Australian Mountain Bike
CANNONBALL GOES OFF!
Thredbo MTB once again put on a show for all, with the Cannonball Festival continuing for its seventh year in a row during the second weekend of December last year. Over 900 competitors descended the steep slopes, with hundreds of spectators flocking to the lower sections, where they enjoyed 5 different events over 4 days under the alpine summer sun.
Perfect conditions kicked off the first event of Cannonball Festival 2018, with competitors taking on the 11-minute race run down Thredbo’s Osprey All-Mountain Assault from the top of Gunbarrel chairlift. Racing kicked off by mid afternoon on the Thursday, with tight times between the top 3 in Pro categories. It would be Josh Carlson in Pro Men, and Sian A’hern in Women who would take the wins, both only several seconds faster than Ben Forbes and Em Parkes in second.
The Friday brought with it a crisp alpine morning, with the chairlift spinning up for practice sessions before the evening RockShox Pumptrack Challenge. A new system would mean competitors had to complete a compulsory qualifying run on the pumptrack in the morning, before the main event as the sun sets on the day.
Come the Pumptrack party, the Pro Men category had tough competition with Freeride legend Kyle Strait taking to the course. It would ultimately be David McMillan taking first, ahead of Duke Millington with a DQ. Strait took third. In women, Danni Beecroft would defend her title, with Sian A’hern taking second ahead of Tegan Molloy.
The Maxxis Flow-Motion Cup was on the schedule for Saturday. After 900 competitors, the track began showing fatigue; however it would be a sibling double with Kye and Sian A’hern taking the wins in Pro categories. We caught up with Kye to talk stepping up to Pro category;
“I just thought it would be a good opportunity for me to go up against the big dogs from overseas, especially on a track that I know so well. So definitely stoked to take the win!”
The events continued into sunset, with huge whips and tricks being thrown down during Deity Whip-Offs.
The final day brought with it the threat of thunderstorms, which rocked up just as the Pro Men’s racing kicked off, causing delays and timing problems. After some timing malfunctions, it would be Troy Brosnan who would defend his win, ahead of Harry Bush and Syndicate Frenchie Loris Vergier. Tracey Hannah defended her win, with Sian A’hern close behind in second.
As the weekend drew to its unfortunate end, King/Queen of Cannonball were announced as Kye and Sian A’hern; the first of many sibling doubles.