Practice Photo Report - Lošinj DH World Cup 2018

Apr 20, 2018 at 13:02
by Dave Trumpore  





There's a saying that goes, "don't judge a book by its cover" that would probably best describe the opening round of the season here in Croatia. We're not talking about the village of Losinj that is visually beautiful in every way, and as good on the outside as it is within. What we are talking about is the downhill track that winds it's way down a rocky hill just above town. Ever since this round was announced last summer, there have been countless naysayers attempting to talk it down a few pegs, and no number of helmet cameras, track previews, or first-hand testimonials could change that narrative. To say there has been an air of negativity surrounding this event by members of the online community would be putting it nicely. Today, however, was the day that the truth could finally be told, and we're not sure there's much room left for argument.

Yes, it's true. The track in Losinj certainly is proving to be a challenge to the best riders in the world, and more so than we have seen in a long long time. It's short, it's technical, fast in spots, slow in others, and awkward in between. It's a lot of things but easy is not one of them. And if you were to add up all the rocks on every DH track on the World Cup Circuit, they still would not total the number getting pounded by racers' tires in Croatia. The jumps are longer than expected, the drops a bit taller, and the rocks a lot rockier than anyone anticipated. Once racers dove in, preconceived notions were out, and it all became a totally different story.

While some riders have been looking phenomenal on track right from the start, others have not been so lucky. Right out of the get-go, Loic Bruni went down no more than 20 seconds into his first run and landed himself in the hospital. Mick Hannah also had a massive one, as did his sister Tracey, and of course everyone is aware now of what happened to Claudio during his preview run. Even if the bodies were making it down safely, the bikes, and in particular the tires are a different story. While it isn't a big deal just to roll through, there are lots of lines and gaps that take commitment to squeeze precious time out of and often it's just a matter of inches (or less) that can spell disaster. Hitting any line to the left or right of ideal here often results in a crash or a puncture, and very few made it down without any. In fact, most people collected multiples of one or both throughout the day.

Often we say to ignore the timed training results as they rarely factor into giving a true read of who's up to speed for race day, but on this track that might not be the case. The select few that were able to attack run after run and put down fast times without crashes or mechanicals are in pretty exclusive company right now. Sure, a few people held their cards close to their chest, but a lot still have a long ways to go if they want to match the pace we saw today from the likes of Brook Macdonald and Rachel Atherton.

Not the typical view you d expect to find at the finish line.
Not the typical view you'd expect to find at the finish line.

The beautiful gardens that cover the houses in town and it s surroundings could not contrast any more with the rough and brutal DH track hidden up the hill just out of sight.
The beautiful gardens that cover the houses in town and it's surroundings could not contrast any more with the rough and brutal DH track hidden up the hill just out of sight.

No gondola or chairlift this weekend.
No gondola or chairlift this weekend.

A year ago it was a big deal to see Greg Minnaar on a 29er but now it seems hard the field is on one.
A year ago it was a big deal to see Greg Minnaar on a 29er, but now it seems that half the field is on one.

No smooth transitions for riders as the drop into the Pinball section of the track.
No smooth transitions for riders at the drop into the Pinball section of the track.

Rachel Atherton looks to be healed up and back on pace after rehabing a shoulder injury in the off season.
Rachel Atherton looks to be healed up and back on pace after rehabbing a shoulder injury in the off-season.

Brook Macdonald was on an absolute tear today muscling his way down the track at a pace often visibly faster than anyone else.
Brook Macdonald was on an absolute tear today, muscling his way down the track at a pace often visibly faster than anyone else.

Disaster for Loic Bruni on his first run of the day straight over the bars and down on his his right arm.
Disaster for Loic Bruni on his first run of the day; straight over the bars and down on his right arm.

Dakotah Norton tries to find the grip through one of the many flat turns up in the woods.
Dakotah Norton tries to find the grip through one of the many flat turns up in the woods.

Gwin is renowned for being conservative in training and he seemed to start the 2018 season the same way as ever giving almost nothing away.
Gwin is renowned for being conservative in training and he seemed to start the 2018 season the same way as ever, giving almost nothing away.

Tracey Hannah dropping the hammer on the relentlessly brutal upper section.
Tracey Hannah dropping the hammer on the relentlessly brutal upper section.

Sram s Vali Holl... She s new she s young she s faster than you.
Sram's Vali Holl...She's new, she's young, she's faster than you.

The Hannahs share some track wisdom. Unfortunately Mick would later knock himself out and end up on the sidelines for the rest of the weekend.
The Hannahs share some track wisdom. Unfortunately, Mick would later knock himself out and end up on the sidelines for the rest of the weekend.

The reigning overall winner was in a relaxed mood after practice.
The reigning overall winner was in a relaxed mood after practice.

Man and machine. Laurie Greenland has two new faces beside him at Mondraker but he ll still be looking forward.
Man and machine. Laurie Greenland has two new faces beside him at Mondraker but he'll still be looking forward.

Laurie Greenland was matching the pace of his new teammate and fastest man on track Brook Macdonald in practice today.
Laurie Greenland was matching the pace of his new teammate and fastest man on track, Brook Macdonald, in practice today.

Bruce Klein has a solid platform under him this year on which to perform.
Bruce Klein has a solid platform under him this year on which to perform.

Mark Wallace tackling wall drop 1 of 100.
Mark Wallace tackling wall drop 1 of 100.

Loris Vergier definitely looks to be one of the smoothest riders on track just floating along where many are struggling to find the flow.
Loris Vergier definitely looks to be one of the smoothest riders on track, just floating along where many are struggling to find the flow.

Eddie Masters boosts the last big jump before things turn rowdy.
Eddie Masters boosts the last big jump before things turn rowdy.

Sik Mik was going extra hard this afternoon making everything look silky smooth until his huge wipe-out.
Sik Mik was going extra hard this afternoon, making everything look silky smooth until his huge wipe-out.

Finn Iles very first practice run as an Elite and it was pure style.
Finn Iles very first practice run as an Elite, and it was pure style.

Kaos Seagrave has made the step up to elites and he certainly didn t leave his effortless style behind.
Kaos Seagrave has made the step up to elites and he certainly didn't leave his effortless style behind.

Danny Hart looks to have settled into the swing of things at Saracen.
Danny Hart looks to have settled into the swing of things at Saracen.

Tahnee Seagrave ducking and tucking through the Croatian dry stone walls.
Tahnee Seagrave ducking and tucking through the Croatian dry stone walls.

Troy and Mark better watch out Kye A Hern is the new junior on the team but has the pace to keep them on their toes.
Troy and Mark better watch out! Kye A'Hern is the new junior on the team but has the pace to keep them on their toes.

Remi Thirion with the racer style in a section that saw most people having to pull extra hard to clear the big gap.
Remi Thirion with the racer style in a section that saw most people having to pull extra hard to clear the big gap.

Blenki is on absolute charge after killing the game out at Crankworx Rotorua. 2nd in today s TT.
Blenki is on absolute charge after killing the game out at Crankworx Rotorua. 2nd in today's TT.

Emilie Siegenthaler will be a consistent threat the podium all year.
Emilie Siegenthaler will be a consistent threat the podium all year.

Once Luca Shaw land on the backside of this rock wall it ll be another two minutes before he finds any smooth ground again.
Once Luca Shaw lands on the backside of this rock wall, it'll be another two minutes before he finds any smooth ground again.

Tracey Hannah looked comfortable out on track and is undeterred by the rocky course.
Tracey Hannah looked comfortable out on track and is undeterred by the rocky course.

World Champ Miranda Miller will be donning the rainbow stripes for the first time at a World Cup come qualifying tomorrow.
World Champ Miranda Miller will be donning the rainbow stripes for the first time at a World Cup come qualifying tomorrow.

Myriam Nicole with the quaint harbour finish line in the distance.
Myriam Nicole with the quaint harbour finish line in the distance.

Rough tracks turn into pavement when Dean Don Lucas gets up to speed. 4th fastest TT for the IFR Aussie.
Rough tracks turn into pavement when Dean 'Don' Lucas gets up to speed. 4th fastest TT for the IFR Aussie.

Netflix chilling and sensible levels of hydration Brendan s priorities are in order.
Netflix, chilling, and sensible levels of hydration; Brendan's priorities are in order.

Brendan Faiclough comes though the fast open woods just before the track comes out on the open road into town.
Brendan Faiclough comes through the fast open woods just before the track comes out on the open road into town.

Cumbrian powerhouse Adam Brayton bouldering down the pinball section.
Cumbrian powerhouse, Adam Brayton, bouldering down the pinball section.

Despite looking flawless on confident all day Finn Iles was not immune to tumbling off the side of the track like everyone else.
Despite looking flawless and confident all day, Finn Iles was not immune to tumbling off the side of the track like everyone else.

It s all about ostrich feathers. Ask Dougie Fresh.
Losinj clean-up.... It's all about ostrich feathers. Ask Dougie Fresh.

Biscuits bananas top results. Do as Vergier does.
Biscuits, bananas, top results. Do as Vergier does.

Back on a Mondraker back on top... Brook MacDonald is on a quest to rekindle his glory days.
Back on a Mondraker, back on top... Brook MacDonald is on a quest to rekindle his glory days.



49 Comments

  • + 49
 I'd run two cush cores per wheel on this track... Jk, I can't ride that stuff
  • + 29
 Killing it Brook. keep the hammer down
  • + 18
 Dean, put on some gloves! You're freaking me out!
  • + 9
 No gloves on Tracy either! Sikk.
  • + 11
 Glad to see at least one rider with elbow pads on, was just looking at the the pic of Finn crashing thinking I would want my elbow pads on there.
  • + 2
 Bruni always uses them too
  • + 7
 Not that I would ever be able to ride something like that....but if I did I would have body armour on my body armour.
  • + 1
 Many pros are using extra guards
  • + 17
 The rocks put on some armour when they see Brook leaving the start gate.
  • + 1
 All I could think about was his forks grinding away on those rocks O_O
  • + 5
 I doubt majority(dh fans) dislike this track...just because a few are the loudest(or best wpm) or have a mic doesn't make em right.
  • + 1
 Dislike might be the wrong word, I think it's better to say that those who criticise the track have concerns. The course and location are spectacular and it's something new, but being as short as it is (even with a considerable street section) only encourages high-risk lines to gain an advantage. And since the majority of the track is littered with sharp rocks and drops those risks could have serious consequences for anyone whos luck runs out. DH is not a safe sport, but some think this course is a bit too reckless and that rider safety has been unnecessarily compromised for questionable benefit. Of course, I could still be proven wrong (I actually hope I am) and the big story after all is said and done is the racing, and not the large list of those injured.
  • - 1
 @Deuce-DeuceAndAHalf: luckily tjw concerned voices weren't in charge...whew, close call there.
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh: It was good to see they were just talking points for the most part in the end.
  • + 7
 Where is the Claudio course preview?
  • + 2
 Claudio wiped out and went to the hospital to get checked out.
  • + 1
 He crashed and knocked himself out..
  • + 30
 And he wants someone to dress up as a nurse.
  • + 6
 But they still made it sound like it was getting posted. Claudio is awesome but I still want to see that crash footage...
  • + 8
 Wheres the dirt?
  • + 4
 Am I the only one who scrolls through these pics, hoping to see a shot of Hill smashing some rocks back into the Earth, only to remember that this is DHWC not EWS.
  • + 5
 'Brooke Macdonald'... Secret sex change overnight?!?
  • + 4
 Thanks, changed!
  • + 1
 That is not a gender realignment I would like to see.
  • + 0
 @danielsapp: i guess, a 'r' is also missing in 'through' on Brendogs last picture ☝
  • + 3
 Interested to see what happened 0.4s after the Loris Vergier pic. Looks like a 12' drop into a 3' hole.
  • + 1
 He swallowed hard, in both pics.
  • + 4
 Mik continues to be the worst bad luck guy on the circuit. It kills me.
  • + 2
 Interesting... Didn't realise that Mark Wallace was so small, nor did I realise he was an Aus citizen!
  • + 1
 or being allowed to run the Aussie flag sleeve due to being Aussie Champ
  • + 3
 So you're telling my Brendog wished he had a water bottle cage?? :^)
  • + 1
 Hydration pack for the mid track beak through the meadow. Lol
  • + 2
 Dave T doesn't like the online community that much...
  • + 2
 Come on Blenki! Burn that course down!!!
  • + 3
 So good! Thank you!
  • + 2
 Mick, like, knocked himself out knocked himself out?
  • + 4
 remember the good old days when Mik used to say he only wore a helmet because they made him and he believed God would protect him better......
  • + 3
 Hell yes Brook !!!!
  • + 1
 "Netflix and chill”

I wonder how much they paid Brendon for that Big Grin
  • + 2
 Bulldog is out the cage!
  • + 1
 Honestly so many contenders for winning this race!
  • + 1
 Sick ????
  • + 0
 So Gwin still on the 27.5? Interesting.
  • + 0
 Won't be hart to gwin this one Wink
  • + 1
 mind-bending pictures!
  • - 1
 Bruce Jenner rules! I wonder if he has a 29+?
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