Perfect blues skies for racing.
As summer kicks off in Australia, so does this season’s race calendar and the first event off the ranks is none other than Thredbo’s Cannonball Festival. A highlight for competitors and fans, Thredbo has the convenience of village living and lift assisted runs all weekend. Based in the scenic NSW Snowy Mountains Cannonball is one of the biggest social events of the season. And it did not disappoint, with this year’s schedule including the new all mountain trail for the Canyon All Mountain Assault. The festival also included the crowd - pleasing Rock Shox Pump Track Challenge, SRAM Whip Wars and the Maxxis Flowmotion cup. However, it’s the GoPro Downhill Australian Open on the festival’s final day that drew riders from near and far. This year's schedule saw Troy Brosnan and Connor Fearon facing off with many great Aussie riders and even a few Pro riders from across the ditch. Cannonball Festival welcomed many World Cup riders including the well known Vanzacs boys. GT factory rider, Brook MacDonald, and Bergamont's Eddie Masters were welcomed as they made their appearance at the festival. Representing the women’s elite field was an impressive list of top Australian riders, the likes of Tegan Molloy and Danni Beecroft to name a few.
This year's Cannonball Festival boasted record entrant numbers, with 600 plus competitors overall. The Downhill field saw near 400 entrants hit the track to compete for top spot. With so many competitors there was never a dull moment on the mountain, giving both the trails and organisers a serious workout. This year the Cannonball Downhill trail has undergone a few modifications, giving some key sections of the trail a new look and feel to suit the highest level of racing. The weekend got off to a cold start on Friday after an overnight dusting of snow on the highest peaks. The tracks were damp and sticky for the first day and conditions stayed cool barely cracking a top temp of 5 degrees. However conditions dried out over the weekend making for a dusty finish on Sunday afternoon. Seeding was short and sharp on Saturday afternoon with Brosnan laying down the fastest time, and Fearon a mere 1.43 seconds behind him. Luke Ellison laid down a scorching run to qualify third fastest ahead of Thomas Crimmins and Jordan Prochyra.
On race day the sun was out in full force and so were the crowds ready to see the racers give it their all to take the Cannonball title. With a couple of sunny days and a few hundred riders lapping the track conditions were blown out and dusty by the time the elite fields hit the track late on Sunday afternoon. The racing was fierce in junior men’s with Josh Clark taking the win over Kye A’Hern and Baxter Maiwald. Without a seeding run to see where everyone stood, the Elite Women’s race was filled with action. Kellie Weinert, a strong favourite in Thredbo, suffered a crash which was enough put her out of the winning times. Danielle Beecroft lay down a scorching run, which put her in the hot seat until Tegan Molloy pushed herself right to the limit to take the top spot. Ronja Hill-Wright put in a solid effort to take the third seat on the podium in front of Sarah Booth and Shelly Flood.
The Elite Men’s race was set to be a cracker with the track getting looser by the minute it was anyone’s race. Graeme Mudd suffered a flat in seeding so his early run during finals saw him sitting in the hot seat well into the top ten riders. His place, finally taken by Joel Willis a young gun who will be one to watch this year. Tom Crimmins was next to ride into the top spot only to be pushed back out by a blistering run from Luke Ellison, which looked impossible to beat. Fearon came flying across the finish line but it was not enough to top Ellison’s time. The last man down the hill was Brosnan and the anticipation was at an all-time high to see what he could do. He did not disappoint as he threw down the fastest time of the weekend cracking the 5 minute mark and taking the win for the second year running.
Wouldn't be an Aussie event without a Barbie.
Dirt Art and the Thredbo Crew once again did an awesome job of building and priming all tracks.
Friday's cold weather made it necessary to layer up, especially while waiting for the race start at the top.
One of the many characters of Cannonball.
SRAM Mechanic's worked hard throughout the weekend.
Josh Carlson with some Enduro steeze earned himself a Win in the Maxxis Flowmotion Cup and third in the Canyon All Mountain Assault.
Shelly Flood rugged up in 5-degree temps.
Troy cruising through Friday's practice runs.
Ben Forbes looked quick all weekend, taking the win in the Canyon All Mountain Assault.
Red Bull DJ pumping tunes all weekend.
Crowds gather for the RockShox Pump Track Challenge.
The Mothership keeping the pump track running smooth.
Tegan Molloy taking out the win for the RockShox Pump Track Challenge.
What did Jackson Davis and Blake Nielsen see?
Left over snow from the late winter.
Enduro kit on point.
Tegan Molloy - Queen of Cannonball.
Premium conditions for the Maxxis Flow Motion Cup.
Josh Carlson winner of the Maxxis Flow Motion Cup.
Tegan Molloy almost full enduro.
Brook MacDonald stacking clips.
Dean Lucas rocking the Aussie colours.
Jackson Frew comfortable as always on the big bike.
Deep in thought over what needs tweaking to get some more speed.
Thredbo's master on the mic. Danny.
Nice to see Remy Morton back on a DH rig.
Two thumbs up is good, right?
Jackson Davis taking a moment.
The push up to the SRAM Whip Wars.
Pat Butler whipping through the afternoon sunshine.
Ryan Dawson's attempt at a back flip in the Sram Whip Wars saw him superman across the dirt.
War of Whips.
Whip Champion, Connor Fearon.
Youngsters loving the action at Whip Wars.
Shelly Flood and Tegan Molloy during downhill practice on the final day of Thredbo's Cannonball Festival.
Shelly Flood had a good weekend racing making the podium in the Canyon All mountain assault and making it into 5th in the GoPro Downhill.
Brosnan claiming the GoPro Downhill Australian Open for the 2nd year in a row.
Brook MacDonald looked to be enjoying his time shredding the Thredbo trails. Unfortunately he got a front flat in his race run taking away his chances of a podium whilst visiting.
Loudest helmet on the mountain.
Graeme Mudd cruising through the weekend off the back of some downtime after his international season.
Yeah, the boys.
GT Factory rider, Brook MacDonald chased Eddie Masters down on the dusty straight of True Blue.
The bottom of Snakes and Ladders was all time throughout the whole weekend.
Doesn't get more Aussie than that.....unless you are Blake Nielsen.
Thredbo's renowned timber berm got a solid workout this weekend.
Kye A'Hern putting in a solid effort to claim 2nd place in Junior Men's DH.
Junior Men's winner, Josh Clark.
Tegan poised for her winning race run.
Ronja Hill-Wright's race to 3rd place for Elite Women's DH.
Danielle Beecroft pinned towards the finish line.
Molloy railing corners.
Joel Willis claimed 5th in the Elite Men's GoPro Downhill Final.
Tom Crimmins stoked to take out 3rd in front of a home crowd.
Luke Ellison crossing the line to claim 2nd, someone needs to sponsor that guy!
Ellison taking the hot seat from Willis.
Connor Fearon pushed hard in the race run landing himself in third for the day.
Brosnan on his way to claiming victory in the Elite Men's DH.
Brosnan spent after putting in a huge effort to claim the Elite DH Men's final.
Elite Women: Tegan Molloy, Danielle Beecroft, Ronja Hill-Wright, (Stand in for) Sarah Booth, Shelly Flood.
Elite Men: Troy Brosnan, Luke Ellison, Tom Crimmins, Connor Fearon, Joel Willis.
Once again Thredbo’s Cannonball Festival was an epic weekend and a fantastic way to kick off this season’s event calendar.