Monday, 11 August 2014

Taylor Vernon takes his first World Cup win at Windham, New York

Race Report: Windham, New York 2014 World Cup Round 6

Taylor Vernon takes his first World Cup win!

An emotional weekend saw Taylor take his first-ever World Cup win at Windham, watched by his GT Factory Racing team mates and all of his family and friends.

It’s hard to believe that just under 13 months ago, Taylor was helicoptered off the mountainside at Crankworx Air DH in Les Deux Alpes with a broken back (he’d fractured his T7 vertebrae) and every day since he’s been dedicated to reaching this goal.

Rachel missed out to Emmeline Ragot by just 2.8 seconds but Gee and Marc had to settle for 13th and 20th places respectively.
 
Taylor had qualified in 5th place, but with the top five junior racers within 1.1 seconds it was all to play for as he took his place on the course. He put in a hell of a run, demonstrating the maturity and control he has learned this year under strict instructions from Team Director Dan Brown, and he was up at both splits but interestingly only 7th fastest through the speed trap. He crossed the line in 2.31.782 with 4 riders left on track. None of them could match him and he took the win by 0.844 from Luca Shaw.

Taylor said: “I’m so happy to take the win this weekend! I can’t believe I did it. Without the support of GT Factory Racing, my friends and my family there’s no way I could have done it. Big thank you to Pete Michaliszyn for getting my bike perfect. Thank you Windham!”

Dan Brown said: “We are all over the moon for Taylor; we all knew that he’d do it – but it’s taken a lot of guts and determination to get to this point, especially for a Junior. Taylor is a completely different rider to the boy we saw a year ago - we’re going to see a lot more of this.”

Taylor’s dad Jason said: “We were too scared to watch, but we always knew that it would happen, especially with the support of the best DH team in the world. It’s been a frustrating season for him so far but he’s never given up on his dream.”

In the Women’s race there was a lot of excitement as times fell thick and fast at the top of the rankings, Rachel had qualified first. Manon Carpenter had qualified in fourth but put in a blistering run to go 6.5 seconds clear of the field and take the hotseat. Tracey Hannah took advantage of a couple of tiny mistakes on Manon’s run to go 2 seconds clear of her and then Emmeline Ragot was on track. In her trademark fearless style she tore down the hill to take the hotseat from Hannah by an awesome 6.9 seconds. Rachel was last down. She rode fast but was still 2.8 short of Ragot – settling for 2nd place.

Rachel said: “Fair play to Ragot, she rode like a lion!”

In the Men’s race Gee had qualified in 15th. He put in a massively aggressive run, 100% committed despite carrying all manner of sprains and bruises but it wasn’t enough. He crossed the line in 4th – enough for an eventual 13th place. Marc had qualified 9th but in the Finals he also struggled to find the necessary speed, finishing 20th overall.

Gee said: “Not too much to say about my run – it’s all about the little butty this weekend – bloody good job Taylor Vernon!”

All Photos: Sven Martin

Results

Men’s Elite
1 BRYCELAND Josh, Santa Cruz Syndicate, 2:24.332
2 GWIN Aaron Specialized Racing DH, 2:25.913, +1.581
3 BROSNAN Troy Specialized Racing DH, 2:26.455,  +2.123
4 BLENKINSOP Sam LaPierre Gravity Republic 2:27.544,  +3.212
5 MACDONALD Brook,  Trek Worl Racing 2:27.599, +3.267
13 ATHERTON Gee, GT Factory Racing, 2:29.076, +4.744
20 BEAUMONT Marc, GT Factory Racing, 2:30.441 +6.109

Women’s Elite

1 RAGOT Emmeline, LaPierre Gravity Republic,  2:40.146
2 ATHERTON Rachel, GT Factory Racing, 2:43.032,  +2.886
3 HANNAH Tracey, Hutchinson UR, 2:47.094 +6.948
4 CARPENTER Manon, Madison Saracen Factory Team, 2:48.873 +8.727
5 SEAGRAVE Tahnee, FMD Racing, 2:49.602,  +9.456

Junior

1 VERNON Taylor, GT Factory Racing, 2:31.782
2 SHAW Luca, SRAM/TLD Racing, 2:32.626, +0.844
3 VERGIER Loris, LaPierre Gravity Republic, 2:33.414, +1.632
4 STEWART Neil, FMD Racing, 2:35.103, +3.321
5 ESTAQUE Thomas, Lac Blanc/Scott 2:36.503,  +4.721

Standings

Men’s Elite

1. Josh Bryceland – 1007
2. Troy Brosnan – 964
3. Aaron Gwin – 925
4. Sam Hill – 802
5. Gee Atherton – 688

Women’s Elite
1. Manon Carpenter – 1180
2. Emmeline Ragot – 1110
3. Rachel Atherton – 1060

Junior
1. Luca Shaw – 214
2. Loris Vergier – 200
3. Taylor Vernon – 181



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