In the downhill finals Matti Lehikoinen finished eighth, Matt Simmonds 16th and Joe Smith 22nd. In the 4X competition, Lukas and Michael Mechura reached the quarter finals with many positives to take to the World Championships in Champery.
Also featuring riding footage from Lukas and Michael Mechura, here is an video edit and some amazing photographs from MTBcut:
Val Di Sole is undoubtedly the roughest downhill track on the circuit!
Matti Lehikoinen said he felt the best he has all year, riding his Nukeproof Scalp to a strong qualifying position in 16th place. In Sunday morning’s practice Matti was looking really good on the track – the best all season – but then had a huge crash on the lower part of the course and banged his head pretty hard.
Team Manager Nigel Page said: “The crash shook Matti up enough to make him sick a few times before he had to head off up for his final run. He said he felt OK before setting off up to the top of the hill and obviously he did as Matti put together the best run he has had in a while placing him eighth for the day, right in the mix with the world’s fastest riders where we know he is capable of being. Well done Matti, that was a great end to the World Cup season and a good confidence boost for the World Championships in Champery in a few weeks' time.”
Matti Lehikoinen flat out!
Matt Simmonds finally found his form after a hard season coming back from injury and dealing with some disappointing results trying to get back up to his race pace. Matt had his best qualifier this season placing 15th and backed that up in the finals with a great run putting him in 16th. “Great ride Matt and well done for battling through the season, and finally getting back to where you should be,” said Nigel.
After sustaining a terrible knee injury at the start of the year, Matt Simmonds has had a strong finish.
Joe Smith also had a great ride placing 22nd in the finals. Joe was a little disappointed with his result as we all know he's capable of being in the top 10 - 15, but he is really close to being there.
Lewis Buchanan decided to opt out of racing the finals even though he made it through easily in the qualifier. Lewis’ shoulder injury was affecting him a lot on the rough track and could not hold on to ride at full speed. So rather than getting a mediocre result and possibly injuring his shoulder more, he decided to rest and give his shoulder the best possible chance to recover for the World Championships in two weeks time where he’ll hopefully be going for a Junior medal!
Joe Smith tackling the toughest track of the year.
Michael Mechura in action in the 4X.
Both Lukas and Michael Mechura were on fire in the 4X on Saturday night, looking really fast and strong. Youngest brother Michael put together his best qualifying run placing 6th, with Lukas in 12th.
They both made it through the first few rounds and into the quarter finals. Both Lukas and Michael were leading out their quarter finals but made the mistake of leaving the door open on the inside of a corner and got taken out. So unfortunately that was the end of their night. They both had the speed to make it through to the finals though so they will take the positives from the night to the World Championships in Champery.
Nigel Page added: “It has been a challenging World Cup season for the team with injuries and riding a brand new bike. But we have learnt a lot and we feel we have got our bikes now set up to be the best we have ever had and we are looking forward already to next year’s World Cup.
From here we have the World Championships in a fortnight in Champery, Switzerland, and then the UK Halo BDS series finals in Fort William the week after where Joe is in contention for taking the overall title. He is currently in second place.
On behalf of the whole team we would like to congratulate Aaron Gwin on winning his fifth World Cup race of the season and becoming the first ever rider to win five world cups in one season.”