It’s been an interesting off-season for Connor Fearon. Surgery on his hand reduced his Southern Hemisphere summer riding time dramatically. Training time spent on his DH bike hasn’t been anywhere near to past years. That said once he was given the all clear from the doctors to ride he wasted no time in making up for his period off the bike. Racking up a second at the Aussie National DH Champs behind new team mate Jackson Frew, and having a stormer at round two of the EWS in Tasmania, where he finished in third place Connor is poised to keep climbing the ranks.
Arriving in Maribor with the number 10 plate (and complete series protection) Connor was greeted with a brand new team issue Operator CR and one very fast and raw race track. With the sun shining for track walk and practice, the entire DH field was in love with the technical Maribor track. Come qualifications though, the weather gods had a different idea and decided to release a deluge on the elite men and the root infested course.
No one was immune, riders hadn’t practiced in the wet, and many still had dry tires on. While not a disaster by any means, Connor’s qualification race was not what he wanted. Not wanting to crash in the sketchy conditions and knowing he was protected no matter what, Connor reeled it in slightly to qualify in 43rd place. With the final race day limit now set at 60 riders, making the final cut is harder than ever and teammate Jackson Frew, unfortunately, missed out by just two places.
Come race day on Sunday and Connor had a score to settle with the track. With the rain gone and the track drying up, things were going to be hectic, to say the least, and Connor planned to put it all on the line and make up some of those points lost on Saturday.
Racing was tight. The top four riders would all finish within one second of each other. Connor would cross the line in 22nd, just 5.477 seconds back off the podium. While it’s not the result he was after, it’s not a bad start to the season with many of Connor’s competitors caught out in the changeable conditions. Plus there was that SCRUB. If you watched it live or watched the replay you’ll know what we are talking about.