23 Jun 09 / Posted By DBS
After spending the winter talking about the world cup we decided that Maribor would be the one, as there were no conflicting races, it was cheap and fairly easy to get to. After a couple of months planning we were set for a long weekend flying from Stansted to Graz then catching the train to Maribor.
Thursday afternoon we left Cornwall for the drive up to Stansted chilling to plenty of tunes, jibbing away about this and that and predictions for the podiums. The flight was fairly uneventful other than Spicy having swine flu coughing fits which lead to the lady sat next to him covering her face with a jumper for the duration of the flight hahaha!
We landed in Graz on time and stepped off the plane into 32 degree heat and blue skies. A short walk to the station and we caught the train to Maribor. The Austrian trains are great! Good value fares, quiet, arrive on time and get you to your destination at the exact minute. Taxi from the train station to our accommodation, dump the bags and we headed immediately up to the 4x track.
We arrived just before the timed qualifying runs started, with the sun still out the clunge was everywhere, this was going to be a good weekend! The course was a big step up from what we’re used to on the national circuit, it was steep and loose with some huge jumps and seriously fast! All ten Brits safely made the qualifying cut for knock out rounds the following day. After watching qualifying, cheering on the Brits and looking out for clunge it was time to get some food. We tagged along with the Roberts (junior and senior), coach Will and Lewis Lacey and decided on a posh looking restaurant for some pro food. Coach Will decided to blow his budget by asking for the a la carte menu. The food was tasty but the portion sizes were pretty meagre and I definitely got lucky choosing ‘Real Veal’. During the meal Phil Saxena joined us and gave us the inside info on the track changes in Schladming. After that it was back to the hotel for the worst nights sleep in a long time, due to humidity and “swine flu” Spicy’s incessant coughing fits.
We woke up to torrential rain on Saturday morning and looking out the window the top of mountain was shrouded in cloud, with the odd rumble of thunder and flash of lightning as well conditions weren’t looking good. Luckily me and Spicy had come prepared and we donned our wet weather gear and headed up to the gondola to watch the downhill qualifying. However the lightning meant the gondola was shut and Chris Ball confirmed that qualifying was cancelled and would be run on Sunday morning instead. Walking round the pits the riders were plastered and although there was a river running down the track according to Duncan Riffle it was still riding “Retarded Fast!”
The rain finally stopped at around 3pm just in time for 4x practice and finals. The surface of the 4x track was totally saturated and nearly all the riders were running spikes, most seemed to be enjoying it because the jumps were still doable and you could get plenty of drift going. The racing was brilliant with loads of moves being pulled. Coach Will had a memorable first round going from 4th to 2nd over the lower half of the track to advance to the next round.
Of the brits only Dan Atherton and Will Longden managed to get past the 2nd round with Longden going out in the quarters and Dan Atherton going on to get 2nd in the b-final (6th overall). Joost “the boost” Wichman was looking strong going through the rounds but he would have gate four in the final due to a poor qualifying time.!/image/textile/293.jpeg(jared maribor moto)! Graves looked good taking the hole-shot but Wichman took a really tight line in the first turn which allowed him to get round Graves on the second turn and he checked out for victory, with Graves coming second, Rinderknecht third and Saladini fourth.
Spicy and Pazzs adventures at Maribor DH to follow