The fourth round of the UCI Downhill World Cup took place on the awesome track in Vallnord, Andorra, on the weekend where Team CRC Mavic rider Mike Jones returned from injury to ride alongside Elliott Heap.
Here’s Team Manager Nigel Page’s report:
The Vallnord track is famous for its fast and very steep natural sections, one of the riders’ favourites. This was Mike Jones’ first race back after breaking his wrist at the first round in Lourdes back in April. This is Mike’s favourite track – he placed fourth in the World Championships back in 2015.
It was going to be a challenge for Mike riding this track for his first race back and it proved a bit too much as although Mike was riding really fast, in certain sections he didn’t have the strength to hold on for a full run and he narrowly missed out in qualifying for the top 80 and a spot in the finals. This was a big blow for Mike but at least a step back towards racing at the world level.
It was good for young Elliott Heap to have a team mate back to practice with and discuss lines on the track and here is Elliott’s recap of the race:
The track was awesome! It was so steep and loose, and by far my favourite track of the year. I qualified ok with a big crash in one of the open sections. I was gutted for Mike narrowly missing out.
Race day the track was a bit greasy and in one of my practice runs I washed out in a sharp left hand turn hurting my hand pretty badly. In my race run I rode the top section really well then as I got further down the track I found it was getting a lot harder to hold on with my left hand. I went really steadily at the bottom and finished 42nd not where I want to be but the number is coming down gradually thanks to the team and sponsors for having everything running perfectly all weekend.
Thanks to Brooks and Steve for stepping in and running the team whilst I was at the EWS with Sam and Jacy.