2015 goes down as one of the most exciting seasons of downhill racing in Kona’s 28-year history.
The Kona World Cup DH team, consisting of Connor Fearon (Elite Men’s), Andrew Crimmins (Junior Men’s), and Tegan Molloy (Elite Women’s) started 2015 year with a bang and kept the juice on all season long, impressing the field with their raw talent and all out speed. The team is young, with 21-year-old Fearon only in his third year of Elite, 17-year-old Crimmins in his last year of Junior’s and 18-year-old Molloy in her first year of Elite Women’s. With every race they’re getting faster and wiser, but one thing is clear, this talented group of young Australians are to be watched. They’re coming on strong.
All eyes were on Connor Fearon this past season. The humble, down to earth Australian has created quite a fan base through his young career, mainly due to his incredible speed and style on the bike. After a sixth place qualification in Lourdes, Connor ran into bad luck through Fort William, but everything would come together in Leogang, Austria, where Fearon put together the run of his life, finishing second to .045 seconds to Aaron Gwinn’s legendary chainless victory. While Connor was unable to podium again for the rest of the season, he challenged the field every time he got on his Kona Operator 27.5. Numerous top five qualification runs coupled with some bad luck crashes arrived him at a very respectable 13th in the World Cup overall. He capped off the season with an impressive 8th place finish at the World Championships. It’s only a matter of time before Fearon is a regular feature on the World Cup podium. Don’t fret Kona/Connor fans, he’s signed through next season.
Crimmins would start the year with a win in Lourdes, France, the first World Cup win of his career. It would be his first of two wins during the season, the other coming in Leogang. Crimmins would battle for the overall points lead all season long, with numerous top five qualifying runs, a 2nd in Lenzerheide, and a 3rd place at Mont Sainte Anne. Amongst all the success, and holding the #1 plate for most of the season, Crimmins would have to settle for second place overall in the World Cup standings. A very impressive finish for what will surely be a rising star when he moves to Elite next year.
For Tegan Molloy, 2015 was a year to gain experience racing against the best women downhillers in the world. Coming off of back to back World Championship wins in Junior Women’s as well as the 2014 World Cup overall title, Tegan had a fantastic year in 2015, riding with consistency all season long. Regularly in the top 15 and flirting with the top ten on numerous occasions, with an impressive 13th place finish at the World Championships, we can’t wait to see what kind of season she’ll have next year.
A huge thanks to all of our team sponsors and their support throughout the season. To our coach/mentor/manager/mechanic Mathieu Dupelle and of course our athletes, for their professionalism and commitment to the sport of downhill mountain bike racing. It’s gnarly! All photos by Duncan Philpott.