Australia’s premier mountain bike gathering, the Cannonball Festival, took place over the weekend at Thredbo Resort in New South Wales. The Cannonball Festival attracts a who’s who of the Australian Mountain bike scene, and given how dominant the Aussies are at the moment, it is a solid lineup of riders. Kona rider Tegan Molloy, who calls Thredbo her local, had a standout weekend coming second in the Flowmotion Cup and then a solid first place in the DH on Sunday.
Connor Fearon, who was on his big bike for the first time since the World Cup wrapped up, has a history of coming second here behind friend and fellow Adelaide local Troy Brosnan. Connor was unable to break the his second place streak at Cannonball but closed the gap on Troy to just three seconds on the long and physical five-minute track.
Check out their thoughts on the Cannonball MTB Festival below.
The Thredbo Cannonball Festival now in its 5th year is the biggest event on the Australian calendar. A variety of races for all ages and abilities across five days makes for an epic week of racing to kick off the Aussie season. I’m lucky enough that these races are held on my home trails.
My first event was the Maxxis All Mountain Assault which is a long, rough, grueling race and a real test of endurance. I placed 3rd in the race with a solid time that I was happy with considering where I am at this early on in the season. I was happy to get this one out of the way as the races to follow suit me more.
The next race was the Flow Motion Cup, which is held on Thredbo’s 5km flow trail. Although it isn’t super technical, it requires you to be efficient through the corners and maintain speed on the flatter sections. Come racing the track was super blown out and loose. I had a decent run, blowing out a few turns but managing to hold it all together to cross the line in second place.
The final event of the weekend was the Downhill. This is what I was looking forward to the most. Prior to racing, I had three practice runs and each run it was drying out, which made for some super loose racing. I know the downhill track like the back of my hand but come racing there would be a few changes; big holes and lots of blowouts. The DH track is long, fast and rough. As I was lined up at the gate I knew what I had to do, ride like I had been in practice. I had a few sketchy moments towards the top, including one of my contact lenses folding over and blurring my vision and making for a loose top section. After blinking it out my run became smoother. I was the last rider down and crossed the line in first place. Absolutely stoked to take the win three years running in front of a home crowd.
The momentum is building now for the upcoming National Series which kicks off in the new year.
This was my third time going to the Cannonball festival and as always it was a great event. It’s a good time of year because I’ve been pretty relaxed with my training and riding since the end of the World Cup season a few months ago. Usually, when I’m at home my downhill bike doesn’t get used to much so I’m always stoked to come out to Thredbo and ride for a couple days and race some of the worlds best. The event is actually really cool, you don’t really realize there’s a race until your waiting at the top for final runs. The actual downhill track at Thredbo is pretty ruthless to race. It’s really long and has super rough fast sections, really tight woods and quite a bit of pedaling. It feels more like an enduro stage than a downhill race. The track rewards people who are fit, smooth and good at carrying speed everywhere. Brosnan seems to have mastered all these things so his always so hard to beat here in Thredbo. My race was really good, I felt fitter than the last few years which is good news coming into the nationals and world cups in a few months. I got 2nd behind Troy (again) but only three seconds on a five minute plus track. I’ve closed the gap from the last few years racing him here. The next few races I’ll do are the Austrailian Nationals, so looking forward to using those as a pre-season warm-up for the world cups.