World Cup Final - Hafjell
It seems like a long time a go now that the team packed up and headed out to South Africa for the first round of the UCI World Cup season. Since then there has been a roller coaster year of high’s and lows for them all. Manon started on a high with second place before hitting a low with a broken collar bone, then returning to form to take a medal at the World Championships. Phil Atwill in his first season of World Cup racing has been on a steep learning curve that has seen him improve in confidence, style and results as the year has gone on. Showing that, as we begin to look at 2013, he is ready and capable of challenging the best in the world, as long as we keep him well stocked with carrots!
Harry Molloy, riding in the toughest class, with so many talented elite men competing in the premier division of DH racing, has shown he has the speed to hang with the best, with times so tight and courses so fast, he’s had to work on consistency and accuracy to make sure even the smallest of mistakes are kept to a minimum. He’s coped well with the pressures and also ended the WC season on a high.
So the final round of the year and a first for the WC circus, heading to the Scandinavian country of Norway was something the team had been looking forward to and the friendly Norwegians and their amazing hillside did not disappoint! Everyone was loving the track which truly had a mix of everything from big jumps, high speed, technical rocks and roots, it was all there to challenge, especially when you added to that a day of rain.
Manon was first rider down for the team in the finals and as she came through the first split, it was clear she was on the pace, less than a second behind two time World Champ Emeline Ragot and heading to the pedally section of the hill where Manon always excels. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to press the Carpenter turbo boost button as an uncharacteristic mistake saw her slide out on a drop and hit the floor hard. She’s built tough though and was straight back up on the bike, which as it turned out had taken a beating itself, the seat had been ripped off exposing just a seat post and no safe way for Manon to continue at full speed to the end. Frustratingly she limped home, out of contention for the podium. Despite this and missing races with injury, Manon still held onto a top ten position in the overall.
Next up was ‘Sloth’ Phil Atwill, he was buzzing all week on the track and looked truly at home racing a World Cup. For a first year Junior he has really shown so much potential for the future. His run was a great one and looking set for a top forty finish, he entered the final sharp rocky wood section, flying out the end of this wood he just needed to sprint down the fields to the line. As he did it became clear the rocks had taken a bite and his rear tyre was flat. He leaned forward and gave it absolutely everything to limit the damage to his run time and the rest of the team watched on proudly as he battled all the way to the line, not giving up for a second. 58th place in the circumstances was awesome, especially taking into account how far he’s come since his results at the beginning of the year.
Harry finished off the WC season in fine style, a clean run in the sometimes greasy conditions which saw him just four seconds off the podium in a fantastic 27th place. Showing the kind of form he has been building towards all season and the potential he has to compete regularly in the top twenty, with a little more work over the winter.
So the international season has drawn to a close and the team is looking forward to seeing the domestic season off with a bang, this weekend sees the team truck head west to Wales for the BDS final in Llangollen. More news to follow next week and a round up of the whole season with Madison Saracen DH Team!