Well another muddy race again. A much shorter course than last week in Mont Ste.Anne and the World Championships in Val di Sole but no easier on the riders. The course was pretty flat up top but rocky and slippery with all the rain we have had this week which drained the riders energy, then a few tricky rock sections in the woods that could catch out the riders before you entered the technical part of the track which was pretty steep and very muddy with huge holes and rocks then onto the bottom section after the track which was again pretty flat with a mixture of flat and bermed corners with a few big jumps. The track made for a great race though with the action very close right down to the last riders.
The team had a few problems again this week with Ruaridh and Julien having big crashes in the steep rocky section yesterday and banging there shoulders pretty bad. Ruaridh was not too bad today but Julien woke up this morning with his a lot worse than yesterday. He did one practice run this morning but couldn't hold on and thought he would have to sit the race out.
But he taped up his shoulder and took it steady in the qualifying run to make it through to the finals. Ruaridh made it through also easy enough with a steady run to be safe and Chris had a few problems but easily qualified in the top 20. Matt was riding great again and qualified in 14th his best so far this year.
Between the semi finals and the finals it started to rain again for a while but then held off for the finals but made the bottom of the course really greasy.
Julien had an OK run but struggled to find his normal speed with his shoulder injured but still managed to place 24th which was amazing considering he wasn't going to start.
Ruaridh was really going for it, wanting to get a good result this week as he is riding really well and after great split time which would have put him close to or in the top 20 he just lost the front wheel on a flat greasy corner on the bottom section and went down. But he still managed to place 39th for the day.
Chris didn't have the best of runs making some big mistakes and not finding his flow but still managed 11th for the day and moving himself up to 5th in the overall standings.
Matt set off on his final run and was flying but just overcooked it coming into the steep section flat bottoming a big drop and got pitched over the bars for another big crash and ending his chances of a top 15 for the 2nd race in 2 weeks. Matt is riding amazing though and is just finding his limits. He will soon be up there as a regular top 15 rider as will Ruaridh.
So in the overall points Chris has moved into that podium postion top 5, Julien is in 8th and not far behind in points and the team is in 6th for the overall.
The race had a great finale with Sam Hill putting in an amazing final run to just beat Greg Minnaar and regain the overall lead. Steve Peat rode fantastic for 3rd and Gee Atherton taking 4th. The top 4 is so close this year, it is great racing. Also a great ride from Marc Beaumont making it onto the podium for the first time this year.
From here we have 3 weeks before the penultimate world cup round in Canberra Australia. The team are all heading home. Ruaridh and Matt back to the UK to do a National. Julien is racing an Enduro event in France if his shoulder is OK and Chris heads to Whistler for Crankworx.
Thanks to all our sponsors again and our mechanics Dave and Cord for doing a great job and keeping our bikes running week in week out.
Have a look on our website for pictures of the team in the next day or so www.crcintense.com