Team MS Mondraker had a flying start to the much anticipated return of top level downhill racing this weekend with podium finishes in both the Men’s and Women’s DH finals on Sunday – thanks to Laurie Greenland and Eleonora Farina, each taking a fine fourth place at Innsbruck, Austria on their Mondraker Summum!
It was a long wait for all the riders and fans for the first pre-lockdown Crankworx event in rainswept Austria, and an even longer wait for MS Mondraker rider Brook Macdonald, who won both Crankworx Rotura (in his native New Zealand) and Crankworx Innsbruck in 2019, before his big crash at the 2019 UCI World Champs in Canada. And the excitement for Brook’s return to racing was intense, as he was scheduled to run last of all, being the returning champion.
First up on Sunday was the Women’s final. With Storm Alex having tried – and failed – to derail the racing in Austria, practise had been curtailed, and the course had found a special new unpredictable slippiness on the rocks, roots, and boardwalk sections. As the headline slot after a week of typical Crankworx wildness the DH finals were a fast and furious affair. But whatever the conditions, MS Mondraker’s hard-charging Italian racer Eleonora Farina got the best of them, and forced her way to a podium place, behind DH sensation Valé Höll on her home track.
The men’s top 20 final followed, as the course continued to dry, catching some riders out. But not MS Mondraker’s Mike Jones, who went into provisional second place behind home rider Andreas Kolb.
With many of the world’s top riders around, partly in preparation for the forthcoming UCI World Champs also in Austria this week, there was a high level of competition with some Crankworx regulars taking turns in the hot seat until the last two riders out of the start hut, Laurie and Brook. As the rain gently returned, racing the new alloy Summum Laurie looked smooth, ensuring he mastered the conditions to stay black-side-down, and still push a competitive time – and it was – fourth in a tightly packed leader board, with home rider David Trummer on top.
Last to go was Brook.
With his journey of recovery and rehabilitation after his broken spine seemingly complete, he achieved what he is targeted all the last 13 months, getting back to a truly competitive racing condition. The joy and relief were palpable around Innsbruck as Brook came down fast, stylish, and safe. His time put him just outside the top 10 – expecting a podium might have been asking for one fairy tale too many – but he is shown the world that the Bulldog is back.
Congratulations to all the MS Mondraker riders– stoked to see you all back on track and putting the alloy Summum on the podium. Next up it is the World Champs, starting on Wednesday, with the XC finals on Saturday 10th and DH finals on Sunday 11th.