First of all – it was a great race and if you missed it you should go to Red Bull TV and watch the replay. Australians Hill and Hannah set amazing times that everybody was after, but the tricky and slippery track was harsh to every single rider and only a perfect run took you all the way to the top today.
Rudy was fifth fastest on the official timed session on Friday, a result that came as a surprise, but at the same time as a booster to try even harder over the weekend. Meanwhile Jure hit his palm and injured one of his fingers, which disturbed his race flow. They were both trying different settings, as the track is very different from anything else out there; Jure went for the lock-out on the rear Deluxe shock, while Rudy choose to race on the rear tire Razor Rock.
If we take a look outside of our riders, both racing for their national teams, the race was very wild. Lots of injuries, lots of flats and lots of amazing (and very loud) fans. Cairns never got crowds as big as they are in Europe, but the area is definitely investing a lot in the mountain biking and the Smithfield MTB Park has grown a lot since we first came here three years ago. Also snake and spiders seemed to be holding more to them selves this time around.
Let’s go back to racing. Hannah was on the top of the hot seat when it was Rudy’s time to go. He had all the confidence he needed, but on one of the dusty and loose corners the mistake happened. Rudy lost his rear wheel, hit a tree and lost all of the momentum. He came down as sixth, finished in 17th. Jure had start number 11, so he went on the course just before the last ten riders. He had fifth fastest speed, but the times were just not there and was 32nd on the end. Mick Hannah was second on the end, Loic Bruni won and Aaron Gwin was third.
Rudy Cabirou: “I’m really happy with 17th place, but really disappointed with my run. On Friday I was top-5 with a safe run. On this track I had a good feeling and I wanted to do really good. On my final run I unclipped for a little bit and then did a big mistake on the top of the course. With that I lost the right flow on the track and did another big mistake on the bottom. I would like to thank the team for the whole work during the season, with this I came to Cairns in good form and reached my goals.”
Jure Žabjek: “I didn’t felt good here from day one. It’s a new track for me and I’m also not used to this kind of surface. I crashed couple of times during the practice runs and slightly injured my finger, so I was dealing with that, instead of focusing on my lines and speed. I’m still happy with my result. I was now regular in the top-20 on the World Cup, and I know that I could do much better here on a good day. But I will take this result, finish the season and draw a line under the amazing season for me.”
This is over and out from Cairns! Champs were great and many of the races will go down in history. We can be also happy with the results that Tanja, Rudy and Jure took, they confirmed their place among the world’s elite. Cairns is not on the schedule for 2018, but we already heard rumors of a possible bid, so this might not be the final chapter of the top-level mountain bike racing in the Tropical Queensland.
Replay of the race on Red Bull TV
Photos by Grega Stopar