The 2012 World Cup DH circuit is nearly coming to a close. Through 5 rounds, 5 countries and 3 continents the scores are being tallied and the next race will determine the roster on the box. Consistency is key in climbing the scoreboard and ranking high among the competition. While one great result may provide a much needed jump, any holes in the points plummet that number to the bottom.
The riders racing for Norco this year was greater than ever with a total of 8 riders piloting the Aurum down the world’s most challenging tracks. The Dirt Norco Race team added a rider this year bringing the total to three. Duncan Riffle joined Ben Reid and Dan Stanbridge to travel in style and live the BusLife. New for 2012 is the Team Norco International where Jill Kintner and Bryn Atkinson fight side-by-side for the top of the podium. Rounding out the total is independent riders Olie Burton and Isak Leivsson plus Norco Factory Team rider Ludovic May.
The first race of the year was some 11 weeks back in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. This race is flat, fast and open. This course is a test of endurance and fitness, while not typical it gives a good indication of who is serious about the season approaching. Following Africa the teams picked up and moved to an Italy-Scotland double header. Testing the physical and technical abilities of the riders both Val di Sol and Fort William are both challenging and well anticipated races for the season. Hoping over the big pond rounds 4 and 5 are yet again back-to-back affairs. Mont St. Anne is the first of the two and is a big one. Showing off what is to come in this year’s World Championships the points race is also tight and no one wants to disappoint. Round 5 goes down to Windham NY where two years back flooding devastated the town. Back and stronger than ever this is yet again another great event.
The boys of Dirt come out strong and have great expectations for the season. Duncan comes out of Pietermaritzburg with a 36th place and moves through the the following races with determination. Heading into France for round 6 Duncan is sitting in 48h spot. Ben Reid missed out on Round one but has been staying strong since. Despite missing one race Ben is comfortable in 52nd spot. Dan Stanbridge has had a bit of a rough ride breaking his wrist in Windham and missing out on qualification in round 2. Despite this bad luck, Dan is looking at points that place him in 77th.
Jill Kintner has had a strong start to her season. In only her second year on the World Cup Circuit she has climbed the podium twice so far. Windham was bad news for Jill though as she broke her Radius and dislocated her wrist taking her out of contention for the France starting list. Jill is sitting in 6th spot right now through 5 races. Bryn Atkinson is in his first season back after breaking his Femur at the start of his 2011 racing. Bryn took his best result of the year in Mont St. Anne where he crossed the line in 21st spot. Bryn is currently the top placed Male Norco Rider with his points ranking 30th.
Olie Burton has had his best season yet after consistently qualifying and keeping consistent. Olie is currently in 57th place overall. Isak Leivsson is new to Norco out of Switzerland. Racing in 4 of the five events he is sitting comfortably in 70th spot. Traditionally a Super-D racer, Ludovic is moving up in the rankings sitting in 105th spot.
With one more race to go and World Championships just around the bend this has already been a standout year for the whole Norco team. More riders and better results than ever before the 2012 season is a year of firsts. That said, we still have some big events to come and a single race can change everything. Jill Kintner found this out in Windham so let’s all cross our fingers for some fast and safe runs in the coming months!