First day of practice at Maribor went off!! the track was super rough but also much faster than previous years, I was right in to it and enjoying it. Myself and team mate Brook "Ronny" Macdonald cranked out a few runs, and we did a helmet cam run for Dirt TV, was probably the worst run ever, I crashed about a minute in to it bending my bars, then Brook kept going to go off course in the rocks, So he went up to do another run with Kona rider Joe Smith and nearly got a full run in behind Joe but went over the bars near the bottom, check out that footage here: Dirt video
So after DH practice was finished it was off to 4x practice, we did 2 runs and both helmet cam the first for Dirt TV check it out here: http://video.mpora.com/watch/P2eVv1Cg6/ . The second was for Slovenian TV and was quite possibly the dodgiest set up I've ever seen, i had the camera taped to my frame with the battery unit in my pants and the cord between the two wrapped around my seat, hope they got some good footage. Then we went and got ready for qualifying I put in a steady run not too much pedaling a couple of whips keeping it fun..I qualified in 39th spot not too bad for my World Cup debut, team mate Brook came in 57th squeezing in to the top 64 cut with a cruiser run.
After that big day we were off home to get some food and sleep. I awoke the next morning on DH Qualifying day to the sound of pissing rain on the roof. I knew it would be pretty hard on this course in the wet, as it quite hard-pack surface and littered with roots. So I got some cut down spikes on and headed up for a run it was actually a whole lot better than I had expected as all the water on the course kept it king of grippy, the only problem was trying to see the track through wet googles!! But either way it was super fun, then at the end of the practice session, thunder lightning came over causing them to close the gondola. So they had to postpone Qualifying to the next day, I was happy as I was keen for a hot shower and some clean clothes but it would of been cool to have raced in the rain! But it was a wise decision as the gondola at Maribor is the oldest in Europe, I don't even know wether to trust it in fine weather let alone lightning!!
So it was back to the hotel a nice hot shower and then a bit of a Facebook session, then it was time for 4x, myself and Brook were both not that keen to go back out and get muddy again. But still we had qualified so may as well give it a go. We got there a bit late and missed all the practice just rocked up the start got our numbers and went in to the gate...Fresh is Best... We were both in the same first heat and up against some tough competition Lukas Mechura who had placed 3rd at the previous WC and Michal Marosi, who is a bit of a legend.
We both got smoked out of the gate but held speed in the first turn I managed to lean on Mechura and get around him, but he got me back on the next straight, it was on now! next turn i insided him then he got me back and then in the next turn I hit him and knocked him off line in to a hole. Then I chased Marosi down and and trying to get through the inside but my bars hit his back, pulling my front brake on sending me over the bars, Brook got around the outside winning the heat..teamwork one of us got through so I was stoked. Had to be one of the best 4x races was so fun and moto-like. Brook kept the sick passing move going and made it to the quarter-finals finishing 12th overall not bad for a debut!
So the next day was Finals day and the track was drying but it didn't get better, it made it a whole lot worse as more roots came through and they all became polished and super sketchy, the rock section also got pretty loose and was pretty much a gamble to ride. I did two practice runs with both of them being pretty average, although it was the same for everyone so had to get on with it. I set off in qualifying pretty well and was riding well till i hit the rocks, I got high sided by a slippery rock and smashed my ankle on a rock putting a hole in it. But i tried to keep going although it was a struggle and i was happy to see the finish line at the end of that run. Certainly wasn't one to remember I missed the cut by 3 seconds was pretty disappointed and had to get 5 stitches in my ankle.
So far this year has been real disappointing for me, I gotta turn that around soon and get back up to where i know i should be! Looking forward to Canadian World Cup rounds and Crankworks. The next few weeks im back in Italy, my second home training and racing some Italian Cups. The only thing I am stoked on right now is next years Wc
At last I'd like to thank all my sponsors, Ancillotti Cycles, UFO Plast, Formula Brakes, Doganaccia 2000, Campabros, Maxxis. Thanks for all the support.
Keep the Dream Alive