World Champs Leogang: Though and unpredictable

In 2020 the racing season is expected to be quite unique with all the things happening all over the world. Still the World Cup caravan started the season late in the year with the biggest race of the season: World Championship. One run to reign the rainbow stripes with a lot of unknown in front of the riders with very scarce race time under their bike. Despite all the odds with epidemic conditions, the organisers made it happen to organise such a big event.

The Mountain above the Leogang is well known to racers as it is a regular host to World Cups in previous years, but it also hosted World championship in 2012. Sinter Brakes Team had three riders representing Slovenian colours at the World Championships – Žak Gomilšček, Žan Pirš and Marko Niemiz.

Epic scenery never disappoints in Leogang

It’s location in the heart of the Alps meant the weather in the autumn can be quite harsh and unpredictable. As the weather was constantly changing, the riders were faced with wet and muddy track throughout the whole week. Track served with few new tweaks in the upper part of the track and totally new lower part of the track. The fresh soil combined with vast amount of rain turned into knee deep ruts and holes throughout the whole track.

The first day of training riders got familiar with the track

The Fridays qualification run was the first “real” gauging point where the guys fit in the stacked field of racers. Demanding track with fresh cut grass upper sections and new lower wood section made it really tricky to put together solid run without mistakes. In Junior category, Žan had safe run down the hill which placed him in 24th, Marko crashed in lower part of the track and finished 28th in qualification race. In Elite men class, Žak had solid run most of his run, but at the end of the track the mechanical issue put him in the safety net, where he lost a lot of time and at the he finished on 87th place. While in the category only top 80 men qualifies for the Sundays finals, Žak was forced to sit out the main show due to bad luck in qualification.

Žak had bad luck in qualification run with mechanical issue which put him out of the main show on Sunday

The main talking point during the week was bad weather forecast with heavy rain for Sunday with low temperatures and possible snow at the start of the track. Luckily the predicted snowfall didn’t happen, but low temperatures and rain made the track for finals very treacherous. Both of our riders Marko and Žan didn’t have the best race run with too much mistakes, where they lost some precious time. At the end it was enough for 23rd place for Marko and 33rd place for Žan.

Forecasted heavy rain on Sunday did happened, luckily without snow

Marko: From one side I’m a bit disappointed because I know I could have done a lot better but from the other side, I’m so happy that I was even able to ride after the big crash I suffered in practice on Thursday which left me with a sore shoulder, so it’s a little bit of a mixed feeling. Today the track was super challenging and exhausting, the mud was so sticky Ihad to go off the bike and push it in order to make it to the next corner. This race left me hungry for more so I’m super excited for our “home” race in Maribor.
Marko Niemiz towards the finish line
Žan: Firstly, I would like to say that it was an honour representing Slovenia at world championship in Leogang. I found the track being super fun to ride, but to put done one good run was a real challenge. Unfortunately, my final run was a mess. Happy to have gained a lot of experience for the upcoming weekend.

Photo gallery from Rick Schubert