On the afternoon of Friday 2nd December we hit the road for the long drive to what was easily one of the most anticipated races of the whole Australian DH series, a return to Mt Beauty! The picturesque alpine town of Mt Beauty has been home to many races over the years and in many testing conditions, heat, snow, torrential rain, it’s had it all. This weekend the weather gods looked after us and provided us with a beautiful weekend! The last tyres to do a race run down the hallowed Mt Beauty Nationals track were those of a young Sam Hill back in 2005. This time there was no Sam Hill, but a fresh batch of up and coming juniors leading the charge.
After setting up the Trailmix-Procon Racing pits, along with the standard race village antics on the Saturday morning, our two U/19 riders Olly Zwar and Jai Motherwell set off up the track for some early practice runs. Ricky Clarke was our only elite rider on course for Saturday’s practice with Lewis Winton not due to arrive until later that night. Having done a track walk earlier in the morning, the team was very excited to start riding. The track is everything a downhill track should be, with steep chutes, massive rocks, tangled roots, and slippery off camber traverses, all linked together by a series of loose bermed and flat corners! The guys quickly had their lines set and went about nailing them, at the expense of some mechanicals. Needless to say Gee, the team mechanic, was kept busy with an array of issues, from bent pedals, smashed derailleurs, twisted chain guides and even rear shock issues. The track was unforgiving and fast, which meant serious consequences if one came off at speed. Fortunately for the team, all the boys survived practice in one piece with our Specialized Demos and SRAM components holding up to the challenges of the tough course. That night, a large dinner and a good recovery session was on the menu with spirits high about racing the next day.
On race day, we once again woke up to a beautiful alpine morning and there definitely was a nervous excitement vibe floating around the pits. Lewis had joined the team today and was eager to punch out some early practice runs. With practice finishing about 10.30am, the bikes were cleaned and prepared for qualifying runs. Over the past few weeks the team has been training hard with our trainer Sophie, and the boys were beginning to understand the importance of a proper warm up and stretching session, as well as the dietary requirements of such an intense sport. Going into their runs well prepared was a key factor to the success on the day with Olly and Jai qualifying in 2nd and 5th respectively in U/19s, and Ricky and Lewis in 7th and 27th in Elite Men. Quietly comfortable with the track, the boys returned to the pits in good spirits and Gee once again brought the bikes back to life in time for the race runs.
Race time came around quickly with the U/19 category being one of the most hotly contested on the day. Rider after rider the times were dropping until Jai came across the line and into the hot seat with only 4 riders left on course. Damon Coutts was looking fast until he had a sickening crash in the chute, closing the course for 20 minutes with both Olly and Dean Lucas (Kona Australia) on track. Olly and Dean, after getting three quarters of the way through their race run, had to return to the top and do their runs again. Neither let the re-run get in the ways of their ambitions, and crossed the line in 2nd and 1st respectively, a testaments to the training they have been doing. With Jai finishing in 4th and Olly in 2nd, it was a double podium for Trailmix-Procon Racing in the U/19s with both boys stoked about their runs. Lewis and Ricky didn’t have such luck in their race runs with Lew crashing high up on course, and Ricky, after qualifying in 7th, going down fast and hard within sight of the finish line, finishing 25th an 22nd.
Barely home for more than 3 days, we are back off on the road to Thredbo for the first round of the Australian National DH Series. This weekend marks the beginning of Olly and Jai’s world championships selection campaign, as Ricky and Lewis stick it to the big guns of Australian DH racing with the likes of Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan present in Elite Men.
Trailmix-Procon Racing riders and management would like to extend a big thank you to the team behind the scenes at Mt Beauty. You have affirmed the track as one of the best in Australia and we can’t wait to return already! 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