It was a wild weekend in Windham as the Downhill World Cup hit its penultimate stopping point.
On the agenda was another sick session filled with quick runs, gnarly crashes and plenty of surprises.
Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland took home the top spot and the overall points lead ahead of the Meribel finale, while Emmeline Ragot was the fastest woman in Windham and closed the gap on Manon Carpenter to set up a sick final race later this month.
Here are our five points to take away from the racing in the States…
1) The Rat Is On Fire!
Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland has been absolutely smashing it this season, and after taking his second World Cup win in Windham, he’s now going into Meribel with the overall lead.
If Ratboy can do enough to take the title later this month, there will undoubtedly be a fair few empty beer cans kicking about the French setting, and we can’t wait for all the action to unfold.
Josh put in an absolutely huge effort in America to take the top spot – and he did it all with a black eye. The English rider saw off Gwin by two seconds on the insanely fast track. Roll on France and the Rat’s shot at glory…
2) The Other Riders Reaction To Ratboy’s Win
Not only was Josh Bryceland pretty stoked to pick up the win, we were pretty stoked that he came out on top too, and so were the rest of the Santa Cruz Syndicate team…
South African downhill rider Greg Minaar was happy to see him win and get a good meal out of it as well:
As was Santa Cruz’s English legend Steve Peat, who posted this rather odd picture of the winner…
Seven time X Games gold medallist Shaun Palmer also gave Ratboy a strange congratulations too – presumably an in-joke:
@Ratboy_Bryce sweet win you dirty kid!!!
— Shaun Palmer (@Palmer555) August 9, 2014
3) Cunningham’s Head-Over-Handlebars Fun
Scottish rider Ruairidh Cunningham had a HUGE head-over-handlebars crash early on in his run, and takes home the coveted crash of the week accolade for his efforts.
All credit to Cunningham, he got back up and started flying down the track, before almost crashing again on the rocks.
Have a look at the footage above – it’s pretty gnarly!
4) Emmeline Ragot Closing The Gap
The women’s season so far has been the Manon Carpenter success story. The 21 year old has been rampant in the past few months, but after a fourth place finish in Meribel, the title is not sown up yet.
This weekend’s winner Emmeline Ragot now sits 70 points behind Manon in the rankings, with Rachel Atherton 120 points off the lead. Ragot won in Fort William but had been stuck behind Manon since then – so she’ll have been super stoked to get the win.
Emmeline took the win by over two seconds, and it’s going to be an absolutely killer conclusion to the women’s series now in Meribel!
5) Mike Jones Riding Hard
Young Welsh rider Mike Jones finished second in the Junior World Cup series last year, and he’s turned that quickly into elite success after shredding a 5th placed run in Windham.
To put that in perspective, that means the 19 year old finished ahead of the likes of Sam Hill and Greg Minaar – not too bad for a debut season.
With Troy Brosnan and Bryceland proving that the young guns can kick it up the top this term, Jones will be well worth keeping an eye on for future years…