Qualifying was extremely exciting yesterday, Stevie Smith put down a corker of a run, which put him on the top step. Danny Hart pulled something out of the bag, just 1 second back on Stevie, and just behind him was Sam Blenkinsop! Gee crashed which lost him a bit of time, and Gwin is looking like him might be back on form sitting in 4th place.
Here's our photo gallery of the days events.
Danny Hart put in a stormer of a run today, sitting comfortably in second place just behind Stevie Smith/ [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/21_1_audio.mp3"]
Another morning, another white capped hillside. Qualifying practice starting off a little foggy with morning but with no rain over night the track was looking like it was on the road to a dry recovery. It was going to take some time, the sun wasn't rushing through this spread very quickly.
A bit of breeze on the top of the hill started to push the cloud over and with moments of clear breaks followed by full on 'white outs', timing the shots was key. Pom Pom cruising through the top open sections before getting loose in the woods. 7th in qualifying today.
With the track not changing a huge deal this morning and the ruts forming up nicely, practice seemed to go down quite casually with some riders only putting down a few laps and some not even riding at all. There was an eerily quiet feeling this morning
The bain of everyones lives up here. Midges! And don't be saying, oh the ones at Fort William are bad…these are right little buggers! You know they have got you when they start to draw blood. Gathering in swarms and attacking when you are casually doing your own thing, these will find you…and they will get you!
All the Commencal bunch looking impressive on their bikes this week and after the successes of Remi at Vallnord, the team must be feeling confident coming into this round. Gaetan Ruffin was looking super stylish on the track today.
Scotty Mears roosting his way down the track. Managing to secure a spot on race day, he talks us through his 52nd place qualy run, but with plenty left in the cannons, he will be looking to put down a stormer. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/6_audio.mp3"]
Another British rider to grace the 'five oh' club, Adam Brayton put down a 54th place run, which considering his shoulder injury at the start of the year is damn good. He is getting back up to pace and looking fast once again.
After her amazing first place qualifying run in Andorra, Manon was keen to put down a quick one today. I caught up with Manon and she told us how her run went. A little wobble in the woods put her off line and into the bush loosing vital seconds, but only 6 seconds off top place she will be setting off comfortably on Sunday. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/8_audio.mp3"]
Junior qualifying went well for a few British riders. Morgan Gulland here, riding for GB managed a great 5th place qualy, behind fellow British rider and Junior National Champ, Innes Graham, who managed first place. With Mike Jones puncturing early on too, it could be anyones game come Sunday. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/9_audio.mp3"]
Its hard work being a Medic. Probably not the best place to have a crash if the medical staff are a little tired. Long days on the hill can take it out of you but please try and stay awake.
After clearing up nicely for morning practice, the fog all of a sudden rolled back over the hillside towards the end, making it once again a battle of riding brail for a short while. Wasn't long until it blew over. But there was no blowing this man over, solid as a rock and fired from a gun, Remi puts himself into 31st.
Sam Dale, claiming to be the innovator, trying out his newly designed longer frame was looking solid throughout and put down a 32nd place run. He talks us through his run and his thoughts on the track at hand. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/12_audio.mp3"]
Because we haven't heard this one before…Like a Bull in a china shop, Wyn Masters was going wild on track today just ploughing through it all. Perhaps the no distraction of other riders, or just loving the track, he has been looking quick. Pinned in the trees and 41st overall. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/13_audio.mp3"]
But snapping at Wyn’s heels is this hungry guy. Ed Masters, Wyn’s brother, chomping up the track as he darts to the finishing line, it could have only of been shark power that kept him in the top 80…77th place after qualys
I think Gwin might be over his season starter blues because he was on fire today. Coming straight off of his US National Champs win, he came here with the taste of fresh win, 4th in qualy today. [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/15_audio.mp3"]
Many flats through out the week but not many catastrophic fails. Too much power in this young guns legs, Hutchinson's Guillaume Cauvin nursing his bike back to the pits with a DNF to his name.
Gee Atherton taking a bit of a tumble today in qualys, setting him back to 18th. With the much wanted points out of his reach, he talks me through where it all went a little wrong for him. With a slightly bruised ego and a sore knee, don't expect this to upset his drive to win! [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/17_audio.mp3"]
Always looking smooth and comfortable on a bike, Greg Minaar was able to put down a fast time today and sit him nicely into 5th place. With consistent top 10 results, it wont be long until we see him grace the top of podium this year.
Mac ten and sending it to the moon, Sam Hill managed to fly further than most off this lip and was able to set her down as well, butter smooth. Riding on the edge and doing a very good job of it, Sam was once again up there in qualys with a 6th place. Loving the track, it will be interesting to see how he places come Sunday.
Rachel Atherton getting it done again and qualifying first here at Mont Sainte Anne. With a good run under her belt and taking the top points, she seemed stoked when I caught up with her... [audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/20_audio1.mp3"]
The crazy Kiwi pinner that just loves to ride his bike, he threw his bike down and around the track all day with whips and roost to excite. Must be feeling it because he stormed the gates with a 3rd place qualy run. Great to see him back up there.
Stepping down into the finishing area and sprinting towards the finish, it should be quite an exciting end to the race, with even now a few people getting wobbly off these last features. Sure wouldn't want to go down here on your race run in front of all the fans!
Another rider to expectedly see do well today was the one and only Mick "Sik Mik" Hannah who slayed the track with a 7th place, but with almost 5 seconds separating him from first, he will have to turn on the after burners, maybe they engage when his bum hits the tyre!
The man behind the times. Tissot's timing engineers compiling the data from racing today and doing a fine job of it all. Don't want to upset this man, he is the keeper of the times!
Josh Bryceland and Sam Dale watch fellow "lad" Josh "Loosedog" Lewis cross the line. With a crash on track he wasn't able to quite make it and was put back to 86th, just outside qualifying, can see the disappointment in their faces!
Quite a big showing of British riders here in MSA. Brendan Fairclough and Jono Jones both managing to qualify today. Should be a right bunch of them racing Sunday. Great to see so much great UK talent still being pumped into the DH circuit each year!
The moment when you cross the line, finish your run and then trying to explain where it all went wrong. Not everyone makes it through to race runs, the times are tight and the tracks are fast, you need to be up to pace to play with the big guns.
Straight back down to the pits for full strip down and rebuild. The mechanics here run a pretty tight ship, and working with limited tools and work space at these "cross the pond" rounds don't make it any easier. Flat out as always ready for racing on Sunday.
Limited water supplies here in the pits. Hook up your water when you can, or miss out if you are too late.
Videotron on board this round to help out with everything you need, race times, chill out areas, tunes pumping and beers in the media centre fridge!
Plenty of bike washing going on these past couple of days, but with Muc Off on site to help with jet washes it was much easier than using a bucket and sponge.