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 bushfires.
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
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.
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.
Andrew Crimmins giving his bike a bit of a tune in the comfort of Thredbo MTB's workshop.
Preparation for race start.
Elite women hanging out before their seeding runs.
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.
Hill preparing for his seeding run.
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.
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.
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.
Sam Hill's final push for the finish line
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.
A friendly handshake as the lead changes over.
Troy Brosnan finishes up in the top spot with a 7-second lead.
Brosnan taking in the victory.
Luca Shaw recapping the final run with Connor.
Master of the Mic kicking off the celebrations early.
Elite Men's podium - Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon, Sam Hill
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.
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.