World Cup Lenzerheide: DH Race Report

Full of confidence from Val di Sole we came to Lenzeheide hungry of a new great team result and at least one result in the very top. Our riders did fulfill the first expectation, the second went out in flames just meters before the finish line in Lenzerheide bike park. Here’s how it happened.

Track in Lenzerheide suits well to our riders, they were fast from day one – the first day of practice took place in sunny weather after whole day of rain on Wednesday. Dak, Kirk & Jure all did well in Italy, so that gave them lots of self-confidence. Jure was however still reserved as his thumb is still not at 100% and is still doing less laps.

First confirmation of good riding came on Thursday timed training. Dakotah set time of 3:02:332, which was less than 5 seconds off the fastest time of the day, set by Troy Brosnan. Kirk was 23rd with 3:06:071, Jure didn’t do a full fast lap.

Second confirmation came a day later, when it was time to qualify. All three of our riders easily qualified for the finals, best of the three was Dakotah with 8th time of the day! His time of 2:55:385 was just 4:143 sec off the Danny Hart’s winning time. Time also shows how faster the track got from one day earlier. Kirk was 26th, while Jure took 47th.

Third and final confirmation for our riders came on the big day – in finals on Saturday. Jure was full of confidence about his run and was saying to everybody how will he improve his position; he wasn’t playing, he really set a great time and jumped on the hot seat and on the end on 22nd place. Kirk wasn’t far away and also set a great time – it was fast enough for 27th time.

 “After qualifications I knew that I could do much better in the finals. Conditions on Saturday were worse than in the previous day, it was raining during the night and the track was a little bit slippery, especially on the open sections. I started my final run a little bit reserved, it was still wet on the top and I didn’t want to take risks. I rode very good in the middle part, but then made one bigger mistake in the last part and lost some time. I’m glad that I’m where I am after the comeback from injury.” – Jure Žabjek

“The weekend started of really good, I felt really confortable on the track and found speed pretty easily for the qulies. Race day morning was a bit tougher, I kind of struggled to find traction after it rained a little bit and had a couple of crashes. I carried a little bit of that sketchy riding over to my race run, unfortunately I had a couple of mistakes and rode kind of easy from the top and then made mistakes trying to make up for the time at the bottom. 27th is my best result so far in the season and I’m happy with it.” – Kirk McDowall

Dakotah was the last of our riders on top of the mountain, ready to put his name among the fastest on the race. He started very good and kept the pace almost all the way to the top, when he made a mistake, went on the ground and lost too much time for top result. He took 30th on the end, which has some bitter taste as he was in top-5 range at the time of his run.

“Felt great this weekend on my bike, unfortunately not the result we’re looking for. I felt that I’ve shown that I have the speed to be a competitor in the race. All the work I have done is paying off and unfortunately that’s racing. But overall excited for the next rounds to come, unfortunately this one didn’t turned out the way we wanted to. We do a lot of bike racing and still grateful to be our there and be putting on a show.” – Dakotah Norton

Dakotah is now 18th in the overall rankings and that puts him among the protected riders for the last round of the series that will take place in Snowshoe.

Downhill recap:
– Jure still doesn’t have full strength, but is getting stronger and stronger
– We had heavy rain on Wednesday, after that the track was getting dryer and faster; some night rain and low clouds complicated things on Saturday
Qualification results: 8th – Dakotah, 26th – Kirk, 47th – Jure
Final results: 22nd – Jure, 27th – Kirk, 30th – Dakotah
– All three improved their overall positions: 18th – Dakotah (now again protected), 30th – Jure, 57th – Kirk
– World Cup finals will take place in Snowshoe

Photos by Klemen Humar & Ross Bell