Kenda Playbiker team at round 1 MTB World Cup: Maribor, Slovenja

This year’s course was much the same as years past, except for a few small changes in the upper section, most notably the rock garden, which had been slowed down with the inclusion of a few corners at the very top of it. 

As the rain fell day and night over the weekend, the course deteriorated until it was nothing but axle deeps ruts and slick roots in many places.  The wind blew in so strong on race day that the gondola was closed, leaving riders to find their own shuttles, or ride the bus that was quickly arranged for them. 

The down side of the backup transportation, was that it left riders with only one practice run before their race, not much int he way of inspection time to see a course that had changed drastically over 2 days.

Top result on the day was from Australian Shaun O’Connor, who after just squeaking into the finals with a 76th in qualifying, managed to keep the rubber side down under horrendously muddy conditions and finish 44th in the downhill. 

Kiwi teammate Wyn Masters finished 54th and long time circuit veteran Nathan Rankin received a DNF after a close encounter with a tree that resulted in him off course spitting up blood.  In the 4x, Masters finished 42nd in what was probably the muddiest 4x event in years.  Edo Franco – at his first 4x World Cup ever – finished 3 spots behind in 45th place after a tough heat.

The team now heads to Innerleithen, Scotland for an IXS cup, and continues it’s World Cup campaign on June 5-6 in Fort William, Scotland.

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