Connor Fearon

Fearon and Lemire Win in Canada

Last weekend Kona downhill racer Connor Fearon traded in his Operator for a Process 165 and won the Bromont leg of the Canadian National Enduro series ahead of notable riders Sam Thibault and Keegan Wright.

Connor’s timing chip didn’t work on the second stage so he had to climb up and repeat the stage, adding a huge extra climb to his day.

Meanwhile, junior rider Tristan Lemire won the downhill Canadian National Championships in the cadet category, giving Kona racing a hugely successful Canadian weekend! Congrats to Connor and Tristan!

 

Connor Fearon Experiences Four Seasons in One Weekend at Val di Sole

Val di Sole this past weekend marked the middle point of the UCI DH World Cup season and the return to one the more classic DH courses of the last decade. Val di Sole is not for the faint-hearted, massive roots, huge holes and its sheer steepness have always meant that the racing and results can be somewhat unpredictable.

Due to Connors hand injury, he missed last years final world cup round at Val di Sole where some major course changes were made. Arriving at the course for round four last weekend he had this to say. “The track looks good this year. Val di Sole is definitely the hardest track on the circuit. It’s just gnarly section after gnarly section the whole way down. I missed this race last year when they made lots of changes so about half the track is new to me. It looks like there’s some rain coming but the track dries up really quickly so I’d say it’s going to be dry come race day”

Connor was not wrong about race day being dry, however, the forecasted storms did arrive and timed training, practice and qualification bore the brunt of that. Rain on the track really shock up the qualifications with times posted before the downpour being considerably faster, a large number of riders from the back of the field made it to the main event while some heavy hitters, not able to cope with the changing conditions had to enjoy the non-quali-party. “The track is really hard to ride in the wet. There’s just roots and rocks the whole way down it’s hard to even steer straight” Connor, although protected and racing his qualification run in the wet, posted a solid 13th result, earning more points towards his overall standings.

Kona UK rider Josh Lowe took advantage of the somewhat drier qualification conditions earlier in the day and posted a 52nd, on race day he backed that up with a very respectible 49th!

“My qualification run was fine. Everyone knew it was going to be really hard to get down and the time gaps supported that. I had a steady run with no crashes and I’m super happy to get some points. Will be interesting if it’s wet like that for finals, but I think it will be dry!”

Connors positive predictions of a dry race day would come to fruition, if you hadn’t been there for the previous days you’d think it was a normal day in the Valley of the Sun. The only downside? No one had really had a chance to ride the track in the dry, and the Black Snake was for all intensive purposes a new course. A full days racing and practice in the dry had really shaken things up and when Connor crossed the line onboard his 29″ wheeled Operator on Saturday it would be for 19th place.

“I was pretty disappointed in how I rode for finals in Italy. The track was a lot different on race day because it had fully dried out and was much faster. We didn’t have much practice to get up to speed on essentially a new track. I just missed the speed a bit and didn’t send it hard enough. I still keep my 11th overall plate which is good. It has me fired up for Andorra where I know I can do well this weekend”

We think a top 20 in Val di Sole is pretty damn good!

Connor Crushes in Leogang!

Connor Fearon has had his best finish of the World Cup season with a 7th place scorcher in Leogang. This season has shown incredibly tight racing and Leogang was no exception. Always a dramatic race, Connor was able to keep his focus and take his Operator to the line with killer speed. Connor now moves up to 11th overall with goals to get even higher in the standings as the season progresses.

“Finals went down today! I was actually really nervous for racing. I had two good practice runs in the morning (maybe its a bit of superstition but my 3rd run is always the charm) and chilled out for racing. The format this year is pretty cool. I can stay down and watch the women and juniors all race which is especially helpful if the track changes a lot. You can see on the big screens whats going on with the track. It’s cool qualifying in the top 10 because that late in the day there aren’t many riders or spectators hanging around the top anymore. It’s eerily quiet actually and I like it. I prefer to have fewer people watching me ride!

My run was sweet I think I could have pushed it a bit harder in some sections but still stoked for 7th place. The World Cups this year seem like a different level. 1st place to 20th is packed with fast guys so it’s good to be towards the front. I’m sitting 11th now overall and I’m hoping to chip that number down some more over the next couple races! I’m heading home now for a couple weeks to get stuck into some training and riding. I find it a lot more useful being home then traveling around the world without a real schedule for training etc.. So yeah, overall good weekend and looking forward to Val Di Sole!” – Connor Fearon

 

Fearon Qualifies 8th in Leogang!

Connor Fearon has qualified 8th at the Leogang World Cup. Rolling down the freshly updated course on 29″ wheels on his new Operator CR. Fearon says he’s become accustomed to the bigger wheels and felt they suited him better this weekend with the recent changes to the track.

“I’m actually really pleased with 8th today for qualifying. The top 20 these days are packed with really fast riders so it’s good to be towards the front. The times are insanely close again. I know I was pretty slow compared to the guys in front of me on the ‘motorway’ section so I’ll have to pedal harder and keep more speed over the jumps where I can make up some time. I will be pushing hard for a top 10 or better tomorrow. I used to really like this track because it had a lot of sweet corners and forest sections. It changed over the last few years to more of a straight line bike park track and I didn’t like it as much last year, but with the changes they’ve made this year the track is closer to what I love to ride most and I’ve been having heaps of fun which is key to having a good result for me.” -Connor Fearon

 

 

 

Best of luck, Conner! You can tune into Redbull.com to watch the race live on Sunday morning! 

Leogang is Coming!

We’re in the second week of back-to-back World Cup races. This week the Kona crew travels to Leogang – a track that always entertains. With a hint of bike park and some new technical bits thrown in, Connor Fearon is feeling good.

After today’s track walk Fearon’s opinion of the track seemed to improve. “I came to Leogang expecting the same old track, which was mainly a gravel path with some short technical sections at the end. It was sweet to see they have skipped a few sections here and there adding in some natural technical terrain. The track now has lines everywhere and I’m really excited! It’s cool here because with the short track you can do heaps of runs without getting tired or anything. I’m looking forward to riding tomorrow for sure!”

We’ll be posting updates from Connor as they come in!

Lucky #13

We’re bucking tradition with this week’s race result. Kona ripper Connor Fearon finished his Fort William weekend with a great performance landing in 13th place, moving him into protected status for next week’s race in Leogang. Connor was just 1.5 seconds off of the podium in a super tight race.

“I was pretty happy with the way I rode for FortWilliamm. 13th doesn’t sound like an outstanding result but I just got unlucky being just behind a whole bunch of guys on the same second. Just 1.5 seconds faster and I would have been on the podium. It’s crazy to think it comes down to that after over four and a half minutes of high-speed rock smashing. I was really happy with the way the new 29er rode. After the weekend I’m 15th overall which should mean I’m back being protected which is a relief.” -Connor Fearon

Tegan Malloy finished the weekend in 16th place and put on a jump clinic for the spectators. All in all it was a solid weekend for the Kona crew! Stay tuned for updates from Leogang as the week progreses!

Fearon Qualifies 7th, Malloy Makes the Big Show in Fort William!

It was a good day for the Kona riders in Fort William. Connor Fearon took the track by storm and finished with a scorching 7th fastest qualifying time aboard his fresh new Operator. On the women’s side Tegan Malloy laid down a 5:44 to qualify in 15th.

“I’ve been having heaps of fun at fort William as usual. I like the high speeds and turns the whole way down the track. I feel really comfortable on the 29er here… it’s the first world cup I’ve used it and I’m liking it! 7th is my best qualifying result at fort William so it’s got me confident for tomorrow. I think unless it rains a lot the times are going to be really tight for the top 20… so I’ll be trying really hard to be at the front of that bubble tomorrow!

-Connor Fearon

“The track here in Fort William is super hard packed and is running faster than ever. The new “woods section” has been replaced with a man-made rock garden that is running really quick from top to bottom. I’m going to run the exact same set up for racing as I did for qualifying, I felt comfortable on my bike with a few little things to tweak/ tidy up before finals tomorrow.” -Tegan Malloy

Congrats to both riders and good luck! Tune into Redbull TV at 4:30am Pacific Time to watch all the action live!

Connor 8th in Fort Bill Timed Training

Kona’s premier downhill racer, Connor Fearon stopped the clock with the 8th fastest time today at the Fort William World Cup. Connor will be racing his brand new carbon Operator with 29″ wheels because he feels they handle the rough track the best. There’s been some good coverage of Connor and his bike as well as Kona racer Anthony Poulson aboard his new Operator as well.

Check the links for the info:

Singletrack World: Kona has a new carbon Operator downhill bike, and it’s 29er ready

VitalMTB: Connor Fearon’s Kona Supreme Operator for Fort William

VitalMTB Raw sneak peeks of racers, including Connor, on track

Connor’s Operator at Fort William

Something very eye-catching is roaming around the pits at the Fort William World Cup. Connor Fearon’s super fresh new carbon Operator is out and about and so far the verdict is that it is one gorgeous bike. No word yet on whether he’ll be racing a 27.5″ or 29″ wheel. Want a sneak peak??

Check the link for the full coverage!

What are your thoughts?

Connor Fearon Rides in Gamble, Now on iTunes

Connor Fearon is part of a steller downhill cast in Steel City Media’s newest film, Gamble. Fearon along with other legendary downhill racers, take on some of the world’s most creative tracks. Narrated by Snatch’s Alan Ford, Gamble is sure to entertain the mountain bike crowd. Here’s the trailer. You can buy the film now on iTunes.

All photos by Boris Beyer.

Connor Fearon Kicks of His 2018 World Cup Season Croatia

here you go! When the UCI first announced their 2018 calander many World Cup riders and fans did a collective, “WTF?” Lošinj, Croatia? The small Croatian island had everyone hitting Google to find out actually where in the world it was and to see if any footage existed of this mystery track.

In the months following more and more POV footage emerged, the footage confirmed two things, it was short, and there were rocks, lots of rocks. Footage of epic beaches, sunsets and scooter shenanigans clogged Instagram leading up to the track walk last Thursday. It seemed that the island, the trail, and the locals had actually won people over. The track was not steep, but it was short. The fastest qualification time on Saturday was just 2:19:99!

Unless you’d been living under a rock you’d know that Connor has been testing our new carbon DH Operator. In Croatia, Connor had two bikes built up in both 27.5″ and 29″ configurations. After a swapping between the two on practice day and during timed training, Connor opted to run with smaller 27.5 wheels as he didn’t really get enough time on the rocky track to commit to racing them, especially while racing as an unprotected rider. “It’s short and rocky and the track actually rides better than everybody had thought after only seeing the footage online. There’s lots of lines to choose from and it’s really technical. Times are going to be really close as the track is only two and a half minutes long,” he said.

Connor was feeling confident after practice and, and like everyone else, he was eager to lay down some timed runs and land a solid qualification result. His wrist injury from the end of last season, as well as recent UCI changes, meant that he was not protected. A mechanical or flat in qualification would mean that he would not be racing on Sunday. Riding conservatively on such a brutal short track would not be an easy task. After Saturday’s qualifications though, Connor found himself in 23nd place.

“It was bit of a slow start for me this with qualis. I was really nervous for the run and not being protected meant that a flat tire or mechanical would see me out of the finals. I made a few mistakes which cost me, putting me pretty far back in the field at 23rd.”

On race day things didn’t go entirely to plan for Connor. The Lošinj track was not going to be kind to any mistake, no matter how small. The extremely physical nature and its short length meant even the smallest mistake would be costly. Connor would make a few in his run that would ultimately cost him a top 20 result and any kind of protected status for round 2 in Fort William in June. “Don’t really have any excuses, just a couple of small things adding up to be a few seconds back which meant a lot in positions unfortunately,” he said.