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DH Race of the Year: Nominees



After another long summer of dual-crown race action over far too soon, it's time for us to reflect on exactly which were the finest of all contests. There's so many factors that make a downhill race great besides the track itself; be it due to record-setting results, flawless weather, incredible crowds, amazing atmosphere and one more very important not-to-be-forgotten word, 'drama'. Typically it's the UCI downhill events that bring the best of the action and let's be real, besides well-rehearsed organisation that has a lot to do with the pedigree of the athletes in the contest. It should come as no surprise then that 2016 is no different, with a return of World Champs to the top 3 alongside two other World Cup rounds, so without further ado let's take a look at the races that trump them all. It's gonna be huge...











Quite the upgrade...

We're not talking about our Qantas tickets; they were economy class as ever. Remember Cairns 2014? Those unlucky enough to be enlisted for battle that year still get the flashbacks... But this time the only race held south of the Equator was a whole other story... one that did not include a tropical cyclone. Thankfully. Phenomenal racing was, however, most certainly part of the package this season as we saw an overjoyed Loic Bruni finally reach the top step, relative unknown Josh Button hit the podium, Stevie Smith wheelie his way down through the finish area and the Aussies Mick and Tracey take back the 'sibling title' from Brits Gee and Rachel the 2 years before. The track was in great shape, running super quick through the stunning backdrop of vines and ferns, but providing plenty of challenges in the shape of it's infamous rock garden, signature big hucks and moto whoops. Despite some explosive crashes on the motorway sections we should also be supremely grateful of another trip the land of the venomous, avoiding any snake or spider related injuries.









The sun shone for a legend...

A decade and a half of racing in the land of whiskey and haggis and the mighty Fort still produces the goods. This year it produced them big time... Those in attendance were treated to astonishingly fine weather without interruption and surely some of the biggest crowds in highlands history. On day one #allthelads rode in red t-shirts to remember a legend and later Martin Ashton sent an inspiring lap onboard his Sender. Greg the GOAT did it again out of nowhere to conquer in the loose conditions, Rachel Atherton finally made it a hat-trick of Scottish wins, Adam Brayton went ballistic up on the hill to land on the podium for the first time and Steve Peat rode his last Fort William infront of a crowd of (more than) familiar faces. Finally, in the middle of the live-feed, the MTB world fell silent and was moved by the tear-jerking memorial run of the sorely missed Canadian Chainsaw.









Perfect end to a perfect season...

For some even more than others, if you know what we're alluding to.... like, for example, Rachel Atherton. Val Di Sole sealed the deal for the official queen of DH as she reclaimed the rainbows at the end of a season of nothing but complete and utter 'numero uno'. Danny Hart pulled out the run of his life, mark two, taking gold and his fourth consecutive win to cap an incredible spree, just ahead of team mate, Laurie Greenland, who almost made the back to back transition from gold in junior to gold in elite. Of course Mondraker weren't satisfied stopping there and crammed another rider onto the podium, a big one... Florent Payet no less. The tall Frenchman rounded out the medals for the Summum the first bike in history to make the clean sweep. Not only were the results amazing to behold, the course was too as it was perhaps the driest ever raced and many riders were heard to describe it as the most challenging in memory. The powerful sun mixing with the huge clouds of dust accompanying every rider was a thing of great beauty and one remarkable way to sign off the 2016 season.






There we have it folks, three beauties each with there own unforgettable moments and we now face a difficult call between 3 classic raceways that go deep back into downhill MTB history...



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