September 4th, 2012

Justin Leov Races His Last Worlds, Aaron Gwin Suffers Mechanical Failure

Race favourite Aaron Gwin (USA) saw his hopes of taking a ‘bonus’ title this year come to an end around 1min 20secs into his final race run, when inexplicably both his front and rear brakes failed, resulting in a crash. Shortly after the crash Aaron pumped the brakes to try and get some pressure going but it was insufficient to complete the course safely at speed, and he cruised to the line disappointed he was unable to throw down a run on the three and half minute course.

Justin Leov (NZL) was the best placed finisher of the three Trek World Racing riders, ending a decade of racing for his country at the World Championships with a 21st place. After suffering a repetitive strain injury 2 weeks ago, Justin had recovered completely for the event and was looking forward to the run, but in the end was a little disappointed.

At the World Championships there is no qualifying round or seeding run, but a timed practice session where riders can check their general race speed against official timing. Aaron was happy with his 4th in timed practice and as race day drew nearer, and the sun came out drying the track dramatically, all was set for a classic Aaron Gwin run. Unfortunately the brake failure, something he has never experienced before and in fact is his first mechanical in a race run since joining the team, really took him by surprise.

Aaron said at the finish line – “I really don’t understand what happened. I warmed up as usual, tested the brakes as usual at the top, walked down the course to have a look at how the track was running, went into my run, brakes working fine for the first minute or so, and then bang, nothing. I crashed and got up as soon as I could, pumped to see what was there, but it wasn’t enough, and knew my day was run”.

The brakes have been taken back to Japan for further analysis as there was nothing immediately evident from the post-race inspection, and nothing new was done to these brakes that Aaron and the team has run for most of the season.

Justin said – “For sure I was chasing a top 10 here. The course had dried up really well and I was looking forward to running at speed and getting a great result. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I’ll have to settle for 21st, but it has been an amazing run from Kaprun (AUT) in 2002, to these World Champs in Austria 10 years later.”

Neko Mulally who suffered a torn shoulder ligament in Whistler 2 weeks ago was happy to be competitive here and finished 27th. He’s not yet 100% but expects to be so for Norway.

The downhill riders remain here in Austria this week to support their team mates in this weekend’s World Championship Cross Country events in Saalfelden, then fly Monday to Norway for the World Cup finals where the team has something very special planned for Saturday, race day, to celebrate the victory that was sewn up at Round 6.

Results for World Championships are here:

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