Round two of the Victorian Downhill Series saw the traveling circus visit the historical goldfield town of Maldon. The sleepy hollow of Maldon has hosted a round of the Victorian Downhill Series for the past three seasons now with the track being a favorite for all levels of competitors and always well presented by the local Wombat MTB Club.
The weekend kicked off in style with Connor Fearon (Elite Male) and Lewis Kerr (Team Management) attending the Cycling Australia Annual Awards Evening in Sydney, a black tie gala event. Connor walked away from the event having been presented with the Australian Junior MTB Male of the Year award after impressive performances at World Champs and on the World Cup circuit.
After a red eye flight the team were back together for the second time this season and practice got underway. The track at Maldon was fast, dusty and littered with sharp rocks from top to bottom and we were lucky to walk away from Saturday’s practice with no injuries unlike many others who came to grief on the track. The team's Konas performed brilliantly on the versatile track, deaing with the big hits on the track just as easy as it dealt with the endless small bumps and rocks. After a big day of practice, some live music and dinner with the SRAM boys at the local pub it was time to rest up before an important day of racing.
Waking up to another brilliant sunny day on race day was a sign of positive things to come. Upon arrival at the track practice was underway for a few hours prior to racing. The team has most of their lines dialed in from the day before so used the practice as more of a warm up and familiarization with the ever-changing track. Sarah Booth came unstuck on one of the big doubles on course, going down hard in the morning's practice. A banged up and bruised Boothy managed to roll down the track in seeding into 5th place, off the pace but with a conservative run. All of her attention was focused on recovering sufficiently enough to put together a full race run a few hours later. Team youngster Tegan Molloy seeded as the second fastest female of the day, while in the Males Dean Lucas qualified fastest with Connor Fearon hot on his heels. Unfortunately Chris Whitelock became the first mechanical casualty of the weekend with a flat tyre near the top, eventually rolling across the line in to 45th, missing the cut for qualifying.
By the time racing for the Elite categories came around the track was blown out and rapidly changing from the one that was raced hours earlier in qualifying and seeding. The females were first down the track with Tegan taking the hot seat as she crossed the line. With the women running in reverse seeding order she remained in the seat for many riders until Sarah soldiered on through the pain and slotted into first place, by less than a second! Kona 1-2 in Elite women! From here all eyes were on the Elite Male category where KFT riders Dean and Connor would face off in the top 10 against one of the fastest men’s fields in a long time. Rider after rider the fastest time fell with very few getting close to Dean’s smoking qualifying run. Connor was the second last rider down the hill and slotted into the hot seat with only Dean remaining on track. As Dean came into view it was clear he was on a ridiculously fast pace, and as he got closer it became quickly evident he had a major mechanical. 10 meters out from the finish line his rear wheel seized up, with snapped spokes, derailleurs and chains flying everywhere, lunging across the line. Everyone’s eyes were on the clock, and when the time flashed up the crowd cheered as Dean took his first ever Elite Men win under extraordinary circumstances. The Kona Factory Team had gone one-two in both the Elite Women and Elite Men category for the first time in as long as anybody could remember!
For complete results please visit www.VDHS.com.au
A series like the VDHS doesn’t just happen, and neither do teams without the support of sponsors and volunteers. We'd like to thank the Wombat MTB Club 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 and Torq.
All photographs provided courtesy of team photographer Timothy Arch Photography.