Wild is probably the best word to describe the Cairns with giant spiders, snakes and monsoon rains so it definitely was an experience to attend round 2 of the World Cup circuit there.
After arriving to a sunny day with temperatures around 30degrees we were thinking it was going to be a nice dry race on a track but little did we know how wrong we would be.
Waking up to an overcast day on practise day head to the track to get ready for our practise session not thinking much of the clouds overhead we get ready and head up the hill, first run down checking everything out and it starts to rain a little, then like a switch it started to rain a lot! Instantly saturating us all and the track making that first run down pretty sketchy on the dry tires, put on the Muds and head back up there to get wild in the wet. The track wasn’t so bad in the rain looking back it was slick and loose but no where near as bad as what it would turn into over the rest of the race.
Qualifying day was looking pretty similar conditions with more heavy rain over night but only a few showers in the morning and almost 35 degree heat ment the track was going to change a lot but no one really knew what to expect. With a few average practise runs in the morning I wasn’t too sure how I would go coming into qualifying but nothing could have prepared me for what the track had become, with super sticky mud, massive ruts and super slick roots everywhere on the bottom half of the course It was near impossible to ride it all clean, with about a million mistakes and feeling like I was barely going to qualify I was very surprised to cross the line in 16th overall (finishing 17th). All the boys qualified so high fives all round but time to clean the bikes and gear for race day.
More rain overnight but waking to a sunny day we weren’t to sure which way the track would go, washed clean or an even worse sludgy mess. So while heading up there it was playing on everyone’s mind, we came down to find it almost the same as the day before with sections of the track impossible to even walk to look at. With 2 very average practise runs with a good few crashes didn’t leave me feeling very confident coming into the finals but time was up, next run had to count. Waiting at the top of the hill was quite weird after qualifying 17th with all the pros around the atmosphere was quite different to what I’m used to and It wasn’t helped by 45 minutes of delays due to crashes, snakes on track and a spectator riding someone’s bike and going down big time. After a warm up and all that I was in the gate, played my run pretty safe and conservative after an average practise session, making a few mistakes up top but just took it too easy and it showed in my time, hit a few sections good others were complete rubbish pushing too hard and blowing stuff out, So not exactly happy with my run but pushed hard on the pedal sections and came down with a reasonable time ending up 22nd. A good result considering the conditions but also a good learning curve to take with me for races in the future!
Matt Walker – 22rd finals, 17th qualification, 27th Overall
Reece Potter – 34th finals, 52nd Overall
Tom Matthews – 56th finals, 72nd Overall
Story by Matt Walker
Cover photo by Sean Lee (PinkBike)