September 16, 2013 (Hafjell, Norway) – Canada’s Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) took home his second consecutive win at the Norwegian World Cup DH in Hafjell, Norway. The young Canadian rose to the challenge of defending his victory here from last season under less than ideal conditions. For the women, it was Rachel Atherton (Gbr) GT Factory Racing destroying the competition and winning by 7.6 seconds.
Rain and wind came in late Saturday evening after riders had practiced in dry conditions all week making for an exciting race. The Norwegian track is fast and rough, with high speed, huge jumps and incredibly technical rocks that become treacherous when tracked in the mud. The supercross section alone, right out of the gate, features several massive jumps that riders must hit before they even make it into the first wooded section.
Smith was ecstatic with his win. “It’s absolutely amazing. It was a weird day with so much dry and then pissing rain. Practice was so much fun. It’s a fairly easy track to ride in the wet actually because there are not many roots. It’s easy to slide around, it was fun. I was judging things as I went as it had changed a lot.”
Smith was like a proud father talking about fellow island boy and junior Devinci rider, Mark Wallace, who scored his first podium this week. “I wasn’t even nervous when I was sitting at home, I was watching Mark on the live timing. When I saw he got his first podium I was super proud. I’ve been riding with him since the beginning. I was so stoked for Mark, it was a great way to start the day.”
Smith was joined on the podium by Danny Hart (Gbr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team and Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team in second and third respectively. Samuel Blenkinsop (Nzl) Lapierre Gravity Republic was 4th and Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate was 5th.
Atherton was happy with yet another win this season, but the first one in rainbows. “I was super nervous with the weather. I was thinking oh God, it’s the curse of the World Champs! I managed to hold it together. It feels great to be on the podium with the stripes.
“I thought the track was ridiculous when I came down, but clearly it got worse and worse for the men. It was scary, I had some wild moments. I was like gee willikers, who ever holds on tightest will win,” she added.
Atherton shared the podium with Manon Carpenter (Gbr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team in 2nd and Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction in 3rd. Rounding out the spots was Morgane Charre (Fra) MS Mondraker Team in 4th and Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic in 5th.
Casey Brown (Dirt Norco Race Team) lead the Canadians in 8th with Miranda Miller 9th and Claire Buchar in 13th. Vaea Verbeeck did not start.
DH riders have one more round in Leogang, Austria on Sept. 21-22 to complete the season.