The whole Trek Factory Racing team had been pinned in Friday’s timed practice with 1st place for Gee ( 0.659 and 0.667 seconds ahead of fellow Brits Danny Hart and Bernard Kerr) Notably, all of the top three were on 27.5 bikes causing frenzied discussion across the media and forums at this first “public” test of the 29ers…
Rachel established a huge 9.15 second gap– again the Brits showed strong with Manon Carpenter in 2nd and Tahnee Seagrave in 4th 11 seconds back. Emilie Siegenthaler was 3rd.
Young Kade Edwards was first up for qualifying in the Junior Men. Only the top 10 Juniors have a timed practice run so as this is Kade’s first year of racing World Cups qualifiers was his first “official” run of the track…it was fast, rough and dusty!
Before his run Kade said “ This track has everything I can’t wait, the wall looks gnarly, the whole thing is just amazing.” During his run he kept a cool head (Team Director Dan Brown’s chief instruction to our impetuous Junior rider!) and delivered a steady but clean run which delighted the entire team.
Junior Men Qualifying Results
1 Matt Walker Madison Saracen Factory Team 3.02.72
2 Kaos Seagrave Transition bikes/FMD Factory Racing 3.03.64
3 Finn Iles Specialized Gravity 3.04.39
4 Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 3.08.64
5 Sylvain Cougoureux Les Gets Intense Team 3.09.34
In the Women’s race Rachel rode a strong top section leading at both first and second splits but she faded towards the bottom. Still fighting off a bad cold she couldn’t quite deliver the necessary power. Fellow Brit and close neighbor in the Welsh borders Tahnee Seagrave took the win by 1.3 seconds ( 2 seconds less than her qualifying win at Lourdes last year …)
Women’s Elite Qualifying Results
1 Tahnee Seagrave Transition bikes/FMD Factory Racing 3.28.98
2 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.30.31 +1.33
3 Manon Carpenter Radon Factory Downhill team 3.31.34 +2.36
4 Tracy Hannah Polygon UR 3.31.93 +2.94
5 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 3.33.91 +4.9
In the Men’s race Gee struggled to find his flow and “rode messily from the start” it was the same for Muddy who said “Had a couple of dramas in practice this morning and missed my second run after bending a pedal at the top of track. My quali run start good but I was hunting for too much, riding quite stiff which pumped my arms up. It was so frustrating dawdling down the bottom just so I could stay on the bike. The track is quite rough now so I’m going to have to loosen up a lot tomorrow and let it hang out to be where I want to be.”
Times were pretty tight with just 1.8 seconds separating the top 5.
Plenty more in the tank for tomorrow.
Men’s Elite Qualifying Results
1 Loris Vergier Santa Cruz Syndicate 2.52.68
2 Loic Bruni Specialized Gravity 2.53.10 +0.42
3 Luca Shaw Santa Cruz Syndicate 2.53.33 + 0.645
4 Danny Hart MS Mondraker Team 2.53.99 + 1.3
5 Aaron Gwin The YT Mob 2.54.51 +1.8
12 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 2.57.05 +4.37
67 Graeme Mudd Trek Factory Racing DH 3.07.97 +15.29
Photos: Sven Martin