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Photo Epic: The Top 2023 Racing Moments Through the Lens of Pinkbike's Photographers

Dec 30, 2023 at 9:40
by Ed Spratt  



2023 was a year of new beginnings and a fresh start for World Cup racing. With Warner Brothers Discovery taking on the challenge of broadcasting and running the show, we saw a race season like no other before. Along with the new race organisers, 2023 saw plenty of changes on and off the track. These changes spanned the biggest shake-up in the downhill racing format for many years, with the introduction of semi-finals to the EWS series graduating into a fully-fledged World Cup event. Throughout a season filled with unpredictable racing and behind-the-scenes chaos, Pinkbike's photographers captured the action in glorious detail.

2023 was an incredible year to be a racing fan, with every stop of the World Cup circus spoiling race nerds with top performances and plenty of fresh faces stepping onto the podium. Not only did racing this past year deliver wild moments, but we also got unprecedented results as Nino Schurter shattered the win record of Julien Absalon, Rachel Atherton made a triumphant return and the future of downhill racing has very much arrived as first-year elites stood up and challenged the prowess of the World's best.

Racing doesn't get much better than the spectacle we saw in 2023, so in celebration of the past season we have pulled together our top moments from the year. A huge thanks to Dave Trumpore, Ross Bell, Nathan Hughes and Andy Vathis for capturing these incredible moments and Dave Trumpore for the hard job of selecting only a few images out of many great shots for this collection. It's been an amazing year to have the pleasure of covering racing for Pinkbike and I can't wait to kick it all off again with even more coverage next year. Until then, here are our top moments from the 2023 race season.





Rachybox reigns supreme here in Switzerland.
Rachel Atherton kicked off the downhill World Cup season in serious style as she made a big return to downhill racing.

Rachel Atherton drops into the arena.
Straight out the gate and back onto the top step of the podium. Rachel proved in Lenzerheide that she is one of the sport's greats once again.

Rachel Atherton attacking the lower section on her way to a surprise second place qualie.
Rachel quickly silenced any pre-season critics about how she would fare against the current crop of top elite women as she went fastest at round one by around half a second.

World Cup win number 40 for Rachel Atherton.
It was back to business as usual for Rachel as she impressively never dropped outside the top two through qualifying, semi-finals and finals in Lenzerheide. A week later she would be back on the podium again with third place in Leogang, proving her win wasn't a one-off show of strength.

Proud mum for the win.

As if she never missed a weekend away.
It's truly impossible to imagine how hard it must have been for Rachel Atherton to come back to racing after already achieving so much. With her round-one victory, Rachel clearly showed she is still one of the best.

What a start to Jordan Williams s elite career.
With the incredible weight of expectation on his back Jordan Williams brushed it off to come out of the off-season and into his first elite year with a bang.

Jordan Williams turned up the heat after a solid qualifying and semi finals performance.
Winning a World Cup is no easy task but Jordan Williams managed it at the first time of asking.

Everybody wants a photo of man of the match Jordan Williams
Now the pressure of winning off going forward, Jordan can relax and work on finding his way back to the top step of the podium.

Jackson Goldstone takes in the crowd on his way to the podium.
A tough year didn't stop Jackson Goldstone from taking 2nd in the overall and securing the title of the winningest elite male rider of the year.

Two in a row for Goldstone here in MSA.
Jackson's win in Val Di Sole cemented his confidence for the rest of the season as he went on to close out the season with a fairytale victory in Canada.

Jackson Goldstone catches his breath after a hectic run.

Goldstone battling on for the podium despite recent sickness in the team and a mid-season appendix op.
Even mid-season surgery couldn't slow Jackson down as he fought back a showed a consistent level of speed across the season.

Golden boy Goldstone.
The golden boy of Downhill proved he deserved the pre-season hype making himself a threat for all of the big names in downhill racing.

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Jackson made regular podium appearances in 2023 as he went inside the top five on five occasions throughout the season.

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All eyes are on Jackson in 2024.

Marine Cabirou finally back on that top spot.
Another amazing comeback story in 2023 was Marine Cabirou returning to her past World Cup winning ways as she topped the podium in Les Gets and Snowshoe and secured third in the overall standings.

Cabirou surfing her way into the final turn.
After last winning a World Cup during the pandemic season in 2020 Marine has struggled through multiple crashes and injuries. The second half of this year saw her right back at the sharp end challenging Nina Hoffmann and Vali Höll for race wins.

Marine Cabirou has been very consistent and even more so as of late. Cool and calm going into morning practice.
Following multiple setbacks and spending significant time away from top-level racing it can be find to find a way back to the top. Just like Rachel Atherton, Marine Cabirou proved she has incredible mental strength as well as physical form.

Marine Cabirou makes it back to back wins.
Marine Cabirou was the only rider to take more than one victory away from Vali Höll this year.

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Vali Höll was the most dominant force in downhill this season as she secured the highest number of wins, the overall title and a back-to-back World Champs victory.

Your queen at the Fort.
Vali has struggled to find consistency and battle the pressure of winning in the past. After her performances in 2023, it seems she has finally found the winning combination of speed and consistency to be a constant threat for the win.

Vali Hoell held nothing back and kept it clean all the way.

Vali Holl is unstoppable at the moment.
From the second stop of the series until the final round at MSA Vali Höll proved to be an unstoppable force laying down top performances not only in finals but was rapid in qualifying sessions and semi-final races.

Vali Holl will look to put the disappointment of Les Gets behind her and get back in the groove.
While there was disappointment in Les Gets for the Austrian World Champ she was still one of the fastest riders of the weekend there with splits unmatched by other riders in the sessions leading up to finals.

Vali Holl is on a tear at the moment.

Vali Holl seals her 2023 season in style.
With a World Champs title and the World Cup overall to her name Vali Höll couldn't have done much more in 2023.

Back to back titles for Sam Gaze.
New Zealand has had an incredible year for racing in 2023 and there was no better time for the nation's riders than the World Championships in Scotland.

Sam Gaze takes the gold Victor Koretzky the silver and Tom Pidcock the bronze.
Sam Gaze laid down the power in the XCC Short Track World Champs to secure the title against hard-charging Victor Koretzky and the race favourite Tom Pidcock. Sam was not happy with one World title as he almost secured another in the Olympic XC format taking second place behind Tom Pidcock.

A Kiwi clean sweep for the medals in the junior women.
The best showing from the NZ riders this year was the perfect podium performance at Fort William for World Champs where there was a Kiwi clean sweep in the Junior Women's racing.

Erice Van Leuven takes yet another World Cup win. What a talent.
Erice Van Leuven was on a tear this year and after taking the World Champs title was in contention for an overall World Cup win. Erice will be a rider to watch next year.

Samara Maxwell across the line and straight to the fans. What a season so far.
When talking about the performance of New Zealand riders it is impossible to ignore the breakout year of Samara Maxwell.

Samara Maxwell took to the front early on and didn t look back.
Samara Maxwell's rise from starting the year as a privateer to taking the World Champs XC title and then signing a deal with the Rockrider Ford team is what makes World Cup racing great.

Samara Maxwell takes gold ahead of Ginia Caluori and Ronja Blochlinger.
On top of the World. The second half of the season was dominated by the power of Samara Maxwell. With the backing of a big team, she could be the next XC superstar.

Morning showers to end the morning s races.

Super Bruni again unbeatable under pressure.
As new faces rise to the top it's becoming harder and harder to take a World Cup win. No matter who the challengers are if there's one rider who can handle the pressure of winning a race it's Loic Bruni.

Loic Bruni dives into the finish arena with all green splits.
Loic Bruni battled hard all season only dropping outside the top five three times with 50% of the World Cup season spent inside the top three.

Loic Bruni urged on by the home support.
A win on home soil saw Loic move on from a string of disappointing results and end the season on a high.

Bruni causing the usual crowd frenzy.
2023 was a year of unpredictable chaos for many except Loic who always managed to be at the sharp end. Even his wet weather run, while not high up the results, was a masterclass in making the best of a tough situation.

Loic Bruni stomping out the gate.

Champgange showers for Loic Bruni.
After a tough 2022 season Loic was back to his winning ways in 2023.

Pele Bruni mash-up.
Loic may have lost his World Champs title but he still ended the year on a high.

Puck Pieterse leads the women s field away from the line.
Puck Pieterse truly made her mark on the XC world this season as she often had the power to outpace the World's best.

Puck Pieterse keeps the top women in sight and lands in fifth.
The depth of talent in the Women's XC field seems to grow bigger every year making it an amazing achievement to reach the dominance of Puck this year.

Another XCC win for Puck Pieterse.
Puck was not just a dominant force in the Olympic discipline she was also an all-out weapon in the XCC format.

Puck Pieterse pushed hard falling just short of catching the two flying French riders.
When your season-worst result is a 7th place you can feel happy knowing you had an incredible year.

Your Elite Women s XCC overall - Puck Pieterse Alessandra Keller and Evie Richards
She not only secured the XCC overall title...

Puck Pieterse takes the overall with Loana Lecomte and Mona Mitterwalner in tow
Puck also took the overall title in the XC World Cup series. Heading into an Olympic year she certainly carries the winning momentum.

Nino Schurter spraying the winner s champagne for a 34th time at a World Cup.
Ever since his win at the opening round of the 2022 season in Brazil Nino Schurter has been so close to passing Julien Absalon's all-time World Cup win record. Finally, in a dream come true for the Swiss rider he managed to make it 34 wins at his home race in Lenzerheide.

Nino Schurter made damn sure to put on a show on home soil.
Nino's record-breaking Lenzerheide win was a showcase of strength, determination and unmatched skill as he stamped his authority over the Elite Men's XC field playing an excellent tactical game.

Nino Schurter takes that record breaking win and on home soil too.
After multiple failed attempts over a year of racing it will have meant even more to Nino to achieve the record-breaking win at home.

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Not happy with just 34 wins Nino made sure to add another victory to his name in Val Di Sole making the new record even more impossible for those even thinking of trying to match it.

Schurter now just one lap away from making history and a 20 odd second gap to help seal the deal.
There seems to be no sign of Nino slowing down just yet as his technical skill and raw power are hard to beat when he is having a good day.

Nino Schurter takes home yet another overall title.
2023 didn't just see Nino break records as he also picked up another World Cup overall title to add to his already stacked list of achievements.

Tom Pidcock heading towards the start of his final lap.
We can't talk XC racing without talking about Tom Pidcock. Tom may not race many top-level XC races but when he does he is a force to be reckoned with.

Tom Pidcock s power was on display front and centre today.
Tom's display of technical prowess and outright pedalling power at the World Champs was an incredible sight and put him in a class of his own compared to the World Cup regulars.

Over...

...and...
A win at home for the multi-discipline talent. We hope he will stick around XC racing for a little while longer.

Tom Piddock takes gold Sam Gaze silver and Nino Schurter bronze.
Not many riders can race five XC races in a season and take three wins and not place outside the top five.

Another year of rainbows for Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Another year, another set of rainbows for Pauline Ferrand Prevot.

Another set of stripes to add to Pauline s illustrious collection.
While she may not have had her best season of racing in 2023 there's no denying Pauline is potentially the best rider on the circuit at peaking for a specific event. We have seen over the past few years when Pauline sets her sights on an event she rarely misses.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot came alive after a couple laps chasing and passing everyone in her way.
At World Champs she started a steady pace quickly building herself a huge lead of over a minute back to Loana Lecomte in the second half of the race.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot adding another gold medal to her collection in front of Loana Lecomte and Puck Pieterse.
Pauline not only added another XCO title to her name, but she made it a perfect week in Scotland as she won the XCC event too.

A long night of party machen awaits this mighty Austrian.
It was a long time coming for Andreas Kolb as 2023 saw him finally take a World Cup victory and it was all the more sweeter to be achieved at home in Austria.

Andreas Kolb tucking to the finish line jump in front of the home crowd.
After not performing his best in finals at round one Andreas went all-out in Leogang to take the win.

Andreas Kolb launching towards the line.

What a day for Andreas Kolb.
What a day for Austrian downhill racing as Andreas Kolb made it a perfect weekend in the elite races following up Vali Holl's first win of the season.

Austria hits the upper levels of stoke.
The crowds were wild although maybe not as wild as the French fans in Les Gets.

Coulanges making up the milli-seconds.
When it comes to Les Gets there was another well-deserved fresh winner as Benoit Coulanges finally crossed the line fastest. 2023 brought plenty of new winners and Benoit's win is right up there as one of the wildest of the year.

The moment Benoit Coulanges realised he d finally done it.
The event security had no chance once the light went green as Benoit crossed the line.

Some scenes here in the Portes du Soleil.
Absolute scenes in Les Gets as the French fans never fail to disappoint.

Hatton almost 4 seconds up on the competition at that point and ripping down towards the line.
Battling the slick conditions Charlie Hatton found time where no one else could at Fort William to take the 2023 World Champion title at home.

The stuff dreams are made of. Charlie Hatton heading to the infamous finish line of Fort William with nothing but green lights in front of him.
As one of the many fairytale wins this season Charlie Hatton crossed the line fastest in Fort William after a truly impressive run in unfavourable conditions.

A wild day of racing in the Fort concluded with Charlie Hatton as the 2023 World Champion.
Charlie Hatton has been on the cusp of a win for many years and it was amazing to see him finally top the timing sheet at the biggest race of the year.

Hatton Kolb and Greenland do the business here at the Bill.
A great day for UK race fans. Two British riders on the podium along with two riders racing UK-made bikes.

King Charles suited and booted.
We wait years for a King Charles and two come along at once.

Disbelief.
Another rider who finally took an elite win this year was Oisin O'Callgahn. Oisin showed plenty of promise while racing Juniors, but just couldn't quite put together the puzzle of an elite World Cup win.

Team Ireland start what is presumably a very long night of celebrations.
Come Snowshoe this year and the greasy rocks were bested by the two Irish riders of Oisin and Ronan Dunne who made it an Ireland one-two in the USA. The best race weekend ever for Ireland at a downhill World Cup.

Soul food... well drink.
Oisin and Ronan were in disbelief after their historic achievement of placing Ireland on the map for downhill racing.

A stressful weekend for Richie Rude ended in Triumph. He would overcome the pressure and nerves to take home his 3rd world title ... Just down the road from Samoens where he took his first ever EWS win way back in 2015
After a dry spell of overall wins, the 2023 season saw Richie Rude back on top of enduro racing after having to settle as the runner-up for two years.

Richie Rude had a pace no one could match but a puncture would be his undoing
Richie Rude had a consistent pace throughout the season that was tough to match.

A charging Richie Rude would crash on the final stage and tumble from 4th to 7th
After last winning the overall EWS title in 2016, Richie pushed hard this year to become the first EDR World Cup overall winner.

It would be Rude not to

Richie Rude won a stage but struggled on others to finish just over 2 seconds back in 2nd place
2023 was not just a great year of enduro racing for Richie as he also turned his hand back to downhill racing and even managed to make the big show at the final round of the year in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

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Richie will want to carry this momentum into next year's European EDR World Cup series.

Emmy Lan U21 women s Enduro Wold Cup champ
A new bike wasn't slowing Emmy Lan down this year as she continued to be the rider to beat in U21 enduro racing this season.

U21 winner Emmy Lan
Emmy piloted her Forbidden Druid trail bike to five wins in 2023.

A beautiful forest surrounds some incredible trails here in Maydena.

Emmy Lan on Stage 4
There was some tough competition from the U21 women's field this year, although it's still tricky to match Emmy's speed across a full day of racing.

Forbidden Synthesis took home team of the day with wins in both Elite Men and U21 Women
It was a great year for the Forbidden team as Rhys Verner also took his first win and was in the running for the overall title.

Isabeau Courdurier Gloria Scarsi and Morgane Charre on the podium
No matter what the series is called, the top level of enduro racing remains controlled by French riders, especially by riders named Isabeau Courdurier and Morgane Charre.

Another win for Isabeau Cordurier
Isabeau Courdurier has been on top of the spot for years and no matter what happens or where the racing is, she is a safe bet for a top performance.

Morgane Charre ended the day in 2nd
Morgane Charre was the only rider to take more than one win away from Isabeau and matched the overall winner's achievement of never placing outside the top five at any race this season.

Morgane Charre looked fast and confident in the loose conditions and was never really challenged for the victory
Only Bex Baraona was able to stop the season from being completely owned by the two riders from France as the pair traded blows in the overall standings across the seven-stop series.

Isabeau Courdurier celebrates with her mom after clinching another world title

The day would belong to Morgane Charr
Morgane Charre may not have taken the overall, but she still finished the year with a second race win.

World Cup overall champion Isabeau Courdurieor flanked by Morgane Charre and Harriet Harnden
Isabeau makes it back-to-back overall titles after winning the last-ever EWS series in 2022.

Jesse Melamed would be the only one to win two races this season in the elite men s division
While the women's EDR race series was a close battle between two riders, the men's racing was hyper-competitive as the series went down to a nail-biting four-rider showdown in Chatel.

Jesse Melamed had up and down stages to take 5th
Jesse Melamed was the only rider to win more than one race this season, although it wouldn't be enough to take the overall away from Richie Rude.

Rhys Verner Richie Rude and Alex Rudeau on the podium win Leogang
What a race from Rhys Verner in Leogang. The Canadian rider had a breakout season with multiple career-best results.

Drink it in Rhys... You are a World Cup winner
A well-deserved drink for Rhys Verner as he added to the racing pedigree of the new Forbidden Druid with his first World Cup win.

Riche Rude and Alex Rudeau celebrating Matt Walker s first WC win
After being near the top of the sport for so long, Matt Walker finally brought it home with his first World Cup win this season.

Matt Walker takes his first Enduro WC win

Teammate Josh Carlson with first time winner Youn Deniaud
Another first-time winner was the fast French racer Youn Deniaud.

A french podium sweep with Youn Deniad Alex Rudeau and Loius Jeandel
A French podium sweep in Loudenvielle, we could see France become a powerhouse in men's racing as it already is for the women.

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What a start to the season in Tasmania. World Cups often end up centring on European rounds, but if the opening rounds of the EDR showed us anything, it's that a global series can offer unmatched racing when at the right venues.

Ryan Gilchrist turned heads all day to end the day 6th
The bar was set high from the off as the EDR kicked off its first season, a level of racing not met by the later European rounds.

On a charge all day Luke Meier-Smith took his first elite win here in Maydena
Luke Meier-Smith made the most of a race at home and was the first first-year elite to take a win this year.

A huge slam on Stage 1 would end Remi Gauvin s day
The greasy course in Derby provided plenty of carnage.

Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau checking bar width through the crack on Stage 4
The unique racing in Derby is hard for European ski resorts to beat.

Greg Callaghan helping Evan Wall with the cleanup process

Bex Baraona took her second win in her World Enduro Career but it would be her first time being able to say she was a World Cup winner... Congrats Bex

Connor Fearon was on the podium one week ago but couldn t quite find the pace on the physical Derby trails
The back-to-back rounds in Maydena and Derby offered a completely different challenge for riders at each round.

The party continues next week just a few hours north in the familiar venue of Derby Tasmania
Hopefully, it won't be too long before EDR racing makes the long trip to Tasmania. Luckily, we have the new Hardline series back here early in 2024.


Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,319 articles

35 Comments
  • 21 0
 In this world of video everything, and mass Instagram photos, I'm glad there's still space and support for professional photographers. The pics are absolutely stunning and really capture the energy of the sport.
  • 24 11
 Best sport out there - amazing photos. How people choose to complain about $10 per month to get to watch these races boggles my mind. Support the sport, support the athletes and get stoked. Change is not only hard but inevitable - if you want the races to continue throw some skin in the game.
  • 16 3
 I don't think it's the $10, it's more about the organization getting that $10.
  • 12 4
 Only Pinkbike commenters would whine about $10 subscriptions, and then in the same week spend $10 just so the friggin thumb pad of their dropper lever matches their grips.
  • 10 0
 Nah, there are plenty of companies with more than enough money to support the industry that is paying for their CEO's second yachts and third vacation homes. I support the industry by paying out the ass for components, bikes and all bike related things, trail passes, lift tickets, etc. and supporting the companies who plaster their names all over these events and reap the marketing benefits.

It's not that there isn't enough money to support these events and riders. Its's that the people profiting are always needing more and more and "growth" or whatever the f*ck.

Point being, it's not on the same folks who are already being made money on to spend even more money. We good.
  • 11 0
 None of that money is going towards the athletes though and if anything it is actually hurting their livelihoods with the reduced viewership for their team and personal sponsors which actually pay their bills. Just look at how many teams are folding and top ridders going without a ride in 2024.
  • 7 0
 We buy the bikes, that's the support of sport, your 10 bucks goes somewhere else.
  • 2 7
flag wolftwenty1 FL (Jan 1, 2024 at 12:29) (Below Threshold)
 @spicysparkes: unpopular opinion (maybe?) but riders without a team are not top riders…
  • 1 0
 NO. quite simply.
In this day & age of paying through the nose for EVERYTHING.
NO
Red Bull coverage wasn't free.... it was paid for by fat people buying crack fizzy pop.
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: that include Minarr Harrt etc etc?
  • 1 1
 @naptime: lol. It’s contract season…once that’s over if they don’t get signed then yes…the market will have ruled they are not top riders.
  • 3 0
 It's actually $20/month since you have to subscribe to Max separately from subscribing to the thing that gets you live sports inside Max. And yeah, the point is that the money isn't going to the athletes or the industry. It's going to a massive broadcasting conglomerate that is giving us a worse product than what we used to get for free. Red Bull directly sponsors athletes, and was able to provide better coverage to viewers for free. Where's the athletes with the Warner/Discovery helmets?
  • 1 0
 @PAmtbiker: Does the tide not rise all ships?
  • 4 0
 @wolftwenty1: not so much when you build a sea barrier paywall.
  • 8 2
 All of this is really great and I'm a huge fan of these photographers, but please Pinkbike don't go the same way than UCI, talking only about winners and top tiers!
Please keep the stories about all the riders, those managing a first top20 in carreer (for instance), or privateers, or whatever you want... They are worth words and photos as much as podium guys !
  • 15 0
 Totally agree. We even funded a team of under-supported riders and a whole video series to talk about it. Privateers will always have a platform on Pinkbike. Smile

Photography-wise it's a bit harder, our photo team gets pulled in a lot of different directions, and depending on race schedules it can be tough to get everything. It's difficult to justify not prioritizing the elite men and women when we are forced to choose. Unsatisfying as it is, everything's a compromise.
  • 6 0
 Goldstone jumping that stump.
  • 4 0
 These might be the only lenses i watch world level racing on next year, so lucky there are so many incredible togs on the PB roster Smile
  • 3 0
 Please Nathan, make the shot of Benoit into the crowd available as a print, it will fit perfectly near the one of Loic’s printed by Misspent Summers
  • 4 0
 Everything else aside, the racing was epic - especially DH. Bring on 2024.
  • 4 0
 How many race photographers are on staff vs freelance? Just curious.
  • 7 0
 Nathan, Ross, Andy, and Myself are all freelance
  • 2 0
 @davetrumpore: are you typically hired under a project fee to cover the event? Or do you sell individual photos back to publishers like in skateboarding?
  • 8 0
 @blissindex: Freelance photographers on the WC circuit typically have year long retainer contracts with the various brands they shoot each event for. Often this also includes team camps and shoots away from racing for other various sponsors, etc... The days of selling editorial (magazine) images after the fact are a decade gone by at this point.
  • 3 0
 I want that shot of Benoit railing the turn with the crowd behind on my wall…what an awesome shot!
  • 4 0
 Incredible top to bottom. Love that it kicked off with Rachel.
  • 2 0
 The racing was incredible and these photos remind us of that. Fabulous photos.
  • 1 0
 Jackson looked so small next to Loic, truly showing how awesome Jackson is even being that young!
  • 2 0
 awesome pictures ..thank you!
  • 1 0
 How I want my riding to be photographed:
  • 2 1
 Leznerehdie Leznerheide It's not getting better ahah
  • 1 0
 There was racing last year???
  • 1 0
 Aye, and it was great! Once you got used to the new commentary and managed to find a free streaming site for the races, it was awesome!
  • 1 0
 All I hope is no more semifinals.
  • 1 0
 Craft!







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