CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - Josh Bryceland tamed the wet and wild downhill track through the rainforest jungle to take second place at the second stop on the UCI World Cup Downhill circuit in Cairns, Australia. Steve Peat overcame back pain that he was dealing with after the long plane ride to Australia and had a solid 7th place run. Greg Minnaar had a messy run and slid off the course through the tape. Unfortunately he didn’t re-enter the track between the poles and what was a 10th place run soon turned into a disqualification.
With lots of rain the track was a test of survival for practice. Steve missed practice due to his crooked back, while Josh and Greg were learning the track. On Friday, Steve got his mandatory two practice runs in and set off for the qualifier placing 24th. Greg had great form in the difficult conditions and qualified third. Josh was spent after giving his all for a 14th qualy.
We were greeted with blue skies for the final on Saturday and the track was still a greasy challenge with many riders falling off. There was a 12-minute course hold while an injured rider was cleared from the track and Steve was in the start. As the race resumed Steve was on track and had lost time in the first sector. Then a red flag was thrown and we didn’t know what happened. Turns out a spectator rode the injured rider’s bike down through the whoops and got knocked out cold. Now another course hold while they cleared him off the track and Steve goes back up for a rerun.
Josh pinned it through the rock section and had a steady, fast run that held up for 2nd place. He didn’t feel that it was a special run, but needing to be cautious and smart he rode amazing and said, “I’m buzzing over getting 2nd. The track is so hard and the conditions are brutal. While I didn’t feel I rode my best I rode smart and am really happy to be on the podium!”
Steve’s rerun came three riders after Josh and he put down a much-improved run to join Josh on the hotseat. His time held up for 7th as rider after rider struggled on the treacherous track. He says, “Pretty happy to come out of Cairns with a top ten! Had back issues and not a lot of practice so it made things tough! The weather was brutal which made the track even more brutal but luckily it played into my favour. Thanks to the Syndicate crew for all the help this week! My V10 was railing them ruts.”
Greg was very disappointed to learn that his front tyre didn’t go between the poles after he slid off track and said, “I was happy with the way I was riding so early in the season, but unfortunately being disqualified this weekend there is no way I can be in contention for the overall, but I will keep fighting and trying to ride well to get back into a better position.”
All copy and photos courtesy Kathy Sessler/Santa Cruz Syndicate