After two weeks away from the races, it was time to get the show back on the road, with the fourth round of the world cup taking place in Val di Sole, Italy. Everyone was amped to ride a “real man’s track” and prove what they are capable of!
First of all it was time to set the pits up, make some changes and get our home for the week prepped for a hard weeks graft. Just as we finished the heavens opened and the "valley of sun" was no more...
The track is situated in the midst of the Dolomites in the north east of Italy. This place is renown for being rough, fast and quite frankly hard. After walking the track all the riders were ready to get going there and then, but a good nights kip was in order ready for practice day one.
Coming into this race Danny’s confidence was high after putting down a solid run at Crankworx a few weeks before, where he took the win. Mr Hart is known for getting to grips with the black snake very well… The mixture of roots, holes and steep parts suit him to the ground. He won his second World Championships here in 2016 so he knows exactly what he is capable of.
Throughout practice he was looking considerably faster and more comfortable than anyone on track. The fluidity and the signature “Danny Hart” style was 100% there.
Around 30 minutes to go, the rain came in for qualifying and with no riders going down, it gave the track a chance to evolve into an ice rink. It had rained in practice but not as much as Friday afternoon… Danny knew what it would be like and made the most of the conditions to put down a safe and solid run, placing himself into 4th. A good base for finals.
His confidence was high and everything was in place for him to put down a run we all know he is capable of. Anxiously waiting for him to start, the team waited in the arena for him to come down.
He looked like himself - loose, fast but totally in control. He came across the line into 2nd and finished the race in 3rd. Danny is now goes to Andorra on a confidence boost and sits 5th overall!
Mr Walker was on a flyer. The 29er Myst was loving the rough Italian track and so was Matt. He has been looking forward to coming back here ever since he left last year. With places like Leogang out of the way, he could finally get down to business.
The rain set in for his qualifying run and it was going to be tricky to balance the drastic change in conditions and speed to make it to the bottom. Matt was off a while after Danny and the track had become slower. He crashed in the open part of the track onto a stump with his lower back. Struggling to catch his breath, he lost valuable time and unfortunately didn’t make it to the big show. He knows the speed is there to compete with the best of the best and moving onto Andorra next weekend, he is keen to show what he has.
Alex’s speed all week was second to none. He looked effortless all throughout practice. Some of the more difficult lines were made to look like a walk in the park.
Keeping the week fun and relaxed helped Alex to not feel pressure of any kind that he would normally put on himself and this showed in his timed training run. Unfortunately Alex came down at the end of the rain where it was slowly drying up again… He crashed in the same spot as Matt loosing some time. He came down into 30th, with a field of riders still to come down on what was now a dry track. We all waited patiently to see if he would make it, but after seeing rider after rider come down in the dry it pushed Alex back to miss qualifying by just two places! Keeping his head high he’s looking forward to getting to his home track next weekend!