Straight from the depths of the Dolomites to the tight valleys of the Pyrenees in Andorra. It was time to crack on with round 5 of the season. Everyone made their way there, for one of the teams favourite tracks of the year!
Walking the course here is more of a challenge than riding it. It's a really long track that starts off fast and flat, then slowly opens up and drops off the side of the mountain, to where the beast starts... It gets steep, rooty, and extremely fast.
Vallnord is Alex Marin's home track. His smooth elegant style boasts at this round. As the track steepens, Alex comes into play. In practise, you can see him hopping from hole to hole and bouncing his way down.
Last weekend's antics were not exactly what he was after, so coming into this round he was determined to make a statement. Going all out, he qualified in 21st! You could see all week that his confidence in his ability was high and he was having fun doing what he does best. Saturday came around and with his top qualifying position, he knew what he could do. A smooth run by hitting all his lines, Alex finished round 5 in 22nd. His consistency from qualifying to finals has placed his head in the right direction for round 6.
Mr Hart got everyone on the edge of their seat last year when he had a very recognisable "Danny Hart run" which placed him into 3rd. Returning here, he knew what he had to do to put down a run that would place him high up.
Working with Dave, his mechanic, they both tweaked and ran data tests on his bike to get the perfect set up, for the mixture of harsh rock and the steep dusty bottom. Every run he looked like he was on rails, hitting every corner and straight, like there was no tomorrow...
He put down a run that he was very pleased with and ended up qualifying 2nd, just 2.5 seconds back. Dropping into finals day he was relaxed and knew that he could light the fire again for later that day. His practise runs were on target and he was ready for his last run. The current leader had gone 5 seconds quicker than the qualifying time from Friday. He knew there was time to be made up... Danny's run looked solid and he came down into 6th. Taking the positives from the whole week, he continues to build throughout the season!
Matt generates some of the rawest speed you’ll witness. On any given track that you put him on he will make sure you know what he is capable of. His strong and stable style on the bike makes him a talent to keep your eyes on for the future.
From run one he was flying… The 29er Myst made the track look like a walk in the park. He had his lines dialled early, meaning he could build on his speed throughout the rest of practise.
Matt pushed in Qualifying and landed himself a 7th place. He knew exactly what he could do on the track in finals, so after two quality practice runs on Saturday morning, it was time to “bring it home”. Matt finished in 11th place. This is his first Elite world cup season and he has already had two top 15’s. His plate will now drop back down to 23 going into round 6!