With two days of rain and then overnight storms in the lead into finals the track was never going to be dry. The slick mud from qualifying and practice would be the same defining factor in the race and it was up to riders to find that slim line between guaranteed traction and pace.
This was a big day for the Aussie Juniors, a home crowd presence and the chance to put something on the board. The big showing of the day was of course Aiden Varley who managed to not only back up his Pietermartizburg result but go even higher on the podium, finishing in a solid second. Beaten only my Loris Vergier, the final big spot taken out by Neil Stewart in third. The rest of the Aussie field was less lucky with crashes upsetting some solid runs.
The Aussie presence was not lost in the womens field either with Tegan Molloy retaining the leaders jersey in juniors and Danni Beecroft going on to a 14th in Elite Women. Rachel Atherton of course took home the win in Elite Women and it was once again in dominating fashion with twelve seconds over second placed Manon Carpenter. Third and fourth were a french affair with Myriam Nicole and Emmeline Ragot taking the honours with the final podium place going to local Tracey Hannah.
Treading that fine line between staying upright and holding top speed, Gee Atherton sealed his first win of the season with almost five seconds on Josh Bryceland. Bryceland and third place Neko Mulally both looking prime for future wins, after a few minor mistakes and a slide out saw both still achieve podiums. First round winner Aaron Gwin slotted into fourth, keeping his overall dreams alive whilst Sam Hill returned to the podium clearly enjoying the support from the crowd.
Full results : HERE
Jackson Davis keeps his steed clean on his way through the pits.
Sam Hills Nukeproof gets a final once over.Loris Vergier
Dan Booker threads the needle
Kodie Love is a wild child but today he was more of a mudman
Jackson Davis didn’t exactly have an ideal run crashing on his head and ripping off his visor, he finished his run as a conehead. 15th for Jackson today.
It was a tough weekend for Dean Lucas but there is certainly more still to come from this young gun
Jack Moir hard on the pedals here, spent alot of time in the hotseat to finish a career best in 11th.
Mick Hannah will be a little disappointed he was unable to podium at his home race. Was it the pressure he put on himself, was it just bad luck ? We will never know.
A great many eyes were on Danny Hart with many expecting a repeat performance of his Champery World Champs win, but it just wasn’t to be this weekend finishing up in 21st.
Dave McMillan is learning fast, qualifying yet again. Hopefully we will see him OS once again this season.
Fan favourite Chris Kovarik finds the straightest line
Wyn Masters kept it mostly upright to a 35th.
Brendan Fairclough will be lamenting a lost opportunity after a solid qualifier 23rd today.
Graeme “Muddy” Mudd is a bloody legend. Playing a smart game, maintaining grip and putting the power down when it counted to a 29th. Holding the hot seat for an extended amount of time, not bad with all of about a month aboard his new steed.
Aussie import Claire Buchar finishes in a sunny 10th
Manon Carpenter keeps things consistent with a second
Rachel Atherton scouts some final lines and then dials them in.
Eyes shut and still manages the win….
Steve Peat got lucky when a spectator got unlucky. After a shocker of a first run, Peat was given a re run when a spectator rode off on Adam Braytons bike after he crashed out and then proceeded to crash helmetless. Spectator in hospital. Peat went onto 7th.
Eddie Masters was unable to pull off his feat from the previous day but still put down a decent result with a 26th.
With a new Specialized rig on the way apparently next round, Brosnan put together a quick run on this hybrid to take home 9th.
Comparisons were being made to Champery and Sam did his best to live up to them. 5th for Hill a strong podium showing going into FT Bill where he’s won before.
It’s simple Gee Atherton played the game and won, on borrowed shoes no less. I wonder if he will give them back..
A mistake and an out of track experience cost Greg Minnaar today. A solid run dashed and replaced with a disqualification.
Neko Mulally was definitely the peoples choice for rider of the day, a third place and podium with a slide out, you have to wonder if things had been different had he kept it upright the whole way. A win in the bag for Atherton and Gwin scraping into fourth will do wonders for Gee’s World Cup overall campaign.