The third round of the Kona Victorian DH Series took us to the reworked track at Kinglake. Back in the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, Kinglake was one of the worst hit towns by the tragedy and almost four years on, the pain and scars are still evident. On a more positive note, one of the best public riding facilities in the outer-Melbourne region has risen from the ashes. The newly built Kinglake downhill track (Sheppard’s run, named after local rider Danny Sheppard who lost his life in the fires) held its first race on the weekend of December 1-2. The high speed track did not disappoint, with massive jumps, off-camber sections, and a great pit setup.
Representing the Kona Factory Team for the weekend were our seasoned female shredders Sarah Booth and Tegan Molloy, who are currently sitting 1-2 respectively in the chase for the series crown. On the male front, the team had a solo representative as U/19 rider Dean Lucas was racing out of his category and raced Elite. Connor Fearon and Chris Whitelock were absent for the weekend but will make a return early next year at Mt Buller for the VDHS round, a testing day with Australian suspension brains NS Dynamics, as well as the first round of the National Series.
Practice started on Saturday morning with a lot of riders quite cautious about hitting some of the massive jumps so early on in the weekend. Throughout the day Dean managed to nail down all the gaps and doubles on the track and found himself riding at a comfortable speed, whilst the girls weren’t too far behind, confidently jumping a few of the jumps on track that half of the racers there avoided. The track took many victims on the day with reports of over 10 riders transported by ambulance to hospital and a handful privately transported. The Kona Factory Team riders were lucky enough to avoid any major crashes and mechanicals, with bikes just being tweaked for the fast nature of the track. The weather held off for once again another sunny day of practice in the Victorian Downhill Series, before letting loose on Saturday night, providing a scary and magical lightning storm in the race village, ironically situated below some high-voltage pylons.
Arriving at the track on Sunday morning was a slightly damp affair but the rain the night before did little to reduce the amount of dust being kicked up by riders. Considering the high volume of riders that had bombed down it over and over on the Saturday and the Sunday, hats must be taken off to Glen Jacobs, Rhys Atkinson and the rest of the World Trail crew for building such a sustainable track to withstand the rigors of racing. Morning qualifying came and went in traditional fashion with Tegan and Sarah qualifying 1st and 2nd respectively, and Dean nailing it in the Elite Men category, securing his position as the last rider down the hill for the weekend.
Continuing the recent domination of the Victorian Downhill Series, the girls managed to secure 1st and 2nd in Elite Women, with 16 year old Tegan getting up over Boothy for the first time this season in a brilliant display of racing. In true Elite Men fashion, racing came down to the wire and was decided on with the last run of the day. Spurred on by the insane crowd in true 'Bay 13' heckle style, Dean pushed hard and managed to take the win with the fastest time of the day! We now have a christmas break before hitting the road again mid-January for the annual Mt Buller pilgrimage!
For complete results please visit www.VDHS.com.au
Have a great holiday period everyone, and happy trails!
We'd like to thank all the volunteers and people that work hard behind the scenes for another awesome event, as well as our team sponsors Kona, Mavic, Race Face, Maxxis, SRAM, Rockshox, Avid, Adidas Eyewear, Fox Head, GoPro, Evoc, Pedros, Straitline, NS Dynamics, Cane Creek, Revolution MTB Mag, Timothy Arch Photography and Torq.