April 17th, 2017 11:47am
With Aaron Gwin wrapping up the 2011 Downhill Championship Series title there was only one thing left to decide. Who would come up with the goods in the one day World Championships. A one day winner take-all format for the right to wear the stripes, the world championships were going to be decided in muddy conditions reminiscent of the entire 2010 season.
And just as the season introduced the changing of the guards the season finale would be just as unpredictable. None of the season favorites were to be seen on this podium.
What was not predicted was the top steps of the podium. While absolutely flying all season, no one would deny that Danny Hart was capable, but few would have predicted Danny Hart would nab his first win at the World Champs. And nab it he did, with both hands in the most challenging conditions crushing the field in one of the largest margins ever. So smooth and relaxed in the muddy, steep and gnarly course.
So how was Danny Hart able to win by 12 seconds? In speaking with several riders, the heavy rain got everyone thinking that the traction would be crap and so they took the conservative approach to get in a solid run. Hart on the other hand continued with his aggressive style that has been a trademark of this season for him. Only this time, Dannys smooth riding found the traction that others didnt think would be there and simply rode away with it. Hind sight is always easy but to the daring goes the spoils and Hart deserves them all for his go for broke attitude and sic skills.
Danny Spagnola (Mondraker) from France was the next unpredictable step on the podium. Spagnola is fast yes, but not a consistent top ten on the circuit. But someone forgot to tell him as he put up the second fastest time of day when it counted most on his home track.
The third step went to Sam Blenkinsop of New Zealand riding for La Pierre Bikes. Sam is a veteran campaigner and throws down solid runs, but taking the bronze is a pleasant surprise and rewarded his sponsors for believing in him and his talents. It wont be the last time you see Sam on the box.
After being left off the world champs team for Great Britain, it was good to see the country come to its senses and name Brendan Fairclough as a wild card rider. This wild card took fourth place on an injured knee and failry dismal season by his standards.
Emmeline Ragot captured her second set of stars and stripes being the only woman to go under 5 minutes on the peanut butter- muddy course ahead of Great Britains Rachel Atherton and Canadas Claire Buchar, this years bronze medalist.