With 2018 now a memory and firmly in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup & Championships series, we thought we’d go over some of the highlights and memorable moments for us Aussies.

A year that overall saw a few disappointments in some areas, with some rule changes meaning sometimes there wasn’t always a great experience for those watching along at home. A year that saw bike technology again take centre stage as multiple ideas took shape into bikes that sometimes worked their way to the top of podiums , and sometimes worked themselves into DNF’s.

Let’s get into it…

A good year for…

Mr Consistency: Troy Brosnan

Troy in Fort William. Pic Red Bull / Nathan Hughes

Consistent results across the series netted Troy a 2nd place overall finish for the 2018 World Cup season. Starting with a 9th place in Losinj amongst some super tight racing, a 3rd place in Fort William, two more podiums in Leogang and MSA, and overall nothing worse than 11th place in La Bresse.

Mr Consistent for the year did this in the face of multiple different courses and conditions. Also picking up a two wins in Crankworx Whistler and Les Gets DH, the National Champs jersey in Bright, and winning the DH race at Cannonball in December.

Bravo, Troy. 

Challenger year: Tracey Hannah

Tracey in Andorra. Pic credit Red Bull

Facing a resurgent Rachel Atherton, the Women’s DH in 2018 was a totally different series than 2017. Tahnee Seagrave was finding the best form of her career, Myriam Nicole was quick aboard the high-pivot Commencal Supreme that went on to win the Men’s championship with Amaury Pierron, new names like Monika Hrastnik were popping up on a few podiums throughout the year to challenge Tracey’s tilt at the world cup series.

Given the circumstances, 3rd place was a great place to be for Tracey in the overall world cup standings for 2018 after taking the National Championship jersey earlier in the year, and scoring plenty of 3rd place and podium finishes for the year.

Photo finish: Dean Lucas

Dean in Losinj. Pic credit Red Bull

As the pre-season kicked into gear last year, the internet chatter about the first round venue at Losinj also kicked into gear. “Too Short” they said, “It’ll be horrible”, “Not enough vertical drop”, well whatever these commenters were smoking with their keyboards blew away when the race actually got started. A flowing start into a non stop rock garden then an urban style finish presented many challenges to riders, most spectacularly when top qualifier Brook Macdonald in full charge mode made a slight error just before a drop, earning him a broken collarbone and a slow roll down in his race run. 

The live coverage out of the event showed for the first time in a while, virtually the full race run of the competitors, making it very clear where the time was being made and lost across the course. Many small decisions to make across the course to keep carrying speed and avoid getting off-line too much, as it was almost impossible to make up time once lost at any point in the course.

Dean made the conditions his own, pumping out a solid 2nd place qualification and then a 3rd place in finals amongst some super tight racing, with Aaron Gwin winning that opening round.

For next year, Dean’s off his team of the last two years, Intense Factory Racing. It will be interesting to see where he ends up, and how he can improve on his results in 2019.

Junior Debut: Kye A’Hern

Kye A’Hern, Losinj. Pic Yasmeen Green

Rumours of a new signing to Canyon ran thick in the leadup to the 2018 season. Keen watchers of Brosnan’s instagram stories saw a long-haired blonde mystery head travelling over to team camp, it didn’t take long for possibly one of the worst kept secrets to come out finally, with Kye A’Hern signed to Canyon Factory Racing, alongside Troy and Mark Wallace.

Starting off with a 3rd place in Losinj, 2nd place in the overall Junior World Cup series and a silver medal at Lenzerheide World Championships, the wunderkind from Queenbeyan killed it in his debut World Cup year.

It was a bad year for…


Of course with any year and with the risk/reward balancing act constantly being pushed, injury reared its ugly head in 2019.

Jack Moir had a small training crash before he was due to head over to Fort William, knocking him out of contention for a couple of rounds with a broken collarbone. After a promising start to 2018 with winning the National DH series and a 6th place finish at Losinj and loads of training behind the scenes it was disappointing to see Jack sidelined, particularly after his 2017 season showed the world what he was capable of. 

Sian A’Hern had a fantastic start to her 2018 world cup campaign alongside brother Kye. Debuting for the year with a 13th at Fort William,  her best result a 6th place just off the podium in Leogang. A crash in Andorra wrist injury before racing in Val Di Sole ruled her out for the rest of the world cup season. She went on to overcome the injury by December and take Queen of Cannonball though. 

Rule Changes

For 2018 the UCI played around with the rules a bit. Down from 80 riders in Men Elite to 60 spots for qualification. The start order of racing became a formula that nobody could work out (to try and give better order for the top ranked / protected riders), most evident in Losinj where even the top qualifiers weren’t televised. World Championships moved to a qualification system, rather than practice & timed training sessions before racing, meaning anyone who had the call up from their national federation to represent the country didn’t necessarily get a race run.

The start order formula is back to what it was in 2017 for 2019 though, with the fastest qualifiers down the hill last. Qualification spots remain the same, but not sure at this stage whether world champs will remove the qualification in 2019.

Venue Locations

For a “World Cup” there was nothing close by or in Australia or New Zealand, with all the rounds being located in Europe & Britain except for MSA in Canada.

This one unfortunately fails from a few factors such as a national federation from Aus/NZ stepping up with an appropriate venue, funding from tourism boards and other sponsors and many other factors. In 2019 and 2020 this is effectively the same, one can hope in future years that there is bids from venues to organise World Cup races closer to home (or even Crankworx in Australia, pretty please……..)

Oh and while we’re here, here’s a recap video from Red Bull…

Bring on 2019!