On the best track of the season in front of a huge French crowd Sam Hill the ‘fan’s favourite’ put down a textbook run of how to ride a steep natural track to take the win at the World Cup finals. What an end to an amazing season for the team.
Meribel World Cup finals weekend
Big, natural, fast, technical and steep. A dream track really and how all the tracks should be. Sam Hill had the same confidence we saw in him at Mont Sainte Anne and all three of the riders were so stoked to just be riding the track in practice having so much fun. Qualifying went decent with Sam fifth but second at the second split and a little slow on the final sector of the track where really he should dominate with the wide open high speed turns. Joe was 12th and Mike 13th. But a lot of guys were riding fast and considering how much track there was here, the times were ridiculously tight showing how good the level of the men’s downhill has become.
World Cup Final – the final run
It was time to throw it all down for the last World Cup of the year. The crowd was going wild on the track and at the finish line. Into the last 15 riders, Mike Jones blasted out of the start and the first sector of the track Mike was on podium pace which was the young Welshman’s goal. He was really showing how quickly he has risen in his first elite season. But then as he was pushing so hard he made a big mistake and that was the start of the end of his run. Then pushing on hard knowing his podium chances were over he had a big crash in the rocks, but the commitment Mike put into his run could have gone either way, ‘shit or bust’ as they say, and it didn’t go Mike’s way. But this season Mike has proved he is going to be challenging for the titles in the not too distant future. Mike Jones has been the most impressive rookie of the 2014 season, a huge congrats Mike; we are stoked to have you on board.
Joe Smith had another amazing run – 22nd at the first split – Joe then put in a display of bike riding in the technical part of the track that not many others can do and moving up to 10th by split two and holding onto 12th for the race. Another great result for Joe and the team and finally getting to where Joe should be. With a good off-season ahead Joe should be able to come out swinging in 2015 and be a podium contender!
With five riders to go Sam Hill burst out of the start and put down a perfect in-control pinned run which was like poetry in motion. Sam was third place at the first two splits but only hundredths of a second off the lead, the last sector of the race where Sam was a little slow in qualifying was a role reversal. The pace and lines Sam hit were unbelievable and something the mountain biking world hasn’t seen from him in a while, making up over a second and going into the lead. Then it was a nail biting last four riders but none of them could match Sam’s run and Sam took the win on the best track of the year! His second win of the year only matched by the series winner Josh Bryceland giving Sam fourth overall for the season, just one point off third place Troy Brosnan and 11 points off second place Aaron Gwin.
It was just amazing seeing how much the fans wanted to see Sam win on this track and it is such an honour to have him on the team and be part of his success. Well done fella!
What an end to the season and with a an amazing party put on by the CRC Events Team to celebrate the end to the best World Cup season ever, the team performed better than I could have ever dreamed for. A huge congrats to everyone involved. We are now one of the strongest teams in the world!
Thanks to all our sponsors for sticking with us over the years and I can now say I think we have done you all proud.
One more race for Sam Hill at the World Championships in Norway and there is only one result we are looking for there. We know you can do it Sam, let’s see what unfolds…
Trek World Racing Photos: Matt Delorme
In his first World Cup season, 17 year old Laurie Greenland from Bristol in the UK, backed up his 2nd place in qualifying with his first ever World Cup podium by taking a solid 2nd on race day. Greg Williamson of Scotland took another top 10 result for the season by taking 12 seconds off his qualifying run, to finish up 9th for the day.
The universally approved track in Méribel, France, was the perfect venue to host the dramatic final round of the 2014 series in front of a crowd estimated at more than 10,000. The steep technical track opened out into a wide open grass slope that gave the spectators at the finish line close to a minute of racing to watch. Unfortunately for both Neko Mulally and George Brannigan, their race would end before the open grass section, as both suffered rear punctures. Brook MacDonald suffered a small time loss in the first sector but rode strongly to the finish. His 15th place belying how good his run was as only 0.9sec separated him from 7th place.
Laurie said: “Such a great way to cap off the year, I can’t describe how amazing this feels. This whole season has been a learning process for me, and I’ve had nearly every type of race from the disappointment of not qualifying with a puncture in Windham, to muddy racing in Cairns, an amazing experience. To have my family here to see me on the podium made it very special”.
Greg said: “The key today was not overthinking the run and staying off the brakes as much as possible. My qualifying was a little conservative and I knew there were areas where I could push so I focused on carrying speed in those sections. It feels good going into Worlds at Hafjell, I track I’ve also done well on in the past.”
The overall results have Brook in 11th, Neko in 12th and both George and Greg in the mid 20’s. Laurie’s overall of 6th in Juniors has him as the highest ranked 1st year junior for 2014, meaning he’ll receiving the number 1 plate at round 1 in 2015.
The Hutchinson UR DH team was in Méribel this weekend for the World Cup finals. In front of a huge crowd and on a very technical steep track the riders had a lot of fun riding and racing.
Mick still hasn’t fully recovered from his injury and surgery. He was very sore all weekend. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to put in a good enough time in qualifying and came down in 108th place therefore not making the cut for the finals but Mick is still confident he will be back up to pace and competitive at the World Champs in Norway.
Guillaume wasn’t too happy with his qualifying run despite the good 25th place it got him. But he was for sure determined to give it all in front of his home crowd. In finals he stepped it up and got 18th! His 3rd top 20 this season. A good way to end his World Cup season and get him well and truly pumped to represent France in the World Championships in Norway in 2 weeks.
Tracey also had a great weekend by getting 4th in qualifying only 4 seconds off from the lead; In the finals however the gaps were bigger but she still had a great run, improving her times and riding with great style. She came down in 4th place and therefore secured her 4th overall position for the season ranking. An excellent way for her to finish the series and get her motivation going to get another top result in Hafjell.
Despite Micks injury and him missing 4 World Cups, the team manages to stay in the top 10 teams on the overall.
On the other side of the globe, Sam Reynolds from the Polygon UR Slopestyle team was competing in the Bearclaw Invitational, a Diamond FMB World Tour event in Vancouver Island. He got a good 8th place with some crazy tricks and competing against the worlds best. He is currently sitting in the 7th place in the Diamond Series overall.
Next week the truck will be at Eurobike while the downhill riders will be training and testing in Norway. Jamie Nicoll is taking part in the TransSavoie at the moment. Follow his results under this link: https://www.facebook.com/TransSavoie?fref=ts