The quickfire top flight 2020 downhill racing season came to its conclusion for the MS Mondraker riders this weekend at the tough natural track in Portugal. All eyes in the MS camp were on the trio of Eleonora Farina, Thibaut Laly and Mike Jones on their Mondraker Summums, all aiming to get the best of the conditions and competition.
Eleonora was inspired by her 4th and 3rd place podium finishes in the previous World Cup double-header and pushed hard in Thursday’s qualifying, getting 6th. And she matched that with Friday’s first final race run - so close to another podium on a demanding course hosting its first World Cup.
Fired up and pushing hard to master the rutted track, Eleonora was a victim of the sharp exposed rocks, puncturing in Saturday's second race qualification, meaning an early start slot for Sunday’s final race on a track that was yet to dry, coming home 9th.
It was not the race result the Italian national champion was aiming for, but a solid effort to round out a successful season. She finished in 6th position in the 2020 World Cup overall with a really good haul of 476 points from four races, and a matching 6th position in the UCI overall rankings, with a determination to look forward to competing in 2021!
After missing Maribor and finishing 45th in Lousã race 1, Thibaut Laly came into the final race of the season hunting for his best performance... and delivered! After qualifying 34th he hooked up the right lines and came home 21st on his alloy Summum – the best ever finish in Elites for the young Frenchman. With it he even made the overall top 50 despite missing half the races!
“I felt really good and confident on the bike all week long and here is the result,” said Thibaut.
With Thibaut flying in the second race it was the other way round for Mike Jones at Lousã. After his 18th place at Maribor, the Welshman was raring to go in Portugal. Having qualified 20th, in Friday’s race run he lit up sector 3 green and came in with a provisional 5th position, which became a final ranking of 16th position.
Then, after qualifying 21st for the second race, it was Mike’s turn to catch a flat and that bad luck meant he couldn't deliver his potential on the final run. The 45 UCI points for race 1 helped towards his tally for a solid season-ending 32nd position in the 2020 World Cup overall.
With the 2020 World Cup over for Eleonora, Thibaut, Mike, Laurie and Brook, it’s time to thank them for the thrilling riding and intense competitions. And time for us all to regroup, refresh and get ready to go again when racing returns in 2021!