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Wet and Wild World Championships13th SEP 2011

Champery, Switzerland Sept. 4, 2011

This mountain bike World Championships will go down in the record books as one of the most exciting as Danny Hart has the run of his life on the wet, steep track in Champery, Switzerland finishing a staggering 11.69 seconds in front of silver medalist Damien Spagnolo to take gold. The Santa Cruz Syndicate riders all made attempts at attacking the course taking the big boy lines rather than ride conservatively and the strategy bit back as they all took tumbles, but none more spectacular than Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland as he and his bike cart wheeled out of sight. In the end Greg Minnaar placed best of the group in 8th, having felt he could have been competitive if he had stayed upright. Steve finished 17th and Josh, after retrieving his bike out of a tree re-entered the course and came down to place 91st.

The story here was the rain. While dry all week for practice, rain was predicted and all the races in Champery past were in the wet, so the boys knew what to expect. With the dry practice week they had their bikes set up accordingly and they did enjoy riding together in trains and having fun on the jumps, all the while expecting rain sooner than later. Timed runs were run on Friday, which was a good chance to do a dress rehearsal for the final. Josh rode steady for a 6th place timed run, Greg had a rear flat and Steve crashed, so they were glad it was just a timed run and not a qualifier or points.

Josh and Steve were both riding their V-10 prototype carbon frames with carbon swing arms and enjoying the ride.  Rob Roskopp, with Jason Schiers from Enve Composites, held a press conference to explain the carbon project, pointing out that it is just a prototype at the moment. Currently there are no plans for production. "The carbon swingarm and 300gram lighter front triangle take the total frame weight down by a staggering 1.6lbs (725grams) from the current class leading production V-10c frame," says Roskopp.

The rain started for the Elite XC men on Saturday afternoon and stopped a bit overnight, but by mid morning was in full swing for the downhill. The visibility was bad and the rescue chopper was hard at work. It was good that the rain continued steadily as a wet track was better than a greasy track trying to dry. As the men set off Josh was the first of the Syndicate on track and he was flying. He was going for a win rather than a safety run and as he railed a turn at top speed his front wheel tucked in and spit him off sending him flying in spectacular fashion with his bike landing far off the track. He fetched it and stayed out of oncoming riders way and made his way down the track, his race was over.

Steve was two riders later and had a crash in the early part of the track dashing his hopes of a good run. Steve says, “It's been a tough week here at Worlds, the track has been riding great in the dry but we all knew it wouldn't last. Race day came round and so did the pissing rain. It made the track harder but I still felt up for it! My crash up top ruined that and got me covered in mud!! My new Full Carbon V10 felt awesome so I was pissed off not to use it to its potential. Got some time to think about my season now and work for next season. Thanks to everyone for the support and help. Cheers!”

Greg was second to last, with Aaron Gwin last man down. Greg set off but crashed in the same corner that Steve had, much to his dismay. With greasy gloves he jumped back on, yet with Danny Hart already down the hill and 11 seconds faster Greg would have needed a perfect run to contend. Greg said, “Its World Championships, one run down the steepest track on the circuit. I gave it a full crack and took a tumble up the top of the track. I got back on as quick as I could muddy grip and all.... You never know what the other riders might of done. Unfortunately it was only good enough for 8th. But to be honest, I'd rather be in 8th with a crash then 2nd with a safe and clean run.... I have enough 2nd's and 3rd's at Worlds and I was after another Gold. Season is done and I want to thank My entire team, from Kathy to Trav, Dougie, Ricky, Steve, Rat and Roberto. And of course all of our Sponsors!”

Well, the season is a wrap and all and all it was very successful for the Syndicate. Josh climbed his first World Cup podium with 2nd place at Mt. Ste. Anne, Steve almost had redemption in Windham with his 2nd place finish and had a 5th place run in La Bresse which he unfortunately got disqualified for. Always a career first! Greg was the only person other than Aaron Gwin to win any World Cups this year and won two, and so while World Championships ended in a fizzle for the Syndicate they went out with guns blazing. Interbike is just around the corner and all eyes are ahead for 2012!


  • 1st Danny Hart 3:41.98
  • 2nd Damien Spagnolo 3:53.68
  • 3rd Sam Blenkinsop 3:54.98
  • 4th Brendan Fairclough 3:55.12
  • 5th Mickael Pascal 3:56.63
  • 6th Marc Beaumont 3:57.43
  • 7th Sam Hill 3:57.97
  • 9th Brook MacDonald 3:58.92
  • 10th Fabien Barel 4:00.28

Thanks to the Syndicate sponsors:

  • WTB
  • Gore® RideOn™ Cable Systems

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