AARON GWIN RETAINS HIS US NATIONAL TITLE IN WEST VIRGINIA
Despite torrential rain, limited training sessions and a completely unknown track, Aaron Gwin managed to get through his National Champs defense week without a single crash, and score a result to take to the bank. Downhill riders literally get the wear their title on their sleeve, with a National Flag on the left arm of their race jersey to be worn at all UCI Calendar races for the following year. Since the formation of The YT Mob, Aaron has carried the US Flag on his left sleeve proudly, and after winning yesterday, will go on to do so for the next twelve months.
However, it wasnít that easy. The track at the Snowshoe Ski Resort in West Virginia is famous for its flat awkward slippery rock sections, as well as torrential summer rains. Aaronís teammate Neko Mulally has raced there since his very early days but was not racing as heís recovering from having a screw put into his injured scaphoid bone, with the view to expediting recovery and giving him more strength for the remaining World Cups and World Championships. His inside knowledge of the track proved to be a big help to Aaron on a schedule that provided only 5.5hrs of course training (compared to 8hrs at a World Cup).
In the seeding run on Saturday which was used to determine start order for Sundayís final, Aaron finished 2nd to World Cup Pro Luca Shaw, who wasnít the only World Cup Pro in attendance. The depth of the field in US racing is growing year on year and this meant Aaron would have to put in a world class ride to take the title on Sunday.
Itís been a bit tough this week getting to know this new track with limited training time. Like even in my seeding run I forgot which section I was in at one point (laughs), thereís a lot going on in this track. Itís not one of those tracks you go down and thereís one main line, itís like thereís stuff everywhere! You gotta work to remember this one, and then it rained and covered up the linesÖ.You kind of never know, itís so tricky and so wet that itís a little bit of a roll of the dice, you just hope that you can make it through, so yeah I had a smooth finals run and I feel like I hit all my lines and did everything about as good as I could do it for the time I had. Iím stoked man.
- Aaron Gwin (The YT Mob) - 3:41.871
- Luca Shaw (Santa Cruz Syndicate) - 3:44.836
- Charlie Harrison (Intense Factory Racing) - 3:46.988
The team now prepares for the only World Cup outside of Europe, which is to be held the first weekend of August at the historic Mont-Sainte-Anne venue outside of Quebec City, Canada.