In some of the most exciting and hard fought racing of the World Cup season so far, the Trek World Racing team managed to score its very first double rider World Cup podium as Brook MacDonald and George Brannigan took 4th and 5th respectively. Their result today means that all five riders on the team have scored top 10 World Cup results after 4 rounds.
Junior rider Laurie Greenland had a better week than his results show with some encouraging split times and a great deal learned from his first visit to the Austrian track. A crash in final practice before qualifying resulted in stitch worthy cut to his leg and then a buckled wheel in the final robbed him of some points, but his overall ranking only dropped one place to 10th with still 3 rounds remaining.
Greg Williamson was hoping to back up his top 10 from last week, yet suffered a minor mechanical which cost him a little time, but overall a solid 28th in tight racing on a course he hadn’t raced on at this level until today.
Neko Mulally felt happy with his run but fell victim to the closeness of the racing here in Leogang where a couple of seconds meant the difference between a podium and 18th place. Overall though Neko remains the highest ranked team rider and will carry plate 9 to Mont-Sainte-Anne for Round 4.
As Neko crossed the line he saw his team mate George Brannigan sitting in the hot-seat in 1st place. Having missed out on racing Fort William due to a crash in qualifying, George used his time last Sunday to great benefit, watching the top riders and the way in which they were tackling certain sections during a finals run.
George said: “I really think that was the silver lining for me about last week’s failure to qualify. I was able to take a lot from what I observed in the Fort William finals while trackside, and couple that with what our Skills Coach Justin Leov taught me this week and really put it into great effect. I’m so happy to get my second ever World Cup podium and land one for the team. I feel back on track, it’s great.”
So many fans have been waiting for Brook “Bulldog” MacDonald to find his podium smashing speed and he really delivered today. It’s been a longer than expected road back to full fitness for the Kiwi who has a big reputation for his style of taking a track apart at full speed. His 7th in qualifying last week was a sign he was close to his usual self, but today saw the full Bulldog in flight as he had green split times all the way down the hill, was again the fastest in the speed trap, and just missed a top 3 due to a small error in the final sector.
Brook said: “I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back racing at this speed. I reckon I was smiling on the inside all the way down the track today. When everything clicks, there’s no better feeling. Thanks to everyone who’s been patient, no-one’s wanted this podium more than me, and to be up there with Georgey, pretty awesome”.
Brook jumps from 27th overall to 13th in the World Cup giving him the all-important protected status at the next round in Canada, which takes place on the first weekend of August.