As far as being an MTB race fan goes, this weekend was seriously demanding! If you were a fan of gravity racing you had your weekend cut out for you. With DH coverage coming at you thick and fast from Vallnord Bike Park in Andorra and EWS results and photos coming at you from Les Orres in France just as quickly, it was hard to keep up. And that’s ignoring the fact that you may also be an XC fan, a TDF fan or maybe a stage racing fan.
But for Kona Gravity riders Connor Fearon and Jackson Frew and the rest of the World Cup field battling it out in the #dustpocalypse conditions of Andorra, things couldn’t get much more challenging. With the European heat wave in full swing and drying out the already steep and technical course, the insane amounts of dust hanging round in the trees and on the track provided another set of issues for riders to deal with. Dust was still hanging in the air from the previous rider 1 minute prior.
And that’s before you even talk about the track. The thing was constantly changing, Every run the track would deteriorate that little more, holes opening up here, ruts forming in berms, and then there was the constant loss of traction as the dust just continued to build up.
All these elements would conspire against both riders. The harsh conditions pushed Connor back to finish 26th in qualifying on Friday. Come race day, Connor thought he had more in the tank and but would cross the line in 6th place with around 20 riders still up top. After the dust eventually settled Connor would finish the weekend in 20th place, maintaining his 14th position in the overall standings heading into Les Gets next week.
Jackson would finish in 54th.
“Andorra was a really hard race this year. The heat wave going through Europe has taken its toll on the track here and it was dry and rough. I usually do really well here having 3 top 10 results here. This year I’ve just been struggling with the confidence side of things and this weekend was a hard one. I felt like it took me too long to get up to speed so was always behind the ball a bit. I was actually happy with my run; it was safe and good enough to get me 20th on the day and keep my 14th overall position. My goal is to finish top 10 again so I have 4 more world cups to make it happen!”