Dak wasn’t the only one that did great on the Mercedes-Benz UCI MTB World Cup finals in Snowshoe, West Virginia –Jure & Kirk showed great racing on the new technical track as well and together they earned 4th place on the team rankings!
We came to Snowshoe with lots of question marks, which is nothing surprising for the new venue. Same was true for the new world cup track that only a few top riders knew – one of them was of course Dakotah Norton. With time what seemed like impossible jumps turned into manageable flying, long rock sections turned into lines and our guys were getting faster and faster. Dak and Kirk were really shining on the qualifications, and all three of them put down a solid run in the finals.
Dak had the pressure on his shoulders – the whole mountain was cheering for him when he came down in the finals. His first split wasn’t just red, it was on the border of catastrophe, but Dak hold it together and improved from one split to the next one. He was so fast in the middle and the bottom that he came to the initial 4th place and eventually finished the race in 9th place.
“Racing at home is incredible, the people are so loud, the head was ringing all the way down. Unfortunately a little mistake on top… I was back, but put my head down and pedaled hard and let the brakes open in the hard stuff. I pulled back some time and was just happy that I had a good, consistent run at home. I started the season 10th in Maribor and finished the season 9th in Snowshoe, couldn’t ask for more.
For all the people here, my family, James… I wanted to lay down a good one for them. My run didn’t shake the world by any means, but it was something I’m proud of. It was consistent for the way I rode this year and my speed. I rode my own lap and was really happy with it. Being here, being at home was just incredible – I couldn’t have asked for more.” – Dakotah Norton
Jure also did a mistake on the top and smashed it after that. His time looked better with every rider after him and he started loosing places only when the fastest guys came on the course. He finished in 20th place.
“20th place is a solid result. I did had some issues with my health since we came to the US, maybe that also had an influence on my result. I was very happy with my final run, I was fast on this track all the time… maybe I expected an even better result. I did one small mistake in the finals, but other than that my run was good.
I did good on all World Cup races where I was healthy and in one piece. I skipped two races and was in process of comeback on one, so I didn’t expect anything there. My goal was to finish the season in the top 20, which didn’t happen, but I know I can be very high right away in the next season. I just have to take a look at where I’m loosing time and build on that for the next year.” – Jure Žabjek
Believe it or not, Kirk also struggled in the top section, but was like a rocket over the rocks in the bottom. 23rd place is solid, but he wanted more and with the speed he has he deserved more.
“It’s been a weird weekend. I had hard time really getting into the track on the first day of practice because it was really slippery, flat and just weird. But eventually it kind of grew on me, I really like the rock stuff on the bottom. I really think that was my strong point and was able to ride that stuff good, but was struggling with the top part for the whole weekend. I found some stuff for race day, but unfortunately it just wasn’t as good as I wanted to be on the top and lost more time than I could make up. I had high hopes after qualifying well, but everybody really just went for it today and dropped a lot of time. Overall is not bad, I would just like more.” – Kirk McDowall
Together they took 4th place on the team standings, 2nd if you only look at the elite man riders. This gives us a reason to celebrate, but it’s also a proof of a great work by the whole team! Congratulations to all of you, and thanks to all of our partners & friends who are making this possible!
They call this place “almost heaven” and today it really feels like it!
– Race results: Dak – 9th, Jure – 20th, Kirk – 23rd
– Final overall standings: Dak – 15th, Jure – 29th, Kirk – 47th
– Dak is protected for the first World Cup race of the 2020 season
– Team UDFR was 4th on the mixed team results in Snowshoe
– Team UDFR is 13th on the overall team rankings
– We had the company of juniors Patrick Laffey and Žak Gomilšček, who finished the race in 10th and 12th, respectively
Photos by Dave Trumpore