What wilder way to close down the season of UCI DH racing than with the World Champs on the circuit’s steepest course?
First raced in 2013, Vallnord’s 2.5km World Cup/Champs track instantly leapt to legendary status with its vertical gradient and lack of pedalling. It’s what downhill racers are searching at every event, and it is sure to make for one of the most exciting Champs of recent times by finals this Sunday 7 September.
A run down Vallnord World Champs track on my GoPro. Sorry for the Spanish strong language, I thought I was going to die when someone crossed in front after a jump.
Posted by Cesar Rojo.
Cesar Rojo riding the Andorra World Champs track.
As you can see from Cesar Rojo’s headcam – filmed during Master’s World Champs (that he won!) last week – things start off easy(ish) with mellow gradient and fast turns through the trees before plunging off the side of the mountain and into absolute chaos. Strong brakes, hero riding and technical riding prowess are key to winning here.
Note: As Philip Gray mentioned on our Facebook page, “Worth noting this was the masters track, the worlds track wont have the middle rock garden before the 1st clear cut , in it’s place a large set of 3 doubles.”
In 2013 Commencal’s (the Andorran firm famously based just a couple of minutes up the road from the finish line) Remi Thirion was seen working closely with suspension firm BOS during practice to get the ultimate suspension setup – his preparations counting for his first ever podium and win. With the weather forecast as changeable with heavy showers all week, setup is going to be even more important this time around, and although the soil here holds well with water it can get mighty greasy mighty quick.
The course is mostly the same as the 2013 event (video here) – with a sprinkling of fresh and the odd new jump thrown into the mix. With Gwin, Atherton and Greenland riding high off their dominant seasons in Men’s, Women’s and Junior, and the likes of Troy Brosnan pushing the limits at the moment we are on the edge of our seat in anticipation for this one.