Friday, June 24th, 2016
“Nukeproof at Crankworx, Les Gets”
The end of 3 weeks on the road for the CRC-Paypal team was a chance to relax and ride at one of the biggest events in the world… Crankworx. This year it expanded its tour to the popular Les Gets resort and with so many events on offer, Mike focused on the Downhill, with Joe and Elliot competing in the Whip off, Pump Track and Downhill events.
After a few days roosting some of the finest trails in the region and shooting a edit for us on their Mega’s (edit to come) the team set about the business of competiting.
Joe and Elliot were first up and mixed it up with the freestyle riders for the European Whip Off event. Joe looked stylish and smooth throwing the bike way past 90, landing inch perfect every time. He advanced to the final, but missed out to some big freestyle names that were throwing it all on the line and going huge. With the Downhill as his main focus, Elliot exercised maturity settling into the ramp before throwing his wild style, with so many riders there he couldn’t find the space in the session to get comfortable on the wooden ramp and progress to the final.
Joe and Elliot next hit up the SRAM pump track challenge. With practice running on one of the only dry afternoon’s of the week and after DH practise, Joe and Elliot nearly burnt themselves out enjoying lapping the track! In qualifying Elliot just missed out on the top 16 in 17th (as the only Junior in the competition), with Joe making finals and was knocked out against the eventual winner.
Joe railing the berms on the Sram pump track
Elliot on track
The main event was always going to be the downhill. The unpredictable weather and wide taped old school course made for an amazing racetrack running similar lines to the 2004 World Champs track. From the track walk to the race run, the team were buzzing (Mike was sending pictures all the way down to make team mate Sam Hill jealous, Sam was unfortunately at home resting due to an injury sustained in Leogang).
Epic views over the Alps
Literally riding through Bushes
Slightly damp conditions
Throughout practice Mike and Joe were simply awesome in the challenging conditions. Rain all week had turned the track into a mud fest. However the team rose to the challenge. Mike dominated seeding, laying down a strong time with plenty in reserve for race day, A safe run from Joe put him 6th on his Pulse. Elliot was looking good in the Juniors, but hit one of the many “bog’s” which sent him over the bars, despite this he still seeded well in 6th.
Joe Smith- enjoying the amazing Mont Chery track
Flat pedals were the order of the day for many riders
Elliot clearing the road gap
Race day-and with a mix of sunshine and heavy showers churning the track up to make it highly unpredictable, the massive ruts and deep bogs appeared to be catching a lot of riders out! Unfortunately in final practice Joe suffered a crash on a log drop in the woods which wasn’t ideal just before finals.
In Finals, Elliot was first down and was going well before a couple of crashes in the woods and then lost his bike on approach to the road gap- again still finishing 7th overall despite the scruffy run. Joe was running well until he came unstuck on the same drop he crashed on earlier. Mike was confident leaving the start hut last, but on the fast top section his speed was too much for the conditions and was bucked over the bars. Mike, Joe and Elliot all had the speed to win, but with their “all or nothing approach” this weekend it just didn’t work out.
Wasn’t to be for the team today- thankfully their sponsored by Muc Off.
“We didn’t come away with the results we were capable of unfortunately, but hats off to the lads, they gave it everything and laid it all on the line, which is what you have to do to get a win.
We have the speed to be at the top of the rankings but the luck just isn’t going our way at the moment.
We really enjoyed Crankworx though and are looking forward to coming back here to Les Gets next season and hopefully better weather.
Cheers Crankworx, its been a blast!”
Nigel Page, Team Manager