The charming town of Windham, New York once again hosted the UCI World Cup and the organizers did a great job delivering a quality event, marching band and all. The Santa Cruz Syndicate racers had a few struggles on track and cracking the top ten was Greg Minnaar who tied fellow South African Andrew Neethling for 9th place. Josh Bryceland placed 13th with a solid run for himself, but admittedly slower than he would have liked. Steve Peat had a disappointing finish in 78th place with a rear blow out in the rock garden. Greg remains second overall to race winner Aaron Gwin. Josh moves up a position into 8th overall and Steve drops to 39th.
We arrived into Windham to the house we always stay at, so it feels a lot like going home for a visit. The house sits on a few acres surrounded by woods, garden ornaments, a pool and fire pit which creates a relaxing environment. We had our annual Christmas dinner and the boys celebrated with their new paintball guns and the Camaro rental car!John Lawlor’s latest Santa Cruz Syndicate video, recapping the UCI World Cup DH #5 in Windham, New York.
Steve got acupuncture and bloodletting therapy on his injured hamstring and his leg was feeling much better. As practice got underway everyone was enjoying riding the rough, dusty track, even as brutal as it was. Steve was regaining his form and qualified 16th. On a track not quite suited to his style, Greg qualified just in front of Steve in 15th with a dropped chain and Josh who was 2nd fastest at the first split had a slide out further down the course and was 21st. With room for improvement, spirits were high going into the race on Sunday.
As the race unfolded Danny Hart set a fast time then Josh came down and sat in the hot seat for a bit, second to Danny, until he eventually dropped to 13th. With Steve and Greg racing back-to-back, Steve made a mistake in the upper section of track and then had a major blow out of his rear tire in the brutal rock section, which claimed many. With his tube eventually wrapped around his derailleur he worked his way down to the finish with the race fans cheering him all the way. At the last jump he was handed a beer and acknowledged the crowd with a “cheers” gesture at the finish line. Greg’s time was now running on the clock and he was 1.39 slower than Danny at the first split where he made some mistakes. He crossed the line in 2nd with many fast riders yet to come. He eventually tied Neethling for 9th place with the exact same time.
Greg says, “Ninth position isn’t really a result that I like to be happy about. I made some costly mistakes, but that is part of racing. I had a good week with the Fox and Shimano guys trying new product and testing new settings, which felt really good and worked very well in my race run. I feel it’s going to be very beneficial going into the last few rounds of the World Cups and World Champs.”
Steve comments, “I guess its true what they say, bad luck comes in threes. I’m so annoyed to come away from the last few races with no results. It’s never happened to me before in nineteen seasons of racing world cups. I was feeling good and my bike was working awesome here at Windham, but it all ended with a blow out in the last rock garden. The track was brutal and took a lot of people out. Thanks to my crew for all the help and dedication to get me on the hill!”
Josh writes, “Once again the track was awesome, bone dry and fast as hell. After being second in the first split in qualifying I crashed which ended me in 21st. After another day of practice race day came around and the track was ankle deep in dust and getting quite rough. I had a really clean race run which left me slightly off the pace but without a injury or a mechanical failure which moved me into 8th overall.”
Coming up next for Steve and Josh are British Downhill Series races and National Championships before we all go to the next world cup in Val d’Isere, France.
1. Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing)
2. Steve Smith (Devinici Global Racing)
3. Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing)
4. Danny Hart (Giant Factory Off-Road Team)
5. Loic Bruni (Lapierre International)
1. Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing)
2. Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride)
3. Emmeline Ragot (MS Moondraker Team)
4. Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11)
5. Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Addiction)