1 May 2012 | By gregberry
At the opening round of the US National series for gravity racing, Trek World Racing's 3 Downhill riders took on some of the fastest men in the world, including current World Cup series leader Greg Minnaar and eventual race winner Steve Smith, on the famous Pacific North West track in Port Angeles, in Washington State. Aaron Gwin finished 2nd and Neko Mulally joined him on the podium for 5th.
Last time the team raced here, in 2010, we also picked up a silver medal in the men's category when Justin Leov took 2nd place behind Bryn Atkinson, but this weekend wasn’t going well for the Kiwi. Shortly after the event Justin tweeted: "It wasn't happening for me this weekend, but thanks to all the people up here in the North West! You guys rock!" Justin heads back to New Zealand for a couple of weeks of training at home before hitting the east coast of the US for more American racing.
Neko Mulally is having his best start to a race season yet and after some impressive podiums already this year, he backed it up with yet another podium here, 3 tenths ahead of World Cup leader Greg Minnaar (RSA). After qualifying 8th, Neko put down a great run for the finals and had this to say shortly afterwards:
"I got a lot out of racing this weekend. We did a ton of practice runs which made for good training on the bike. I over-rode my qualifying run and wanted to ride smoother in the final. I managed to get through smoothly and put down a pretty solid run. The suspension was working great and got me safely through the all the deep holes that had developed. I really enjoyed racing here in Port Angeles as it's one of my favorite venues."
After qualifying conservatively in 9th, Aaron had a strong race in the finals moving up to 2nd, and thoroughly enjoyed the week of testing, training and racing with his team mates.
"We had an awesome weekend here in Port Angeles. The people up here are super cool and make this race one of my favorites of the year."
The downhillers have a small break now before racing on the US east coast in mid-May.
1. Steve Smith (CAN) 2m 30.69secs
2. Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) 2m 32.43secs
3. Mick Hannah (AUS) 2m 33.57secs
4. Josh Bryceland (GBR) 2m 33.92secs
5. Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) 2m 34.73secs
6. Greg Minnaar (RSA) 2m 35.06secs
14. Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) 2m 38.24secs