The Kona Factory Team recently hit the road for the first time this season with Mt Taylor kicking off the first round of the 2012/13 Victorian DH Series, arguably the best DH series in the southern hemisphere. With new team members, new bikes and two riders hot off the world cup circuit the team was out to impress in their debut race for this year.

Practice kicked off Saturday morning and lines soon established themselves all the way down the dry course. The rocks and slippery dust provided a challenge for the team with practice keeping the medics busy as the track was littered in carnage (luckily none of our riders though!) The designated pro practice session for Group A riders was a welcome return to the series, providing elite and U19 riders with a chance for a clean and fast practice session. Practice concluded with a team dinner on Saturday night in Bairnsdale’s ‘finest pizza and pasta restaurant’, but was a dinner that left a lot to be desired.

Arriving at the track on Sunday morning it became apparent that the heavy rain and wind overnight had done little to change the track with it returning back to its usual dry, dusty and rocky state within the first hour of practice. The team punched out a few early morning practice runs before retiring to the tents for rest and food prior to qualifying kicking off at 11.30am. Qualifying came and went and saw Sarah Booth qualify second fastest in elite women and 16 year old Tegan Molloy came across the line into 3rd. In elite men Connor Fearon claimed the third fastest time, while Dean Lucas and Chris Whitelock qualified in 12th and 21st respectively, putting themselves in a good head space for racing.

During the lunch break team managers/mechanics Ty and Lewis made sure the team’s Kona Supreme Operators were running smoothly and ensured the riders were eating and warming up properly. By the time racing came around the riders were more than ready to go give it their best, and give it their best they did. With women racing in reverse order, Sarah Booth took the hot seat as the second rider down the track and remained their for the entirety of racing. Tegan Molloy proved she is more than worthy of her position on the team and finished in a strong 3rd place, a great first outing for her new team.

All eyes were on the elite men category with qualifying times close and on a track like this anything could happen, especially with 11 of the top 15 having previously raced in World Cup events. Chris Whitelock left the gate early in racing, took the hot seat and ended up finishing 15th, a result definitely to be proud of in such competition. The final five riders were always going to be ones to watch and watching them tear the track apart was amazing. Dean Lucas crossed the line to find himself in the hot seat for a few riders, eventually finishing 4th behind eventual winner and fastest time of the day, Connor Fearon. The Kona Factory Team now leads the Elite Men and Women categories for the season, with the next race only a few weeks away.

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