Downhill racing is really going on the new highs, with more and more riders that can take the podium and even the top spot. We’re happy and proud that Dakotah Norton is right there, just a detail or two away from the fastest.
5th place on Lošinj came like somewhat of a surprise, but Dakotah said right away he means business and he wants to continue the season in that manner. Fort William was a different kind of track, but Dak was again fast as hell, but with a snapped chain right off the start he couldn’t get to the very top. Today in Leogang he was back there where he should be!
We came to Leogang with some pressure from the Scottish highlands… It’s never good to leave the venue with the mechanical and a missed opportunity. Leogang is a whole different track, intense from top to bottom and margin for error is almost zero. That is why the pressure intensified when Dak had mechanical again in qualifications and had to cruise down the track. Things had to turn around for the finals… and so they did!
Final run of the weekend was not perfect, but the time was green when Dak crossed the finish line. “I definitely think I rode reserved today, in sections I rode reserved, in other sections I pushed it. I could have been more precise and I gave a lot of free speed away in my opinion. Overall there were couple of sections that I really needed to hit well and I think I did that. I’m happy with how I rode. Afterwards you always say ‘I wish I would have been faster’, but I’m happy I didn’t hit the deck,” said Dakotah, describing his day as a good one.
Dakotah was in red on the top, but really pushed it in the technical section in the middle and bottom of the track. However Dakotah thinks he wasn’t very loose: “I honestly think I could have been a lot more wild. I kept it collected in some of the more technical sections of the course.”
Dak was on the top of the hot seat all the way until Aaron Gwin came to the finish area. American won in Leogang three times in a row and was a favorite for the race; so we kind of expected he’ll take the lead, the question was how many riders can squeeze there between the two. On the end Amaury Pierron took his second victory in just one week, and Dakotah was 2.394 off his time… Good enough for sixth, 0.264 seconds off the podium!
“I would absolutely loved it to be on the podium, I always said I would like to be fifth or seventh. But I’ll take sixth. I’m happy to be still protected and keep my number nine plate.”
There is absolutely no reason for any regrets, Dakotah did a fantastic job and kept his cool when it counted the most and finished the race with another fantastic result. And he’s definitely show that he means business: “I’m trying to put myself in the position where I’m showing that I can go fast every weekend, more so than being just a one-hit-wonder. I’m trying to be consistent more than everything. To come out of weekend with another top-10 result, just off the podium and solidify myself on the live stream to support my sponsors. This is what I’m looking for.”
Dakotah was our only racer in Leogang, Jure Žabjek and Rudy Cabirou are back home working hard to fix those injuries and get them back on the bike as soon as possible. Hopefully at least one of them makes it for Val di Sole and Vallnord events in early July.
Photos by Klemen Humar & Keith Valentine