Sectors 3 & 4
Out of the woods and onto the open pedalling and jump sections. The beating the track handed out to the riders was starting to tell on some. Not Adam Brayton though, at least to start with. He proved his qualifying and wild top section was no fluke by going fastest in sector 3. However, moving into the start of the motorway he gave away that time, going only 20th fastest time in Sector 4 but he was still holding onto third spot, albeit just a quarter of a second from Aaron Gwin.
Troy Brosnan showed that although not the biggest racer on the circuit, he puts out some serious power by going fastest in Sector 4, and also easily going fastest through the speed trap – the only rider over 60kph with 61.989kph (38.5mph). Sector 4 was also where Danny Hart started to fade slightly. He was only 13th fastest and gave away 1.5 seconds in the sector. Still, with only 30 seconds to go, and a gap of nearly a second to 3rd place, he looked fairly safe in second at this point at least…
Overall, the top five remained unchanged, with the only movement being Aaron Gwin hopping over Laurie Greenland into fourth place. Greg Minnaar was just incredibly consistent, going second fastest on both sectors and pulling out another two seconds over Danny Hart in the process.
The final push. Seemingly just a few smooth jumps into the finish but after such a punishing track, it is far from the truth. This was where the pedalling specialists came out. Mick Hannah went fastest and managed to move himself up from 31st at split 4 to 23rd and, after his power packed debut in Geek Stats in the final pedal section at Cairns, Graeme Mudd made it two pedal efforts in a row, going third fastest on the final sector, moving him up from 32nd at split 4 to 24th overall. Splitting these two was another Antipodean powerhouse – Brook Macdonald. As we’ll see, we recovered from a relatively slow start to finish very strongly indeed.
For those in the hunt for the win, Gwin went fastest but less than half a second faster than Minnaar who had more than enough to take home the win with the sixth fastest final pedal. The most surprising result was Danny Hart who gave up nearly 2 seconds in sector 5 – only 47th fastest. With Adam Brayton only going 19th fastest in the final motorway section, Aaron Gwin was able to sneak into second place in the final 30 seconds of the race, and add a few more points to his domination of the overall after three rounds.