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Day 5 - Downhill Finals


Aaron Gwin hikes back up the course in practice at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Gwin is a genuinely humble guy who takes racing pretty seriously. On Saturday's short practice, he hiked back up to try a section over again, searching for the perfect line.

Marc Beaumont testing traction in the morning s practice before the final.
  Marc Beaumont testing traction in the morning's practice before the final.

Mick Hannah gives it one last practice run through the gulley at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Both Hannah's had great day's racing. Here, Mick gives it one last practice run through the gulley.

As riders exit the gulley the only things on their mind is the 3 massive tables up ahead. Robin Wallner gives them the stare down at full speed - hands off the brakes.
  As riders exit the gulley, the only things on their mind is the 3 massive tables up ahead. Robin Wallner gives them the stare down at full speed - hands off the brakes.

Robin Wallner of Sweden boosting big on the tables at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Robin Wallner of Sweden boosting big on the tables.


Steve Smith gets ready to do Canada proud with a 5th place podium finish at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Steve Smith gets ready to do Canada proud with a 5th place podium finish.

Damian Smith of Yeti uses a spare DT hub to added a little extra pressure onto the tape job on Eliot Jackson s race jersey at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Damian Smith of Yeti uses a spare DT hub to add a little extra pressure onto the tape job on Eliot Jackson's race jersey.

Mark Fitzsimmons relishes his ability to enjoy the luxury of a cup of coffee in the Fox Racing Shox Pit race day morning at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  The Fox Racing Shox pits were surprisingly quiet this morning.

bigquotesEverything's pretty dialed. We'll likely have a few minor tweaks after the practice but the fact our pit is so quiet is a sign that we've done our job. - Mark Fitzsimmons, relishing his ability to enjoy the luxury of a cup of coffee in the Fox Racing Shox Pit race day morning.

Danny Hart s mechanic had this selection of Schwalbe tires in case the looming clouds again drenched the track Vertstar Hans Dampf Dirty Dan full spike and a Muddy Mary in case it got wet but not drenched.
  A lot of talk--maybe too much--has been focused on cutting tires for this track. But there is no other track on the World Cup this year that offers the extremes in traction that this track can have: in the baking heat, you want as fast a rolling tire in the rear as you can get for the hard packed surface and the pedal section. In the event of rain, the high clay content demands the traction that only spikes can offer. Danny Hart's mechanic had this selection of Schwalbe rubber in case the looming clouds again drenched the track: Vertstar Hans Dampf, Dirty Dan full spike, and a Muddy Mary in case it got wet but not drenched.

Cedric Gracia getting a little extra grip on his thumb shifter courtesy of some sandpaper and a dab of super glue.
  CG getting a little extra grip on his thumb shifter, courtesy of some sandpaper and a dab of super glue.

Unfortunately for Nigel he s going to have to wear these lucky socks every Sunday for the rest of the season.
  Unfortunately for Nigel, he's going to have to wear these lucky socks every Sunday for the rest of the season.

Pre-race chill down takes many forms. Some like Patick Thome of Lapierre International find a quiet spot and chill.
  Pre-race chill down takes many forms. Some, like Patick Thome of Lapierre International, find a quiet spot and chill.

Others like TRoy Brosnan need a distraction. Like Mad Skills Motocross.
  Others, like Troy Brosnan, need a distraction. Like Mad Skills Motocross.

Cedric Gracia drops into his own little world before heading to the shuttles and a fantastic 10th place finish. The Entertainer s still got it
  CG drops into his own little world before heading to the shuttles and a fantastic 10th place finish. The Entertainer's still got it!

Trackside vendors had EVERYTHING for sale beer soda bbq coffee and ice cream
  Trackside vendors had EVERYTHING for sale: beer, soda, bbq, coffee, and ice cream

Jill Kintner scored her first World Cup DH podium ever with a 4th place at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Jill Kintner had a great weekend here in Africa. After paying $1850 just to get their team bikes here from Australia, she scored her first World Cup DH podium ever with a 4th place. Great job, Jill!


Manon Carpenter had a break through performance today taking second behind Tracey Hannah at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Manon Carpenter had a breakthrough performance today, taking second behind Tracey Hannah.

Tracey Hannah picking right back up where she left off with a win at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Back at last! Tracey Hannah picking right back up where she left off when she stepped away from competitive bike racing.

Tracey Hannah almost threw it all away on the last step down when she dumped the front end a bit too much.
  Tracey Hannah almost threw it all away on the last step down when she dumped the front end a bit too much.

Loic Bruni of Lapierre coming home as the fastest junior at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH. And placing 27th overall.
  Loic Bruni of Lapierre grew up with a racing in his blood--his father was a well known French DH racer. Now young Bruni appears to be poised to make his own mark, coming home as the fastest junior. And placing 27th overall.

Brook MacDonald was a bit more wary during his race run of going full tilt off the hip where he crashed during qualifying opting to scrub the lip a bit instead.
  Brook MacDonald was a bit more wary during his race run of going full tilt off the hip where he crashed during qualifying, opting to scrub the lip a bit instead.

Brook Macdonald flies through the crowd at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Brook Macdonald flies through the crowd.


Cedric Gracia throwing down the style at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  CG throwing down the style.

Mick Sik Mik Hannah was making a run at joining his sister atop the podium at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Sik Mik was making a run at joining his sister atop the podium, and he looked like he had it locked down until first Gwin, then Minnaar came down behind him.


Aaron Gwin was an inch or two short this week but was stoked on a second place. Will he return to his dominating ways in Italy at the next World Cup Only time will tell.
  Aaron Gwin was an inch or two short this week, but was stoked on a second place. Will he return to his dominating ways in Italy at the next World Cup? Only time will tell.

Aaron Gwin on his way to 2nd place at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Gwin had an amazing run, but it wasn't enough to hold off Minnaar's sensational charge down the track here in Pietermaritzburg.

Greg Minnaar made up over 2 seconds in the last sections of the track at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH
  Greg Minnaar was the man of the week as he somehow managed to make up over 2 seconds in the last sections of the track in front of a delirious home crowd.

Greg Minnaar crossing the finish line at the 2012 UCI World Cup DH in Pietermaritzburg as captured by Oakley s Steve Blick.
  Greg Minnaar crossing the finish line at the 2012 UCI World Cup DH in Pietermaritzburg as captured by Oakley's Steve Blick
.

Greg Minnaar crosses the finish line at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH as shot by Steve Blick
  ..and the actual photo from Blicks phone.

Soak it in Greg. You earned it this week.
  Soak it in, Greg. You earned it this week.

An amazing win for Greg Minnaar at the Pietermaritzburg UCI World Cup DH 2 seconds down at split one 1 second down at split two and then a half second up at the end

hey Rob maybe next week you can choose somewhere else to pee On the hill behind the podium was probably not the best place
  Rob Warner, watering the plants...



Photos and words by Colin Meagher and Fraser Britton (with a little help from Steve Blick)





116 Comments

  • + 73
 Its BS that there are no world cup races on the west coast of Canada.........whistler crankworx would be a perfect venue!!!!
  • + 6
 hope they broadcast it that would be perfect for them, makes sense with red bull joyride and all..
  • + 116
 Maybe buts its even more BS that's there's no world cup race in Australia or New Zealand considering how theres always a half dozen or so kiwis and aussies in the top 20 riders.
  • + 9
 I don't think choosing a world cup venue has anything to do with how many pro riders there are in your country.
  • + 11
 ya but mountain biking was brought to so much of a higher level in western canada. as for having a world cup at crank works they wouldnt really be able to since canada open is there and along with all of the other events and some world cup race teams go just take a break and watch.
  • + 8
 I think the exotic locations are one of the best parts about WC
  • + 34
 yea New Zealand and australia would be a good place, even Gee Atherton said qweenstown in NZ would be a good place for it Smile
  • + 21
 The more World Cup stops, the better. I hope it heads that way.
  • + 1
 Do you remember when they had a UCI World Cup at COP in Calgary....I am still have no idea how that happened! If we could get it.......
  • + 6
 You are all forgetting the location has to pay to hold the event ! The UCI gets the money, the UCI don't pay the hosts, remember that....
  • + 12
 The fact that NZ has so many wc riders that do well is not the reason we should have a worldcup. The real reason is that according to so many top level riders we have some of the best tracks in the world.
  • + 2
 theres even a track called "world cup" in queenstown on the skyline gondola track system and trust me it is definatly of world cup stature!! make the most of it!!
  • + 4
 I agree with OP, North America has some prime locations for races. But whistler already has cankworx with its own big races. Seems a bit boring unless they have another WC capable track apart from the canadian national track
  • + 0
 The shocking thing is that there was only 1 Canadian rider who raced on Sunday. With a turn out like that, why should the UCI have another World Cup in North America when Auz and New Zealand have a better turn out
  • + 3
 Point well made, Gee did say nz had tracks rivaling wc courses. Have one there then
  • + 2
 atleast there still are DH world cups, I wish 4x was still going with UCI
  • + 3
 forget a worldcup in whistler, why not bring it to golden bc! where they had the mount 7 psychosis race!
  • - 3
 no offense, but you are all wrong. If anywhere deserves it, its Wales. Sure we don't have any fancy chairlifts, but at least there arn't any bloody Americans here.
  • + 2
 since when did everyone become a event organizer? Its a growing sport meaning there's talent all over the world, sure you all want a World Cup in your hometown and who bikes that wouldnt? my point is there could be world cups all over and it makes sense expanding the series with added rounds and with loacations that have a huge fan base (ex queenstown). and @L0rdTom, that comments stupid why would americans want to go to Wales now? that clearly doesn't help your situation any more
  • + 1
 There needs to be more big races too bad dh1 didn't give it a go. The sport is blowing up but there are hardly any big races. They need to have at least three or four stops at each continent to make it efficient for the teams, have about 12 or 14 races a year. Now we have to wait till June, thats too long.
  • + 1
 ^ Nah man it isn't the stops that makes it worth it for the teams at all. The more travelling, the more expenses for them. What I'm hoping for are a couple more spots, which will lead to way more involvement and that will in turn, in a perfect world, lead to bigger purses. That's what's needed to make it worth it.
  • + 1
 Yea what taane said x2
  • + 2
 I agree golden would be prime
[Reply]
  • + 37
 I know someone got Harts HUGE whip on camera somewhere! Oh and did anyone else catch Warner saying "he went down faster than a french breast implant"?! That had me near tears. lol
  • + 1
 yea i remember that!
[Reply]
  • + 39
 Cant wait to Val Di Sole! There was such great racing today. Great to see Jared Graves and Mick Hannah up there again!
  • + 11
 CG is boss
  • + 1
 you reference to CG as being boss... is boss Wink . CG's still got it after all these years!
[Reply]
  • + 25
 I know there was some complaining about the coverage on here, consider it lucky that there is any coverage at all. I have ridden moto most of my life and the in the late 70's early 80's the USGP from Carlsbad was on t.v 6 months after the event. In the late 80's, early 90's we had to wait weeks before we could see the last race, and sometimes that was at 2 in the morning. It's only been the last couple of years that Supercross/Motocross has gotten live coverage. It's been around longer than downhill mountain bike racing, and has a bigger following.
Could it be better? Of course, but downhill is still a pretty small demographic of the people who ride mountain bikes. So to have live coverage of a downhill event is pretty bad ass.
  • + 6
 Amen! If anything, I noticed this coverage was more aimed at people a little less familiar with the sport...which is a good thing.
[Reply]
  • + 19
 That was some mighty fine racing!!! Can't wait till the next one!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Thankful for the free coverage even thought it had it's problems. Still awesome. Looking forward to the next race,
  • + 3
 Absolutely it seemed easier to find and watch then previous year's coverage. I am stoked to watch it all this year.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 now that PMB is in the bag, im so looking forward for val di sole!! i hope Sam Hill will get a REDEMPTION win there!! go SAM HILL!! excellent round 1 results by the way - Mick Hannah, Jared Graves, and ole man GRACIA in the top 10!!
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Rob's a champ!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I was there and close to the action and yip Danny's whip at the 'The Moneymaker' was massive and CG had enough style to donate to 100 of us. But at the end of the day whips and style didnt cut it and a MASSIVE big up to Greg who had to make up 2 seconds at the first split, thats racing!! Not enough CREDIT given to the winner. Must also say that the crowed went off tits when Greg came through in style!! What a brilliant day of racing!! PMB YOU ROCK!!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I expected there to be more camera coverage now that Red Bull were on board... Slightly disappointed! Like @adamwoodhouse said there wasn't anything of the tables or the pedal section... I know that sounds boring but it much be awesome to see the guys power through that section!
  • + 15
 As far as I know the actual coverage doesn't have much to do with Red Bull, and more to do with the TV crew that the UCI hires to shoot the events. Red Bull simply broadcasts the existing feed and provides commentary etc. Probably a budget issue with the cost of bringing all the gear and people all the way to South Africa for just one event.
  • + 28
 I don't know about you, but I got my money's worth. Cheers Red Bull - the feed was much more stable and better quality to boot!
  • + 6
 I enjoyed it. Excellent eating my breakfast while watching WC coverage. Agree- Cheers Redbull, no complaints here.
  • + 1
 The coverage last year at least had sections in the middle covered. I reckon if there were similar amount of cameras on the track due to UCI funding it, then its just they didn't bother walking up. Lift to the top and set up, walk up from the bottom and set up. Last year there were some gnarly shots of the gulley that leads into the first massive tables.
  • + 2
 No complaints as such, for free coverage it was excellent despite the technical issues & it's great Warner is still doing the commentary. But it did seem odd that there were several camera angles of each of the top and bottom sections but not a single one of the middle.
  • + 1
 there isnt much too see in the middle..just pedaling and there isnt enough time to fit it in between riders.. they way they did it here works best for watching... but that will proobably change for each round
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Good work redbull on hosting the video, it was great for free! No complaints here I just hope there are more people happy for Greg to win rather than hear 'GWINNING' again.... he came second this time round, haters gonna hate
  • + 7
 No hate (see the flag of my country)...that was absolutely amazing to watch Minnaar just getting willed down the hill by the home crowd. Anybody that saw that and didn't get goose-bumps needs to get their pulse checked. That was off the hook!!!
  • + 1
 Greg also seems like such a cool guy in his interviews and stuff. How could you not be stoked! I'd love to see some more wins from him this season.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Stoked by the number of Aussies in the top 20! Yew!!
  • + 1
 Hell yeah! This will be a great year for us, I can just feel it.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Lovin' those lucky socks!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I was a bit disappointed we weren't watching the full runs - really wanted to see the Tables. But it was very cool of RB to broadcast it through various other sites other than just their own. Also surprised there wasn't the inflatable RB arch at the end or start.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 No-one else think this track is terrible? World Cup level DH tracks should not be of such limited technical features that you could ride it on a hardtail. Surely SA has better than two rock gardens to offer.

Deffo agree with NZ folks - get the WC to Queenstown!
  • + 1
 I was thinking the same, I'm crap rider and even I could do this track, its more of a freeride track
  • + 0
 I hear you, but it's certainly not a bad thing for the sport to bring the fitness element in. Half the reason BCF/UCI haven't pumped money into DH until recently is because they see us as unfit thrill seekers, not athletes.

& if you can get down that track as fast as the big boys on a hardtail, hats off to you. Smile
  • + 1
 haha i didn't say i could hit it as fast as them on a HT but i'd be interested to see Peaty have a go
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Really, nothing about the privateer that held the hot seat until the fastest 10 guys came down? Guy had an amazing run and was faster than most everyone else out there and he doesn't even get a mention?
  • + 1
 Totally agree, Camellini was amazing! I was (secretly) hoping he would win just to really shake things up...
  • + 1
 Nothing about him? Check the race report here
[Reply]
  • + 5
 BOTTOM LINE!!!! These Shots ARE SICK!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Man, what a weekend & what a privilege it was to be there in the flesh watching these athletes SHRED.

Minnaar you beauty, took some huge BMT to lay that run down and make up the time lost in the 1st sector.
  • + 1
 Dude was awesome hey!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Really stoked that the coverage of these events has been improving! More camera angles (especially including those huge tables) would have been nice, but nice going nonetheless!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 woohoo! Congratulations Steve Smith and thanks for making us (Canadians) proud again! KUDOS! ride on!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Excellent photos and what a race!!! Lots of surprises as well as the high-drama - too many to recall. Gutted for Jill - she had a top-3 if she didn't have that bobble. Bryn will be a protected rider next race since he's ranked 20th - good return to the pack for him! Only 11 weeks before Rd.2 in Val di Sole and the WC season hits its stride. I guess I'll go for a ride or 30 in the meantime.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Great Photography!!!!! I was able to watch the live telly cast yesterday on Red bull TV Big Grin , super amazing you all came through with live feed. Fantastic job and Thanks to all sponsors, mechanics, riders, workers, fans and Earth for the great terrain she provides us!!!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I liked Red Bull's coverage and am looking forward to it all year.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 when i watched the replay it didn't show the three big table tops?? does anyone know why???
  • + 9
 rumor has it the TV crew only brought about half their gear and crew to South Africa, but whatever the reason there weren't a lot of cameras on the course, and none on the jumps...
  • - 2
 The race has 1 minute intervals, and the run is 4 minutes. You do the maths
  • + 1
 you ever seen the movie 3 minute gaps??......
  • + 1
 QUICK! TO THE TIME MACHINE!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Loved watching it , brill , even with a few tech hitches ...Warner and co do a great job with the commentary , looking forward to the next one :0)
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I wonder what CG threw off those big tables?
  • + 3
 On the broadcast they said he did "A huge one footer"
  • + 3
 not on his race run though.two big table tops on the bottom section though,CG style Wink
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Are Red Bull only going to be covering the top 30 male elite live every race?
  • + 1
 Top-10 women and top-30 men. Aside from that, I'm not sure if/when they have highlights of the other 60 riders.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Good Stuff CG!! Better if there is a photo on the big air jumps!!
  • - 1
 check the vitalmtb-slideshow
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I want one of those socks!!! Big Grin
Does anyone know where can I get them??? Big Grin
[Reply]
  • - 1
 I want all the guys to win, but there can only be one winner. It's hard because one guy does well and I get happy for him, then another guy I want to do well has a bad race. Let's be PC and make everyone a winner!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 man how does CG kill it on a single crown racing downhill ..must be all that skill Helmet
  • + 1
 The single crown is on his trainer, he rode a proper DH bike in the race...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 @ ianhighlands^^ nice,i stated to think that was his getting around bike after i posted that. sick shots guys Camera
[Reply]
  • + 1
 minaar seems to be looking very lean compared to years past. Brosnan..that kid is amazing @ carrying speed.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 DId anyone else notice that Warner seemed a bit censored and didnt say as many of his one liners as usual?
  • + 1
 yeah there definitely weren't as many warnerisms this time, apart from the breast implant one Wink
  • + 1
 Most of those are during the earlier runs prior to the big guns...and he's normally pretty liquored-up which, I believe, he's not at liberties to do while working for Red Bull. Regardless, I like the job he did - despite the technical difficulties.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 You all think to much! Go ride your bikes if you wanna know whats to know about mountain biking - in any form. ;-)
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Why I never seen a black guy rading a DH bike?
I think they would be the best of the best!!
Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods, Obama, Martin Luther King, remember?
Just wonder...
  • + 13
 erm, Eliot Jackson on Yeti...
  • + 1
 I have wondered this before, not just at WC level but at national races in the UK etc. DH is surprisingly unrepresented with any minorities really.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It was niklas wallner in the first photo at least and not Robin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Terrific pics, and great coverage again PB.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 why does Robin Wallner have 2 different number plates?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Fraser= likes to watch urination...?
  • + 1
 Being in South Africa, he may have thought Rob was a gorilla? That's MY rationalization. Smile
  • + 2
 Ian changed my caption... warner was pissing directly next to the podium... at about head level. Only warner.
  • + 1
 He must have slammed quite a few once he put the headset down - hahaha!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 how come there were no pics of Danny's whip?!?!?!
  • + 1
 Dirt Tv have a good clip of it in their race day video.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I want one of those socks! Big Grin
where can i get them??? Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Really nice race..!!..
[Reply]
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