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UCI MTB DH#5 Maribor Report, Photos – Smith 7th, Buchar 10th

by Fraser Britton

June 21, 2009 (Maribor, Slovenia) – The legendary Maribor, Slovenia downhill track saw scorching sun, torrential rains and then more sun as the world’s best downhillers tried to figure out what tires to run come race day. By the time finals kicked off on Sunday, some riders were on dry tires, some were on cut spikes and some were on full spikes.

At the end of the day determination had final say, as an injured Fabien Barel (FRA – Subaru Mondraker) took home the victory in a knee brace while barely being able to bend over to tie his own shoes. “I tried to put everything together, I was pretty consistent on the upper part. Being able to come back after struggling so much..I spent 7 weeks doing therapy and being able to this today in front of all these guys that ride so good, it’s just a dream.”

Barel had a bottom section that was untouchable as rider after rider went up on him in the upper section and then fell behind down at the bottom in the high speed woods. Sam Hill (AUS – Monster Energy Specialized) finished second once again and Greg Minnaar (RSA – Santa Crusz Syndicate) finished 3rd.

For the ladies, it was Sabrina Jonnier (FRA – Maxxis) taking home her 4th victory in a row in convincing fashion. “I went too slow, I am pretty pissed off with myself. It wasn’t a good run. I made a mistake in the rocks, and just tried to make up for it at the bottom and go faster.” Fellow French riders Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center) and Floriane Pugin (Playbiker) finished second and third.

Canadians Steve Smith and Claire Buchar once again had great days. Smith had a career best 7th place, just off the podium while Buchar finished in 10th with a few mistakes. Buchar was happy with her run. “My run was a bit messy, but I managed to stay on my bike, unlike my qualifier. I am pretty happy, I just got into the top 10 and there is room for improvement. I wish I had put dry tires on!”

Smith was over the moon with his run following the event. ” My run was great, it was pretty rugged up there with lots of bumps. I managed to hold on for my full run, and I was stoked to cross the line without a crash!”

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