Cannonball Festival: Toyota Australian Open Downhill - Recap

Dec 6, 2015
by Ben Stevens  
The final day of Thredbo’s Cannonball MTB Festival had arrived. The weather was forecast for more blue skies in the mornings with storms predicted for the afternoon, however with the rain holding off it was another very dusty day of racing for all involved. With the first two days knocking four events off the schedule, Sunday played host to just one event, the main event, The Toyota Australian Open Downhill. Being responsible for bringing American Luca Shaw and big name Australian racers Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon and Sam Hill, it was set to be a big finale to what had already been an awesome weekend of events.

Dead gum trees are a regular feature of Thredbo s landscape the result of severe bush fires.
  Dead gum trees are a regular feature of Thredbo's landscape, the result of severe bushfires.

Putting the final touches on Fearon s bike before racing.
  Putting the final touches on Fearon's bike before racing.

Thredbo is well known for the Cannonball Downhill Trail, so much so it is the namesake of the entire weekend's festivities. The Cannonball Trail has had a long standing history in the Australian Mountain Bike scene and has developed over the years into what it is today. 3.5 km of track descending 600m vertically through technical rock gardens, loose gravel fire roads, wide-open ski runs and some good old Australian bush. Topped off with some quality man-made features including world-class berms, jumps, and a huge wooden wall ride.

The downhill trail had been open every day for practice between 9:30 am and 4 pm, allowing racers across all fields to get a good feel of the track before race day. The Pro's and Junior Men had an official seeding run on Saturday afternoon. This was the first opportunity for Elite racers to put in a timed effort for the whole trail without having to battle the crowds during regular practice. At the end of the day, Troy Brosnan was the fastest down the hill with a time of 5:10.73. 7 seconds faster than the closest competitor Connor Fearon. Jack Moir qualified third carrying good form from his win in the first Australian National round last weekend. In the Elite Women’s seeding, it was Tegan Molloy at the top again, followed by Thredbo rider Sian A’hern, who has stepped up from juniors for this weekend's race.

In the zone
  In the zone

When it came to race day, all eyes were on the Pro’s, with everyone wanting to see if Brosnan could remain the fastest or whether any of the other riders could throw down an unbeatable run. The racing was nothing short of spectacular. Junior World Cup rider Jackson Frew was the first to settle into the hot seat, hanging onto it for 13 riders before Team Lusty rider Joel Willis took his spot, only to be dethroned by none other than Sam Hill. Hill remained in the hot seat right down to the wire. Fearon was next into the seat but it was short lived as Brosnan came home at a blistering pace to take the win by 7 seconds. It was a similar scenario in the Elite woman’s field, with everyone looking to knock Molloy off the top step at least once for the weekend. It was Sian A’hern who came the closest in the end, but Molloy was unstoppable and took her fourth event win for the weekend.

Check out the Bling on Brosnan s bike.
  Check out the Bling on Brosnan's bike.

Crowds gather under stormy skies to watch Troy make take the win
  Crowds gather under stormy skies to watch Troy make take the win

Danny once again firing up the crowd on the final day of racing.
  Danny once again firing up the crowd on the final day of racing.

A.Crimmins giving his bike a bit of a tune in the comfort of Thredbo MTB s workshop.
  Andrew Crimmins giving his bike a bit of a tune in the comfort of Thredbo MTB's workshop.

Preparation for race start.
  Preparation for race start.

Cannonball Festival Toyota Australian Open Downhill - Recap images

Elite women hanging out before their seeding runs.
  Elite women hanging out before their seeding runs.

Saturdays seeding run proved to be a good one for Jack Moir qualifying third.
  Saturdays seeding run proved to be a good one for Jack Moir, qualifying third.

A nice small lift line on the way up for seeding.
  A nice small lift line on the way up for seeding.

Hill preparing for his seeding run.
  Hill preparing for his seeding run.

Race start came with a nice stone pathway before hitting the loose gravel fire road.
  Race start came with a nice stone pathway before hitting the loose gravel fire road.

Brosnan on his way to setting the fastest seeding time.
  Brosnan on his way to setting the fastest seeding time.

Hill navigating the first rock garden at Snakes and ladders a technical section in the top sector of the course.
  Hill navigating the first rock garden at Snakes and ladders, a technical section in the top sector of the course.

Fearon enjoying a few casual laps during practice.
  Fearon enjoying a few casual laps during practice.

Luca Shaw put down a solid race run earning himself 4th place on his debut in Australian Racing.
  Luca Shaw put down a solid race run, earning himself a 4th place on his debut in Australian Racing.

Tegan Molloy was crowned Queen of Cannonball winning all four events she was entered into.
  Tegan Molloy was crowned Queen of Cannonball, winning all four events she was entered into.

Sam Hill s final push for the finish line
  Sam Hill's final push for the finish line

Dual compressor winner Blake Neilsen tipping it into the exit of snakes and ladders.
  Dual compressor winner Blake Neilsen tipping it into the exit of snakes and ladders.

Fearon styling it up over the line to knock Hill off the hot seat.
  Fearon styling it up over the line to knock Hill off the hot seat.

A friendly hand shake as the lead changes over.
  A friendly handshake as the lead changes over.

Troy Brosnan finishes up in the top spot with a 7 second lead.
  Troy Brosnan finishes up in the top spot with a 7-second lead.

Brosnan taking in the victory.
  Brosnan taking in the victory.

Luca Shaw recapping the final run with Connor
  Luca Shaw recapping the final run with Connor.

Cannonball Festival Toyota Australian Open Downhill - Recap images results

Master of the Mic kicking off the celebrations early.
  Master of the Mic kicking off the celebrations early.

Elite Men s podium - Troy Brosnan Connor Fearon Sam Hill
  Elite Men's podium - Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon, Sam Hill

Cannonball Festival Toyota Australian Open Downhill - Recap images

With the stormy weather closing in, the final podiums were held poolside, where the hard working event's team pumped out prizes and giveaways for the fans and the downhill winners took their place on the podiums. Thredbo’s Cannonball Festival was yet again a huge success and is sure to be even bigger next year.

Results


View the course preview.

For all of the race results from the Sram Duel Compressor, Rockshox Pump Track Challenge, ODI Whip Wars, Maxis Flow Motion and the Toyota Australian Open Downhill follow this link.


MENTIONS: @benstevens / @Specialized / @konaworld / @Nukeproofinternational




72 Comments

  • 47 5
 Yea Troy! My favorite racer these days, so ridiculously fast, flying dude, humble yet (now, judging by his FB profile) knowing how to enjoy himself. I saw him riding, or rather flying in Val Di Sole then met him in person in the pits, such a super cool lad with so great parents. He and Ratboy are the only ones I find worth stalking on in social media. Bloody backwheel machine.

Keep on kicking! All the best through Australian on season and next years World Cup.
  • 13 0
 Loves Back Wheel!
  • 16 0
 his kits are insane
  • 1 0
 clocking his fastest seeding run with his eyes closed.
  • 1 0
 Just gotta say...lovin the name, Cannonball Festival. You guys rock.
  • 30 1
 Ouuuch, Brosnan nearly 10 sec quicker than Hill on home soil... I bet Sam wasnt too stoked on that ! Well done Troy, looked like a fun , flat out course
  • 12 0
 Nah it's fair. Sam was at his peak a few years ago but still super consistent. It's impressive for sure! Fearon is on the edge of his break through and will have a wicked streak once he can find his consistency and form. He's Damn close!
  • 7 3
 Brosnan is probably the fastest rider in the world right now, no surprises there
  • 17 0
 not home soil at all, he lives on the other side of the country
  • 11 0
 From what I've seen, Brosnan seems to maintain form throughout the off season whereas Hill backs off a bit. Come World Cup season I'm sure you'll see them neck and neck again.
  • 5 0
 Age plays a part in it haha back in the day hill did rampage type events in the off season
  • 13 0
 Old man sam and ratboy were the only riders who won two world cup rounds in 2014. 2015 he was out with injury. Let's see what happens in 2016, eh?
  • 2 0
 Yeah sam's the man! Hope he keeps it together!
  • 1 11
flag neroleeloo (Dec 6, 2015 at 20:17) (Below Threshold)
 @TimBigHitFSRII , last I check Sam's Australian and the race was in Australia = Home soil .Im sure if you'd race the world cups like those 2 you would call Australia home regardless where you are in the country.At least he was beaten by another countryman but Im not sure if it actually " eased" the pain or added salt to his wounds ;-)...Sill, its fun to see the student now surpasses the master and Im sure Sam must be a little proud of that.
  • 3 0
 it really not that surprising considering thats roughly the gap that would be there during the world cup races, albeit with a bunch of wc racers in between them
  • 4 0
 it aint anybodies home soil. no one lives in Thredbo. much
  • 5 0
 In all due respect, everyone calls Windham Gwin's home race but he actually lives 40 hours away in California.
  • 25 0
 Please stay fit and injury free for the start of the world cup season Mr Hill
  • 8 0
 Congrats to our TLD boys, Sam Hill and Luca Shaw from #sramTLDracing nice one! And hell of a debut for our new TLD Australian program, ran by Lusty Industries, Remy Morton, Panozzo, Boyer, Butler, Collier (get well bro).
  • 3 0
 Miss Brosnan yet? Wink
  • 5 0
 Of course we do, but, his bike brand is making apparel now, oh well. We still protect his knees, elbows and chest!
  • 5 0
 Thank God Australia has such a strong mountain bike community. It's nice to be able to enjoy some great events while a large part of us deal with shit weather winter season lol
  • 8 0
 Unfortunately Australia is SO far behind when it comes to bike parks We have some OK hills, but getting a trail on a lift accessed hill takes about 10 years to get approved and built.... And anyone that says 'it's getting better' - you KNOW it's horrible. Why do you think we all go to Canada or NZ to ride.
  • 6 0
 We have one legendary Hill...
  • 6 0
 Brosnan is a fcking monster !!
  • 2 0
 Yeah man, that's a brutal slaydown on the rest of the field!!!! Congrats to the top three, but Troy - that's a gold jacket moment!
  • 6 0
 3.5km / 5 minute track. That is real DH!
  • 4 0
 Nice to see Moir back and actually healthy. Hope that lasts the upcoming season.

Where were the Hannah's?
  • 5 0
 Troy winning it with his eyes closed.
  • 2 2
 I would have my eyes closed as well if I was wearing what he had on. Bad colour choice.
  • 3 0
 Brosnan, smashing everybody. Criminal on his home track even got smashed. Impressive.
  • 4 0
 Brosnan lookin fly
  • 3 0
 Yes!!!! Finally some Australian DH Coverage.
  • 1 0
 umm, last week there was some, 1st round of Nat series, Mt Taylor....
  • 1 0
 Really? Must have missed it.
  • 1 0
 Need some vids...anyone know where? Seeing and hearing about all this with no video coverage is like waking up late for Christmas.
  • 2 0
 Was an epic event. Awesome to be there and experience it first hand. Definitely on the list for net year! Congrats to Troy!
  • 3 1
 That spesh racing kit! Want Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Where do I get a bike like brosnan's?
  • 17 0
 World cup podiums. If you go there enough you'll be given one.
  • 1 0
 The same way you get to Carnegie Hall.
  • 2 0
 brosnan, you got a damn nice bike mate, looks sweet!
  • 3 0
 where is the FOX40's ?
  • 16 1
 They're all getting serviced
  • 3 2
 They won both World Cup DH Championships so maybe they are taking a break.
  • 3 0
 WTF 7 SECONDS !?
  • 1 0
 "... It`s not a second, but seven seconds away ... tralalala ... I`ll be awaiting ... "
  • 1 0
 Yeah Connor!!! My favorite rider for sure!!!
  • 1 1
 I believe Some of the aussie coverage only shows up to Australian pink bike viewers.
  • 8 0
 nah, I seentit and I'm Merican AF
  • 1 0
 Where dude...no holding out.
  • 2 0
 Haha...you rock.
  • 1 0
 Connor fearons face said ¨ well brosnan just destroyed me¨!
  • 2 1
 it looks like there is like 300mm of suspension on the first bikes pic
  • 2 0
 Go Troy!!
  • 1 0
 Hill looks like he runs a 700mm bar
  • 4 1
 A while ago Renthal ran a little video showcasing the Monster/Specialized team of Hill, Brosnan, and Fairclough. It went over what rise and width they like to run. If I recall correctly, Hill ran a 734mm width bar with a 30mm rise. He was one of the first, if not the first, to start running wider bars. At that time, the Race Face Diabolus bars were the widest at 710, and he ran a 730.
  • 3 0
 it seems to stand out now amongst 800mm bars.
  • 1 0
 he had funn 750mm bars back when 700 was classed as wide
  • 1 0
 @mtnbykr05 can you find that video? I find it hard to believe he's running narrower bars nowadays... they were on 720 Eastons in the early Iron Horse days and I believe his teammate Nathan Rennie had custom made bar extensions to give him the widest bars around before Sam was on 750 Funns. RF Diabolus certainly weren't the widest then. I had 720 Azonics in 2001
  • 1 0
 World Force bar? I had one of those too
  • 1 0
 m.youtube.com/watch?v=NpyxUIe-lTg
So I was I incorrect on the rise, but they were all running bars that were trimmed from original width.
  • 1 0
 @mtnbykr05 Thanks for the link! I remember seeing that when it came out but apparently I wasn't paying attention to the widths they were running. He did go back down in width from the 750mm Funn Full-On from the IronHorse days. Some rad cutty clips in there! By 2013 he was back up to 760mm bars- www.pinkbike.com/news/Sam-Hill-Nukeproof-Pulse-Hafjell-World-Cup.html @WayneParsons , I had the renthal gold World Force Azonic's on my first real MTB, then picked up some 2" rise black ones a few years later for my first DH bike (OG Super 8 Cool ) then some Double Wall Azonics (not the PDW's) a few years after that. They were the best bars back then.
  • 3 2
 give props if you like the new kona operator
  • 1 0
 Ya, only 720 I read somore. ..
  • 1 0
 Fearon racing27.5? Kona doesn't have that bike on their website anymore.
  • 4 0
 It's having some changes done to it. They pulled it off the site until they are fully happy with it. Look for a spring debut.
  • 2 0
 smashed it!
  • 2 2
 what, no jumps on the course???
  • 1 1
 Noticed Luca Shaw riding a Santa Cruz
  • 3 5
 A real slap in the face of masculinity; getting beat by a rider wearing Pink !

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