Trek World Racing ventured north from the Sea Otter Classic in California, to race the opening round of the Pro Gravity Tour, the premiere US series for downhill racing, in Port Angeles, Washington. It seems that TWR was not the only large World Cup team to elect to race, and support this growing US series, as was evident by the start list. Also racing were Commencal, Yeti/Fox, Giant, Santa Cruz Syndicate, Evil Bikes, Dirt/Norco, among others.. Full press release below. All Photos Ian Hylands.All four Trek World Racing riders loved the track. Fast and slick at times, narrow in places, and generally very fast. The local crowd too was super supportive of all the World Cup stars that had made the trip to the opening round.
In the women's race Tracy Moseley was up against a world class field and managed to edge out 2nd placed Rachel Atherton (GBR) by more than 2 seconds on the sub 3 minute track. Melissa Buhl (USA), the winner last week at Sea Otter, had to settle for 4th.
In the men's field, all three Trek World Racing riders qualified on the same second, in the top 6, and all knew they had to step it up for the finals, yet the conditions were tricky with rain coming and going over the weekend. The track was slick and the margin for error very small indeed. In the end all three finished inside the top 10 of a stacked field, with Justin taking 2nd place.
Tracy said: "It was great to be back racing in a US National Series! We've been made so welcome here in Port Angeles and the track was the perfect preparation for the World Cup season - flat out all the way! It was the first real test for me and the bike this year with a big women's field on a proper downhill, so I was really happy to take the win ahead of Rachel. A great start to the season and a great start for the team with the boys all getting great results. Bring on Maribor!"
Justin said: "Fun weekend and bloody close racing! I really felt good on the bike today, it was working damn good, and I felt so comfortable on the Maxxis High Rollers on the slightly slick conditions. It was super tight racing today and with a quality field, so I'm glad to have ridden well and more importantly to have got some quality time on the bike before the World Cups start. Congrats to Bryn (Atkinson) today, he rode super well. The crowd atmosphere here in the North West was awesome, I'll definitely be back!"
Andrew said: "Practice went well for me, and I felt really good on the bike. Quali was solid but I knew I had a bit more. I had a pretty good final and pushed hard but knew I lost momentum in a spot or two. I'm very happy to be on the box with a stacked field heading into Maribor."
Neko said: "The track was really fast and fun to ride. In practice I crashed into a tree and bruised my shoulder but I was OK to race. I just didn't do any risky full speed runs until race time. I had a great qualifying run into 6th. The track seemed to be rolling about 3 seconds quicker in the final so my plan was to do another solid run like my qualifying run but push a little harder to try and crack the top 5. I ended up making a few crucial mistakes trying to take off time in the technical sections. I ended up 9th which wasn't too bad. I'm still healthy and have learned a lot from this weekend's experience."
Women: 1. Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) 2m 50.82secs 2. Rachel Atherton (GBR) 2m 53.07secs 3. Jill Kintner (USA) 2m 56.16secs 4. Melissa Buhl (USA) 3m 03.26secs 5. Jacqueline Harmony (USA) 3m 07.43secs
Men: 1. Bryn Atkinson (USA) 2m 34.39secs 2. Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) 2m 35.20secs 3. Luke Strobel (USA) 2m 36.48secs 4. Andrew Neethling (Trek World Racing) 2m 36.71secs 5. Dan Atherton (GBR) 2m 36.93secs 6. Aaron Gwin (USA) 2m 37.06secs 9. Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) 2m 38.41secs