7.6.2009 Despite excellent preparation for one of the toughest downhill courses on the World Cup circuit, Trek World Racing suffered an extraordinary run of bad luck which saw all three riders crash in yesterday's qualifying, and then Tracy Moseley crashed while leading in the women's final today. Fort William (SCO) is a World Cup classic and is a course that tends to bite back if the riders push a little too hard, and in all 4 crashes, this seemed to be net result as all team riders were gunning for top results.
Some rain just prior to qualifying yesterday slicked up a new section of the track and caught out Tracy Moseley (GBR) as she dabbed her front brake and went down in the woods. Landing on her back and struggling to get back on the bike, the loss of 10 seconds meant 3rd place at 8 seconds behind Sabrina Jonnier (FRA). Justin Leov (NZL) attacked out of the start house but just 15 seconds into his run, clipped a pedal on a rock, and this bent it upwards towards the crank arm making the bike nearly impossible to pedal. He tried to continue but lost control on one of the boardwalk sections and came down hard and fast, bruising his knee badly. A crash sequence can be seen here: http://dirtmag.co.uk/worldcup/category/News/gratuitous-crash-sequence/dirt-1235185.html
Lastly, Andrew Neethling (RSA) who hasn't had much luck at Fort William over the years, was attacking with his weight forward in the high speed rocky top section, when he washed a little off line and hit a rock, throwing him over the handlebars. On pace for a top 10 run, the fall took the wind out of his sails and the end result was 52nd. Justin failed to finish but as both riders are world top 20, they're protected and get to start with the lead riders in the final.
Finals saw Tracy amped to take on Sabrina's qualifying time, but another small error saw Tracy crash in an area of the course where momentum is key, and the Brit lost valuable time in front of a home crowd, ending up in 7th, but still retaining 2nd place in the overall standings. Andrew had a run with a few small mistakes but in general he wasn't attacking as much as was needed; all the top riders stepped it up in the dry conditions for today's final. His final result was 37th. Justin, despite smacking his knee the day before, put in a solid run for 11th place but felt he wasn't really firing on all cylinders.
Justin said: "I think not being able to do my qualifier like everyone else yesterday just made me feel under prepared today. After I finished the final I was pretty bummed to see I'd only done a 4.48 when I was going for a 4.43. If I'd been allowed to go and do another run, I think I would have felt I was caught up and competitive. I'm pretty disappointed to drop a place in the overall to 7th, but I'm pretty close to 6th so it's not all bad."
Tracy said: "Not a good week I'm afraid. Sabrina rode impressively this weekend and I just messed up 2 corners in 2 races, something I've never done here. The weird thing is that both crashes don't really make much sense to me, in that there is no obvious cause other than possibly a little too much speed. Maribor in two weeks will be an important race and I'll work on my corner speed and braking points during the training sessions and try to get that all sorted before the points get handed out!"
Andrew said: "I tried approaching this weekend with a much more positive attitude and even though I've never done really well here, there's nothing stopping me from getting a result. I felt fast in training and the races, but the crash in qualifying was totally out of the blue. I need to regroup before Maribor and focus on what needs to get done, mentally."
1. Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) – 5m 17.65secs
2. Emmeline Ragot (FRA) – 5m 26.67secs
3. Celine Gros (FRA) – 5m 30.60secs
4. Floriane Pugin (FRA) – 5m 31.35secs
5. Nicole Myriam (FRA) – 5m 31.75secs
6. Mio Suemasa (JPN) – 5m 32.84secs
7. Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) – 5m 33.16secs
1. Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) – 892 pts
2. Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) – 750 pts
3. Emmeline Ragot (FRA) – 725 pts
4. Nicole Myriam (FRA) – 496 pts
5. Floriane Pugin (FRA) – 439 pts
1. Greg Minnaar (RSA) – 4m 38.98secs
2. Sam Hill (AUS) – 4m 40.43secs
3. Sam Blenkinsop (NZL) – 4m 41.85secs
4. Gee Atherton (GBR) – 4m 41.97secs
5. Mick Hannah (AUS) – 4m 43.13secs
11. Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) – 4m 48.33secs
37. Andrew Neethling (Trek World Racing) – 4m 55.61secs
1. Steve Peat (GBR) – 762 pts
2. Greg Minnaar (RSA) – 758 pts
3. Gee Atherton (GBR) – 657 pts
4. Mick Hannah (AUS) – 652 pts
5. Sam Hill (AUS) – 607 pts
6. Sam Blenkinsop (NZL) – 406 pts
7. Justin Leov (Trek World Racing ) – 386 pts
11. Andrew Neethling (Trek World Racing) – 298 pts
1. Santa Cruz Syndicate – 329 pts
2. Trek World Racing – 269 pts
3. GT Bicycles – 191 pts
4. Maxxis Rocky Mountain – 181 pts
5. Yeti Fox Shox Factory Team – 164 pts
The next World Cup event is the Downhill Round 5 in 2 weeks in Maribor (SLO), and next week Andrew and Justin will be racing the Wheels of Speed in Willingen, Germany.
Check in during the coming week for the video release on the team web site: