This year, World Champs was held in Cairns, Australia for the first time since 1996. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember Shawn Palmer lost by a fraction of a second (.15 to be exact). The modern course features plenty of gnarly bits, but many have complained about the prolonged pedaling sections.
Going into the women’s race, it was anyone’s game. We had our money on hometown hero Tracey Hannah, who set a blistering pace on her prototype Polygon in practice. Hot on her heels was Tahnee Seagrave, who was feeling confident after three World Cup wins this season. And of course, there was Myriam Nicole, who has been freshly appointed the Overall winner. The reigning World Champ, Rachel Atherton, was out due to a broken collarbone sustained during practice.
In a surprise turn of events, none of these women would be Queen. Each succumbed to crashes on race day, which left Miranda Miller on the top of the podium. Sometimes, racing is about staying on your bike. However, we’re still gutted for Tracey, who would finish just two seconds back after a massive crash. The Australian was visibly faster than any other women on track, but racing is racing.
On the men’s side, World Champs marked the return of Sam Hill to Elite DH racing. The Australian legend is currently leading the EWS, but was the lowest ranked rider in the field. As a result, he was first out of the start gate. He stormed out of the start gate and would finish 6th on the day. Not bad, considering he was the only racer on a trail bike. Full highlights above.
We had our fingers cross for Mick Hannah, who grew up just a few miles from the track. He laid down a blistering time that we all hoped would hold, but Loic Bruni wasn’t having it (catch his run above). Aaron Gwin finally had a World Champs run free of mechanical issues, but he didn’t have enough to take the rainbow stripes. He would finish in third. And Greg Minnaar? His run would be marred by yet another flat tire.