Thursday, September 10, 2009
Well the world champs are over for another year. Here is my run down of an amazing week.
After my first day's practice I had the first of and hopefully what will become and annual event, the pumptrack world champs. It was held in the backyard of local bike shop owner Gazza, where he had made the most of the little space he has and built a really tight pumptrack. This was an underground event as the yard could only hold a maximum of 200 odd people so it was invite only and with Northland boy James on the gate uninvited had no chance of getting in. By the time qualifying was about to kick the yard was packed out with people the BBQ was sizzling and the majority of the crowd was enjoying a few cold ones. Many of the top World Cup riders showed up to give it a go, there was the likes of Minnaar, Peaty, Bryceland, Lopes, Kovarik, Fairclough just to mention a few all there battling it out with the locals.
My qualifying run went amazing, this was the first time I've ever tried this form of racing and I surprised myself how well I went. Even though there was a no pedaling rule you still got up a huge amount of speed up and it became really hard not to make a bobble on a turn or in the rollers. Many riders took advantage of the rerun rule after crashing out, I went pretty well out there reppin it up and qualifed in 2nd place. No surprises with the fastest qualifying time going to Brendan Fairclough as he is certainly no stranger to a pump track with one in his own backyard in Guildford, with Sick Mick Hannah taking 3rd.
By the time finals rolled round the crowd was amped and they cut the finals to only the 15 best riders which made so some tough competition and for finals there was no reruns so there was only one chance. Many of the first few riders felt the pressure and made mistakes or simply crashed out. I was the second last to take the course and was going well well and increasing my speed through every lap. Unfortunately on my second last lap, my back wheel slid out and rebounded off the fence and spun me around. All I could do is kiss the $2500 prize money away . Brendan Fairclough was robbed of the win after his pedal disconnected the timing in his super quick first run and he was forced to do another one when he was already tired. Sick Mick Hannah took the fastest time and the 2 n half grand that went with it, in front of local hero Timmy Eaton taking home 1000-bucks and 3rd went to another local Dave McMillan who put down an amazingly fast time for a 15 year old kid certainly deserving of the 500 dollars cash prize money.
So what a way to kick off the Worlds week, thanks to all who made this event happen, and all the awesome sponsors who put together an awesome amount of prize money, and cheers to Gazza for putting it on in his own backyard. Hopefully someone continues it on next year at Mt Saint Anne Worlds!
Now for the reason why we were all in Canberra. It was great to wear the green and gold again and being back home after my season overseas. Everything went great during the week. My runs were fine although I did have a crash during the week and hurt my arm a bit. The aussie physio soon had that problem fixed come race day.
Canberra has never been a track I really liked but after winning the Australian champs on this track 5 or so months ago, I knew I had the chance to taking the win. I personally like fast technical tracks and although I can pedal, I often find simple tracks a little boring and I find it hard to keep the concentration going when there's nothing exciting to look forward too. On Friday I qualified 5th. Most of the aussie boys except Shaun took it easy and didn't go all out. It was a new rule that we don't have to qualify anymore, we just need to do a timed run to race. I was confident that I could increase my speed in the finals. My Aussie champs time was a 2:35.00, so I knew I could blow my timed run to bits.
The finals was on Sunday. There were so many people there and a noticed a few "I love Rhys" signs. ha ha! There is nothing better than aussie support. I was having a few problems with my shock and Sram were kind enough to help me out. I ended up having to do 3 runs to get my suspension right before the finals and thats not something i usually do. I normanlly do one run and then relax until my race run. So I made my way up the track and waited around until it was my turn. I knew Shaun would go out strong but I didn't expect him to do much faster than his timed run and I was right. Danny Hart was the other rider I was worried about and Brook MacDonald. Aari Bennett wasn't a worry this time because he broke his finger in practice. (Hope you get well soon mate). So I take off for my race run and everything went well. My Primer handled everything the track was throwing at it. Once I got to the pedal section of the track, my legs went like jelly. Maybe doing those 3 runs in practice was too much and my legs couldn't pedal properly anymore. I was .8 sec behind ay the second split and I usually come home hard. Well today wasn't my day. I didn't come home hard, I actually came home soft and lost 2 secs. I ended up coming 4th. .05 off 3rd place. It's not the result I was dreaming of but when I put everything into prospective, The top 4 junior times were not far off Steve Peats winning time, so you have to be happy about that. If I can finish 13th at Maribor world cup, then I know I can be a top ten rider in the near future.
I just want to give a shout out to my Aussie team mate Will Gower. Will crashed in his warm up run on Sunday and didn't get to ride in the finals as he was taken to hospital. Unfortunately Will broke his back and it might be the end to his DH future. Get well mate and I hope you are up and running again in no time.
Last but not least. I just want to thank my sponsors Tomac, Sram, Hicks signs, KWT Maxxis and Revolution Mag for all your support. Thanks also to my personal sponsor Unit clothing. Also thanks heaps to all the aussie crew who helped us during the week. Thanks to the physio, our mechanic and to Chris our DH manager.