Another fantastic World Champs is in the bag. Mullet bikes, nearly men, 45mph speeds, GOATS everywhere... We have some questions
Another fantastic World Champs is in the bag. Mullet bikes, nearly men, 45mph speeds, GOATS everywhere… We have some questions.
1. Are mullet bikes going to emerge on to enduro and trail bikes?
Mismatched wheels are most definitely A Thing in pro level downhill racing. 29in front wheel. 27.5in rear wheel. There’s simply no way that riders like Loic Bruni on teams like Specialized (who have a new full 29er DH bike to flog remember) are riding mullet bikes for a laugh or a fad. There is clearly some hard evidence coming from tech testing that big-wheel-front smaller-wheel-rear works. What’s so good about them? No-one really knows yet but increased roll-over at the front is A Good Thing and smaller rear wheels are easing to create drive on the backside of transitions and track features, as well as requiring less energy to spin-up.
2. Will Troy Brosnan ever win?
Is Troy Brosnan the best rider of all time who’s never won a (non-Junior) World Champs or a World Cup Series? Very probably. We can’t have been alone thinking that he’d gone and won the World Champs this year. His run was utter perfection. But still simply not fast enough. It still seems like Bruni has the edge when it comes to line choice.
3. When will Minnaar retire?
Again, like Brosnan’s run, a lot folk thought that Greg Minnaar had laid down a wining World Champs run on Sunday. While he was in the hot seat, were there thoughts of “I might retire now” passing idly through Minnaar’s head? Probably not. But we certainly were picturing his retirement speech.
4. Who thought it was a good idea to have the World Champs before the World Cups were over?
The main issue we felt impacted the quality of this otherwise excellent World Champs DH was the fact that Marine Cabirou and Tracey Hannah didn’t look like they were laying down all-or-nothing World Champs runs. The sort of runs that make the World Champs what they are. Both racers must have been guarding their World Cup Overall chances. As it is, we can only imagine how much tighter and exciting the Elite Women’s World Champs would have been if the World Cup had been already decided and the returning Seagrave and Nicole were battling Hannah and Cabirou properly.
5. Why is Vali Holl so much faster than her rivals?
Holl finished more than 12 seconds in front of Mille Johnset. This is not an unusual winning gap. It’s actually quite modest for Holl. Is her dominance due to lack of real competition in Junior Women? No, it’s not. It’s because she is insanely good. Her times frequently put her on the theoretical podium of the Elite Women’s DH. She is already the fastest female downhill racer of all time, so far.
6. Can Gwin come back from his annus horribilis?
It can be hard to feel sorry for Aaron Gwin because he is clearly a DH Legend who has already cemented himself into MTB folklore as one of THE best racers of all time. We really hope his star doesn’t simply fade away and fizzle out. Gwin deserves to go out with a bang. And guess what? Next year the World Champs is at Leogang. Remember 2015’s chainless victory?
7. Is there anything better than DH racing?
8. Is it becoming too dangerous?
Admittedly the World Champs is different. Its very nature encourages no-holds-barred race runs. And Mont-Saint-Anne is arguably the most dangerous track on the World DH circuit. The 2019 World Champs was a bit of recipe for danger. Brook MacDonald and Kate Weatherley ending up in hospital with back injuries. Reece Wilson sitting it out with concussion. Numerous vicious stacks. Bruni hitting 45mph through the speedtrap. Sure, it was an exciting spectacle. But is the make-it-faster-for-telly ethos going down a dodgy path?
2019 World Champs results
1st. Myriam Nicole: 4:53.226
2nd. Tahnee Seagrave: +1.204
3rd. Marine Cabirou: +1.694
4th. Tracey Hannah: +4.121
5th. Emilie Siegenthaler: +5.391
1st. Vali Höll: 5:01.033
2nd. Mille Johnset: +12.928
3rd. Anna Newkirk: +21.230
4th. Nastasia Gimenez: +38.316
5th. Jordan Scott: +46.863
1st. Loic Bruni: 4:05.544
2nd. Troy Brosnan: +0.581
3rd. Amaury Pierron: +2.549
4th. Danny Hart: +2.805
5th. Greg Minnaar: +3.187
1st. Kye A’Hern: 4:17.776
2nd. Antoine Vidal: +1.144
3rd. Tuhoto-Ariki Pene: +1.294
4th. Lucas Cruz: +1.304
5th. Thibaut Daprela: +1.889