Wheelbase.co.uk and Kona Super Grassroots rider Dan Farley has just competed as a Junior Team GB rider in the UCI DH World Cup rounds at Fort William (Scotland) and Leogang (Austria).
Arriving in Fort William there is always a special buzz around Nevisrange the home of some of arguably the best supported and organised of the World Cup rounds. This time was no exception as the pits were already rammed on the Thursday morning as riders signed on and completed the track walk. The main talk was about the tricky off-camber woods section used only for the World Cups and the fact that a lot of track maintenance had been completed to smooth out some of the rougher parts. First practice went well on Friday with only the usual wheel rim damage that is expected at Fort William. High winds were forecast for Saturday which meant practice was brought forward to 6.30am! for 2014 Junior seeding has become Junior qualifying as only 30 go forward to race on Sunday so with 41 Juniors entered the pressure was on to qualify. Dan had a steady qualifying run and made it into the race with a time of 5.16.8 giving him 26th place. Race day dawned bright and sunny as thousands of spectators flocked into the venue. Dan put down a solid race run of 5.04.6 giving him a 12th place finish. Juniors was won by GT Factory Racings Martin Maes with series leader Loris Vergier (Lapierre Gravity republic) in second place.
Leogang is a long 1,300 mile drive from Fort William so it was time to hit the road straight after the race in Fort William. Arriving in Leogang the team were greeted with stunning Austrian scenery and some very pleasant sunshine. The mood changed a bit when we realised that Perth City Cycles van had been broken into and all there bikes and gear had been stolen. Really bad luck for those guys but they managed to borrow and rent bikes for the race. The Leogang track has a definite bike park feel to it but despite that provides enough of a challenge for the worlds top downhill riders. Practice followed the usual World Cup format with Friday and Saturday morning practice, qualifying on Saturday, a short practice on Sunday morning followed by finals Sunday afternoon. The Junior category had attracted 72 riders so with only 30 in the race qualifying was going to be tight. Dan put in a storming performance to qualify 8th. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite match that on race day coming away with a creditable 15th place finish, first of the team GB riders and first through the speed trap.
Dan would like to thank his brother Andy for some much needed mechanic support. Dan has moved up to 5th in the national points rankings and is looking forward to the next round of the British Downhill Series at Llangollen and the National Championships at Innerleithen in Scotland in July. He is also competing in the ixs European cup at Pila in Italy in August and is targeting selection for the World Cup round at Meribel in France.