Better to burn out than fade away, as the saying goes... Well, the 2018 season is all over and before disappearing in a cloud of thick smoke, it brought one last helping of particularly explosive action to the table. To say conditions were poor would be a profound understatement after extended bouts of rain in the preceding days were compounded by several hours of raining 'les chats & chiens' throughout finals. While many riders felt they were up a sewage-filled creek without a paddle and crashed and burned, there were those grinning ear to ear at the prospect of taking their shot down this sodden Vosges gauntlet. While a lot of big names got into difficulties, it was more or less a fair fight; equally treacherous underfoot... although some will say it got slower and tougher to ride as the rain subsided and the top 10 took to the track.
In the men's race it was supposed wild man Brook MacDonald killing the consistency game to come in 3rd and an epic return to the sharp end for Gee Atherton, only to be sabotaged by old teammate and enduro behemoth, Martin Maes, who somehow went and claimed the first ever back to back EWS and downhill win. In the women's race, Rachel Atherton stood tall and defiant to see off Tahnee Seagrave's bid for the top step on the day and in the overall, to take an incredible 6th series title. Meanwhile, in the junior races, Thibaut Daprela kept it rubber side down to play his part in the Commencal Vallnord team's overall victory and Vali Holl made it 7 for 7 to ride the perfect season, totally undefeated.
The 2018 season now goes into the history books as absolutely the best World Cup season we've ever had the pleasure of enjoying since the last one. Of course, we still have the curtain call of World Champs around the corner and based on the last couple of races it's going to be pure class. Hold onto your hats and see you in Switzerland.