Finals Photo Epic: Southern Discomfort - 2019 Windrock Pro GRT

Mar 10, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  




Once again it would be rain that greeted racers on track throughout the day at Windrock Bike Park, the already saturated ground turning even more into mush by the hour. While conditions were messy for Friday's qualifier, they were downright disastrous for Saturday's final runs. When some of the best racers in the world cross the line after a 3-minute race and say it was one of the toughest they have ever done then you know it was a hard effort. Even intermittent rain through the day was not enough to keep the dirt from getting sticky, and each run was an effort to keep the bike on a fast line and carry speed. One wrong move or mistimed corner and the ruts would suck your speed at best or pull you right off track at worst.

Not one of the top five women came down without dirt on hands, arms or legs from a crash, and in the end the battle of attrition would be won by Rachel Pageau. Over 20 seconds back would be last years Windrock winner Caroline Washam, followed by favorite Frida Roenning who came down covered in the most mud of all to take 3rd. Rounding out the podium would be Sarah Olsen and Kera Linn.

For the Pro men, it would be Max Morgan who would set the first competitive time of the day and he would sit anxiously in the hot seat for quite a few riders before being knocked off by eventual 3rd place finisher Jacob Dickson. Race promoter Neko Mulally would slot into 4th and yesterday's top qualifier Charlie Harrison would take home 2nd. The top honors belonged to Frenchman Loris Vergier who bested the field by just 0.40 seconds.

While youngster Ethan Shandro would easily top the rest of the junior field by nearly 10 seconds he could not repeat his performance from qualifying that saw him take the fastest time of the day. His time would have put him on the podium in the pro men's race so it's safe to say he is riding at a pace that should see him turning more than a few heads on the World Cup stage this season.

Fog cold and rain once again at The Rock.
Fog, cold, and rain once again at The Rock.

The fog lingered in the woods all day long but at least the rain held up until the last few riders down.
The fog lingered in the woods all day long but at least the rain held up until the last few riders down.

Mitch Ropelato drops through the foggy woods.
Mitch Ropelato drops through the foggy woods.

first place qualifier Charlie Harrison would end the day in 2nd.
First place qualifier Charlie Harrison would end the day in 2nd.

Christopher Grice is one of the smallest riders yet posted a big time. He won his category by just under 20 seconds.
Christopher Grice is one of the smallest riders yet posted a big time. He won his category by just under 20 seconds.

4th on the day for Neko Mulally.
4th on the day for Neko Mulally.

mud and ruts were the name of the game today.
Mud and ruts were the name of the game today.

There were some big names on the start list who were eager to get the season going.
There were some big names on the start list who were eager to get the season going.

the boots of the track was quite hard packed and delt with the excessive rain quite well.
The bottom of the track was quite hard packed and dealt with the excessive rain quite well.

Loris Vergier kept it tidy enough to post the fastest time in the worst conditions imaginable.
Loris Vergier kept it tidy enough to post the fastest time in the worst conditions imaginable.

Luca Shaw battling the muddy ruts in morning practice.
Luca Shaw battling the muddy ruts in morning practice.

10th for Forrest Riesco.
10th for Forrest Riesco.

Herny Fitzgerald heads out of the woods and into the final two big jumps above the finish line.
Henry Fitzgerald heads out of the woods and into the final two big jumps above the finish line.

One of the very few riders who was sending this big very double through the trees.
One of the very few riders who was sending this very big double through the trees.

5th for Kera Linn
5th for Kera Linn

Some mud on the right hand of winner Rachel Pageau showed she wasn t immune to crashes in her race run either.
Some mud on the right hand of winner Rachel Pageau showed she wasn't immune to crashes in her race run either.

Covered in mud from a crash Caroline Washam still managed to take home 2nd.
Covered in mud from a crash, Caroline Washam still managed to take home 2nd.

The task of holding on to the bars increased ten fold in difficulty once the grips hit the ground.
The task of holding on to the bars increased ten fold in difficulty once the grips hit the ground.

Tire choice and pressure were important to keeping it rubber side down today.
Tire choice and pressure were important to keeping it rubber side down today.

The heaters were out in full force once again today in an effort to dry gear and keep riders warm between runs.
The heaters were out in full force once again today in an effort to dry gear and keep riders warm between runs.

Keep your eyes on junior Ethan Shandro this season.
Keep your eyes on junior Ethan Shandro this season.

9th on the day in juniors for World Cup podium regular Kye A Hern.
9th on the day in juniors for World Cup podium regular Kye A'Hern.

Elliot Jamieson took 3rd n the junior men s race.
Elliot Jamieson took 3rd in the junior men's race.

Junior Men s podium.
Junior Men's podium.

Junior Women s podium.
Junior Women's podium.

Loris Vergier helping to clean and prep his bike before finals.
Loris Vergier helping to clean and prep his bike before finals.

And you wonder why your brake pads only last two runs.
And you wonder why your brake pads only last two runs.

It s amazing that even in this kind of heavy mud the suspension seals still keep things running slippery and smooth.
It's amazing that even in this kind of heavy mud the suspension seals still keep things running slippery and smooth.

Sometime ya gotta do what ya gotta do to keep you equipment going in the mud.
Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do to keep your equipment going in the mud.

The rain and mud combo is all anyone saw.
The rain and mud combo is all anyone saw.

A mud covered Frida Roenning had high hopes and rode the rutted course well.
A mud covered Frida Roenning had high hopes and rode the rutted course well.

Kera Linn rounded out the women s podium in 5th.
Kera Linn rounded out the women's podium in 5th.

All smiles for women s winner Rachel Pageau.
All smiles for women's winner Rachel Pageau.

All smiles on the Pro Women s podium.
All smiles on the Pro Women's podium.

Third place for Jacob Dickson six seconds off of Loris s time.
Third place for Jacob Dickson, six seconds off of Loris's time.

Great riding today by Loris Vergier.
Great riding today by Loris Vergier.

Vive Le Loris indeed
Vive Le Loris indeed!

Benjamin Despres Morin battle through the extra muddy rock garden in practice
Benjamin Despres Morin battle through the extra muddy rock garden in practice

Loris Vergier was on point today and took the win by the slimmest of margins.
Loris Vergier was on point today and took the win by the slimmest of margins.

Luca Shaw was just off the podium by 0.10
Luca Shaw was just off the podium by 0.10

Max Morgan charged the track for 5th.
Max Morgan charged the track for 5th.

5th place finisher Max Morgan sat nervously in the hottest for a good while as more than a few heavy hitters failed to beat his time.
5th place finisher Max Morgan sat nervously in the hot seat for a good while as more than a few heavy hitters failed to beat his time.

3rd for Jacob Dickson.
3rd for Jacob Dickson.

Charlie Harrison gave it his all and couldn t believe how close to the top he got. It was a hard pill to swallow considering he put five seconds into third place.
Charlie Harrison gave it his all and couldn't believe how close to the top he got. It was a hard pill to swallow considering he put five seconds into third place.


a big effort on track and an even bigger effort off the track by Neko Mulally who is the man responsible for putting on this race each season.
A big effort on track, and an even bigger effort off the track by Neko Mulally who is the man responsible for putting on this race each season.

the top 5 men at the opening round of the 2019 Pro GRT series.
The top 5 men at the opening round of the 2019 Pro GRT series.



Previously:
11 Downhill Bikes From the Windrock Pro GRT
Qualifying Results: Windrock Pro GRT
Qualifying Photo Epic: A Tennessee Mud Bath - 2019 Windrock Pro GRT
Video: Windrock Pro GRT Qualifying and Whip Off
Final Results - 2019 Windrock Pro GRT


45 Comments

  • 27 0
 man those conditions looked tough, all riders will come away from the weekend better riders , Nothing like full on mud and rain to help improve your skills , good work everyone
  • 16 0
 The first big rock garden caused at least two people to be carried off to an ambulance. Pictures don't capture how treacherous the track was.
  • 16 0
 I would hate to be same age as as Ethan Shandro that kids gonna kill it
  • 5 0
 Bloody hell, I wouldn't!
  • 1 0
 Yeah it's pretty silly tbh one of these new age sender kids.
  • 12 1
 Thanks Neko, Sean and everyone out at Windrock that put in the hours to pull off another great race.
  • 7 1
 Agreed THANX TO THE WINDROCK BOYS WINDROCK BIKE PARK BEST DH ACTION PERIOD!
  • 8 0
 Southern Discomfort--a perfect description for rain soaked, muddy tracks at Windrock.
  • 8 3
 @AinsleyTrimix a bit different. Is Wales over 1000 feet of elevation & 3-4 runs per hour? Sure...riding in motor oil like you guys have is tough, but how many runs can you destroy yourself on per hour? Paved shuttle road? No lines to wait in for the next high speed diesel truck with padded seating? Restaurant? Campground? Cabins? Monster trucks? 4 wheelers? Oh...what about the max length run by shuttle in Wales mud? WR has over 2000 feet of elevation for the Windmill trail and runs on it take 15-30 minutes. You should buy a plane ticket and do the race at the end of the this month. It'll be easy for you
  • 1 0
 Tell him !!!
  • 2 1
 @Don23: 2 people neg repped me for just letting him know what we have? hah
  • 3 0
 @bizutch: We've a few spots that tick your 1000ft and runs per hour, not so many monster trucks tho... ha
  • 7 0
 Impressive Rachel took 1st place riding through that mud and rain glove-less
  • 1 0
 Anybody know what bike she is on this year?
  • 5 0
 @als802: pivot
  • 4 0
 Gobsmacked at the lack of use of those extended coverage mud fenders - most people just using standard size!!!!! surely in those conditions it warrants a better coverage? Looking at the shot of Jacob Dickson mid air - significantly less mud on his bike and race kit.
  • 4 0
 I ran a Marsh guard on friday day and no fender on Saturday and it wasn't any different.
  • 4 2
 @nickgarrison: I think he means the larger fenders like mudhuggers, RRP's etc .. you're right though, you wouldn't see a difference with a Marsh Guard as they are completely useless. People just drank the cool aid as soon as the were spotted on GM's bikes years ago. That said, the conditions looked incredible and all credit to you for riding this course, it's a million times my level lol -mud guard opinions or not!
  • 2 0
 Due to the inertia of the mud slinging down and towards the back, having a fender stick out in the front doesn't make any sense. And it doesn't look all that good either. The Marsh Guard keeps the mud out of your face as much as possible, and its really all you need.
  • 1 1
 @nickkk: I think Marsh guards can help a bit with spray. Mud was was super thick though.
  • 3 0
 That’s a proper DH course for sure. This is Neko’s private training ground. It’s looking good for the Intense factory team this year. @davetrumpmore: and @andyvathis: incredible job on the photos as always. I gotta say this sport has some of the best action photogs in the world.
  • 3 0
 My (Stikman the bike guy here) first time to spectate at this place, super impressive what they have created, and the vibe during some horrible conditions was always pretty good-Die hard race fans there, so stoked. Healthy junior scene too, DH resurgence could be brewing. Congrats to anyone who rode that place, you survived, and bravo to SRAM for being title sponsor and taking care of SO many athletes there to keep them fed, warm, smiling.
  • 2 0
 you'll have to come back when it's dry.
  • 5 0
 I love that place. #thanksnekoandcrew
  • 3 0
 Yes, EYEHATEGOD , need to listen again to the southern discomfort album, thanks for the reminder! And great photos btw!!
  • 3 0
 Wales is child’s play compared to The ROCK
  • 5 2
 Epic Photos
  • 2 0
 For sure man I'm absolutely impressed by the quality of the photography on this article.
  • 3 1
 Great shot of Chris Grice. Now, if they can only report his times.
  • 1 0
 Congrats to everyone who got out unscathed! Im thinking thats a small percentage
  • 2 0
 Loris rocking a nice new Fox helmet. new rampage pro???
  • 1 0
 Does look like it, couple more photos on vital of it. Looks very moto like.
  • 1 0
 One of the best photo sets I’ve seen lately. Super bummed I didn’t make the drive down to watch it in person.
  • 1 0
 Ouais Loris !!!!!!!! Great to see him starting like this !! Terrible conditions big up to all!
  • 1 0
 Looked like a tough weekend for riders and photographers. Well done with the women's coverage on this Pink Bike!
  • 1 0
 So pumped that racing is back on! Deadly pictures, great coverage!
  • 1 0
 That looked treacherous. Kudos to the riders.
  • 1 0
 Damn I gotta me me a nice camera. These are serious.
  • 2 3
 Jeff Steber phone conversation with Neko: If you're not going to change your jersey at least wipe the f*cker so people can see who pays the bills....dumb*ss
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