By: Zach Faulkner
The day started out with some sun, a nice breeze, and bearable temperatures. Upon arriving at the mountain and prepping to get up the hill, we were suddenly greeted by an enormous, non-metaphorical dark cloud. Uh-oh. Thankfully, it was just a passing shower, but it didn’t bode well for the day. Practice was pretty tame, people were taking it easy on the slick track (it rained heavily over night), and were feeling out how the weather would go for the day. With the golden rays being indecisive, practice ended, and it was time to get the qualifying runs under way. Junior men started in the sun, and that was appreciated. But, that was quick to change after the women went. Just before the men hopped out of the gate, the heavens spewed big heavy rain down at us. I happened to be stationed at the newly-build Redbull [beer?] hut, replete with umbrellas. So, I enjoyed some classic banter with the Parkins and Sven Martin while we watched with mild dismay as a decent river formed on track. The first few men were treated to some terrible conditions, but Troy was nonplussed by the matter and set a hot lap down which would hold, even once the sun came back out and dried the track for the later runners.
Things of note not related to the men’s race (which was exciting, but fairly stock from what we could sort out – aside from the usual bobbles and offs):
Rachel would have been 57th in Elite Men. That’s gnarly, and she is on a whole other level, though Ragot was in touch for what it’s worth.
Laurie crashed right in front of the Media Squids and legitimately lost ten or so seconds…and was only 2.3 seconds out from winning qualies. He’s charging, and showing some insane form, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while.
The #Vanzacs had a mixed bag of results with some flat tires, but Dave and Matt will be in the big show tomorrow! I think more people were excited about that than anything else.
One piece of funny information, is that Brendan was the oldest rider in the Top Ten…think about that for a moment…
Now that you’ve read some words, you deserve to be rewarded. Below are the pictures I have chosen to share with you today, I hope you enjoy them! Stay tuned for the Finals Gallery!
Parking is the opposite of racing, so let's spin the cranks, click into gear, and get on with the qualifying runs!
With unwavering consistency this weekend, Max road a smart race into 5th place.
Laurie has a legit 10+ second off above the rock roll in his qualifer, so to be only 2.37 seconds back in 4th is crazy.
Trillo kept it consitant and quick, showing he has strong pace here; 3rd.
Andrew looked comfortable on the speed and tech alike, flawlessly flowing and throwing shapes the whole way down the hill into 2nd.
Jacob has been notably riding well all week, and it's great to see him qualify in 1st today.
Vero was consitant with her pace and lines throughout practice and had a safe run, making it onto Saturday in 18th.
Looking solid on track as usual, Casey is definitely looking to put down some more for race day here at her "home" World Cup - 9th across the line.
After moving into 3rd overall after Switzerland, Tracey wasn't too stoked on 8th today. In for the big show though, with room to improve.
Pompon is back and looking like she never left. 5th is a great position in which to rejoin the pack.
Tahnee has looked consistant here at MSA, and 4th across the line is a good place to be for race day.
Manon has been looking more herself this weekend, and went into 3rd. She will be looking to tighted the time gap tomorrow though.
Emmeline was on pace today in a big way, but was down on Atherton by nearly 5 seconds for 2nd. Still close enough to keep race day exciting.
No surpriise, Rachel qualified in 1st. More interesting, she would have qualified 57th in Elite Men....whoa.
Racing isn't always glitz and glory, sometimes is flat tires and disappointment. After being on point all week, Jackson was taken out by a flat tire. Redemption to comeat Windham for sure!
High fives and hell yeahs all around today in the #Vanzacs camp.
Super stoked and well-deserving, Dave is fired up in a big way to be in the gate come race day with 69th today.
Steady and strong all weekend, Fraser comfortably qualified in 53rd today.
Blasting onto the WC radar with a 17th qualifier a few weeks back, Kenta Gallagher showed that it was no fluke, with a 66th (in the rain verus dust).
Too. Much. Power. Gwin apparently hates drive trains, and has a bit of an equipment malfunction; DNF, but protected.
After looking quite calm and smiling in the Gondola station, Rupert put in a great run for 29th today.
This is what it's like to look down the barrel of a loaded gun. The sickest of the Miks, back to racing, and charging into 27th.
It's a huge faux pas to shoot the finishline before race day, but the one exception is when a #Vanzac makes it into the big show (after being red-flagged too). Matt Walker absolutely smoking into 24th today!
This is what exhausted jubilation looks like - everyone is stoked for Matt, a well-deserved qualifier that was just waiting to happen.
Blink said nobody likes you when you're 23, but everyone thinks Eddie is the man, and he qualified 23rd today. Look for the younger Masters brother to be a protected rider in the near future.
Coulanges into 20th as usual. The guy is a machine.
Not an ideal day for the Frenchman, as Loic found himself sliding backwards in the mud, right into 16th.
After a tough start to the weekend, Brook anihilated the course in practice, and stomped his way into 15th.
A steady run today for Minnaar, it's a safe bet to suggest he took a cruiser and is saving the big reveal for race day; 14th.
Canadian Mark Wallace has been visibly faster here at MSA. 13th and looking strong, Saturday will be a wild affair.
I want to make Mike Jones references, but it would just be "Too American" (he's a rapper...) - anyways, the Welsh Mike Jones put donw a good one for 10th today.
Slipping and sliding his way into 9th, Luca showed some great race craft today in the wet.
Nearly ending his run prematurly with this excessively nose-heavy huck half way down the course, George held on for an 8th place finish.
Harry is not on everyone's radar, but reminded everyonea today that he is a real contender, with a 7th place finish today.
No surprises here; Brendawg into 6th in qualies. On fire.
Finding that balance between "Checkers and Wreckers", Connor also found 5th today, and will certainly hang it out a bit tomorrow.
Riding loose and wild, Josh is "fooking loooving it mate" here at MSA. Back on form with a 4th.
Marcelo is knocking on the door for the win here at MSA, 3rd on the day, and with more left in the tank.
Looking like the Danny of years ago, 2nd place is a statement and he isn't to be counted out for the win tomorrow.
I'm not going to say "I told you so", but hey, read the caption from yesterday...1st, by 3 seconds.