Trek World Racing’s junior rider Laurie Greenland started the 2015 World Cup season by landing yet another podium, while crashes marred the Elite Men’s race where Brook MacDonald finished 12th for the day.
The standout ride for the team came on Saturday when Laurie qualified fastest in the juniors by close to 3 seconds over his rivals and in a time that would have qualified him 9th in Elite Men. His middle sector was only 0.5sec off fastest qualifier Loic Bruni (FRA), but unfortunately in the race run on Sunday Laurie arrived at a corner in sector 1 that had been blown out and had no chance to avoid it as he was already committed to his line. He didn’t crash but lost time coming to a complete stop on an important section for carrying momentum. Despite losing over 2 seconds he pulled back all but 3 tenths to finish 2nd. Laurie now sits 2nd in the overall World Cup standings heading to Fort William.
Laurie said: “So much to take away from the weekend. Seeing that I had comparable speed to the Elites was encouraging after all the hard work and training over the winter. Of course I’m disappointed not to have taken the win, but it’s a long season and I’m keen to get to Fort William which has been kind to me over the years.”
Brook MacDonald was looking for a solid top 10 on this new course and was a little disappointed to finish 12th but the points haul against some of his main rivals was very strong and Round 2 at Fort William promises to see Brook as a podium threat, like he was in 2013 finishing 2nd.
George Brannigan had great pace on the track and was bringing his New Zealand season form to the table in the qualifier where he would have finished top 6 had he not been slowed up by a rider who’d punctured and failed to clear the course. In the final practice session George had a small crash but damaged his Fox Forks and needed to head to the pits for a fork change. Unfortunately getting to the top of the hill 4mins too late and was denied a final practice run. This impacted his final race run as the course had changed to powder in many sections and a crash in sector 1 cost him dearly.
A spectacular crash for Greg Williamson ended what was shaping up to be a great run for the Scottish rider. Despite an earlier crash higher up on the course, Greg was 0.4secs up on the 2nd split but mechanical issues suffered in the first crash contributed to his dramatic flight over the bars, off the edge of a bridge and onto the road below. Fortunately not suffering any serious injury the crowd applauded as he walked away from a potentially nasty crash.
Greg said: “I literally found myself on a road and had no idea how I got there. It’s frustrating because I’d gained a lot of pace on this track after struggling on practice day 1. Practice prior to the race had gone great, and I was sure I could get a solid start to the season here. Time to ice up, recover and be ready for my next race in May.”
Team Director Martin Whiteley says: “A very interesting start to the season. New tracks often provide mixed results and the weather was also completely different to what we all expected; we ended up with 27 degrees Celsius and the track turning to powder. We’re fortunate to get through the event with everyone in one piece unlike some, and the new 2015 Trek Sessions performed flawlessly. Laurie’s pace is extremely exciting, but all 4 have shown this weekend that they’ve done their homework over winter, and if not for a couple of small errors, the results would have been quite different for us.”
George, Greg and Laurie will all compete in the 2nd Round of the British DH Series at Fort William next month,