Former World and World Cup champion Manon Carpenter, 24, has announced her retirement from World Cup downhill racing.
Manon first started racing at her father’s Dragon Downhill events in the early 2000s before moving on to World Cups as a junior in 2010. She was soon picked up by the Madison Saracen team and was picking up podiums by 2012 in her first senior year.
In 2014 she enjoyed her most successful year with three World Cup wins, a World Cup overall title and a World Championships win. She continued to be a major podium threat until this day.
At the start of the year she signed with Radon Factory Racing to continue her career alongside starting a degree at university. However she today announced she was stepping back from the upper echelons of the sport.
This from Manon: “The decision for me to withdraw from racing has come about quickly, but the reasons have been there for a while. Over the races this year I’ve been finding it harder to face up to difficult situations – high consequence sections or changing conditions – and during National Champs weekend I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t want to take the risks involved with racing at 100% anymore.
“Racing Downhill is gnarly and you have to have the confidence to commit to whatever is put in front of you, whereas I’ve become more aware of the consequences of crashing and, as much as I’ve tried to put this out of my head, it’s stopped me from enjoying racing as I would like to. I’ve had everything I needed to prepare myself as best I could for racing this year with a great bike, sponsors and support from Radon Factory DH Team.
“Everyone has put their best efforts into helping me and I wanted to finish the season with Radon, as I know I made commitments to them, but quickly realised that World Cup racing isn’t something I should force myself into if my head isn’t in it.
“Racing on the World Cup circuit has been an amazing and unexpected opportunity for me. After racing as a Junior years ago I set out to race in Elite for a year to see what I could do before starting Uni, but my first season showed promise and everything else went on hold. I wanted to race until I got as far as I could, or until I injured myself, so I’m happy to have made it this far relatively in one piece!
“There have been some huge highlights and I feel like I’ve given as much as I had, now I’m looking forward to having time to enjoy riding at home and to see what else there is for me to do. I’m very grateful to everyone who has followed, supported and believed in me over the years of racing and to those who have been supportive of this decision so far.”
We wish Manon all the best in her future endeavours. She’s been an asset to downhill racing and was a truly phenomenal racer – there will be a big hole in the women’s field without her presence. We hope to see her battling it out at the BDS and other races in future.
More to follow