Connor Fearon

Connor Fearon and his Carbon Process take Silver at the Aussie Enduro Champs

Words: Connor Fearon Photos: Kane Narrat

I was really excited for the Australian Gravity Enduro National Champs this year, it was being held at Fox Creek MTB trails which happen to be my local riding spot. I’ve ridden at this location since I was 10 years old and know the trails like the back of my hand. I usually race about two-three Enduro’s every year but unfortunately This year I had to miss out on Whistler EWS because of an injury. This would be the first time I got to race the new carbon process as well, which was exciting.

The format this year was eight stages spread over two days of racing. The first day was really hard because all four tracks were so physically demanding. The first stage had about a minute of all out sprinting at the bottom which toasted me for the whole day. It was mandatory to pedal up every liaison, which wasn’t actually to bad because the hill is only about 120 meters in elevation. That being said the liaison time frame was pretty tight so most of the racers where still exhausted from the stage before when they dropped in. The first day was good for me, I got two stage wins and two second places. I was sitting in the lead by four seconds coming into day two.

Unfortunately for me the guy in second place was none other than Troy Brosnan, who also lives locally and is probably one of the only guys to know the trails as well as I do. I knew he would be doing all he could on day two to bring back the time.

My four stages on the second day where all solid, there was a lot less pedalling and it was actually quite a bit more enjoyable. Troy ended up having a really good day and edged me out by just under three seconds after 17 minutes of racing. Third place was about 35 seconds back, which just shows how much it helped to know the trails like Troy and I.

Even though I didn’t win I was still happy with my result. I didn’t have to touch a single bolt on the Process all week and I’ve only just started feeling normal on my bike again after my hand injury which has been dragging on for months. Im looking forward to the Cannonball Festival in December at Thredbo and to race my downhill bike again, oh and to hitting some more EWS races next year!

Local Adelaide ripper Shelly Flood was also representing Kona, she rode her Process 134 onto the podium, finishing up in third after the two days of racing.

Ups and Downs with the Kona Gravity Team and the 2017 World Cup DH Season

The 2017 World Cup season was one of ups and downs for the Kona Gravity team. There was much to look forward to with Connor Fearon coming off a great 2016 season, Josh Button and Tegan Molloy anticipating the World Championships on home turf, and young gun Anthony Poulson seeking to improve upon his last year’s results.

Throughout the season, the team was supported by team manager and all-star mechanic Mathieu Dupelle, keeping track of the team’s logistics and ensuring their new Operators were as perfect as could be for timed runs. A team is only as strong as their support crew, and Dupelle does a hell of a job for our team not only on race weekends but throughout the year.

With three of our four Pro DH riders hailing from Australia, the World Championships in Cairns was not only a focus for the season, but a highlight for all. Below we’ve compiled a short recap of the 2017 World Cup DH season from each of the four riders’ perspectives with photos from Boris Beyer. Enjoy.


Dupelle and the team after Mathieu’s victory at the Boxxer World Championships in Cairns.


Connor Fearon

Coming off my best World Cup season ever, I had big expectations of myself coming into 2017. My off-season was really productive, I felt fit and made a few changes with my bike setup – the biggest of which was moving up to a large size frame which felt perfect after a couple months of riding. I was riding the updated version of the Operator as well which had a few small but good improvements. Our off-season is very long so by the time Lourdes came around I was excited to go racing.

Lourdes was definitely the highlight of my season this year. The track is always fun and pretty gnarly, it was pretty much the same as the last two years apart from a couple new loam sections. I didn’t qualify very well at Lourdes. I don’t really know why but I just had a really average run. In finals I was able to put together a really good run and come away with 5th place. Being on the podium is the best feeling ever and it was awesome to come to the first race of the season with the number 5 plate and leave with the number 5 plate.

Round 2 was Fort William. It’s not my favorite track with heaps of gnarly rocks, lots of straight sections and the mud bog in the middle. That said it’s the hardest track physically and technically, and also presents a high risk of injury because it’s so fast the whole way down. I ended up 8th, my personal best result for Fort William, which I was stoked with. My time was pretty close to the podium times as well. So for a track I’ve always battled with it was definitely a boost of confidence knowing I’m improving on last year’s results.

After a 10th place at Leogang we headed to Andorra where my season would take a turn for the worst. On a really good run which should have seen me easily inside the top 10 again, I crashed in the second-to-last corner and I broke one of my fingers pretty badly. I still got 28th which was a pretty good result considering a huge crash. I tried to ride the next week at Lenzerheide but I just couldn’t deal with the pain/loss of grip strength in my hand. After Lenzerheide I got my hand checked out and actually needed to get surgery to put wires in my finger. That would put me out for the rest of the World Cups which was devastating. Injury is something that’s hard to avoid in this sport, yet I hadn’t missed a World Cup since 2011 – a pretty good run.

I made the decision to come back and try to race World Champs in Cairns. I had the best looking World Champs bike ever and racing and riding in my home country in front of a home crowd is something I’ll never forget. After 6 weeks of not riding any bikes or training properly, along with my hand not being fully healed yet, it quickly became apparent to me that I couldn’t ride anywhere near my full potential here. My goal became to just have fun and not crash and re-break my not-yet-fully-healed finger. I finished 24th which was actually better than I thought I could do considering the circumstances. I was pretty disappointed with the whole situation but apart from the result it was an awesome week back on the bike.


Josh Button

Another year of World Cup racing is complete. For me, it was a really tough one.

Lourdes started me off with a decent result, I was happy, and I was ready to build off of that. Unfortunately, a knee injury during my time at home before Fort William, left me having an arthroscopy, 4 days before flying out. So I was sidelined for round 2.

The next 3 rounds, I felt like I was playing catch up, my mentality wasn’t there. I felt OK in practice, but come race run, I just couldn’t find that intensity that you need. I had a really good break in Bromont before the next few races. I put flat pedals on, rode my bike every day, and just tried to get back to basics.

Mont Sainte Anne rolled around, and I felt much, much better. I was pushing myself in practice, trying lines, and being a whole lot more playful on my bike. Race run though, I was still having these “average” runs, and I knew it was all my race mentality and confidence.

We decided to sit out the final World Cup Round after Connor’s injury, which I was happy with, considering I had more time to prepare for World Champs in Cairns. Cairns rolled around, I really enjoy that track. I felt very comfortable all weekend, I felt I had a good result in me for sure. All my practices went really well, I was ready. Unfortunately, a little off track excursion up the top, and a small crash at the bottom, prevented any result from me. I was gutted!

I’m assuming I am just putting too much pressure on myself, because these stupid mistakes are happening even when I’m not pushing hard. I will spend the next few months reflecting on my season, working out what I need to do to sort myself out, and hopefully plan some races for next season.

Thanks again to Kona and all our supporters, you guys rock!


Tegan Molloy

There are lots of highs and lows as this season draws to a close. This season has been a tough one for me. With a new UCI rule change that now only allows the top 15 women to qualify for racing I had my work cut out for me. After not qualifying in the first couple of World Cups I struggled mentally to be able to put together a qualifying run decent enough to even be allowed to race. I had a solid training regime over the southern summer so I knew I could do it, although my results did not reflect this.

Changing things up a bit this year I took on a few EWS rounds including New Zealand, Tasmania and Whistler, this was a new challenge. I had lots of fun practicing as a team, getting lost, and riding some sweet new trails. Crankworx Les Gets was one of my favorite races this season. I hadn’t been to Morzine/ Les Gets before but the track used for the downhill race was really good. With fast open grass turns, a super fun woods section and a few jumps in the mix, it was a super fun track to ride and race. I would jump at the opportunity to race there again.

I really enjoyed riding my DH bike in Bromont in between races, and not having to travel back to Australia was beneficial as riding back home is not an option due to the winter season. Mont Saint Anne was my best World Cup result this year as it was the only race where I qualified and had the chance to throw down a race run. I only wish I could have done this consistently throughout the season.

Being selected to race World Champs at home in Australia was definitely a highlight for me this season. Racing a World Championship is pretty special and is quickly made even more special on home turf. The crowd was ecstatic and having lots of friends and family there to support me was awesome. I didn’t produce the run I had in my head but at the end of the day I gave it 100% and came away with 12th. The atmosphere at this race was electric and something that I will not forget in my racing career.

A big thank you to everyone who has continued to support me; I appreciate being a part of the Kona Family and the experiences it has given me.


Anthony Poulson

The 2017 season surely had some good highs and good lows but overall I’m happy with how it went. I didn’t get all the results written on paper but became a way better rider than I was before. I got my best ever World Cup result at my home race in Mont Sainte Anne, where I finished in 14th. I also had a podium finish at Crankworx Whistler.

My World Championships race run was going well too with top 20 splits but I went down near the end. Still one of my best races this season, the track was good and the weather was perfect. I was bummed to leave Cairns with no results but it definitely gave me some good motivation for next season and my move into the Elite category knowing the speed is there.

I’ll be making sure I will be the best I can be mentally and physically coming into the first race next season. I’m happy with my results this year but feel like I could have done it more often and even better – I just need to figure everything out to be the racer I want to be and to be consistent. Really happy to have the Junior years behind me and excited to go race against the big guys next year.


Keep up with Connor, Josh, Tegan, and Anthony on Instagram.

Check Out the Kona Gravity Team’s Custom World Championships Operators!

Photos by Boris Beyer.

As has become tradition at this time of year, Kona Gravity Team manager Mathieu Dupelle has been working hard on custom graphics for Connor Fearon, Anthony Poulson, and Magnus Manson in anticipation of this weekend’s 2017 UCI Downhill World Championships.

The Operator frames that the Gravity team rides are the same frames that you can buy at your local shop or through Kona Ride Online – and we’re happy to announce that the new Operator models with trunnion-mounted metric shocks, revised leverage curves, and updated spec and graphics are now available for purchase

Head over to Konaworld.com to check out the new Operators, and peruse Connor, Anthony, and Magnus’ bikes below…

Connor Fearon – Team Australia

Anthony Poulson – Team Canada

Magnus Manson – Team Canada

An Update from Connor Fearon as Three Kona Gravity Riders Prepare for the DH World Champs in Cairns

Earlier this week the Australian National DH team was announced and Kona Gravity team rider Connor Fearon made the list along with teammates Josh Button and Tegan Molloy. You may be wondering what Connor’s been up to recently and may have noticed his absence from the World Cup in Mont Sainte Anne.

We caught up with Connor and Kona Gravity team manager Mathieu Dupelle in Squamish during the North American Kona Ride launch to get the scoop on the situation. Connor gave it to us straight:

“Alright, so way back at Andorra World Cup I crashed 3 corners from the finish in my race run. For the next few days my hand was pretty swollen and sore from the crash but I could still ride and thought whatever was wrong would heal.

After 3 weeks of it really slowly getting better I got x-rays to see if anything was broken. Turns out my little finger was pretty much broken in half and I had to get a little surgery to put wires into my finger to keep it straight. This really sucked because it would mean I miss out on MSA and Val di Sole. These are the first and second World Cup I’ve ever missed since starting in 2011 (42 World Cup starts).

Thankfully, my hand will be 100% by cairns world champs. I’m so determined that this injury will not slow me down at that race. I can still do most of my training and my full focus is now on world champs!” – Connor Fearon

Mathieu weighed in with his side as the team manager for one of the most consistent riders on the World Cup circuit:

“Unfortunately, this is disappointing for Connor, but it’s part of every pro athlete’s career at some point to have to step down from a couple events to get better. Thankfully, he will be OK for the World Championships in Cairns, in his home country of Australia. He’s been looking forward to this particular race for the last couple of years.

Connor is a smart, hard working person that is determined with what he wants. He will do everything in his power to be 110% ready for the World Champs and will be even hungrier for a good result since he will have missed the last two World Cup races.” – Mathieu Dupelle

So there you have it: an update from Connor, a particularly gnarly x-ray image, and a plan for what is arguably Connor’s biggest race of the year, the World Championships in Cairns. We look forward to watching Connor and fellow Australians Josh and Tegan represent on home turf!

Connor Fearon bags another Top Ten World Cup result at Leogang

Thanks, in part, to a crazy start to the season the 2017 UCI DH World Cup is shaping up to be one of the more exciting events in recent memory, and Connor Fearon is right there in the mix. Just three rounds in he’s sitting comfortably in the top ten and despite the fresh names surrounding him, this is, without a doubt the fasted World Cup Field ever. On Sunday morning Connor rode to his third top ten result of the season, solidifying himself as a real contender this year. 

The course at Leogang had been drastically changed from recent years, changed from the course where Connor finished in second place. The rocks (and some roots) were now gone from the track and riders had to do battle on what some deemed as a pure bike park track, one rider even rode practice on hard tail to prove that point. The lack of technical features on the hill meant that times would be tight and any errors would be costly. Connor rode a consistent race run that was by no means conservative, but it was void of some of the risk and flair we’ve seen earlier this season from the guy many on the circuit believe to be the fastest corner destroyer in the business.

His days efforts would be rewarded with a solid 10th place, which see’s him now sitting eighth overall in the standings with four rounds to go. And if you like stats, this race marks ten World Cup events in a row where Connor has finished in the top 15, eight of those being in the top ten.

“I’m happy with how the weekend went. 10th is good, the track doesn’t suit me as well as it did a few years ago. There’s a lot less turns and fewer tech sections. The track is basically a flow track for 80% of it now. I think I was capable of a better result, I just didn’t risk it enough which you need to do on a easy track like this. But I’m leaving full of confidence and looking forward to Andorra.” Connor Fearon

After a conservative qualifying run that landed hin in the 55th spot Josh Button was ready to show everyone what he was made off and back up that amazing Cairns 5th place podium. Unfortunately for Josh, a heavy crash took away that chance, he stormed on like a trooper and managed to finish his race run, crossing the line in 73rd, more motivated than ever!

Magnus Manson, coming off some solid results Stateside, suffered a rotor bending crash in his qualifying run that meant his bike would not move, after bashing it into shape he managed to get it down the hill but not in enough time to make the top 80. It’s just a matter of time before Magnus pieces together an Elite World Cup event and reminds us of the speed and style we all saw when he was a junior. The guy was winning practice at Leogang thats for sure!

Connor Fearon Gets in One Last Trail Shred Before the World Cup Kicks Off

With the 2017 DH World Cup kicking off this weekend, Kona’s in-house cinematographer, Joonas Vinnari, though it timely to re-work our recent footage of Connor Fearon rallying the Hei Hei Trail at Retallack Lodge. With the season packed over the next few months there wont be a whole lot of small bike action for Connor and the DH team. Enjoy!

You can check out the original version of the video with a whole pile of photos HERE.

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Out of the Box with Connor Fearon and the Kona Hei Hei Trail

Out of the Box

All too often we can get sucked into the same old habits. Same trails, same bike, same everything. Sometimes you’ve got to get out of the box. Live a little. Breathe. And then shred.

The Hei Hei Trail is an out of the box thinker, like many of Kona’s bikes. Everyone who swings a leg over one notes that it outrides its numbers, surpassing their expectations of a trail bike’s capabilities. Light and efficient with its full carbon frame and Fuse suspension design, snappy and playful on the way back down.

While the Fuse suspension design is shared with our race-ready Hei Hei cross-country bike, the Hei Hei Trail, with 140mm of travel and 27.5″ wheels, is a completely different beast. It’s the kind of bike that challenges preconceptions, and redefines what a bike in this class can do.

Right out of the box and under our World Cup racer

With the Hei Hei Trail’s lineage, it may have been expected of us to produce a video featuring one of our Endurance Team racers. But the reality is, this bike may just get you out of your box, thinking differently about the Hei Hei name from which this bike found its lineage, and pedaling to places you previously considered outside that box.

So, we sent World Cup downhiller Connor Fearon into British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains with the Hei Hei Trail. And what we came out with was exactly the proof we needed that this bike doesn’t belong in the box, but up in the hills, getting loose. We tend to think you’ll agree.

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Hei Hei Trail Details

All three Hei Hei Trail models feature the same Kona Race Light full carbon frame. From the top-spec Hei Hei Trail Supreme through the Hei Hei Trail DL and the Hei Hei Trail, you can expect to find wide rims, great tires, and high quality suspension components. No matter which model you choose, you can be assured it’ll be ready to shred right out of the box.

HEI HEI TRAIL SUPREME

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Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: RockShox Deluxe RT3
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3
Crankset: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle 1x 12spd
Cockpit: RaceFace Next 35 bar and Turbine stem, ODI Ruffian MX Grips
Brakes: SRAM Guide Ultimate
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB SL8 Pro

HEI HEI TRAIL DL

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Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB Ci31 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano XT
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

HEI HEI TRAIL

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Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
Wheel Size: 27.5
Wheels: WTB STP i29 TCS
Suspension Platform: Fuse
Front/Rear Suspension: 140mm/140mm
Shock: Fox Factory Float DPS
Fork: Fox Factory 34 Float
Crankset: RaceFace Aeffect
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1x 11spd
Cockpit: Kona XC/BC 35 Riser bar and stem, ODI Ruffian MX grips
Brakes: Shimano SLX
Front Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Rear Tire: Maxxis Tomahawk EXO TR 27.5×2.3″
Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

Connor Fearon on the Cover of Bike Magazine

Coming out of our 27.5 Operator test sessions at Retallack Lodge, Blake Jorgensen‘s photo of Kona Gravity rider Connor Fearon has been selected as the cover shot for the December 2016 issue of Bike Magazine.

Head to the Cog post to check out the whole photo set and watch the video from Retallack again, and head to Bike Mag to for a preview and to buy your copy of the December 2016 issue.

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