The first day of practice at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and the World Cup riders hit the track for the first WC session this year.
20 ridiculously good images from the lens of Victor Lucas and Sebastian Schieck to get you pumped!
Greg Minnaar was looking strong as always in Pietermaritzburg and seems to have some special lines up on his sleeves.
Nice to see Bryn Atkinson back on track after he was out injured for complete last years season.
After his win at the National race here in Pietermaritzburg last weekend. Aaron Gwin took the first day easy and didn´t put that many runs in but was looking fast and confident.
The first couple of days it can be hard to recognize everybody with their new racing kits on. Gee and Team GT are keeping it simple in black and white. (Why's he got his phone strapped to his seat post? GPS, Contour blue tooth, or is he Tweeting mid ride?)
First World Cup in rainbow colours. Danny Hart looked keen to get some dirt under his tyres and was one of the first riders on the track today.
The conditions were dry and dusty today. Brook MacDonald blasting through.
Fastest rider in the timed training today. Like last year Cedric Gracia is pinning it in South Africa. Like! CG’s had a special jersey on display today to thank his Facebook Fan Community for their support.
Sabrina Jonnier was on the gas all practice long. Even on the long pedaling section she kept on going.
Nice and sunny morning today for the first World Cup practice session of the year.
Schwalbe brought a special First Ride version of the Hans Dampf to Pietermaritzburg that should roll much better on the flat sections and deliver enough grip for the rest of the track as well.
I'm not going to make any comments on his comedy haircut, but Josh Bryceland was pinning it back today and having fun. He started off on flat pedals to 'get a few one leggers out of my system' before getting serious... [audio:http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Josh.mp3]
It is still only day two of the new race season and the first uplift was a bit like a gang of mates that hadn't seen each other in ages... Actually that’s exactly what it was like. 'nice outfit' 'How's the new family?' 'that colour is disgusting' 'how much training you done?' that sort of thing. (Ed: or "Is that a new lens?")
Brendan Fairclough didn’t like the idea of having '29' on his back, so he went with Roman Numerals. And he has a lot of new stuff to try out this week. [audio:http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Brendan2.mp3]
Steve Peat looks fit and ready for another season. As ever he is in good form and its obvious he likes the high speed nature of this track. Certainly not a rider to ignore on Sunday. [audio:http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Steve.mp3]
Tracey Hannah is back on the World Cup circuit and she is full of enthusiasm. Motocross has been a big thing for her and she certainly doesn’t seem to be afraid to let the bike run. [audio:http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Tracy.mp3]
Lots of new things happening here for Sam Hill - new race kit, new tattoos, new carbon framed demo, hi-tech looking tubeless DT Swiss wheels, and biggest of all - a kid on the way soon. And it seems to have given him a new energy for racing and everything in general. And it is so great to see him charging out runs in practice. [audio:http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Sam-day1.mp3]
Cedric Gracia was quickest in timed runs today... You can't keep the old dogs down in this game
Danny Hart's first day on a World Cup track in the rainbows. Didn’t seem to phase him in the slightest, he was calmly getting on with business in his own way.
This time last year was the start of Aaron Gwin's winning streak that led to his first World Cup series title. He also won the national race here last week. It's no secret that this guy has been training like a maniac all winter, he loves high speed dry and dusty courses with big jumps and where strength and fitness are required... Sound like a perfect match? He is certainly the favourite here this week.
It is damn hot and muggy as hell here. Nige page was out on the course shouting at his riders and he needed this gallon of water to keep his vocal chords working. Although he told me it was actually just vodka.