still be up there fighting with the top positions. 9th in qualies today!
Memorising the track in your mind and following the track like its there in front of you. All part of the mental game that wins World Cups, you don't just need the strength and skill, you need the head to go with it.
After qualifying 1st in Norway, Innes Gramham just missed out on the win there. Unfortunately putting himself back in qualies after not the run he wanted he fell into 6th place, but with a good bottom split he will still be one to watch on Sunday! I caught up with him after his run. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/8_audio.mp3"]
Already winning one junior World Cup this season, Aussy national champ Dean Lucas would be rather happy to finish off his season with another. 3rd in qualie, up to speed and keen for tomorrow!
Current Junior World Cup leader Mike Jones stepping up to the plate here in qualies, pushing hard and aiming for the top spot. Only managed 5th, but could be down to the track! He fills us in on his thoughts about the track and how his run went. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/9_audio1.mp3"]
More on off weather here in Leogang, seeing a dribble of morning rain damp up the track, eliminating any chance of dust, but with it to clear in the afternoon, the track became nice and tacky after no time. Track was riding well today!
Sik Mik with another impressive qualifying run today. He has been extremely consistent throughout this year of qualifying, most of the time managing a top 5. 2nd here in Leogang today only a second behind, but for Mik, it always boils down to the race run, can he hold it together.
Jumping right in here…literally, with Saturday here at the final round of the World Cup in Leogang. With it all to play for on race day, the points racked up here can be just as vital as tomorrow. Lets get stuck in and see what went down. Either way, here Brendog getting his whip on!
Claire and Chris both here making the trip over from Norway World Cup to catch the last round. Chris looking solid all week in practice, would have thought all that Whistler practice would have done him well considering how 'bike-parky' this track is. But unfortunately it wasn't their round. Chris just missing out on a race spot coming in at 88th, and Claire not even making it out the start gate.
Whips all day! Josh Bryceland boosting the wooden kickers in practice this morning. Being chased down by the man Steve Peat. Qualifying went well for both of these boys, 8th for Peaty and 11th for Josh, showing that there is still gas in the old legs! [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/5_audio1.mp3"]