Home town race and therefore a home town Inside Info from Connor Feraon, the whole time in cairns even we noticed just how much support he had! So with out further a-do take it away Mr Worldwide;
As soon as I heard about the world cup in Cairns I was quietly confident. Even before I knew anything about the track I just had this feeling it was going to be a good race for me. My first world cup at my home country would really mean a lot to me. In my head the whole 2014 season was going to be good for me, I proved I had improved my fitness by a fair margin in South Africa with a 25th but I wanted better. I dona��t often voice my goals but I wanted to get a top 5 podium at the Cairns world cup, it was pretty much my goal from the end of last year when I proved to myself I could mix it with the best. Matty and I got to Cairns about a week early and did a lot of the obligatory tourist activities. Ia��ve never been to Cairns but highly recommend it as a holiday destination!
We stayed riding distance from the track but I actually never bothered to look at it until the official track walk day on Wednesday. The track itself is really good, it has everything; open turns, fast wide jump sections, whoops, technical rock gardens and root sections! I liked the look of it. The weather was really good in Cairns right up until the first practice runs on Thursday. The skies opened up and it rained hard. The track was really slippery due to the clay surface that covered most of the hills around the area. I felt good on the first run, this reflected in timed training when I was 2nd to Gee Atherton by less than a second. Qualifying rolled around on Friday, it was still raining hard the track was getting slower and harder. Nobody realised how physical this track was until they had to put a full run down to qualify. My whole body was screaming I could hardly turn the pedals at the end. Unfortunately I had a little crash at the start of my run. Despite the hiccup I still qualified 9th and the fastest Aussie. This meant a lot to me and boosted my confidence even more. It felt like all the hard work I put in during the off season would pay off. I had a lot of friends and family at the race and generally everyone at the event was stoked for me to qualify so well. Everyone was telling me they wanted me to do well at the race.
When I was warming up for my race run I was actually pretty calm, I was confident with my speed and fitness I just had to ride like a had been in practice. I rode pretty aggressively in my race run and nailed all the technical sections at the top. There is a long right hander thata��s quite fast before a jump. I came in faster than I have and didna��t let off the gas. At the end of the corner my front wheel washed out and quicker than I could react I hit the deck. I bounced off the ground and it felt like forever before I hit again. I remember sliding along the ground and almost being oblivious to the fact I was crashing. I couldna��t believe what happened. I didna��t jump back up too fast because I was pretty hurt and I knew I wouldna��t be in contention for the result I hoped for. The crowd the whole way down the track and especially at the bottom was huge. Ita��s definitely the most spectators Ia��ve seen at a world cup. They were extremely loud and supportive as well. Ia��m sure they pushed the Aussies to ride faster! I finished my run and rode back to the pits pretty swiftly as I was a little salty about crashing! It really set in when I was sitting in the medical tent getting a few stitches in my leg and I could hear the commentator announcing the winnersa�� So unfortunately this race wasna��t as good as I had planned. I dona��t think I made any mistakes by crashing I was pushing the limit and in this sport thata��s what you have to do. One good thing is due to the points I got in qualifying I moved up in the overall to 22nd. By the end of the season I want to be well in the top 20 so Ia��ll take what Ia��ve learnt from this race to the next world cups to achieve that goal. Ia��d like to thank my sponsors Kona, Fox Head, Maxxis, Sram, Rockshox, Stans no tubes, Truvativ, Yakima racks and of course downhill 247! Hopefully ill have something more positive to report next time round.
There is now a slight break before the world cup circuit hits up Europe for round 3.
Images: Jason Stevens Photography, JB Photomedia & in house images.