Over the Labour Day weekend, the UCI World championships made its return to Canadian soil for the first time since 2010. The mountain biking world, including a strong host of Canadian fans, gathered on the hills of Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec to take in both the cross country and downhill world championships at the legendary race venue.
The Norco Factory teams had seven athletes out to represent their countries, with six being selected to represent Canada, as well as Sam Blenkinsop who bore the flag for his home country of New Zealand.
With all five members representing Canada on home soil, it was a busy and memorable weekend for the Norco Factory XC Team.
The Men’s Under-23 featured Sean Fincham and Quinton Disera. Lingering health issues almost held Fincham out of the race, but he persevered for an 11th
place finish, while Quinton put down a strong effort to finish 25th
"Racing Worlds on home soil has takin awhile to sink in. Being in the maple leaf while racing at home was an epic experience. The atmosphere was on another level compared to what I’m used to. Every time I passed through a feature my ears would hurt from all the noise. It helped me go faster and made me smile. Canada put on an excellent show and the fans provided amazing support."
- Sean Fincham
The Under-23 Men battled seriously muddy conditions throughout the race.
"Having World Championships in Canada is unbelievably special. Having the honour of representing our country at home is an amazing feeling, and we are able to share that with our family, friends, and supporters who are able to watch the races live. Worlds is always a special time of the year but this one was like no other! Just massive amounts of energy in the crowds and it was amazing to be part of it. This is why I do what I do!"
- Quinton Disera
Moving to the Elite Women's category, Haley Smith finished 12th
place in front of the raucous home crowd.
“Wearing the Maple Leaf on home soil at World Champs was such an incredible experience. I didn’t have my best race ever, but I couldn’t help but smiling intermittently throughout the whole race. The fans were crazy, and the national pride was palpable. I think we put our true Canadian grit on display this weekend!”
– Haley Smith
Peter Disera and Andrew L’Esperance closed out the the XC races in the Men’s Elite field, with Disera taking 34th
and L’Esperance (aka Lespy) finishing 60th
Racing at home, it doesn't get much better.
"It was an honor and a privilege to represent Canada at our home World Championships. It was always going to be a good day with support from family, friends and fellow Canadians. The cheering for the maple leaf was absolutely incredible. For me it also represented immense growth and progress as an athlete and a person. I raced World Champs as a U-23 at the same venue 9 years ago and to have that snapshot and see how far I have come is amazing. I am not sure I will be racing at this level in a decade but I will definitely be at World Champs the next time it come to Canada, inside or outside the tape."
- Andrew L'Esperance
Elliot Jamieson bore the maple leaf in the Junior category, and after qualifying in third position, took home a very respectable 6th
place on the gnarly Mont-Sainte-Anne track.
"World champs done! Crazy week with constantly changing track conditions but I’m stoked to have put down a clean finals run and end up in 6th. Even better was the Canadians Lucas Cruz, Patrick Laffey, Seth Sherlock and I pulling 4 of the top 10 spots! Congrats to Kye A’Hern for getting the stripes! Thanks to the team for a rad week, and proud of all the Canadians this weekend. Onto Snowshoe!"
- Elliot Jamieson
Sam Blenkinsop had tough luck in his race run, with a flat tire ruining his chances of putting up a result.
Custom Norco Aurum HSP
Both Sam and Elliot were aboard custom painted Aurum HSP’s that paid tribute to a 90’s Norco bike design called the Vipor ZTS, which never made it into production. You can get the full bike check here.
Thanks to all the fans who came out on the weekend and supported our riders!
The team will wrap of their UCI World Cup schedule this weekend in Snowshoe, West Virginia. You can catch all the action live on Red Bull TV:
- Friday: XC Short Track - 2:30 PM PDT
- Saturday: Men's DH Finals - 10:45 AM PDT
- Sunday: Women's XCO finals - 9:00 AM PDT & Men's XCO Finals - 11:30 AM PDT