On Wednesday 7th December we began on our 9-hour road trip up to one of Australia’s only lift accessed DH tracks, Thredbo. Thredbo was to be the first stop of the rebranded National Series, the Australian Gravity Cup, and with past experience and the weather forecast to be a wild weekend we packed the spikes and wet weather gear! After stopping for a few rides and swims along the way, much to our surprise, we soon arrived in sunny Thredbo. Upon arriving we could tell it was going to be a tough weekend with the likes of Troy Brosnan, Sam Hill and Jarad Graves present, as well as a strong contingent of NSW, ACT and QLD riders making the pilgrimage to the long 6 minute track, as well as a weather radar that couldn’t make up its mind.
Friday practice got underway and Lewis Winton and Jai Motherwell were straight on the chairlift with team videographer, Rob Shedden (Greeneye Films). Olly Zwar and Ricky Clarke opted to sit Friday out and go for a track walk with myself (team manager) and Sophie (team trainer) as they had spent the day learning the ins and outs of the track barely a few weeks ago. After a warm day on the track, some riders opted to take a recovery dip in the river before returning to their alpine apartments and lodges. Thredbo is quite a ‘tight’ village and the majority of riders were staying in the same area, leading to a fun filled weekend where the Australian MTB scene took over the town.
Saturday morning quickly came around and with Elite and U/19 practice not due to start until after mid-day, riders from the likes of Trailmix-Procon Racing, Clint White Racing, Wolfpack Racing, Kona Factory Team Australia and Specialized Australia (plus many more!) all lurked in the pits and relaxed with a few hours of downtime. Once the lifts opened up for Saturday’s practice riders were conservative about how many runs to do as the seeding runs for finals were due to take place from 4pm that evening. In an afternoon plagued with crashes, misfortune and tactics due to the forecast rain on Sunday, Winton seeded the best of the team to secure 30th position in elite men with the others close behind.
After a fun team dinner on Saturday night at the Black Duck Inn, team spirits and moral was high on Sunday morning. With patches of rain coming and going, and with a reduced Elite and U/19 practice timeslot of only 1.5 hours, a threatening thunder storm hustled every elite rider to the top of the track well before their due times. The storms never came but the rain did up high on the mountain, creating chaos and plenty of mud for the early to mid seeded riders on course including Trailmix-Procon Racing’s Jai Motherwell. With his time placing him in 4th position as he crossed the line and with a rapidly drying track, Jai got pushed outside of the top 20 as rider after rider came down on a dry run. Olly coming off second place at last weeks round at Mt Beauty, crashed three times and had a disappointing run. The drama didn’t stop there, with Ricky crashing early in his race run and dislocating his shoulder and separating his AC joint (best of luck to Ricky in his untimely recovery!), leaving Lew Winton the last surviving member of the team to cross the line just outside of the top 30.
With a weekend full of bad luck, the team is looking forward to a break and recovery before jetting off to the two back to back rounds at Mt Buller’s infamous International track, for the Victorian State Series and a round of the Australian Gravity Cup. The steep, rocky and root ridden track has been racing in the snow before, as well as searing heat, so only time will tell what the riders will have to prepare themselves for! We would also like to thank our generous sponsors, Trailmix, Procon Group, Specialized Australia, SRAM Australia, Anthem Industries, Narimba Fitness, Natural Swim Ponds Australia, Adidas Eyewear, and Alpinestars. For more information on the team you can find us at www.facebook.com/trailmixproconracing
Thanks to Ashlee Rhiannon Photography and Swatto90 for the use of their images.