In what’s shaping up to be one of the best UCI Downhill World Cup seasons in years, round two in Cairns yesterday took the excitement for the Aussie fans (and Kona ones) to a whole new level, and it most definitely did not disappoint. The dry track was what every one had been waiting for, unlike two years ago this was not going to be a lottery, and everyone knew we were going to see the Aussie’s dominate in the dry, root infested, flat corner filled, technical track. But no one expected what would actually unfold and my guess is it’s ruined a whole bunch of VitalMTB Fantasy teams!
Josh Button was a late addition to the Kona Squad, and after an impressive qualifying run, he’d seeded himself at the pointy end of the elite men hitting the course with 20 guys left at the top. He threw down a blinder of a run and took the hot seat. Then he held it. As more top 20 pros came down he held it still, then the top ten pros, he still remained fimely seated. Even team mate Connor Fearon, who looked like he might just have it in him to move Josh, slipped a pedal in the final stages of the race. It wasn’t till perennial World Cup bride Loic Bruni hit the finish line that Josh had to leave his seat. With only three riders left to go though, Josh was guaranteed a podium spot. Eventually Troy Brosnan, Mik Hannah and Aaron Gwin would best him, but for his first World Cup Race in years, and on a brand new bike, Josh had achieved the unbelievable! “I was so nervous sitting in the hotseat all that time. My goal was a top 15, and every rider I beat after that was just a bonus. Once we got down to the last few riders and I realized I had made the podium, I was absolutely blown away by what I had just achieved.” – Josh Button
Like Josh, Connor embraced the flat corners and absolutely destroyed the rock gardens with one of the fastest and most aggressive and ballsy lines, up at the last two splits and clearly aiming to move his new team mate, he slipped a pedal with the finish line almost in sight and landed himself in a still respectable twelfth place, earning enough points to stay in the hunt, he heads to Fort William tenth in the overall standings. We just can’t wait to see what these two can do with the rest of the season ahead of them!