Champery has to be the most exciting downhill race of the season, mainlyÂ due to the steepness and difficulty of its track. The track has been rebuilt for this year but is still very steep and technical with huge speeds and massive jumps, including a 35 foot step down in the final section. There are some more videos and gossip after the break.
The old track will be remembered by many due to Sam Hill’s incredible run in 2007.Â For those of you who don’t know the story, Sam qualified in first place by over 14 seconds, with the extremely steep and technical track suiting him. Part of the way through the main race however, the skies opened up and the torrential rain made the track lethal. Other top 10 qualifiers were finishing way down the standings and the track was getting worse and worse as Hill waited to start. Sam HillÂ´s run was incredible and at the first split he was as fast as the other top riders were in the dry! He fell after that but still managed to finish in third place with other riders crediting him with being the real winner of the day.
This year the excitement has started early with Aaron G having a tense wait to see if he can race following a disqualification in qualifying. The story is that he crashed out on one of the steep sections and found that the track was so steep it was impossible for him to climb up andÂ restart where he exited the track. He rejoined lower down meaning he skipped a section of the course. It is currently unclear whether the automatic start for the top 20 riders will apply in the case of a disqualification.
The top qualifiers are Sam Blenkinsop, Damien Spagnolo, Gee Atherton, Brendan Fairclough and Wyn Masters. Peaty is sitting in 6th so hopefully we will see a good result from him. Brendan Fairclough looked great in practice and seems very confident too, so may be someone to watch out for especially as it has just started raining!
The Emmanuel Pombo crash at about 6 minutes is horrible to watch. All the best Emmanuel and I hope you are OK.
You can see the race on freecaster tomorrow, check the schedule for local times.