Set in the picturesque town of Leogang, high up in the Alpine mountains of Austria. Round three was shaping up to be a good week after a long few days of soaking wet clothes, Midge infested woods and high winds. It was forecast for t-shirts, shorts and lots of suncream for a week in the Alps. The truck set off on its long haul drive across Europe ready to set up in Austria.
With our pits fully built and a good atmosphere in team it was time to get the show on the road. Thursday soon came around it was time to see what changes had been made on track, find some lines and get prepared for the weekends race ahead.
Leogang over the years has been renown for being “bike parky” “too easy” “too straight forward” but 2019 saw loads of fresh changes to every part of the course which meant, a few off-camber sections utilising the terrain around the track, creating a much more natural course than previous years. Looking at the fresh track it seemed that it would not flow and it was be a pain to ride but going into practice the spirits where high.
It was time to get all the bikes prepped, set up and ready for the first day of practice. Everything is stripped down, fixed or replaced so that it all works perfect for the riders. Suspension is taken to Fox to make sure it is all serviced and ready to go. Tyre choices are made after track walk so wheels are built with the according tyres to save time in practice and we’re all ready to go.
Practice runs on Thursday were the first indications of just how loose and technical the track actually was. Everything had been bedded in by B practice earlier that morning so lines were forming, terrain had changed and it was starting to look like a proper track.
Matt had was riding well off the back of two top ten results at round one and two. His confidence was high going into racing with the number six plate. In qualifying he wanted to put down a run that would earn him some points but also keep it reserved and not crash ahead of Sundays race. Somewhere along the middle section he gained a slow puncture setting him back a few seconds coming into 30th.
Race day came around, a new day to show what he has in the bag. 3 faultless practice runs in the morning reassured him of his speed going into finals. Everything went to plan but with such tight racing he finished 13th. A disappointing result for Matt but he proves he has consistency in his second year in Elite.
In the past, Leogang hasn’t been a track that favours Danny’s riding style but he comes in all guns blazing to hopefully change that one day. Looking smooth, fast and comfortable all throughout practice. He was happy with his setup, preparation and how he was feeling coming into the race. Off the back of 2/2 podiums he was looking to gain some points this weekend to then get onto his favourite tracks of the season.
It was a sweltering hot day for finals and Danny was quietly confident in his ability this weekend. Know he had the speed for a podium, he put down a run that he was more than happy with. Looking comfortable and in control he came down in to the lead. Slowly getting bumped back to 4th. His best ever result here in Leogang. Gaining a good amount of points, Danny will go into round 4 with the number 4 plate.
Coming into Leogang Alex felt he wanted to change some things up with his set up so he opted for the big wheel up front. Being a smaller rider he is not able to run the full 29er as it hinders his ability to swing off the back and manoeuvre around the bike easy but with the mixed wheel size, it seemed to be working a treat throughout practice.
Feeling fresh on his setup, the Spaniard put down a safe run guaranteeing himself a place in Sundays show. He had prepared well throughout the week trying new setups, lines and kept it fresh throughout. From the outside it was easy to see he was having fun and felt comfortable from start to finish which showed in his result. 21st for Alex in Leogang!
A few weeks off from the circuit and we will be back in Andorra for round 4!