It’s the start of the 2018 World Cup race season and the anticipation levels are sky high as we head into the most exciting race season to date. We’re behind the scenes with all the boys at the newest location on the line-up; the beautiful island of Lošinj in Croatia.
The track is not the longest track on the circuit, but it is rough and rocky. Several big drops and jumps and a unique street section do the track from top to bottom. With an overall length of 1.3km and a height of 240m, the course starts on the crest of the beautiful St John Hill and the finish line takes you right into the marina in the center of town.
With one practice day under their belts already and looking forward to qualifications going down tomorrow, we managed to get into the pits to get the inside scoop on the location, how the guys are feeling on their bikes and what ‘Hilltop Habits’ they prepare with at the start of each race.
Troy Brosnan – The one to beat
The Aussie goliath already has a string of World Cup wins under his belt and is looking strong coming into the season off the back of a 2nd place finish overall in 2017: “I’ve trained as hard as I can… I’ve watched a little bit of the track a few months ago when the track preview came out and I knew it was going to be rocky, so I did as many runs as I could at my local tracks on the rocks. The training is the hard part and the riding is the easy part!”
Coming in hot off of a win at his National Championships in Australia last week, Brosnan is feeling good on his bike and looking like a podium threat: “I just felt pretty confident and ready to ride and have fun and just see how this first race goes and get ready for the rest of the season!”
Mark Wallace - Welcome to the team
Wallace is the the newest addition to the Monster Energy World Cup program. The Canadian capped off a personal best season in 2017, finishing up in 8th in the World Cup overall and is feeling strong after some injury recovery over winter: “I’ve been doing lots of training in the gym and recovering from some injuries and as soon as I was able to ride again, I just hammered riding and got comfortable on the bike again and now I’m feeling good”
“I didn’t race for 7 months and so I’m excited to be back in race mode and ready to go get it,” don’t underestimate what this guy can do when he gets his head down and focuses on a new course!
The British legend has taken some downtime in between the race seasons, not doing any filming for a change. He couldn’t be more pumped at getting back on his bike: “I’m really excited for the season ahead, I’ve got this new bike and I’m feeling good and I just want to get racing again!”
Taking time away from his downhill bike, while he created a super tech new weapon (READ HERE), Brendan is one of those guys we don’t need to worry about having time off his race bike, to excite us this weekend.
The British wonder boy has had his head down over the winter and as part of a new team this season, he’s looking like he’s already clicked with his new bike. He picked up a win at the Windrock Pro GRT race in America rencetly and he’s feeling strong and positive about the new course here in Croatia: “I find I can learn things quite quickly, I think it’s great we’ve ventured out to a new place and I do believe that we’ll be venturing out to more new places from what I’ve heard, so that’s exciting”
If there’s anyone to surprise us on a treacherous and unpredictable track, it’s Danny Hart.
Connor brings his own brand of excitement to every course he rides, laying down his typical all-or-nothing flat pedal race runs. We’re expecting to some big things from the Aussie this year: “I did a lot of riding, mainly trail riding, a few national races here and there. I Hit the gym a couple times a week and then luckily the tracks at home are pretty rocky, so I’ve been riding my downhill bike there and just getting back into shape. It’s been a long time since Cairns, I’m just excited to get racing again!”
The first stop on the World Cup sees him aboard a new prototype Kona race rig, and rumours have it that he’s already looking dangerous in
Brendan Fairlcough “I’ll usually get 2 or 3 push-ups in, just to warm up the pythons!!”
Danny Hart “I listen to Ultimate Dance Classics and sometimes have a little dance around to warm up”
Connor Fearon “I like to jump on the cycle bike and listen to some tunes and forget about racing”
All photos: Fraser Britton