In much the same fashion as the previous World Cup rounds we've had this short season, there was a fair bit of moisture in the air surrounding the Louzan Bike Park this morning. If we'd had to guess, rain gear and tear-offs would have been the official uniform for the first day of action above the small town. However, to our excitement, the sun wanted a peek at what we've all waited since March to see. As soon as rubber met the dirt, the sentiment of this being a one line track vanished and in came awkward tries and inside lines and doubles until ruts formed at an unprecedented levels.
The track was a different beast in the afternoon hours of day one and riders were making the most of the elaborate tape job done by the organizers. It was a game of where to actually not cut inside as some ruts weren’t able to hold the amount of traffic they were subjected to. Some say it has opened up a slew of new lines, others argue the track is deteriorating fast. All we do know is that it’s fast and loose out here. Better yet, the weather should hold for at least the first round and that means the tacky dirt and clay will turn into a dusty affair. All hell should be breaking loose soon in Lousa.
This season’s final timed training revealed what we’ve already known about veteran racers. They’re simply not afraid of steep chutes and roots. Tracy Hannah and Greg Minnaar both won practice and not just on the time sheet. They had a no drama approach to the very natural course, adapting the changing conditions without any issues. This track does need a full commitment mentality while still being able to tip toe across slippery elements without losing speed. Tomorrow’s qualifier might push those on the edge just that much further over.