After a small break, it was time to pack the bags and head over seas to the French speaking town of Mont saint Anne in Canada for round 6.
MSA is set on the east coast of Canada in the midst of the forest, just outside of Quebec. The small town makes for a perfect venue for a World Cup. Everything is close and compact making it an easy week to get into the right zone.
For over two decades the track has been a monument to downhill racing. During track walk on Wednesday, the builders had incorporated a fresh rock drop in the middle of the almighty motorway section. This small change provided some variety to the middle of the track.
In previous years Danny has won here and had a few podiums, so coming into this round he knew he could push to achieve a good result.
Practice went as planned, his speed on track was undoubtedly superior to everyone else’s. All week he worked on the fine details with some small bike changes and creative line choices, which went hand in hand with each other.
A first place qualification put Danny in good spirits for Saturdays race. With plenty left in the tank, you could see he was confident in his ability. He headed up for a track walk after qualifying to make sure there was nothing that he had missed and to see how the track was wearing for the next day.
Only an hour of practice before the race puts you on your toes to get everything right before the big show. A couple of minor changes were made in that session and he was raring to go.
From the start Danny looked strong, composed and just like himself on the bike. His Myst was taking hits left right and centre, but came out the other side unscathed. He came across the line into third just 1.3 seconds back. Moving onto round 7 he will be 3rd overall and the battle for 2nd will take place in La Bresse in just under 2 weeks.
Having only previously ridden here once and crashing his finals run, Matt was geared up to come back and tame the high speed track out here in Canada.
Matt’s 29er Myst is built to tackle tracks of this nature, so coming into practice he was looking smooth, controlled and by what he says, he was loving the huge variety of features and terrain on course.
Matt changed some minor settings on his suspension to compensate for the sheer speed of the place, but other than that he was dialled all week leading to finals.
Matt never boasts about his skills on the bike. Instead, he stays quiet, keeps his head down and cracks on with the job at hand. The confidence is there, and as a team we do whatever is needed to keep his level head screwed on and achieve his goals.
Matt qualified in 12th just 8 seconds back with a slow front puncture which he gained just quarter of the way down… spirits were high and it was time to reenergise for finals.
Two practice runs later, Matt was ready to get fired up and put down a finals run we know he’s capable of. He came down looking in control, smooth and fast. Finishing in 12th and again 8 seconds back, he had two very consistent runs this week and his overall ranking will go down to 20th.
If there is one person on the team that can either lighten the mood or show when it’s time to get down and dirty its Alex Marin. His work ethic and dedication to racing and trying to improve himself each week has really come across at the past couple of races.
All throughout practice he had a smile on his face. The bike was working how he wanted, his lines were helping him build his speed immediately and it all went to plan.
The relationship between mechanic and rider is important so that you can understand each other on the same level which makes working together throughout the week effortless. Alex and his mechanic Rob, Aka Box, have it down to a tee. They are constantly working on new settings, minor bike tweaks and different lines to find what works and what doesn’t.
Alex Came into qualifying with a goal: to hit all his lines, keep it smooth and qualify towards the top end of the pack. He completed his aim with a safe 27th place.
Time for the big show and Alex’s head was screwed on, he knew what he had to do, but with such a fast and long track times can easily go beyond what you would expect. Riders were going three to five seconds faster than what they had done previously the day before. Alex came down with a time just 6 seconds back off the top qualifier, but everyone pushed more than expected and he finished in 37th. He is determined to make a mark at the final round in France and at World Champs in a couple of weeks.
We are a week away from the final round of the UCI 2018 world cup and the team are currently sitting in 6th overall. Time to put the last bit of work in!