Coming up in September, our Aussie downhillers and XC riders head over to the mountains, hospitality and fondue sets of Lenzerheide, Switzerland for another year’s UCI World Championships. MTBA have announced the Junior squad that’ll be competing there, with some definite downhill talent in the mix this will be a fantastic opportunity for Australia to shine. We caught up with as many of the team’s riders as we could to talk about their recent performance and what they’re expecting come September.

Kye A’Hern

17 / Canberra, ACT

Recent results

1st place Junior Men 2018 Leogang World Cup
1st place Junior Men 2018 Fort William World Cup
3rd place Junior Men 2018 Losinj World Cup
1st place Juniors, 2018 Bright National championships
1st place 2017 Cannonball Flow Motion Cup U19
1st place 2017 Cannonball Downhill U19

Who are your sponsors?

I race for the Canyon factory DH team, which is supported by Sram, Rockshox, Maxxis, Mavic, Crankbrothers, Dainese, Troy Lee Designs, Ergon. My private sponsors are 100%, Thredbo MTB, GU energy Australia, Missing link bike, Matrix Physio. It’s awesome to be supported by such rad companies and without them, there is no way I could be where I am today!

Favourite track?

From all of the racing this year, Fort William would have to be my favourite track so far! After a full run you can’t feel your hands, So fast and flat out the whole way down! It’s quite a long track and reminds me of the track in Thredbo Which is my favourite track in Australia! I had such a fun week of racing there at the world cup and it definitely helped me to get the win!

Who will be going over with you?

I will be going over with the team and staying with them but I’m stoked that my whole family will be there for support! It’s awesome to have family at races as it makes you feel like you’re at home!

What are some of your goals so far for the event?

I for sure want to be world champion but I want to have a rad weekend and put down a run that I am happy with! It’s a very important weekend but I don’t want to get too nervous about it and I just need to do what I know I can.

You’ve had a so far excellent World Cup campaign, what do you think the biggest challenge will be in converting that success into a championship medal?

It has been an awesome year so far and I’m looking forward to trying to carry this success all the way to the world championships! It’s going to be hard to stay on top of training and staying on top form the whole year as I’m in Europe for a long time, It’s all part of it though and I’m going to do my best to stay on top!

Pat Butler

Whip-offs, 2017 Cannonball Festival

17 / Central Coast, NSW

Recent Results
7th place 2018 Crankworx Innsbruck Downhill U19
16th place 2018 Leogang World Cup Juniors
4th place 2018 Oceania Champs 2018 U19
1st place 2018 National Downhill #2 Awaba U19
2nd Place 2017 Cannonball Downhill U19
4th place Crankworx Whistler AirDH 2017 17-18 Men

Who are your sponsors?
I am sponsored by MS Mondraker and Lusty industries for the 2018 international and national seasons.

Favourite track?
My favourite track would have to be either Mont Saint Anne or Val Di Sole.

Who will be going over with you?
My Family is coming over to watch world champs but at the moment I’m travelling with the MS B team.

What are some of your goals so far for the event?
My goals are to do my best, go fast and have fun really, thats it!

With the new Mondraker team signing and time with Brook and Laurie this year are you up for the challenge in Switzerland?
Yeah for sure, they have helped me a lot over the past weeks. Having those guy’s experience and support has definitely improved my riding. Hopefully that continues into Champs.

Nik Barber

At National Round 1, Coffs Harbour

17 / Sunshine Coast, QLD

Recent Results
3rd place National Downhill #1 Coffs U19
4th place National Downhill #2 Awaba U19
4th place Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods Downhill U19
4th place 2017 Cannonball Downhill U19
1st place 2017 Cannonball Whip-off U19

Who are your sponsors?
Maxxis Tyres, KWT Bikes, EBC Brakes

Favourite Track?
Redwoods Downhill track, Rotorua

Who will be going over with you?
Besides the team, my parents will be coming over to watch.

What are some of your goals so far for the event?
I have never raced at that level so I am not sure what to expect, but I’ll be stoked to qualify

What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
I think the biggest challenge for me will be the amount of pressure I put on myself, and not over-cooking it.

Aaron Gungl

17 / Bright, Victoria

Recent results
4th Crankwork Innsbruck DH U19
3rd Australian National Series #2 Awaba U19
2nd 2018 Australian National Championships Bright DH U19
1st place VDHS #3 Buller U19
2nd place Australian National DH #1 Coffs Harbour U19
1st place VDHS #2 Narbethong
1st place VDHS #1 Mt Major
2nd place Crankworx Whistler DH  17-18
3rd place 2017 Cannonball Whip-off U19
1st place 2017/18 VDHS #4 Mt Baw Baw U19

Who are your sponsors?

My sponsors are Lusty Industries, SRAM Australia, Santa Cruz & Yarra Valley cycles.

Favourite Track?

My favourite track is probably “ride don’t slide” in Whistler. As for race tracks, Innsbrook is probably one of my favourites.

Who will be going over with you?
I am currently in Europe, travelling with my Dad, participating in the European Crankworx’s and a couple of World Cup events. We will be basing ourselves in Morzine for training prior to World Champs.

What are your goals for the event?
If I can put a good run down on the day, I’m aiming for a top 5.

You’ve spent a fair amount of time racing in Whistler last year, do you think having that experience will help when it comes to a big international race like this?
Whistler is a great place to put down heaps of runs on a variety of terrain & conditions. I think it helps a lot with bike fitness and just general bike skills just from being on the bike so much. It has a good race scene and I think all races help even if they aren’t big ones. However,  Europe has many natural steep tracks to train on, which better prepares you for the World Championships.

Cooper Downey

At 2018 National Round #2, Awaba

17 / Yarra Valley VIC

Recent results
4th 2018 National Series #1 Coffs U19
5th place 2017 Cannonball Downhill U19
2nd 2017/18 Victorian DH Series #2 Narbethong U19
1st 2016/17 Victorian DH Series #5 Mt Baw Baw U17
Overall champion 2016/17 Victorian DH Series U17

Age and current home suburb?
I’m 17 from the Yarra Valley in Melbourne, Australia.

Who are your sponsors?
I ride for the Giant YVC race team. our sponsors are: Giant bikes, Lusty industries (Troy Lee Designs, Five Ten, Maxima), Sram, Adidas eyewear.

Favourite track?
Narbethong downhill track for sure! Super high speed and heaps of jumps… what’s not to love?

Who will be going over with you?
My whole family is going to be coming over, which is sweet!

What are some of your goals so far for the event?
The dream is to do everything I can to put myself in a position where I can compete for top 20.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
Having to learn a brand new track that I’ve never ridden for a couple of days, and then having to put down a world championship run!

Matt Carter

At National Round #2 2018, Awaba

17 / Wodonga, VIC

Recent Results
13th place 2017 UCI world Championships
6th place 2018 Oceania Championships
1st place 2018 round 1 National series
2nd place 2018 round 2 National series
3rd place 2018 National championships
2nd overall 2018 National series

Who are your sponsors?
Commencal Australia, Pushys online, Maxxis tyres Australia, KWT imports, Joes no flats, fuller co

Favourite Track?
Awaba NSW or Bright Victoria

Who will you be going over with?
I’ll be flying over and meeting the rest of the Aussie team at the airport, we all stay together before and throughout the world championships, I will also be meeting my Mum over there too.

What are some of your goals so far for the event?
I would really like to back up my 13th place from last years world champs but would also like to get a top 10 or better

What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
I think the biggest challenge will be the limited practice on track we have to go as ham as we can in racing and also track and weather conditions compared to Australia!

Jacob Frauenfelder

On track at Coffs Harbour National round. Pic Sam Routledge

17 / Wodonga VIC
Recent results

4th place 2017/18 VDHS Mt Buller U19
6th place National Downhill #1 Coffs Harbour U19

Who are your sponsors?
Trek, Bike Culture

Favourite track?
Towers, just down the road from my house.

Who will be going over with you?
Just the rest of the team and the guys from MTBA.

What are some of your goals so far for the event?
My goals are just to have fun and put down a smooth and fast run that will hopefully get me a top-20 result.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be over there?
I think the biggest challenge will be getting the hang of my new Trek Session 29er I’m getting next week.

Ellie Smith

Ellie At Cairns World Championships in 2017

17 / Central Coast NSW

Ellie Smith from the Central Coast of NSW is no stranger to World Championships, having raced in Cairns in 2017, where she was the fastest 17 year old and 5th overall in Junior Women. Now racing in some of her first Elite category racing recently she’s been putting in solid results at state and National level, taking a 2nd at recent State Champs in Elite and taking overall honours in the National series in U19.

Recent Results
1st place Elite Women, 2017 NSW State Series #1 Ourimbah
2nd place Elite Women, 2017 NSW State Champs
1st place National Downhill #2 Awaba U19
1st place National Downhill #1 Coffs U19
1st place Cannonball Downhill U19 Women’s 2017
1st place Cannonball Flow U19 Women’s 2017
Queen of Cannonball 2017 U19
5th place 2017 World Championships, Cairns Junior Women

Sponsors: Mondraker Australia & DHaRCO clothing

Favourite track?
My favourite tracks are Awaba NSW and Bright VIC. They are both technical, fast and really fun in both wet and dry conditions.

Who is going over with you?
I am travelling over with the National team. My cousin and her partner will be over there to cheer me on as well, which is awesome.

Goal for the event?
It is my ultimate goal to become World Champion. It’s a big cost to get over there so it wouldn’t be worth it if I weren’t going to give it everything! At the end of the race I’ll be happy if I gave it my all and did my absolute best.

You’ve previously raced a World Champs and spent some more time overseas recently, do you think that will prepare you for the challenge in Switzerland?
Racing World champs last year at Cairns was definitely an experience that will help prepare me for Switzerland. I’ve felt the pressure, nerves and excitement of racing a World level race so this year it’s time to use those feelings to my advantage. I recently had my first bike orientated overseas trip. Going to Canada and doing some training at Whistler. It was an amazing experience getting to ride bike park and really techy trails all on the same mountain. The mountains are so much bigger over there, My arms definitely felt it by the end of the week!

Sally Potter
Billy Cartwright

Also selected in the Junior squad are Sally Potter from NSW and Billy Cartwright from VIC, unfortunately we haven’t been able to get in touch with them yet – Sally or Billy, if you’re reading this, feel free to get in touch!

Good luck to the whole team over in Switzerland!

The full DH & XC team list:


Cameron Wright (QLD)
Matthew Dinham (NSW)
Sam Fox (TAS)
Sam Walsh (SA)
Corey Smith (NSW)
Zoe Cuthbert (ACT)
Tegan Atherstone (VIC)


Kye A’Hern (NSW)
Aaron Gungl (VIC)
Matt Carter (VIC)
Nik Barber (QLD)
Patrick Butler (NSW)
Cooper Downey (VIC)
Jacob Frauenfelder (VIC)
Ellie Smith (NSW)
Sally Potter (NSW)
Billy Cartwright (VIC) – Reserve

Words: Ben Sykes
Photos: Ben Sykes & Sam Routledge