Maribor 2010 World Round 1
If you look up the word Maribor in the English Dictionary you will find the definition of the word is Road trip. As driving to Slovenia ain’t no picnic but if there is one thing the Burgtec bus loves doing more than a road trip it’s cutting up Euro prats in fast cars on the Autobahn. The van was flashed more times than Scotty Mears penis in a swimming pool changing room.
Anyway back to the matter in hand (no pun intended). Maribor is always a great venue with cheap food, good beer and plenty of hot women who litter the trackside like tear offs on a wet day at Rheola. Speaking of the weather in Maribor it was nothing short of dismal. Bar the practice day, which was lovely and reminded me why I’m so fond of going to the World Cups and allowed a good atmosphere around the pits. It’s always nice to catch up with all the riders and check out all the new toys from the carbon V10s of the Santa Cruz team to the new Atherton’s Pit set up which is nothing short of a monster.
Practice went as follows, it was obvious form the outset that Gee Atherton was going to be the rider to beat on the Slovenian circuit. Watching him through the bottom wooded hairpin section he looked head shoulders above anybody else. After last years crash when he was up at the spilt on Fabien Barrels time he was showing no mercy to the course that destroyed any hopes of a World Cup title in 2009.
Brendan Fairclough threw his hat into the ring as a title contender for me this season. Although was lucky to come out unscathed after a nasty crash shortly after this pic was taken. He hit the ground hard on the next turn and was holding his leg as if he broke it.
Steve Peat narrowly missed him but ditched his bike and ran back up the track to see if his fellow Brit was o.k. After a check up by the Paramedic Brendan was clearly in pain and refused any further medical treatment.
It was obvious to see from the condition and the speed of the riders that there had been some pretty serious winter training going on. Sam Hills effortless rider style was in full flow and he is always a joy to watch but I felt that he wasn’t going to take the crown on the weekend.
As always Qualification throws up some interesting results Luke Strobel coming in 6th. Lukes a quality flat pedal rider and is a hot tip to do well this season in the overall. Ben Reid had a good start to his season with 8th in Qulallys. Peaty was off the pace but Maribor has not been Kind to him lately after puncturing last year. Sam Hill showed everybody that they will have to come after him and wrestle the title away from him if they want to be World Champ and with the tracks favouring flats riders this year it’s his title to lose.
Everybody knows that Race day and qualifying are two different things. Like the pop charts there are always some non-movers and always some climbers.
Race day for me lacked the atmosphere trackside that was in abundance in the pit area. With the gondola being shut due to the high winds, trucks were employed to take people to the top. With only a small window of practice on race day, runs limited to only one per rider apart from the Gee and Rachel Atherton who sneaked in two which set the tongues wagging among the fish wife’s around the pit.
The weather was still a big factor with the rain easing off the track began to dry out very quickly. Although the old cliché ‘it would have been better if it kept raining’ was being uttered between riders due to the mud becoming thick and claggy.
In the Women Elites Rachel Atherton Smoked the field by 10 seconds in a time of 4:03.42. Rachel’s a fighter and was riding with her right hand strapped up. Plus she had a massive stack in her qualifying run on the last double the day before. She is going to be unstoppable this year with or without injury.
The men’s final manage to draw the crowd that the women’s final didn’t. I think the weather had put a lot of the spectators off. As well as the fact that Maribor was nearly cancelled 2 weeks before the event was going to take place due to a lack of funding.
Sam Dale had some bad luck in his race run flatting before the rock garden. The day before in qualifying he crashed. At the spilt he was 138th position but on the bottom off the track he made up 63 places to get 75th spot. Hell of a result in my books.
Harry Heath was looking for a good result after qualifying well in 43rd. But when I saw him at the bottom he had 4 big slams on the track and blood was pouring out of his nose. No happy!
Wyn Masters finished in 54th in the Downhill and 42nd in the 4X. Wyn’s always good to watch in the 4X his gates a little slow on flats but he makes up for it with riding style.
Josh Byrceland was disappoint with his race run finishing in 16th after qualifying in 7th. I’m sure he’ll put that behind him and is already looking forward to the challenge of Fort Bill.
The finals through up plenty of surprises, not leased of all Steve Peat who had a poor race by his standards finishing in 45th place. Peaty was visible pissed off and this result could see him out of the title race already.
Matt Simmonds CRC/intense rider equalled his best world cup result with 14th place. He was to be knocked out of the hot seat by the next rider Joe Smith Kona rider. Joe ended up in 8th place an excellent start to the season for him.
Fabien Pedimont Scott racing rode a great ride to see his time put him onto the podium in 4th place. Fabien has been on Burgtec’s for the last 3 years and put a fresh pair of MK3 with Ti Axles on the day before. Hats off to the French man.
My predication of Gee to win almost came true if it wasn’t for Greg Minnaar who looked extremely pleased riding the carbon V10 into the hot seat. He had an anxious wait as the team Specialized Fairclough and Hill were still to come.
Watching on the big screen at the bottom, the crowd gasped as they watched the fine line between failure and success Team Specialised were riding. Brendan was right on the edge and if it was for a couple of well timed dabs of the foot he would have been off. Hill also showed the tight rope act that has to be performed at this top level if you want to succeed, narrowly missing pads in the rock that would of seen lesser riders wrapped around. Nether rider could knock Greg from the hot seat, which left the Santa Cruz/Syndicate rider a worthy winner.
Roll on fort William round 2. My moneys on Greg!
Big thanks to the extra passengers we picked up on Sunday due to the ash cloud and closure to UK airspace. Made the road trip even more funny!