The most anticipated race of the year turned into an incredibly close racing spectacle (just 0.749 second between first and fourth!). Lenzerheide was quite a challenge for all our DH and XCO riders.
Again, thousands headed to Lenzerheide to see the show behind the tape, which only made the whole event even more exciting. Practices were promising and the whole team aimed for its top result.
Devinci had some custom bikes as a treat for Slovenian Jure Žabjek and American Dakotah Norton. Both were thrilled to see their Wilson 29er with their unique paint jobs representing their countries. Dakotah’s frame was covered in red, white and blue with the necessary stars that represented the Home of the Brave. Similar colours were used on Jure’s bike, but with dominant white, a medley that really popped-out in the woods and on the track.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to cheer for the Slovenian in action on race day. A crash during Saturday’s practice injured his shoulder, and even with the help of experts and everyone’s hopes, we had to face the fact. Jure wouldn’t race. This, of course, was disappointing, but at the same time we all know how fast he was out there and that he’ll come out on top when the 2019 season starts!
“I was feeling good on my bike the whole week in Switzerland. I was faster than expected on the qualifications; but after that I made several mistakes. After a long rest in the summer—due to the injury of my finger—I really wanted to obtain a top result, and I felt I was capable of doing so. Unfortunately, I crashed on the practice run on Saturday and injured my shoulder. I hope it’s nothing serious, so I can start my preparations for the next season right away.”- Jure Žabjek
Keegan & Dakotah, meanwhile, prepared for their finals. The Wild Kiwi was first out on the course that had already dried up and was the fastest so far in the week. He took fourth place when he crossed the finish line, and later finished 51st.
“The weekend was great fun, it’s awesome to be back on the downhill bike. Qualifying was cool, I held back a little because of the rain, and I didn’t really know what the conditions were going to be like out there. In the race run I rode a bit tired but had heaps of fun. It makes me want to ride more downhill!”- Keegan Wright
Dakotah—all in red, white & blue symbols of his custom bike & race kit—headed out fully determined aiming for the top result. A big mistake threw him off pace, but he still obtained a decent result. 21st is not where he wanted to be, but knowing how capable he is, the next top results will come for sure.
“Everyone is really fast on the world champs, everyone wants to put out a good result. I felt like I was having a good run, but I didn’t feel the intensity for a really good world champs run. I made a mistake at the bottom, came to a stop and threw away a few seconds that would have been valuable at positioning myself in the results list. All things considered, it was a decent result for the end of the year, but my goals and expectations have changed. I wanted a medal or at least to be in the top-10.”- Dakotah Norton
Rachel Pageau, from Devinci Development Racing, proudly represented Canada in Lenzerheide. Rachel is mainly known on the Enduro circuit, but she is a fierce competitor in downhill too! It was her very first experience in the World Champs and she had an impressive run, landing 25th.
Tanja was the sole Slovenian rider on the cross-country race in Switzerland. She was positioned in the second row at the start, which was good: explosive and aggressive. But after that, there was no sign of the performance she showed on the last rounds of the World Cup. Tanja was aggressive only on the downhill sections, but she just couldn’t find the strength for all the other aspects of the race.
“This was by far the worst race of the season. I finished far from where I wanted to, but at the same time I did everything right. Preparations were good; I did everything possible for another good result. I also looked forward to it, after all I was in the top-ten just 14 days ago in La Bresse. I had the right feelings … but the race was a disaster. My legs were empty, I couldn’t do anything.”- Tanja Žakelj
Tanja finished the race in 37th place, one lap behind the race winner Kate Courtney. But in these kinds of situations an athlete’s spirit stands out–the capacity to recover from a bad experience, and to refocus on the what’s to come. And we all know there is more to come!
Congratulations to all our Unior Devinci Factory Racing Riders!! We had an amazing season with you!! Now enjoy your off-season and have loads of fun on your bike!
RIDING : DH | AGE: 25 | HOMETOWN : MICHIGAN / ROTTEN OAKS
RIDING : DH | AGE: 22 | HOMETOWN : LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
RIDING: DH | AGE: 21 | HOMETOWN : ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND