Over the years the Les Gets downhill track has seen some epic weather conditions and equally memorable races. When brought back from extinction last year the conditions resembled those of the late 1990's with axle deep ruts and slick mud from top to bottom. A fitting tribute, paying homage to the roots of racing on the slopes on Mont Chery. This year for the second running of Crankworx in Les Gets, racers were treated to the polar opposite. Super dry and dusty all week, the track was the fastest it's ever been, and without a doubt the fastest track we've seen on the international calendar this year. Not since World Champs in 2004 have conditions in these slopes been so prime. And with Steve Peat, who crashed in the final corner while leading many years ago, and Fabien Barel who took home the rainbows instead both racing today, it felt a bit like history repeating itself once again.
In the mix with the old school racers on this old school track, we're the newest generations of Downhill talent looking to tame the slopes of a legendary venue. Up first were the youngsters and future stars of the sport, many of whom were not even old enough to ride bikes when the likes of Nico Vouilloz, Shawn Palmer, and Steve Peat made Les Gets a household name. Once again it would be Finn Iles who would come out on top, blazing his rainbow stripes down the track with a time that would have landed him 11th in the elite race, and just four seconds off the fastest time of the day. To say the future of downhill racing is strong would be an understatement.
In the Women's race, a few new faces like Casey Brown and Jill Kintner joined in the mix of World Cup regulars to add a little spice to things. And while the usual podium suspects dominated the day, Jill and Casey would keep the rest honest by finishing a close 5th and 6th respectively. The biggest battle, however, would be between current World Cup leader Tracey Hannah, and an inspired Myriam Nicole, who was racing on home soil in front of many family and friends. Myriam would cross the line a full five seconds clear of Emilie Siegenthaler—a time that looked unbeatable–but with Tracey Hannah on track, nothing would be guaranteed. Tracey's split times were slightly off the pace but always in touch, and the suspense would build all the way to the line. In the end, it would be Myriam Nicole who would take the top spot, showing that she is one to be reckoned with at the remaining WC and Crankworx rounds.
The Men's race would be an incredibly close fought battle with the top 10 all being within three seconds of each other, and the top three all on the same second. The racing was fast, furious, and often times on the ragged edge of control as the sun continued to make conditions more dry and loose as the day went on. The first fast times were set by George Brannigan and Bernard Kerr, and it wasn't until Troy Brosnan came tearing down the track that anyone set a time that looked to be unbeatable. Try as they might, Jack Moir, Loris Vergier, and Greg Minnaar came close but were no match for Brosnan who would get his first big international win of the 2017 season. To make it all the more special Troy did it with Fabien Barel, his Canyon team manager, mentor, and winner of World Champs on these same slopes in attendance.
Epic skies overlooking epic action on the hill.
Jacob Dickson enjoying the view above Les Gets that can only be seen from Mont Chery.
Legend and birthday boy Steve Peat made a rare and special appearance between the tape in Les Gets.
Team manager and winner of World Champs on these slopes thirteen years ago, Fabien Barel is still on of the fastest racers out there.
The big home race for French superstar of the future, Sylvain Cougoureux.
Finn Iles makes good use of a massive rut leftover from the mud-fest we saw here in 2016. Bar drag at 40kph? No big deal for the Junior World Champ.
Young American, Nik Nestoroff, finally got the chance to bite back in the juniors and landed on the podium.
Sylvain Cougoureux charging hard on a mission for the win, but coming up three seconds short on Finn Iles' barn-burning run.
Ratty's back! For one race only...
Ratboy racing his DH bike for the first time this year and continuing to have the time of his life.
Josh Lewis, as usual, having more fun than everyone else on track today.
Intense Factory Racing heading up to the starting block.
Marcelo Gutierrez has been crushing it on the Word Cup circuit this year but was a bit of the pace here in Les Gets.
Deanos Machineos putting his prototype through the motions for 15th, only 5.8 seconds back.
Big mountain scenes of the Portes Du Soleil.
Vergier, just hanging around.
Vergier through the infamous Cannonball section.
Forest Riesco shredding his way through the err... woods.
Charlie Harrison was barely old enough to ride a bike the last time racing went off in Les Gets in such perfect conditions.
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.
Alex Fayolle had a fantastic run going before sliding out in one of the high-speed off-camber turns at the bottom of the track.
Eliot Jackson takes the plunge into the step woods.
Rainbow stripes, Mont Blanc, and Finn Iles on his winning run today on Les Gets.
The much-loved mid section of the track was deep in the loamy woods.
Steve Peat on the hunt for some overdue redemption dating back to 2004.
Troy Brosnan rails out of the Cannonball section.
Sam Blenkinsop enjoyed the old school vibes of the Les Gets course, but just missed out on the top 10.
Current Enduro World Series leader Adrien Dailly was racing a bigger bike than usual today.
Keegan Wright for out and flat out.
Full bore into the axle-deep ruts from the 2016 carnage.
Casey Brown hucking her way into 6th place this afternoon.
Sixth today for Casey Brown.
Morganne Charre grips and rips through the heather on the top section.
Jill Kintner was six seconds back in fifth.
Manon Carpenter finished the day on fourth but is still a bit off the pace of the fastest women.
Carpenter of course always a big appreciator of quality woodwork.
Vaea Verbeeck at home in the ferns, riding to a top 10.
Emilie Siegenthaler in the chase for the last podium spot.
World Cup overall leader Tracey Hannah was disappointed with her in and would have to settle for second today.
Tracey Hannah 1.72 seconds outta luck, despite laying it all out on track.
On home soil and out to prove something after missing the top step at the first two World Cup rounds, Myriam Nicole finally got her first big win of the season.
Myriam Nicole speed tucks across the line with the fastest time.
All smiles for Pom Pon as she headed for the top of the podium.
Frenchman, Faustin Figaret, rounding out the top 10 on the day.
Another weekend and another top result from Bernard Kerr. He would finish just 0.10 off the podium in fourth.
Amaury Pierron hitting warp speed at the bottom of the track en route to a ninth-place finish.
Jacob Dickson looking pinned once again and claiming 14th.
1.64 seconds back would land Mark Wallace in 6th.
Another top ten for Mick Hannah, just 1.77 out of the lead in what was an incredibly tight race.
Jack Moir avoiding champagne showers from a 'naked from the waist down' spectator on the inside line.
Fifth for George Brannigan today.
Brannigan has found some old form and is riding characteristically wild once again.
We know the feeling...
Smooth and aggressive, Loris Vergier is proving to be a threat on any kind of track.
Drifting through the last turn and tucking to the line, Loris Vergier would come second, less than a second behind Troy Brosnan.
France's great hope for the win, coming up short by less than a second.
Slowly gaining pace at each race, Troy Brosnan finally put all the pieces together today.
A rare beast not seen in these territories for more than a decade... 2004 to be precise.
Incoming G.O.A.T alert.
Number three for the number one this time.
Team manager, mentor, and friend... Fabien Barel was the first to congratulate Troy Brosnan on his victory today.
The 2004 Les Gets champ congratulates the 2017 Les Gets champ.
Times at the top were extremely tight today and Greg Minnaar had to settle for 3rd less than a second back.
Kings and queens of the hill.
Seeing as it's Crankworx, let the party continue.