Leogang bought Connor Fearon his best World Cup elite result last year. It was a little bitter sweet though, he was looking set to take his first win when a chainless Aaron Gwin swept in and relegated him to second. Redemption was on his mind but he mixed bag of weather that greeted the entire World Cup Circus on track walk day had riders concerned. This was a new track, with a slippery fresh cut section through clear cut and a good old fashioned man made rock garden.
With Josh and Anthony both in hospital recovering, track walk was a lonely affair with just Connor and Tegan out and about.
Suns out guns out. Practice was a different story, the sun came out in full force and dried the track up good and proper. Connor and Tegan went to work getting lines dialed in. With so many exposed roots, and the rock garden coated in mud the rain returning would change things up big time.
Mathieu Dupelle is more than the team mechanic. He’s a manager, a sounding board, a big brother, a medic and more recently an ambulance driver!
Tegan finds the high line off the bike park and into the clear cut section.
You can take the man away from the dirt jumps but you cant take the dirt jumps away from the man. Connor channeling some of his off season summer days at City Dirt in Adelaide flat town square to the hills of Leogang.
Man made rock gardens are nothing new, but this Leogang one was just a little awkward. The only questionable section in a noteworthy track.
Connor and Tegan (and the rest of the field) were lulled in to the idea of a dry race track but the slippery mud vest that arrived to welcome them to qualifiers transformed the track in to a completely unrecognizable monster. Staying upright was a challenge.
In fact Connor had a bit of a moment on the upper section of the course and crashed through the tape, not wanting to get disqualified he pushed back up to his point of exit and continued his run from where he left the course. Even though he’s a top 20 protected rider he still surprised himself, rolling across the line in 77th. In case you were wondering only the top 80 men qualify.
A crash in the tricky qualifying conditions meant Tegan finished in 21st place, one place outside women’s qualifications cutoff.
Connor’s final run was a thing of beauty. If you haven’t watched it you should (you can find it here), his race run scrub was possibly the raddest thing that happened in Leogang all weekend and could possibly be the answer to the question “Why are we here?”. He came down and knocked the current hot seat occupant Remi Therion off the top spot. With quite a few riders left at the top Connor would eventually finish in 8th. He’s anxious for a dry race where he can be a little more consistent and stand atop that podium! With Lenzerheide a full month away and deeper into the European summer he just may get his wish and we can’t wait to see him shred!