8 hours from Fort William, 2 hours to Mr Dowie’s house, 2 hours to the ferry port and it looked like we were finally on our way. We had a more than comfortable trip over with NorfolkLine, VIP passes meant a separate lounge away from everyone, big comfy chairs, wi-fi, big screen TV and free food and drink, so a big thank you NorfolkLine.
We arrived in Maribor, Slovenia Wednesday lunch time after a very long drive, hoping to be greeted with sun and a fast dusty track but instead we got non stop rain. The downhill track remained the same as last year with a few minor changes in the infamous rock garden and the finishing area was taped slightly different. The 4X track had a few more changes on it, some extra jumps had been added in and the last straight of the track had been redirected making it slightly longer.
The rain made both tracks really greasy everywhere which in my opinion made it really fun to ride, but come down to racing it made it real hard. Most of the take off’s on the 4X track were rutted to the max and super slippery so jumping them was sketchy. 4X qualifying I managed 11th place, I found it so hard to keep speed going through all the mud, I felt like I was pedalling but going no-where. Come race day the conditions were no better. I had a pretty though heat so tried every move possible but it still didn’t pay off. I was riding flats so I knew my gate wasn’t going to be amazing. The first corner I was out in second but quicker than I knew it Fionn came through on the inside. I tried so hard to take her but I just couldn’t gather enough momentum through the mud to make a pass. Despite getting knocked out on the first round and finishing up 10th it was the best race ive ridden as it was just so close and unpredictable.
For downhill practise I was having so much fun I almost forgot I was at a race but come qualifying it was a different question. The track was so beaten up I just wanted to stay on and qualify and worry about a descent position race day. I qualified 14th, way off the pace but I knew I could improve on my time. For the finals unfortunately the rain had stopped making the slick, greasy mud into thick, rutted clay. My race run I stopped up against a tree and my foot was out on nearly every corner but I managed to get down staying up right and finished up 13th, not my best result but there definitely room for improvement for the next round at Fort William.