The third round of the 2019 Downhill World Cup is behind us and we have a new top result―this time thanks to Jure Žabjek, who finished 10th in Leogang. He was even better in the qualifications, securing 5th!
We had four riders in Leogang as Keegan Wright decided to do some DH racing and get on the pace ahead of the upcoming Crankworx festival. It would be a record if all four riders had qualified for the final. But in the end, Keegan decided not to race to focus on his upcoming challenge next week. So we had Dakotah, Jure and Kirk at the start of the qualification run, and all of them delivered! Kirk was 55th—some intense moments there, but all good in the end. Dak got the 13th time of the day, and Jure made the big splash with 5th time of the day, his best ever in the qualies.
“I’m extremely happy with my qualification results. I felt good on the track from the first minute. I just need to do one more very good run and I think I can get a good result tomorrow as well,” said Jure on Saturday afternoon.
The last day of racing in the Austrian Alps was another one for the postcards: blue sky, hot sun, great fans and beautiful scenery. However, postcards don’t show the dusty and slippery DH track, which represented the biggest danger of the day.
Kirk McDowall was our first man at the start. He did well, much better than the day before, and got to stay in the hot seat for a while. In the end his time was fast enough for 37th place.
“The weekend started on a slow note for me, I was struggling to find grip here and struggling to be able to push. But I made some changes on the bike for Sunday after qualifying and was able to take a good chunk of time from my Saturday time. I’m pretty stoked with my time and I’m building up for the next races.”
– Kirk McDowall
As it got hotter in Leogang, so did the leaderboard and things got more intense at the top of the mountain. Dakotah was fast all year long and, of course, we all expected an uncompromised attack. And, it happened, but this time he crossed the line and felt the dust, placing him 51st of this race. Dakotah Norton said this after he cooled down in the finish area:
“I got a little excited off the start. I never really had good first split, so I have been working really hard at home and at the races to just carry it over from the moment the race starts and bring in the intensity. You’re not going to be with top guys if you don’t. Without risk there is no reward and, unfortunately, I pushed over the line. I had a lot of great races in a row, I know I’m riding well. My splits from two down showed that I had speed this weekend and was going for a good result. I put in what I had out there and, unfortunately, I went over the line a little bit this week. I’m excited to get back home and put in some more work before Andorra.”
– Dakotah Norton
Our last rider on the start was Jure Žabjek, and it was on him to show that he can ride under pressure and challenge the best riders in the world. His run wasn’t perfect, but there were sections where he rode like a king and managed to cut two seconds from his qualifications time. He took 10th, which matches his best ever result to date (he was 10th in Lenzerheide 2017).
“The start of my final run was good, except for the first off-camber section where I unclipped my pedal and lost a little bit of time. The middle part was all good, but then another small mistake happened near the bottom. I’m very happy with my run, as the track was very slippery and it was nearly impossible to pull off a perfect run. I was among the last riders on the top of the mountain, there were just a few of us left and everything happens with bigger gaps. Spectators were already at the bottom part of the track, so it was only then that I felt the real atmosphere. It wasn’t like Maribor, but still very nice.”
– Jure Žabjek
We’re off to a break before we race in Andorra, but we can already draw a line after the first three races. Overall, Dakotah and Jure are sitting in 16th and 17th place respectively, and both are protected for the next round. Next to that, we have two Top 10 results (Dak in Maribor, Jure in Leogang) and a series of excellent results from the qualifications and finals show that we’re on the right path and that even better results are on the way!
Congrats to Canadian Patrick Laffey from Devinci Development Racing, who climbed the junior's podium again, this time in 5th, which places him 5th in the overall.
Split 1 0:56.588 59th
Split 2 1:38.676 54th
Split 3 2:17.540 54th
Split 4 2:58.929 52th
Final 3:30.202 51th
Max speed 56.561km/h 19th
Overall Ranking 16th
Split 1 0:47.838 6th
Split 2 1:29.355 7th
Split 3 2:07.775 14th
Split 4 2:48.632 9th
Final 3:19.694 10th
Max speed 57.389km/h 6th
Overall Ranking 17th
Split 1 0:49.332 40th
Split 2 1:30.759 35th
Split 3 2:10.706 32th
Split 4 2:53.083 37th
Final 3:24.863 37th
Max speed 55.087km/h 48th
Overall Ranking 48th