Aussie, Aussie, Aussie: Timed Runs and Seeding Photo Epic - Cairns DH World Champs 2017

Sep 9, 2017
by Dave Trumpore  




Racing can be cruel sometimes, and no one knows that more than Rachel Atherton right now. After a dislocated shoulder took her out of World Cup action earlier this season all attention then shifted to defending her World Champions crown here in Cairns. An entire season of hard work piled into one race, and it would all go up in smoke during timed training with a crash and the resulting broken collarbone. One mistake and an entire years effort were written off in the blink of an eye.

On a brighter note, there are lots of other stories to tell after the timed session for Elites and seeding runs for Juniors that were held Friday afternoon in hot and sunny Cairns. Some racers showed their hand while others decided it best to keep everyone guessing, but still with a little speculation mixed with educated guessing the riders to watch for finals are starting to emerge.

Finn Iles, of course, is the obvious favorite in the Junior Men, but we have Aussie and relative newcomer Joshua Clark behind him by a scant two seconds. For the Junior Women, we were expecting to see Melanie Chappaz dominate as she has done all season but it would be Shania Rawson who would take the top spot just ahead of Paula Zibasa. In Elites it is looking like the fairy tale ending of the double Hannah win on home turf is now very much a realistic outcome. Mick took the top time in the men's field just ahead of Loïc Bruni, while Tracey was way ahead at the top split before intentionally slowing up in the bottom half. The fastest time for the ladies would belong to Tahnée Seagrave, who after winning the final two World Cups of the season is on form and on fire right now. Behind the top times is a long list of riders who may or may not have held back, or crashed pushing to one hundred percent for the first time; most notably riders with names like Danny Hart, Aaron Gwin, and Troy Brosnan.

So what will it be? Will Aaron Gwin finally win the World Champs title that has eluded him year over year? Can Mick and Tracey Hannah make it a brother and sister celebration on the top step, or will Tahnée Seagrave and Loïc Bruni steal the show? What of Greg Minnaar and Miriam Nicole? Perhaps the ultimate dark horse, Sam Hill, will mix things up with a medal in what will likely be his last ever international DH race. Whatever the case it's going to be one heck of a show as the best racers in the world fight tooth and nail over the fractions of a second that will ultimately decide the World Champion.


The dry and dead jungle is a stark contrast to the conditions we ve seen the past two visits to Cairns.
The dry and dead jungle is a stark contrast to the conditions we've seen the past two visits to Cairns.

Lots of pool time for Polygon UR to keep the mood chill after long and hot days on the hill.
Lots of pool time for Polygon UR to keep the mood chill after long and hot days on the hill.

Super Bruni is ready to make an appearance at the biggest race of the year.
Super Bruni is ready to make an appearance at the biggest race of the year.

The struggle is real... And not just for Connor Fearon - this is a brutal course with national pride and medals on the line.
The struggle is real... And not just for Connor Fearon – this is a brutal course with national pride and medals on the line.

Here s the thing if Sam Hill scores well tomorrow people will say it s all about the track - a demonstration of the inadequate gnar levels. Being here in person it s hard to believe this course isn t brutal.... only a literal legend could pilot a trail bike to the medals here and there aren t many folks around who fit the description.
Here's the thing; if Sam Hill scores well tomorrow people will say it's all about the track – a demonstration of the 'inadequate' gnar levels. Being here in person it's hard to believe this course isn't brutal... only a literal legend could pilot a trail bike into the medals here and there aren't many folks around who fit the description.

Amaury Pierron has proven himself a ride of true international pedigree this season and perhaps the young Frenchman isn t quite done yet...
Amaury Pierron has proven himself a ride of true international pedigree this season and perhaps the young Frenchman isn't quite done yet...

After a stellar season Tahnee has more pressure on her shoulders than usual at World Champs.
After a stellar season, Tahnee has more pressure on her shoulders than usual at World Champs.

Sam Hill has been riding full gas and pushing hard everywhere at a pace that might be in contention for a medal.
Sam Hill has been riding full gas and pushing hard everywhere at a pace that might be in contention for a medal.

Loic Bruni won here a year ago and he showed in the timed runs that he is one the gas and a front runner once again.
Loic Bruni won here a year ago, and he showed in the timed runs that he is on the gas and a front runner once again.

Little Trace won t seem so little tomorrow when she comes out fully swinging on her home turf.
Little Trace won't seem so little tomorrow when she comes out fully swinging on her home turf.

Jack Moir was perhaps one of the biggest turn-ups of the timed session in 3rd besting the stacked Aussie field bar Mick not to mention the Gwin and Minnaars of this world.
Jack Moir was a big turn-up of the timed session in 3rd, besting the stacked Aussie field bar Mick, not to mention the Gwin and Minnaars of this world.

Rachel Atherton took a hard crash at the top of her timed run re injuring her shoulder in the process. Her status for Sunday is still unknown but things are not looking good for the defending champ.
Rachel Atherton took a hard crash at the top of her timed run, re-injuring her shoulder in the process. Her status for Sunday is still unknown, but things are not looking good for the defending champ. (-Ed: It's since been confirmed that Rachel broke her collarbone)

Troy looks to have the pace here in Cairns he just needs to keep it on two wheels when the clock starts ticking tomorrow.
Troy looks to have the pace here in Cairns, he just needs to keep it on two wheels when the clock starts ticking tomorrow.

Connor Fearon isn t one hundred percent but is still looking forward to racing on home turf.
Connor Fearon isn't one hundred percent but is still looking forward to racing on home turf.

Mick Hannah sends it over Mick s Drop.
Mick Hannah sends it over Mick's Drop.

Blenki boots one over the top.
Blenki boots one over the top.

A true test of conscience...
A true test of conscience...

Shania Rawson is looking for junior rainbows tomorrow and based on the seeding she might just be about to take gold back to NZ.
Shania Rawson is looking for junior rainbows tomorrow and based on the seeding she might just be about to take gold back to NZ.

Gas To Flat sending it fully pinned into the whoops.
Gas To Flat sending it fully pinned into the whoops.

Gee Atherton through the jungle.
Gee Atherton through the jungle.

Bruce Klein has been in great form of late - a top ten in the timed session is proof of his speed in the dust.
Bruce Klein has been in great form of late – a top ten in the timed session is proof of his speed in the dust.

Aussie Aussie Aussie Timed Runs amp Seeding Photo Epic - Cairns DH World Champs 2017
Myriam Nicole getting aggressive through the top section of switchbacks.

Keagan Wright shreds his way throught the dusty lower woods.
Keagan Wright shreds his way through the dusty lower woods.

Vaea Verbeek navigate the rocks in the dark.
Vaea Verbeek navigates the rocks in the dark.

Greg Minnaar knows a thing or two about turning it on at World Champs and he is looking to ad to his impressive medal collection tomorrow.
Greg Minnaar knows a thing or two about turning it on at World Champs and he is looking to add to his impressive medal collection tomorrow.


Kaos Seagrave boosting the even before his final junior race.
Kaos Seagrave boosting even before his final junior race.

Tahnee set the fastest time in Friday s timed runs but if you look close at the split times you will see that It was Tracey Hannah who was fastest on the track.
Tahnee set the fastest time in Friday's timed runs, but if you look close at the split times you will see that It was Tracey Hannah who was fastest on the track.

Don t let the timed run results fool you. Tracey Hannah was three seconds up at the first split before purposely slowing up at the bottom of the track. If she carries that speed all the way to the bottom in Sunday she is going to be very hard to beat.
Don't let the timed run results fool you. Tracey Hannah was three seconds up at the first split before purposely slowing up at the bottom of the track. If she carries that speed all the way to the bottom on Sunday she is going to be very hard to beat.

The one-man Irish band Jacob Dickson bouncing off the giant jungle roots.
One-man Irish band, Jacob Dickson, bouncing off the giant jungle roots.

Laurie Greenland is looking fast and dangerous in the forest despitehaving lost a large amount of skin in the first practice session.
Laurie Greenland is looking fast and dangerous in the forest despite having lost a large amount of skin in the first practice session.

Myriam Nicole already has one title this year and if she wants to double up she is going to have to dig deep on Sunday.
Myriam Nicole already has one title this year, and if she wants to double up she is going to have to dig deep on Sunday.

Cade Edwards had the most relaxed style over the massive huck that is Mick s Drop. Unfortunately a big crash on his next run ended week early and e will not be racing on Sunday.
Kade Edwards had the most relaxed style over the massive huck that is Mick's Drop. Unfortunately, a big crash on his next run ended the week early and he will not be racing on Sunday.

Aaron Gwinn has been keeping some lines to himself this week away from the prying eyes of team coaches spread along the track. He held it open in timed runs but one can only assume that he still has a lot of speed hidden up his sleeve.
Aaron Gwin has been keeping some lines to himself this week, away from the prying eyes of team coaches spread along the track. He held it open in timed runs, but one can only assume that he still has a lot of speed hidden up his sleeve.

Myriam Nicole and manager Thibaut Ruffin look for a switch-up to her exit from the rock garden.
Myriam Nicole and manager Thibaut Ruffin look for a switch-up to her exit from the rock garden.

Rudy Cabirou had a more than solid year at the World Cup but in the timed session layed down an absolute heater for an astonishing 5th place.
Rudy Cabirou had a more than solid year at the World Cup, but in the timed session layed down an absolute heater for an astonishing 5th place.

Aussie junior Joshua Clark turned a lot of heads to take 2nd in the junior seeding run.
Aussie junior, Joshua Clark, turned a lot of heads to take 2nd in the junior seeding run.

Jack Moir was just two seconds back in Friday s timed session and is only of a handful of Aussie s who could win on home soil tomorrow.
Jack Moir was just two seconds back in Friday's timed session and is only of a handful of Aussie's who could win on home soil tomorrow.

Paula Zibasa is sitting in the runner up spot after seeding and will need to pull back 6 seconds on Shaina Rawson if she wants to take home the gold.
Paula Zibasa is sitting in the runner up spot after seeding and will need to pull back 6 seconds on Shaina Rawson if she wants to take home the gold.

When the shuttles are over at the end of training the best get their push on to dial in the last of their lines.
When the shuttles are over at the end of training, the best get their push on to dial in the last of their lines.

The peace sign from AG but he knows full well this is war.
The peace sign from AG, but he knows full well; this is war.

Last man left in the jungle today was Greg Minnaar scoping those last possible line tune-ups.
Last man left in the jungle today was Greg Minnaar, scoping those last possible line tune-ups.

Ice baths are all the rage in the pits to battle the extreme heat here in Cairns.
Ice baths are all the rage in the pits to battle the extreme heat here in Cairns.


Tracey and Mick Hannah have the luxury of relaxing at home this week and they have been using it to there advantage to help deal with the pressure that comes with racing in our home town.
Tracey and Mick Hannah have the luxury of relaxing at home this week, and they have been using it to their advantage to help deal with the pressure that comes with racing in their home town.

Autographs.... who wants one Form an orderly queue people.
Autographs.... who wants one? Form an orderly queue people.

Lots to think about with World Champs just a few hours away.
Lots to think about with World Champs just a few hours away.

Polish Pete taking Gee s Trek Session to the strip club.
Polish Pete taking Gee's Trek Session to the strip club.

Gee Atherton has had his roughst season in many years possibly ever... a dislocated hip will do that to you. But he s back up to speed and he s won here before. Never in his own shoes however...
Gee Atherton has had his roughest season in many years, possibly ever... a dislocated hip will do that to you. But he's back up to speed and he's won here before. Never in his own shoes, however...

Whether or not we get to witness that miracle run for the gold medal tomorrow it s been fun to imagine that this man could do the impossible again . As a minimum you can expect some solid hot seat time Sam Hill being the very first rider out of the gate.
Whether or not we get to witness that miracle run for the gold medal tomorrow, it's been fun to imagine that this man could do the impossible (again). As a minimum you can expect some solid hot seat time; Sam Hill being the very first rider out of the gate.

Tomorrow 68 racers will be going for gold and just 1 will be trying to keep it... You can count on a Danny Hart special on the big day and there s only a handful of others with the capacity to go one further.
Tomorrow 68 racers will be going for gold and just 1 will be trying to keep it... You can count on a Danny Hart special on the big day and there's only a handful of others with the capacity to go one further.

Rememeber this is Loic s track and he won t be giving it up without fight.
Rememeber this is Loic's track and he won't be giving it up without a fight either.


Must Read This Week

76 Comments

  • + 127
 Wonder if gregs bike has the "if found" sticker on the front as well ?
  • + 2
 First thought that entered my mind too.
  • + 12
 If found of track please point rider back between the right poles
  • + 4
 No need, the hoses keep it together in the case of a snap, it's like a security cable!
  • + 4
 Good to see Syndicate is taking the piss out of "Pole-Gate" or whatever the heck it's being called!
  • + 56
 Kade Edwards is mental
  • + 16
 Bummer he crashed out. The next generation of riders are going to be really incredible to watch when they come up to elites. If I were him I'd frame that friggin' picture though... so much style.
  • + 4
 Hasn't he been doing this all season? Gee mentioned at Fort Bill that he was focused on where he was going to throw a sweet bar spin in time training. I guess he doesn't have any issues staying relaxed but Trek must be scratching their heads.
  • + 2
 @OriginalDonk: Style sells too, not just top steps. So I think it works for him. But I hope he keeps enjoying it too. Not all skilled young riders stay motivated on some of these WC tracks which are less technical but require you to speed down the highway at dangerous speeds. That said, he got good results so hopefully he'll stick to it.
  • + 2
 @OriginalDonk: think it was a tuck no-hander to tire tap or something like that off a big drop, really wanna see more of this guy!!! Barspins aren't possible on a dh bike lol
  • + 2
 @ctd07: I just watched the raw video and I was almost puking at the sight of people jumping off that gap... and then he tricks it. Total animal!
  • + 25
 Hills bike is hardly a "trail" bike.
  • + 12
 Well, its not a downhill bike, that's for sure.
  • + 1
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: I mean...He's riding it at a "downhill" race soo wouldn't that technically make it a "downhill" bike. The line between "trail" and "downhill" bikes are so blurred these days with super slacked out bikes you can actually pedal. What a time to be alive!
  • + 6
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: It'll be ridden faster than I could ever hope to ride a DH bike or any other bike, that's for sure.
  • + 1
 Has a 170 or 180mm Lyrik up front. I'm sure SRAm could've put a reduced Boxxer on there if they wanted to.
  • + 4
 duh it,s his "enduro" bike LOL , regardless of what he,s riding he's got my props for racing it .
  • + 6
 Its a mountain bike with one badass pilot so who gives af?
  • + 4
 I'd love to see Sam open be the first rider and remain on the hot seat undefeated!
  • + 1
 @jarvyoliva: that would be one for the history books from Sam Hill. Another one.
  • + 1
 @RRMonster: There's a pretty huge difference between a 160 enduro bike and a 180-200 true DH rig, IMO (I'm talking rear travel). Try demoing them back to back and see if you disagree.
  • + 1
 @WaterBear: Wasn't implying that modern enduro bikes are superior to modern downhill bikes. Just saying that in comparison to not even 5 years ago the modern enduro bike is a basically a downhill bike. I guess "mini downhill" would be more the term they would've used. Should've explained my point better.
  • + 16
 Awesome photos! I know this is nitpicky, but I think that it shows respect to the riders to spell their names correctly throughout the entire article. Miriam/Myriam, Gwin/Gwinn... I think that can be avoided with a quick spellcheck/read through of the article before it's posted. Regardless, the story and photos are great. I just personally think that the little extra bit of professionalism would make a big difference.
  • + 17
 Please tell me I'm not the only Brit who has set an alarm for 3:30AM to watch the live stream? I am going to feel very cheeky making a cup of tea at such early morning hours!
  • + 18
 This is what us Yanks have to do for every European WC race during the season. We get to watch this from 8-11pm tonight as a reward.

Enjoy! Wink
  • + 3
 You're not the only one! Alarm set - bed time 10pm! Prepared to even miss MOTD! Wink
  • + 4
 @Pininator: Ahh I suppose that is true! You too bro.
  • + 7
 @Pininator: I can't count the number of salami sandwiches I've eaten at 5 am.
  • + 12
 @gemma8788: is that a euphemism?????
  • + 1
 Alarm set! 4:50 here tho!
  • + 4
 At last I can enjoy some DH action on a civilised Sunday afternoon...
  • + 2
 @goffhorner: About time right.
  • + 12
 I think Gwin makes the sign of Victory , not peace
  • + 7
 For the victory sign, you show the back of the hand. The peace sign was created by rêver dom it and showing the palm instead. Smile
  • + 0
 And victory means fuck you
  • + 10
 Love Moir's 'STRAYA decal on the downtube
  • + 5
 With all the guessing on how Hill will perform, I think everybody misses having him on the WC circuit. Just like Rob Warner said in 3 Minute Gaps, 'he may not be the most consistent racer but for all out speed there's never been anybody like him'.
  • + 5
 Thank you for the photo of Mick sending Mick's drop. I've been waiting on that one.
  • + 2
 Fleur-de-lys pour Loic!
Bonne chance à tous demain!
Surtout Danny Hart (Balfa years!)
Et Gee le gentil, Aaron (Maiden), Sam (Real MSA Master), mon ami Greg et les filles!
Finn Iles, Québec t'aime!
Aussi merde pour le nouveau Loris Vergier, le fougueux qu'on admire trop depuis si peu.
#longlivechainsaw
xx
  • + 5
 Hill first one out the gate....be even more legendary bad ass for him to win!
  • + 2
 After her Dark Horse performance at Val di Sol, I was expecting to see Cecile Ravanel at Champs. Either way, this has been one of the most exciting women's seasons in years. Even if Rachel had stayed healthy, there was literally no telling who could take this thing.
  • + 4
 the french even left morgane charre at home ...
  • + 1
 I would not be surprised to see an all-Aussie podium for the men's between Mick, Troy, Jack and Sam there's a ton of potential. It won't be easy, mind you, with Gwin, Minnaar and Bruni (and several others) ready to roll.

It's definitely going to be mental!!!
  • + 1
 Probably worth getting on the next flight to Brisbane and pop up to Cairns if that happens. I'm sure they party will still be going. 'Straya.
  • + 3
 Every time Troy is so underestimated. Last year he was 0.1 seconds off winning, and this year he has been having the best year of his career. He's my pick for the win
  • + 4
 Should be an interesting race, good luck to everyone ! mostly to Brosnan and Hill !
  • + 3
 Tracey Hannah Death grippin!✊
  • + 2
 If I found gregs bike I think there is a pretty small chance I would return it to him!
  • + 1
 Does anyone know? If the junior who wins the stripes moves into the elite category next year, does he/she wear the striped jersey in the elite category the following year?
  • + 1
 I don't think so but I'm not sure. Seems like a bit of a rip off to win the stripes and not even get to wear them!
  • + 1
 @src248: I don't think they can wear the shirt, but they can have the striped details on their bike and kit
  • + 1
 @jaame: Tahnee was Jr. world champ but doesn't have any stripes on her kit, you'd think she would if she was able
  • + 1
 @src248: yes you're right. Bryce didn't have either. Rainbow stripes must only be for seniors.
  • + 1
 Whatever the top rider will be the champ, Sam Hill with his enduro and going to the game, come on, you gotta love the Legend !
  • + 3
 More, more, more of this please!
  • + 1
 I almost can't wait for this to all be over because I may so anxious and nervous on how everything will play out.
  • + 2
 How can you misspell Gwin. One "n"
  • + 2
 Loic's helmet paint job is bloody beautiful!
  • + 1
 fox with vergier its LOL, he wear elbow from one industries??? where the fox head logo outhere????
  • + 2
 What camera's do these guys use, these photo's are just epic.
  • + 1
 click on the photo, all the data is there.
  • + 1
 Greg deserve's that bike I do not! I would humbly return to sir Greg.
  • + 1
 Loris reminds me of a young Johny Depp
  • + 1
 What's up with connor fearon? broken fingers/hand?
  • + 1
 I thought he injured his wrist a while back
  • + 1
 @cheetamike: I think from his crash at Andorra.
  • + 1
 brunis helmet is beautiful
  • + 1
 So do we get to stream the race from Canada now ?
  • + 1
 With a VPN yes
  • + 1
 @src248: Opera has a built in VPN, apparently
  • + 0
 sam hill will not medal. if i'm wrong i'll admit i was wrong.
  • + 5
 So you're say he will not, but he might?????
  • + 3
 I think it's unlikely but as they said, been nice to think about it with him back in the fold this week. No one wins from first out of the gate.... But... Just maybe.....
  • + 2
 sdaly I think you are right. I'd be real happy to be wrong on that though!
  • - 1
 It's just the camera angle but Micks front wheel looked completely tacoed out off that drop
  • + 1
 Kaos Tahnee Gwinn

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