Race report: World Cup Andorra – DH

Downhill track in Andorra is rough, probably the hardest in the World Cup. Many riders learn this the hard way: the combination of steep terrain, the length of the course, dust and high altitude get to even the best guys out there. In the finals, Dakotah hit the ground twice, but that was just one small bit of bad luck we had this week.

Kirk McDowall made a last-minute decision to stay home for the Andorra and France rounds, due to lingering concussion symptoms from his crash earlier in the season. It was a smart decision and Kirk has our full support on this. Just shortly before leaving for Andorra, the second shock came—Jure crashed on his last training ride before departure. A quick check-up and X-ray showed a fracture to his thumb bone, but because his ligaments are so strong, we decided he should try anyway. He did, but we had to call it quits and send him back home for recovery.

So we only had Dakotah Norton on the downhill race, aiming for the new top result in the World Cup. He was struggling to find perfect rhythm on the track, but showed a solid performance on the qualifications and set 25th time. No cigar, but nice set of points and good position for the finals. Unfortunately, everything went wrong on Saturday, despite him feeling at his strongest so far in this race.

“Coming into Andorra, I think I was underestimating the steepness of the course. It’s something I don’t necessarily do a lot. I wasn’t super comfortable with it, I’ve only raced once here before. So, I only had a vague idea of what to expect. I worked really hard during the break, I felt I had really prepared, I was fit and strong. Unfortunately, I made a little mistake at the top and came unclipped. I just felt like I was playing catch-up, and I started riding frantically and making mistakes. I felt like I was good at the bottom, I got back in the groove and was riding well. Then, I just over braked and lost the front wheel of the bench … and crashed again. I did what I could, gave it my all out there; unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. On to the next one,” said Dakotah after his final run.

He took 53rd place and is now 21st overall. Not the outcome we’re all looking for, but it’s the reality we have to face and quickly forget. Next round is around the corner!

Since we only had one downhill rider, we gave better support to juniors on Devinci bikes and we can only congratulate them for their great results. Patrick Laffey (Canada, Devinci Development Racing) was third, while Žak Gomilšček (Slovenia, Sinter Brakes Team) took 8th! Well done boys!

Downhill recap:
– Kirk skipped two rounds, he’ll be back in Val di Sole.
– Jure got injured just before the race, we expect him to race in Val di Sole.
– Dakotah was 25th in the qualifications, and 53rd in the finals (with two crashes).
– Dakotah is now sitting in 21st place overall, just outside the range of protected riders. Jure is 23rd.

Photos by Ross Bell