It amounts to one of the most successful days in Kona’s 28-year-long competition history, and it all took place on a mountain rich with Kona history.
Leogang Bike Park is one of the biggest in Europe, and for many years was a Kona sponsored bike park. Home of a regular World Cup DH event and 26Trix, an FMB Gold event, Leogang’s annual Out of Bounds Festival brings the world’s best gravity riders to the wilds of the Tyrol Mountains. And of all the riders and teams present, no other company came close to stealing the spotlight like Kona.
It started in the morning of June 14th with Andrew Crimmins dominating the Junior Men’s World Cup DH. Crimmins is a favorite this year to win the World Cup overall and the World Championships thanks to his second World Cup win of the season. A win accomplished in dominating style, beating the rest of the field by over three seconds. “I’ve been feeling really good on the bike this week,” said Crimmins. “Having Connor to practice with helped a lot. I think we’re both really confident right now and working together on this track really paid off.”
For Connor Fearon, who placed second in the big show, the weekend was a huge step in the young racer’s professional career. At 21, and into his third year racing Elite Men’s DH, there’s been a lot of close calls, some top 10 results and great qualification runs, but never a World Cup podium. “Obviously this is a dream come true on so many levels,” said Fearon, still buzzing from his incredible result. “Stepping on to the podium is huge for my confidence and I’m still in shock that this has actually happened. But after qualifying 2nd and feeling super fast, I knew that this was my race.”
And what a race it was, following up on his blazing qualifying run, Connor put down a run for the ages, placing just .045 seconds down on race winner, Aaron Gwinn, who had to ride out of his mind to stay ahead of the threatening Fearon. Tegan Molloy would finish a respectable 15th in the Elite Women’s. All three riders were riding team issue Kona Carbon Supreme Operators.
Lower down on the mountain, a similar story of stepping up was happening for Kona Gravity rider, Antoine Bizet. With a 2nd place at the Red Bull Rampage three years ago, it’s been some time since Bizet nabbed a podium position at an FMB Gold event, having battled injury and bad luck over the past couple of seasons. But in the finals of 26Trix, Antoine put his insane bag of aerial antics together for a run that would prove untouchable by the world’s best slopestyle riders. His winning run included a cashroll on the first jump, flatspin X-up to double backflip, to cork 720, then front flip no-hander on the last jump. He did it all on his Kona Team Shonky AL.
From all of us here at Kona, a huge shout out to our amazing athletes and their drive to be the best. Congratulations! A special shout out to Mathieu Dupelle, our Gravity Team manager and of course, our incredible sponsors.