Proud, happy, excited – just a few words that describe everything that was happening in Mont-Saint-Anne on Sunday, the last day of the 2019 UCI MTB World Championships. Our DH riders were all fantastic and set a lot of their new personal bests and represented their countries with honors!
Final results say a lot: Dakotah was 8th, Kirk 15th, Jure 24th and Keegan 48th. But this tells even more:
– This is personal best for Dak, Kirk & Jure.
– Dak was the fastest American on the race.
– Jure was the fastest Slovenian on the race.
– Kirk was 3rd fastest Canadian.
– 4 riders in the top-30 were racing on Devinci Wilson 29 (we have to thank Hugo Langevin for the fourth top result, he was 25th).
– 3 factory pilots were racing on custom bikes, take a look at them HERE.
The week was great, it was fantastic to have full support of the Devinci team and have development riders under the same roof in the pits. At the same time it was a very hard race with changing conditions on the track and all of the known brutality that the MSA track provides.
Friday qualifications were a no-brainer, 81 riders on the start list was contending for 80 places in the finals. No need to say that they were all in, but as the times didn’t influence the starting order nobody really pushed it to the max.
The real challenge came on Sunday, that is when the big crowd came to the hill and when every rider went all-out! Organizers estimated that we had 50 thousand spectators in the whole weekend, which is absolutely amazing – as is the fact that they had 1400 volunteers on the team! Add millions of people that watched the races on TV or online and you will slowly get the impression of the size of the champs!
But let’s get back to our riders and their races. First UDFR rider on the start (they start according to UCI standings) was Keegan in the black jersey of the New Zealand. Keeg still isn’t on 100% after EWS races in Canada and California, but gave it all best and like always had great fun on his bike. He was 48th on the end.
Kirk was next – racing for huge Canadian team and in front of home crowds. He was fast all week long and we expected for him to do good. He took over the lead when he crossed the finish line and stayed in hot seat for a very long time; on the end he was 15th! Fantastic result, but who knows where could he end up with the clean run!
“It’s almost like we had a new track today, it has been a little bit different every day and on Sunday we got the grippiest day on this course this week. I had to adapt to that and just let it rip. I had some good, solid practice runs in the morning and hit a few lines that I’ve changed from the day before. For finals I just put everything together well and felt good. Unfortunately I made a mistake before the speed trap section. I went really all the way to the edge of the course, but managed to save it… but I was on the breaks where I should be accelerating. After that I let it rip and had some good splits towards the bottom. I was a little bumped when I came down because I thought the time would shuffle down the order pretty quickly, but was good enough for 15th and I’m stoked on that!” – Kirk McDowall
Slovenian Jure Žabjek wasn’t aiming at the very top as his injury still isn’t fully recovered, but gave it all and took 24th place, which is his best ever. In fact he matched Slovenia’s best result so far on the World Champs – set by Žiga Pandur in Hafjell in 2015.
“I didn’t thought about the results, the track in Mont-Sainte-Anne is very technical and physically challenging, and I still don’t have my full strength in my arm. Things went nice and smooth on the track, except for one bigger mistake on the top. After that I rode good and finished with a very decent result, my best ever on this track and also best ever on world champs. I’ll now leave for Snowshoe and the World Cup finals. I was aiming for top-20 overall in that competition, but without two races that will be very hard to do now. I’ll do my best and see what happens.” – Jure Žabjek
Dakotah was on the track right after Jure. He was loose, fast and wild, but under control and without bigger mistakes. His times were green all the way down, he was actually doing better and better and took over the lead with a significant margin. 4:11.034 had to be good enough for top-10, on the end it was good enough for 8th!
“So proud on the way I rode today. I’m fastest American and in top-10 – I don’t have a lot of those. The course was deteriorating at the end and I’m super pumped I rode consistently from top to bottom. Had some mistakes, but nothing crazy and I kept it in check and kept pushing it to the finish line. 8th at the world is more prestigious because everybody goes so much faster on this one-off event and I couldn’t be any more happier. Everyone has been behind me, it’s been amazing. I’ve good people in my corner and I’m excited to be going to the last race of the season on the gas!” – Dakotah Norton
Hard to say anything else than congratulations to all riders and staff – fantastic job & fantastic results!
Thank you Mont-Sainte-Anne for third world champs as we already look forward to come back next year for the world cup!
Photos by Dave Trumpore