MTB > 2006 UCI Round 02: Great Britain > Race Results
MTBU.K.May 28, 2006
2006 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup Round 02: Great Britain

Minnaar Returns to World Cup Podium

Greg Minnaar of Team G Cross Honda finished in 3rd place at Round 2 of the UCI World Cup Downhill Series in Fort William, Scotland, after qualifying fastest in the Semi Final. Minnaar, who crashed heavily at Round 1 and required subsequent treatment for a head injury, returned to his usual form today when he set the fastest time in the Semi Final, and followed that result with a solid podium performance in the Final.



Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)


Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)


In fact, it was also a strong return to form for Greg's team mate Matti Lehikoinen who finished 9th after a disappointing opening round 3 weeks ago. Matti now feels he is back to 100% race form.

The course in Fort William is one of the toughest and longest on the World Cup circuit, and today the riders not only faced the challenge of the notorious rocky and fast course, but super strong winds, single digit temperatures and intermittent rain showers.

All training sessions during the week were held in wet weather and cold temperatures making life for the two riders difficult as they had to contend with holes on the course that grew bigger each day, wet and cold conditions, and difficult visibility. One of the main advantages of the Honda RN01's internal transmission is the reliability factor in such muddy and wet conditions, and both riders were able to get the maximum amount of training necessary to arrive at the Semi Finals confident of a good result.

As the holder of the number 1 number plate, Greg started first in the Semi Finals, and set the fastest intermediate time of the morning before going on to post a time at the finish line that was not beaten. Matti rode a little conservatively in the Semi Final but used a unique line in the rock section that was a real crowd pleaser. That line however had Matti a little nervous about using it again for the final, due to it being a little too risky.

The win in the Semi Final was a great confidence boost for Minnaar who is now feeling more at ease about his riding after having a terrible start to the season. Picking up 50 valuable points in the Semi Final was the goal, and going into the Final, Greg was chasing maximum points to recover from his 16th place in the overall standings. Starting last, with Sam Hill (Iron Horse Madcatz) already getting comfortable in the hot seat, the crowd went wild when they learned that Greg had the same split time as Sam, 2mins into the race. A small mistake in the woods section, further down the course, where Greg slipped off a rock and went off line, did cost him time and he eventually crossed the line in a satisfying 3rd place. Earning a total of 190 points, Greg now moves up to 7th in the overall standings, within reach of the top 5.

Matti also improved his ranking up to 12th overall after finishing with a time that was 4 seconds quicker than his Semi Final time.



Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)


#1 Greg Minnaar (3rd Place)
"I'm really happy with this result. It's never good to have a crash in a final, but to do it at Round 1; well that almost kills your season. But my goal today was to try and get some solid points and return to the top 10, so I'm really happy to be back on the podium, and running fast with the top guys. It was close with Sam and I today, and after his bad luck here last year, I guess it was his turn for some good luck, he deserved the win today. I'm now really looking forward to Willingen where I had a good win last year, and to build on my points chase for the overall title."

#11 Matti Lehikoinen (9th Place)
"That's a huge relief to be back in the top 10! I worked hard between Vigo and now to get in more downhill runs and local racing, and I'm starting to feel really comfortable again. I had this wicked line that I used in the Semi Final, but it was so risky, and as I was going up in the chairlift for the Final I was thinking about whether or not I should do it. I spoke to my coach at the top to get his advice, and as I arrived at that section I decided not to risk it, and maybe crash, so it was better to go for a strong finish. I'm super happy to be fit and chasing the points again."

Team Director Martin Whiteley
"A much better weekend, and a great confidence booster for the whole team as we go into Round 3. I'm really happy to see both Greg and Matti climbing up the rankings and getting the sort of results we were having regularly in 2005, as well as now being the number 1 team on the ranking. The bikes were great in the muddy conditions and I know there's a lot more to come for this year."


2006 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup Round 02: Great Britain

line
Semi Final Results:
1 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
2 Sam Hill (Iron Horse Mad Catz)
3 Fabien Barel (Kona Les Gets)
4 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
5 Gee Atherton (Team Animal/Giant)
13 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
 
Final Results:
1 Sam Hill (Iron Horse Mad Catz)
2 Cedric Gracia (Team Commencal)
3 Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)
4 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
5 Gee Atherton (Team Animal/Giant)
6 Marc Beaumont (Team MBUK Santa Cruz)
7 Fabien Barel (Kona Les Gets)
8 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
9 Matti Lehikoinen (Team G Cross Honda)
10 Mickael Pascal (Q Bikes)



Greg Minnaar (Team G Cross Honda)

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