Downhill racing is really going to new heights, with more and more riders taking the podium and even the top spot. We’re happy and proud that Dakotah Norton is right up there, just a detail or two away from the fastest.
5th place at Lošinj was somewhat of a surprise, but Dakotah said right away he meant business and wanted to continue the season in that manner. Fort William was a different kind of track, but Dak was again extremely fast, but with a snapped chain right off the start he couldn’t get to the very top. Today, in Leogang he was back where he should be!
We came to Leogang with some pressure from the Scottish Highlands. It’s never good to leave the venue with mechanical issues and a missed opportunity. Leogang is a whole different track, intense from top to bottom with a margin for error that is almost zero. That is why the pressure intensified when Dak had mechanical problems again in qualifications and had to cruise down the track. Things had to turn around for the finals... and so they did!
The final run of the weekend was not perfect, but the time was green when Dak crossed the finish line. “I definitely think I rode reserved today. In some sections I held back, in other sections I pushed it. I could have been more precise but I gave a lot of speed away, in my opinion. Overall, there were a couple of sections that I really needed to hit well. I think I did that. I’m happy with how I rode. Afterwards, you always say ‘I wish I could have been faster’, but I’m happy I didn’t hit the deck,” said Dakotah, describing his day as a good one.
Dakotah was in the red at the top, but really pushed it in the technical section in the middle and bottom of the track. However, he thinks he wasn’t very loose: “I honestly think I could have been a lot wilder. I kept it cool and collected in some of the more technical sections of the course.”
Dak was on the hot seat all the way until Aaron Gwin came to the finish area. The American won in Leogang three times in a row and was a favourite for the race; so, we kind of expected he would take the lead, the question was how many riders could squeeze between the two. At the end Amaury Pierron had his second victory in just one week, and Dakotah was 2.394 off his time—Good enough for sixth, 0.264 seconds off the podium!
“I would absolutely have loved it to be on the podium. I always said I would like to be fifth or seventh, but I’ll take sixth. I’m happy to be still protected and keep my number nine plate.”
There are no reasons for any regrets. Dakotah did a fantastic job and kept his cool when it counted most and finished the race with another fantastic result. And he definitely showed that he means business: “I’m trying to put myself in the position where I can show that I can be fast every weekend, more so than being just a one-hit-wonder. I’m trying to be consistent more than everything. To come out of the weekend with another top-10 result, just off the podium and to solidify myself on the live stream to support my sponsors is what I’m looking for.”
Dakotah was our only racer in Leogang, Jure Žabjek and Rudy Cabirou are back home working hard to repair their injuries and to get back on their bikes as soon as possible. Hopefully, at least one of them will make it to the Val di Sole and Vallnord events in early July.
RIDING : DH | AGE: 25 | HOMETOWN : MICHIGAN / ROTTEN OAKS
Overall ranking : 9th
RIDING : DH | AGE: 22 | HOMETOWN : LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
RIDING : DH | AGE: 23 | HOMETOWN : MILLAU, FRANCE