Apparently it’s been a bit wet out at Smithfield, venue for the second round of the UCI World Cup XC and DH. I say apparently as, even though we’re in the area, we’ve managed to dodge the rain by flitting around in helicopters, diving on the reef, and schmoozing in some of the finest resorts at Thala Beach, Port Douglas and Mission Beach, with pretty much perfect weather following us around.
But not ones to shirk our responsibilities, we have been keeping a close eye on the racing and qualifiers in the boggy rainforest. And Friday was a good day for the Kiwi contingent, with Sams Gaze and Blenkinsop ruling the XCE final and DH qualifying respectively. National XC champ Gaze took out the final of the Eliminator, hitting the front early and never relinquishing his lead to take his first World Cup win over Daniel Federspiel (Austria) and current World Champion Paul Van Der Ploeg (Australia). We watched on a dodgy iPad feed while driving, which conveniently dropped out right when the final was running. But we got it back just in time to see an elated Gaze cross the line in the glop for the biggest win of his fledgling career.
Earlier, the DH seeding runs took place on the technical and fast course, made even more treacherous by the torrential rain that has been consistently hitting the area. Blenki loves the mud and took top spot for tomorrow’s finals, and will be last down the hill, hopefully with a drying out track.
Ed Masters had a blitzing run also, ending up 4th. As we drove away from Cairns, the rain was still persisting, and even if there’s no more rain overnight, it will probably be a slippery affair in the jungle.
We’ll be putting the extraneous activities on hold and be heading to the gumboot store to prepare for all the action over the next two days, which promise to be action packed if today is anything to go by.