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  • Norco Factory Racing EWS & Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup

    August 10, 2016

    By: TODD SCHUMLICK, Team Manager

    Sam Blenkinsop

    Enduro World Series – La Thuile, Italy

    Immediately following the Lenzerheide World Cup, Sam was off to Round 4 of the EWS in La Thuile. What an amazing place to ride! After day 1 of practice, Sam had a chat with Sam Hill, and both agreed the tracks were “mean!”. Everyone was looking forward to racing Saturday and Sunday. On Day 1 Stage 1, Sam had a crash, but finished a decent 19th. On Stage 2 and 3, he was able to keep it within control, and finished 14th on both. On Day 2 Stage 4, Sam unfortunately flatted, and finished 21st. Things went better with a 9th of Stage 5, but slipped back a bit with a 21st on Stage 6 (mainly due to the fatigue of his flat). Sam finished 15th overall in the event. Decent, but slightly below the top 10 goal at each event.       

    Enduro World Series – Aspen, Colorado

    After a week of testing and practice during mid July, Sam was then off to Round 5 of the EWS in Aspen. With Mont Sainte Anne World Cup the week following Aspen, plus the high altitude, the plan was to manage the fatigue. Possibly keep things on reserve a bit. On Day 1 Stage 1, Sam started off punctured tire, and finished 44th. On Stage 2 he worked forward to 36th, and even further forward to 21st on Stage 3. With felt like decent energy left for Day 2, Sam decided it was time to push. On Stage 4 he finished 19th, then 11th of on Stage 5. To help his overall placing, he made the decision to go all out on on Stage 6, and finished 2nd. Sam finished 18th overall in the event. Again decent, but not meeting his goal. Without the punctured tire, he knew things could have been different. That’s enduro!  

    EWS #5 Aspen Snowmass Sam Blenkinsop

    Mont Sainte Anne World Cup

    Qualifying: 8th 

    Immediately following Aspen, it was on to Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec for the UCI World Cup downhill. As one of Sam’s favourite tracks in the series, everything was aiming towards a positive outcome. At each event, there’s always a focus to improve on performance. For Mont Sainte Anne we agreed to try new approach, and focus on some specific on-bike technique. During a week of practice in Whistler prior to Aspen EWS, Sam felt confident he had found some weaknesses in his riding. With strong practices sessions, and an 8th place qualifying time, that confidence was underlined. We were all fired up for Saturday’s finals.     

    Finals: 9th

    He’s back. Those seem to be the most popular words being said about ‘Blenki’. Even with a 38th place position in split 1, Sam was able to pull himself back inside the top 10 with a blistering pace through the bottom ¾ of the track, and finish in 9th. Now he’s focused on continuing his strong performances through the remainder of the season. A great day indeed!       

    Sam Blenkinsop

    Harry Heath

    Mont Sainte Anne World Cup

    Qualifying: 50th

    As Harry’s favourite track, the stoke was high for the Brit! Practice went well, and Harry was ready to put in a strong qualifying time. Wish his shoulder now feeling nearly fully healed, it was time to let it loose. Unfortunately a few mistakes, and Harry slipped back to a less then normal qualifying position. All good, as it counts in the finals.         

    Finals: 47th 

    Again, practice training had gone well. Simply put, Harry was ready to lay it down. It’s always difficult to know for a rider whether one should dissect the track, or simply let it fly when it’s time.  Harry is typically a rider who trusts his instincts. Unfortunately Harry hit a larger rock near the top of his run, and bent the chain guide which then wrapped the chain around his pedal/crank arm. Even so, Harry was able to nurse it down to a 47th place. Probably near 30 places less or more then he was aiming for, but sometimes sh#t happens.  

    MSA World Cup Harry Heath

    Fraser McGlone 

    Mont Sainte Anne World Cup

    Qualifying: 71st  

    Like the other guys, Fraser loves Mont Sainte Anne. The long and technical track challenges a rider to have all the tools. Throughout practice, Fraser was enjoying the challenge, and feeling/looking great on the bike. He was even ‘sending’ a few sections that other top riders were not. But qualifying seems to put a bit of pressure on the young rider, in which distracts his best performance. Fraser qualified in the top 80 to make the finals, but not a performance he could be satisfied with.        

    Finals: 61st

    With only 2 practice sessions before the finals, Fraser knew he had to find some performance on the track. Never an easy task when you have 60 minutes and 2 runs of practice to ‘figure it out’. But he was up to the challenge. With one of his best runs (performance and enjoyment), Fraser cut 6 seconds off his qualifying time, and move ahead 10 positions in to 61st. Well done.      

    4

    Todd Schumlick (owner/manager):

    “What can I say, it’s been quite a journey this year. Accepting the good and the bad. Learning from both. None of us ever giving up, and discovering more about ourselves and our team dynamic. With stronger results, especially from Sam in Mont Sainte Anne, I feel like we’ve jumped a hurdle. As I’ve mentioned before, we are not a team who’s easily ‘satisfied’. We all love to strive for more, yet enjoy the journey along the way. Thanks to all those who keep us going.”

     Norco Factory Racing

    WHAT’S NEXT?

    We have another full schedule ahead. The entire team is in Pemberton/Whistler, British Columbia for Crankworx. Besides competing in another multiple events, the riders going to have some fun on their bikes, and also do some filming with our videographer for episode 5 of ‘Norco Factory Racing 2016 World Tour’.