This past weekend saw what is sure to go down as one of the weirdest and wildest UCI DH World Cup races in a long while. After all the mud was washed away, Connor Fearon would slide into the top ten on the day and also in the series overall. Without the near constant rain, the incredibly short and pedal heavy course would have shaken things up regardless, but the boggy and sticky mud, combined with the slippery roots and questionable visibility made the finals a pretty serious gamble for anyone who dropped in on Saturday. Rolling in on the start ramp the equivalent to rolling the dice.
And roll the dice Connor most definitely did. Laying down some serious wattage out of the start gate, just meters from the start hut Connor would blow his foot off his pedal and lose valuable time. While almost all of top 20 riders made costly mistakes, few managed to pull it back together, Connor on the other hand, had a storming remainder of a race and would finish the day 8th place. Unfortunately, he’ll be left wondering what could have been, but the 8th place was good enough to move him from 11th overall up to 10th for the season points, securing him protected status for every round next year and guaranteed televised runs.
Connors focus now moves to Lenzerhide for the World Champs in two weeks. Lenzehide and Connor have some seriously storied history. You may remember back in 2015 Connor was on a storming run, and was looking fast and on track for his best result ever until a brutal over-the-bars took him down on the plunge, he’d finish the race in 77th place. Then in 2016 he had one of the best results of his career finishing on the Lenzerhide track the in 5th place. Last year in 2017 his luck would again disappear, he’d crashed the race prior at Leogang braking a finger, but tried to hold on and push through the pain, the pian would eventually win over and see him finishing in 74th place before he pulled out of the remaining race of the season. If things fall into place this is most definitely a track where we can expect Connor to take gold!
“I’d never raced at La Bresse before, I’d only heard that it was a short track with a big crowd. This year the track was actually in a different part of the hill compared to when they previously raced here in 2011, so it was a brand new track for everybody.
The track turned out to be short indeed, at less than 2:19 for the fastest times on a dry track. I really liked it though. It was slower paced and more technical than all the tracks we’ve raced this year. The world cup tracks have all become straight and fast in the last couple of years. I was stoked to have something like this, I like riding this style of track more so it just gave me a bit more confidence for this race.
Qualifying was really good for me. It started raining really heavily before my run, I love when this happens because I always do better! My run was good and I was actually second at the last split, then I made a mistake right at the bottom and finished in seventh place.
For race day, it pretty much rained non stop all day. The track was actually pretty good to ride because all the mud was washed off it was like it was dry in most parts except for a couple slippery roots and deep ruts. Being in 11th overall at this race I really wanted to do the best I could to give me the best chance of moving up to 10th overall. My run started out so bad though, pedaling hard out of the gate I slipped my feet off and did a huge drift on the flat ground. I lost heaps of speed and had crushed my rocks on my back tire if you know what I mean… I battled through the first half and had gone through the first two splits at 53rd and 45th respectively. The bottom section is where I could really gain some time on people because it’s steeper featured lots of turns. I fought my way back and finished eighth place when the race was done.
Quite disappointing, because I knew I could finish on the podium here with a good run. The silver lining of this final was I had done good enough to sneak into the top 10 overall (just!).”