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28th July 2008
Mont Sainte Anne, Canada
Santa Cruz Syndicate had a great romp at the UCI World Cup downhill at Mt. Ste. Anne, Quebec today with Greg Minnaar taking the win in the men's race and becoming the new overall leader. Josh Bryceland took over the overall lead in the junior men and placed 15th overall in elite, and the Syndicate keeps the lead in the overall team classification. Steve Peat has been on every world cup podium this year and stood in 4th position today and Nathan Rennie had a solid run to finish 7th.
The week was short leading up to the race with just two days of practice before Saturday's race but we managed to squeeze in the time to attend what is sure to be the first of many Freecaster Grand Prix Kart races on Thursday night. Steve "Old School" Peat qualified in the pole position with Greg "White Trash"
Minnaar in 5th, and Rennie "The Beast" in 9th. Old School lead the first quarter of the race until he spun himself out, numerous times, and the Beast did the same. White Trash quickly took over the lead and held it for the 20-lap race in the wet for the win.
It seems the kart win just got him started on a win streak and he carried it over to the downhill.
After winning the Freecaster Grand Prix Minnaar still had some Talladega Nights on his mind and says, " 'Here's the deal, I'm the best there is, plain and simple. Just remember, if you're not first you're last.'" He took this to heart and stood true to his words in the downhill and said of his win, "Winner, winner, chicken dinner! It's the first time I've won here. I've come second to Steve a ton of times, and Kovarik and Sam, and I finally got ahead of them. Winning at Mt. Ste. Anne feels great!" Syndicate mechanic "Ricky Bobby" says, " I think winning the kart race helped. He was definitely shakin' and bakin' today. Steve was up there right with him on the podium. Hats off to Greg, he was awesome today."
Kirt Voreis joined his mates this week to lend race support and film them racing. The boys didn't let him down and we all enjoyed the reunion with Kirt since we hadn't seen him since Sea Otter. He enjoyed the local pump track and hanging out with the local kids.
Practice went well for the boys at this classic race venue and proper downhill track. Peat describes the week, "Usually we get a wet day or two at Mt. Ste.Anne but it's been wet here for the last month I think so the track is a lot different to what we've ever raced on. There are a lot of big ruts in the track. It's quite difficult and it makes it a bit more physical so it's quite good. Rennie says, " The track's very muddy up there. That's basically self-explanatory. The lines keep changing, but never the less it's a lot of fun. I'm having a blast as long as my arms can hang on. I just did a full run there and I was pretty buggered to be honest. The track is just awesome."
Bryceland said, " There's a few flat sections which you don't really notice in practice because you're just rolling by, but when I did a full run now I thought this is going to be hard. There is so much variation with flat out turns in the open, which are so much fun, and the woods are tight and technical, its an awesome track. I'm having so much fun out there. My pants fell down in my practice run though because there's so much mud clagged on them. I had to stop and pull them up. They had four runs full of mud stuck to them.
"When I was up at the top there were clouds coming in and I thought, hmmmm, it could rain at some point so I went a bit steady at the top and got into it and started going really well then I got tired so I backed off a little bit. I just put all my lines together so it felt good." said Bryceland of his 21st place qualifier. My semi final was pretty cruisey. I'm not really fighting for points in the qualifier so I just wanted to save my arms for the final and it worked pretty well. I'm in the top ten with a 7th place, and my arms feel pretty fresh and I have plenty more in the tank, so I'm right where I want to be," said Rennie.
Peaty came 5th in the semi and says, " It went pretty good. I felt tired at the bottom woods, I just felt like I was hitting every hole rather than staying on top of them and riding them smooth. So I'll just try and stay a little bit smoother in the final and I should have some time in the bag."
First place qualifier Minnaar said, " The semi final was hard because the course is faster as it's drying up. You need to push it hard because of points so I was glad that I managed to put a run together. I did make a couple of mistakes which I know I need to improve and I can improve. I think I was just a bit tense, nervous I think, and hopefully I'll be more relaxed for the final and smooth things up and be quicker."
Bryceland's run started off well, "I was going good through the open turns at the top, I was just carrying my speed. I was going through the woods and got a bit excited and went left on a right-hander into the tape and lost a bit of time then, but I didn't let it phase me. I was so tired and just hung on and did a big whip for the crowd at the bottom. I got 15th so I'm happy with that and now I'm the junior leader." Peat said, "We've just raced and I got 4th. I made a mistake on track. Gee and Sam only just beat me. I'm pretty pissed off about that, but Greg won so it makes it a little bit better. Wicked for the Syndicate as we won the team overall which we should've been doing at ever race all year. Rennie stepped it up."
Rennie was happy with his result, "I wasn't expecting a huge result. I've been pretty tired on the track all week. I tried to concentrate on not getting arm pump. As it turns out I had a decent run, but two mistakes at the top put me back a little bit, but it's Mt. Ste. Anne and it's hard, and for the longest, hardest track it's not too bad of a finish."
Up next the Syndicate travels a few hours to the next world cup in Bromont, with high hopes to hang onto all the leader jerseys that we bagged today.
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