Kona Factory Team Australia at Mt. Taylor - VDHS Round 1

Oct 22, 2012 at 19:34
by Lewis Kerr  

The Kona Factory Team recently hit the road for the first time this season with Mt Taylor kicking off the first round of the 2012/13 Victorian DH Series, arguably the best DH series in the southern hemisphere. With new team members, new bikes and two riders hot off the world cup circuit the team was out to impress in their debut race for this year.

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Practice kicked off Saturday morning and lines soon established themselves all the way down the dry course. The rocks and slippery dust provided a challenge for the team with practice keeping the medics busy as the track was littered in carnage (luckily none of our riders though!) The designated pro practice session for Group A riders was a welcome return to the series, providing elite and U19 riders with a chance for a clean and fast practice session. Practice concluded with a team dinner on Saturday night in Bairnsdale’s 'finest pizza and pasta restaurant', but was a dinner that left a lot to be desired.

Arriving at the track on Sunday morning it became apparent that the heavy rain and wind overnight had done little to change the track with it returning back to its usual dry, dusty and rocky state within the first hour of practice. The team punched out a few early morning practice runs before retiring to the tents for rest and food prior to qualifying kicking off at 11.30am. Qualifying came and went and saw Sarah Booth qualify second fastest in elite women and 16 year old Tegan Molloy came across the line into 3rd. In elite men Connor Fearon claimed the third fastest time, while Dean Lucas and Chris Whitelock qualified in 12th and 21st respectively, putting themselves in a good head space for racing.

Photo by Rob Conroy www.theroostmag.com.au www.facebook.com KonaFactoryTeamAU

During the lunch break team managers/mechanics Ty and Lewis made sure the team’s Kona Supreme Operators were running smoothly and ensured the riders were eating and warming up properly. By the time racing came around the riders were more than ready to go give it their best, and give it their best they did. With women racing in reverse order, Sarah Booth took the hot seat as the second rider down the track and remained their for the entirety of racing. Tegan Molloy proved she is more than worthy of her position on the team and finished in a strong 3rd place, a great first outing for her new team.

All eyes were on the elite men category with qualifying times close and on a track like this anything could happen, especially with 11 of the top 15 having previously raced in World Cup events. Chris Whitelock left the gate early in racing, took the hot seat and ended up finishing 15th, a result definitely to be proud of in such competition. The final five riders were always going to be ones to watch and watching them tear the track apart was amazing. Dean Lucas crossed the line to find himself in the hot seat for a few riders, eventually finishing 4th behind eventual winner and fastest time of the day, Connor Fearon. The Kona Factory Team now leads the Elite Men and Women categories for the season, with the next race only a few weeks away.

Photo by Rob Conroy www.theroostmag.com.au www.facebook.com KonaFactoryTeamAU

Thank you to our generous sponsors; Kona, Mavic, Race Face, Maxxis, SRAM, RockShox, Avid, Adidas Eyewear, Fox Head, Contour, Evoc, Pedros, Straitline, NS Dynamics, Cane Creek, Revolution MTB Mag and Torq.

For complete results please visit www.VDHS.com.au

Photo by Rob Conroy www.theroostmag.com.au www.facebook.com KonaFactoryTeamAU
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35 Comments

  • + 38
 Big things for Kona! Personally, love their bikes.
  • + 17
 Everybody else gives Kona sh*t for having crap bikes just because they have seen a couple of their bikes break, but that was only a couple of models and they recalled them after they found a fault. Personally I agree with you. If their bikes are good enough for this team and good enough for Graham Agassiz, Fabian Barel and Tracy Mosely, then they are good enough for anyone else.
  • + 10
 It was not just a couple of models or a couple of bikes, I have cracked two 2012 operator frames in the past year and am on my third different operator courtesy of Kona's awesome lifetime warranty. Kona is a great company for many reasons, they make some pretty good bikes that come in at a lower price point than a lot of their competition, but they definitely still have some design issues to work out. I fully support Kona even though I have had some bad luck, they have always hooked me up in the end.
  • - 9
 given you could just get a demo and have no problems ever.
  • + 4
 If Specialized sold bikes at the price Kona does I would have, but seeing I bought my bike as a 21 year old college student, I chose the best bike I could afford.
  • - 9
 I don't think anybody can afford to have a frame snap on them because its a threat to health.
  • + 5
 soooooo tired of kona hating, the build is amazing for the money!!!!!!! look they have a world cup team, that bizet guy or what ever his name was, who did 4 backflips during rampage....they are riding konas!!!! they ride the same trails that every other team is riding, and rampage is just as hard on operators as it is on anything else. bad luck is bad luck, but if they dont break in rampage or the world cup circuit, they are more than strong enough for me.
  • + 0
 lets hate on specialized shall we? they're overpriced their suspension design hasn't changed in years and I know people who have snapped their mtb frames...
  • + 1
 but specifically a demo... ever?
  • + 1
 heard about a 2010 one crack... tho to be fair it had been crashed quite a bit (like every other bike) just saying kona is way better value at least
  • + 1
 Yeah...I saw a mountain bike frame crack once, so all mountain bikes are shite.
  • + 0
 There has never been a recall at Kona. All bikes break!
  • + 1
 donch im not saying that I'm pointing out that vtwintips is wrong about demo's being perfect and trouble free
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Sweet! That vid just gave me some added inspiration to continue riding this winter in prep for some improvements next year! Who knew downhill was so damn addicting!!!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Connor is fast thats for sure.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Good to see Tegan getting on the team
[Reply]
  • + 4
 great looking bikes compared to there earlier models.
  • - 2
 The bikes look very good indeed. But those are the ugliest team jerseys I've seen
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Classic Patto being loud for Connor haha
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Great video. The operator looks slick in Matt black
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Kona needs to put together a U.S. National DH Race team.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice to see Sarah back in action! You guys rock.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Haha awesome video, hilarious Aussie bogan commentary.
[Reply]
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