The World Cup Round 5 in Val Di Sole, Italy showed some great racing. Jess Stone finished with a great solid result in 14th place.
Two years ago, the World Championships were held here - Rachel won the womens and Gee won the mens and the famous Sam Hill drift crash at the finish where he'd have stormed it! I remember watching it on freecaster and thought the track looked awesome – these guys definitely made it look easy.
During the first day of practice, I learned how rough and technical this track was. You had to give this place the respect it deserved - the course was 100% natural with rock gardens and roots from the start to the finish and being about 4mins30 long. There was a lot of lines to try and learn here. I managed to get 2 runs in the morning before it started to rain and the track became pretty slick and muddy so the majority of the riders called it a day there, having only done 2 or 3 runs as the forecast for the next few days was going to be hot.
Friday’s qualifying day was nice and sunny and the track started to dry out really fast. It was still a little greasy in the morning and in the odd places for quali. It felt awesome to be wearing the National Stripes on my arms, I felt very proud! My run was smooth apart from the over the bars incident at the bottom. My first two splits were 12th and 13th and I finished in 17th after the crash. It was clear to see I was loosing time though as I was going down so I walked the track with the guys at Trek World Racing to try and learn some lines that I was missing.
This different race format was pretty good, having the additional practice between the quali and the finals. By Sunday morning, I had a good practice and felt ready for the racing. I was looking forward to the finals, I had missed out on the finals in Leogang from Injury and Champery. I also knew I was capable of a top 10 here so I had to give it everything I had.
My finals run went really well. I made some mistakes at the top section which lost me time but I tried to make this up in the middle and bottom section. I came off one of my lines at the bottom and also lost me time. Apart from that, I was really happy with how it went. I crossed the line in 1st and had my spell on the hot seat. I finished in 14th – 4 seconds off 11th place!! I was also 23 seconds faster than my qualifying time.
Although I didn’t get my top 10, I was really happy with the way I was riding and I’m now looking forward to racing the World Cup in Windham…
Next Up: British Downhill Series #4 – Meolfre, Wales
World Cup #6 – Windham, NY