Words by Aari Barrett - Pivot Factory Racing Team Manager
Photos by Boris Beyer
As you you now know our first World Cup is done and dusted, it’s a good feeling to get a grasp of how all the athletes compare after the off season. We had a mix of all seasons this week in Lourdes with a bit of snow, wind, rain and sun!
We arrived in rain and snow but thankfully the sun came out to turn on for the first day of practice. Everyone was having an amazing time on the fresh and fast track...smiles all round! Bernard was feeling great from the get go setting the 3rd fastest time in practice just 0.6 off first!
First WC qualifying for the season had everyone on their toes raring to get it over and done with. Team pivot all had top qualifying runs with Emilie fitting into 6th in Females. Rupert 25th on what he though was a safe run, and Bernard 9th on a clean run. The times super close with only 2.6 sec between the top men’s qualifier and Bernard. This meant it was all going to be laid down for the race runs as podiums all round were in sight.
There were speculations of rain for race day but everyone were hoping the rain would hold off until the evening or even the next day.
Emilie went up for the race ready to roll and was feeling great on the course and was confident for a good result. She started off looking great on course from what we could see on the live big screen. Unfortunately a crash threw her to the ground which put her 12seconds back. Emilie hopped back up and continued riding full pace, putting in a solid bottom split and finished up in 10th.
Rupert came down being up by 1 second on the first split (which he kept the number 1 split time overall) so obviously started off on a scorcher, he looked super fast and smooth! Rupert held onto his run all the way down and came flying into second place on the hot seat. Rupert wasn’t expecting to stay long on the hot seat as he thought he had a little more in the tank but turns out he was on there for a fair while! The weather started to turn and we all looked at each other thinking what if Rupert holds this position… Rider by rider came down and slotted in behind Rupert so things were starting to look extremely well for him.
The weather started to pack in big time three riders before Bernard, we couldn’t see Bernard in the start gate due to the torrential rain, and the wind was blowing a gale from the side. We still thought if anyone could adapt to these conditions and pull off a podium placing it would be Bernard. He appeared from the start ramp to sliding around the first corner which was now clearly obvious the rain had heavily saturated the track… It looked like riding on ice! Now the race had turned into more of a survival mode to get down opposed to finding time and pushing the boundaries finding every split second possible.
Bernard had a slide out putting him down in the mud, but thankfully stayed injury free! He finished safely but there was no way in the conditions he was able to match the times of the riders earlier in the dry. Every rider bar one came off in the mud following Bernard. Not the finish Bernard was after but still the second best rider that qualified in the top 10 and came down in the rain. On the bright side our main man Rupert finished in 6th position 0.01second off the podium!! Not even the blink of an eye would fill that time difference and his best result to date!!
Overall great weekend in the saddle for the team, well done to all of our riders and a massive congratulations to Rupert for his best World Cup result yet.