Greg Minnaar puts his Maribor demons to rest as he takes a mighty win in the sloppy Slovenian slopes
1./ Greg Minnaar 3.23.42
2./ Gee Atherton 3.23.67
3./ Brendan Fairclough 3.25.24
4./ Fabien Pedemanaud 3.25.84
5. Sam Hill 3.28.10
Full overall standings here.
SOUTH AFRICAN STORM AS THE MONSTERS SLIP UP.
Hanging dust was the least of riders worries here in Maribor as the World Cup series opened with challenging but utterly perfect competition riding conditions. Rain skulked around for much of the weekend but by this morning there was little doubt that it was a full mud tyre event bring with it unpredictability and a real race.
Greg Minnaar had never performed particularly brilliantly here in the past, fifth in 08, 3rd in 09 and as the semi’s came to a close it seemed that the Specialized team of Hill and Fairclough had a fair old hold on the game with the Syndicate rider nearly three down.
British star Joe Smith hogged the hot seat for some time before Gwinn and then Frenchman Fabien Pedemanuad relieved him of it. An incredible eighth place for Smith. The Scott rider was in no hurry to leave but it was Gee Atherton who finally took the top position with a commanding 3.23 run, nearly two seconds faster than his semi. Greg then beat that by a couple hundredths and in comparison to his semi was only four hundredths quicker. It was all left to the Monster boys to shut the day down.
In front of the wide screen Brendan was down on the split but not only that he made a right meal of an entry into an off camber root section almost coming to a standstill. Game over? Not quite. Brendan must have had a complete storm of the lower slopes and slipped straight into a podium place. Third was nuts in the circumstances. But a race that Brendan should have won hands down. One day.
Team-mate Hill was up on the first clock check, what else? Everyone was expecting another damaging Hill performance but the reality was a mess-up on a rain gully which sent him flying off line and almost off the podium. Fifth. He was not exactly over the moon.
Of those expecting big things, no podium for Bryceland or Steve Smith, but the Canadian came mighty close on this occasion.
An incredible day for Britain, after twenty two qualified out of eighty and then 8 out of top twenty from UK. Good work Atherton, Fairclough, Smith, Simmonds, Bryceland, Cathro, Beaumont and Hart!
For Greg it was immense. It now puts him level pegging with Hill on twelve wins each. To beat Hill on a track which the Specialized rider was a huge and very popular achievement. New bike, new season, the circus moves to the Fort where the South African has good form. Looks set to be another blaster.
Troy Brosnan, junior series leader…
…and with the leaders jersey comes the groupies.