WolfPack Team Update First up I would like to thank everyone involved with the WolfPack DH Racing team. We are now half way through our season and it’s been one of the most enjoyable and memorable seasons to date. The support from the sponsors, riders and fans has been fantastic and is appreciated with each and every person involved with the team. I can’t thank you all enough. We have decided to do something a little different with this edition of the magazine. In the past we have included each rider’s race reports but I think this was a little too repetitive for the readers to follow. Now we have only selected one race report to cover the weekend but included multiple races so that you can see different rider’s perceptions on different tracks. Please enjoy the latest issue of the WolfPack online magazine!
Victorian Downhill Series #3 â€“ Mt Beauty The WolfPack hired a house for the weekend and stayed together to prepare for what would be one of the most fun tracks of the entire summer. The hill was steep and the corners were fast with a track that had rocks, roots and a steep chute at the bottom and hundreds of spectators watching, it was yet another happy weekend racing with the WolfPack. Dry and dusty is how we like it in Australia and this was the perfect track which would prove to be quite a challenge to get down with a competitive time. Liam Renaut Productions Video https://vimeo.com/33266790 - On the Hunt, Episode 4 David Leach I was really excited leading up to the Mt Beauty race as the track was steep and rough which was going to challenge all the riders more than the first 2 rounds of the series which were on less technical terrain. I was disappointed with my result (crashing) at the last race so I was keen to be back in the top 20 again. Saturday practise went well for me, managing to get in about 8 runs across the day. I did a few runs in with Pup who was pretty wild and helped me to push harder in a few sections. I practised my lines and took notice of how the track was deteriorating through all the 330 odd riders sliding down it. Because the track was so blown out I chose to run my set of Schwalbe Muddy Marys for their superior grip in the loose conditions. Race day came and I got to the track after a big breakfast to get in some runs in final practise. 2 runs down and I was ready to race. I was pumped at the start gate and took off confident and feeling strong thanks to GU energy which had me well hydrated and full of beans all weekend. My run was going great, managing to nail the top half of the track better than I had all weekend. Then coming into a steep left hander I cornered too high and my wheel pushed a log out of the track and over the bars I went. I finished my bushwalk and continued my run down the hill very pissed off with myself. Needless to say with such a high quality field I didnâ€™t qualify for finals and was disappointed to have crashed out. I am really focused on getting the results I know I can achieve at the Mt Buller State and National Rounds in January, and topping it off with racing for the Vets National champs and riding the Kona Otway 100k in February.
Australian Gravity Cup #1 – Thredbo Wow what a race track. Thredbo is one of the iconic downhill racetracks in Australia. It has every feature that you come to expect on a downhill track and it is exciting to ride from start to finish. The first round of the newly revamped Gravity Cup series attracted quite a few riders and also a few of the big players in the game (Sam Hill, Troy Brosnan and Jared Graves.. just to name a few). With perfect weather for most of the weekend and chair lift access to the trail it was always going to be an exciting weekend of racing. Liam Renaut Productions Video https://vimeo.com/33513084 – On the Hunt, Episode 5 Fabian Bill A week after the Mt beauty race Liam and I drove to Tralagon and met up with nick” KINGY” king, Lewis Winton and Nathan “NATO” Murphy we all jumped in the one car for the long trip up, took about 10 hours from my house till we got to Thredbo. We were all keen as to race and ride there and couldn’t wait for the next morning when we were laying in the lodge. The next morning was a cracker sun was out all day and we were just punching out run after run, I had the big Betty on the front and wicked will on the back I felt they were holding up alright but I had to run lower pressure witch wasn’t fun on the rocks so I decided to change them that night. It was only about lunch time when Lewis pointed out what number Sam hill was and that he was going to be following me down in seeding run this put a lot of pressure on me because I did not want to slow him down, while this was pressuring me it quickly because the talk around the Victorian riders and NATO loved rubbing it in. But then in seeding NATO ended up having ben Cory behind him and got overtake and luckily Sam Hill didn’t end up catching me witch was a great confidence booster for Sunday. We woke up Sunday to the sound of it pouring down outside but luckily by the time we were out there it had eased off and the sun was trying to poke it’s head out from behind the clouds, all day it would drizzle and then be sunny witch made some parts of the track grippy but some rocks and roots became very slippery. We were all had to go up the lift early because there was thunder storms nearby so they were going to shut the lift. It came down to this one run NATO had already gone and I did not know how he went if he got a good enough time to take alpha wolf from me or not. I was having a pretty good race run getting loose until the last tree section I came off and the bike got stuck on the back of my head, lucky I came down with a time to beat NATO and keep the alpha wolf position because NATO had also crashed. I came out with a 48th witch isn’t to bad considering I crashed and it was a nationals on a long track. After this weekend I know I should be working on my fitness so I can pedal all the way down. But all in all it was a wicked weekend and can’t wait for the next one at Mt Buller!!
Victorian Downhill Series #4 – Mt Buller The forth stop for the ever successful VDHS was located in picturesque hills of Mt Buller. The weather forecast was perfect for the entire weekend and quite a few interstate riders were present (given that there was a gravity cup round on the weekend after). The competition was fierce between the riders and the times were going to be fast. Mt Buller made the decision to race on the “Marks Madness” section of the international track which had been blocked off from racing for many years. This section included the wall ride which was very fun to ride and mixed up the ever repetitive sections on the track. Liam Renaut Productions Video https://vimeo.com/35618407 - On the Hunt, Episode 6 Michael Watt After an awesome 1 week cross country road trip all over Victoria with Leonie, we rocked up at the base of Buller on Thursday night full of beans and excited to ride. As we arrived at Horse Hill lift on Friday morning we were greeted by seasoned Wolfpack racer Fabian (puppy) Bill. With Leonie off riding Mt Buller’s epic XC trails, Fab and I decided to do a few runs and pinpoint the areas on the track where we felt we could most improve, this seemed to work well for both of us and we were both riding a lot faster and with more confidence by days end. Sunshine greeted the pack as we set up the wolf-den on Saturday morning, with the den all set up the pack did some team runs and filming with Liam, we shared our ideas on different lines and the changes to the course, the biggest change being that we would be racing the “Marks Madness” section instead of the usual (and very boring) “dam run” section. This suited me well as I have always wanted to race this section but never had the opportunity. Saturdays practice was not so good to close friends of the Wolfpack Nick King and Tommy Watt, with Kingy breaking his thumb and requiring surgery and Tommy in plaster after breaking his wrist,( lucky they sell beers at Mt Buller.) With a fresh set of Schwalbe tyres (Wicked Will rear and Big Betty front) slapped on and a shot of GU energy I was ready for quals. My run went fairly well, I stayed conservative and tried my best to keep it smooth, towards the bottom I caught up to the rider in front of me who had come off earlier in his run but he got out of my way pretty quickly and didn’t hold me up. I crossed the line with a time of 3.38 and was lucky enough to qualify. A casual run down the ABOM track about half an hour before race time and I was ready to race. The Wolfpack fan club were out in full force for race runs and cheered hard! My run was fairly similar to my qual run, I didn’t do anything too risky anywhere and tried to keep it smooth, I messed up the traverse in the first section and almost came to a complete stop in the second section, but these were fairly minor mistakes and I pushed hard in other areas and made up for them. I crossed the line with a 3.37 and ended up in 15th place, a result I’m very happy with considering the quality of the many interstate riders present. Another great weekend hanging out with the Wolfpack! Hooowwwllllllll.
Australian Gravity Cup #2 – Mt Buller In a repeat from the race the week before the second round of the Gravity Cup series was held on the same track with the same bunting. It was a little frustrating that Mt Buller could not come up with more options for the riders but this held an advantage for the team as we had all raced it before. Liam Renaut Productions Video https://vimeo.com/35618407 - On the Hunt, Episode 6 Jack O’Hare Was good to be heading back to Mt Buller for VDHS rd4 and catch up with the pack and all the other riders. I got the new bike kitted out with some Loaded Precision wheels and Csixx carbon chain guide from Al at Pushie Enterprises both of which are working awesome and holding up great! Buller Nationals was my first National race, and I was in Elite. I arrived Saturday to pump out some runs with the pack and other mates, and straight away felt a lot more confident on the bike. The track was getting really rough and dusty, which I really liked! Schwalbe hooked me up with some Big Bettys that really gripped well on the rocks and dust, and weren’t getting torn to bits like a lot of other tyres on the rocky track. Seeding went well for me, posting a time 12 seconds faster than the weekend before, slipping into 24th, and I caught two riders in front of me who had both crashed. This was a bit of a hold up, but with no real pressure I just cruised behind them until I could pass. Sunday morning we cheered on Rollie and Leachy in their race runs, and was great to see Rollie on the podium! Then pumped a few practice runs out before finals. I went for a quick warm up down the copperhead trail, before getting in the gate. My run started off really well, getting loose and wild and felt faster than in practice. Then about halfway down the track I got loose in some rocks and had a big over the bars crash that put me out of the running. I rode the rest of the track after getting my bike, and posted a time 3 seconds slower than seeding. I ended up in 36th position so was disappointed that a great run was cut short, but pumped that I felt back on form and ready to tackle the next few rounds of state and nationals. Again, huge thanks to everyone who supports me, it’s very appreciated.
Australian Gravity Cup #3 – Mt Stromlo Mt Stromlo is the most famous, or perhaps infamous, race track in Australia. It’s the location where a round of the 2008 UCI world cup and the 2009 UCI world Championships. It’s a track that challenges the riders in not only technical ability but also physical fitness. Fridays practice was washed out but the weather was fantastic on the Saturday and Sunday. Once again all the big players in the DH series showed up ready to battle it out on a track which had a completely new top half. Liam Renaut Productions Video To be released along with the Adelaide national champs video – On the Hunt Episode 7 Nathan Murphy I was lucky to get a lift to Mt Stromlo with the boys from Clint White Racing. It was a great experience to go on a road trip with some new people and it made the long 8 hour trip somewhat enjoyable. It was great being able to stay with Tim Eaton for the weekend as this kept the costs down and I was looked after with a great feed throughout the entire weekend. With no other team mate’s with me this weekend I was a little down. I have really enjoyed this season riding with the boys and learning their lines. Friday’s practice did not get off to a good start. I had all my gear ready to do some runs but the weather was very bad. Some people were still riding the track but they were coming down very muddy and wet. I decided to keep my kits clean and wait until tomorrow for some much needed practice. Saturday came around really fast and the weather was sunny and warm. All of the water was clearing from the track after group B practice so I was happy I made the correct decision not to ride the day before. However this also gave me my largest disadvantage for the weekend, as I had never ridden at Mt Stromlo before I was totally unaware of how to ride the trail and what lines to take. It was really tricky getting good practice runs and I was making quite a few mistakes. Committing the track to memory was my primary goal and then hitting some of the larger jumps was after that. I was able to get 4 practice runs in before my seeding run. I think I psyched myself out a little as I knew I did not have enough practice and my confidence was very low. My seeding run was terrible and I made so many mistakes. With this run over and done with I knew what I had to focus on for tomorrow’s race. I was happy to head back to Tim’s house and celebrate his birthday with him. I managed to relax a fair bit and carbo load on some birthday cake. I woke up on Sunday feeling fresh and ready to race. I had time to do some bike maintenance and I opted to run a Schwable 2.4 Big Betty on the rear and a Schwable 2.35 Muddy Mary on the front. The course was now dry and a little skatey with some small marbles on the surface but the grippy Schwabe tyres were still rolling really fast. I was only able to get 3 practice runs in and
I went over the bars in a rock garden on my last run which rattled me a little. I gave my bike a final check in the pits and then smashed a GU gel before my race. I like to spend a bit of time at the top to get stretched and to get my focus but the shuttle car was running late and I had to enter the start gate as soon as I got off the transport. I felt very rushed and had little time to prepare but in a way it made me just clear my head and get the job done. I had a good top section and was traveling at a good speed. I noticed that I was over breaking in most sections but I guess this was due to my lack of confidence from not getting enough practice. The crowd was going off as I came down the track and this inspired me to give 100% in the flat pedalling straight. I was stoked to get across the line in 22nd and to have the fitness to tackle a track like that without fatiguing and making mistakes. It was also fun to hit some new and big jumps as this is my weakest aspect in my racing. It was a great race and Im really excited to race on that track again. It will be really good to take the whole team there next season and have a lot more fun.
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Published on Feb 14, 2012