In this edition of coverage from the Cannonball MTB Festival at Thredbo MTB Park, we look at the action from Wednesday and Thursday…

The Cannonball MTB Festival kicked off here in Thredbo on Wednesday. Sunny skies, great weather and a huge number of competitors hitting the hill for practice on Wednesday and the Osprey All-Mountain Assault race on Thursday. With a international contingent of racers including the Santa Cruz Syndicate of Greg Minnaar, Loris Vergier, Luca Shaw plus UK / Syndicate DH legend Steve Peat plus NZ’s “Bulldog” Brook Macdonald, EWS racers Yoann Barelli, Rachel Strait and Rae Morrison, Freeride legend Kyle Strait, the Vanzacs crew plus some of Australia’s fastest racers, it will be a massive event and definitely the highlight of the Australian summer MTB calendar.

Now in its 6th year, this year the prize money between Men’s and Women’s has been equalized, making it a more exciting race for the female racers, plus a few changes: the Flow race, normally run over one day has been split up into two days for Group B and Group A, and the prize pool is now up to a cool $100K.

Trail crews getting the Pump Track ready for Friday night.
That view…
Samuel Fraser and Ben Forbes on Gunbarrel chairlift
The mechanics are now over in a new shop, we’re guessing a few wheel rebuilds might be required this weekend!
Speaking of wheel rebuilds…
SRAM/Rockshox pits are super large this year
Samuel getting wild in practice

Syndicate rider Luca Shaw practicing on the downhill

Riders of all ages out on the tracks
Practice trains
Pits are huge this year!
Sian and Kye A’Hern practicing on the Flow track, ahead of Sian winning the AM race and Kye coming 4th, Pro Men’s AM
Brosnan’s mechanic Aaron Pelttari chatting in the pits with the SRAM guys.

All-Mountain Assault

The All-Mountain assault kicks off relatively early in the schedule, running on Thursday. Suited to Enduro guns it uses the All-Mountain track, with a new Home Run section from the upper Friday Flat area into the bottom of the Flow track for this year. With sweeping views from the top near Gunbarrel chairlift, snaking its way across ski runs into some technical sections and tight cornered berms it’s a real test of the lungs and leg muscles, with the winnings runs over 11 minutes long.

Graeme Mudd, back here racing Cannonball again rails a turn high on the AM track.
Ben Forbes in practice, later taking 2nd place in the race in Pro Men
EWS Privateer, James Hall – 9th place, Pro Men
Rachel Strait, 6th place Pro Women
Having a bit of fun on the lower sections
Still finding some style after a long run to the bottom

Getting the bikes clean at the end of the day.
Pro Men’s Race winner, Josh Carlson. Pic RF Photographics / Thredbo MTB

The course was hard to predict – that’s a long run and there’s enough altitude here to take your breath away. You just have to pace yourself.  – Josh Carlson


Pro Men:

1st Josh Carlson
2nd Ben Forbes
3rd Tim Eaton

Pro Women:

1st Sian A’Hern
2nd Em Parkes
3rd Rae Morrison

Full results here:!PV3QL

Stay tuned for more coverage in the coming days…

Pics: Simon Noble