Crankworx Les Gets – Downhill action

by Rob Mitchell 1

So as we thought yesterday, today’s Crankworx Slopestyle event was called off due to the rain continuing to fall over night here in Les Gets. After wiping away the tears in our eyes, we headed over to the DH side of the valley, and jumped in the chairlift to head into the blue skies at the top of the track. Yep, that’s right BLUE SKIES. This is what we found, on the very muddy Crankworx Les Gets downhill track.

The start gate and roll in, high up in the clouds.
Final bike check at the top for Remi Thirion. It clearly did the world of good.
Dropping into the first section on the track, straight out of the gate.
Look at that blue sky, isn’t it pretty?
After the big jackets were stripped off, it’s race kit time.

The track here in Les Gets is split into three very distinct sections. Rolling out of the gate and over the first jump (above) the riders navigate a section made up of flat corners out in the open, linked with pretty straight runs, where plenty of pedal strokes need to be put in (not easy in today’s mud though).

A time to collect thoughts and go through the track one last time in the mind, before it’s down the roller and into the thick of it.
Crayons waiting patiently for the next rider to reveal themselves through the mud.
Riders get a chance to look at the mud from the lift, before they descend into it.


Still out in the top section, riders drop into a series of steep, tight, rooty and very muddy corners heading down towards the woods. With the rain and mud causing huge ruts to appear in the track – it’s a lot trickier than it may look. Hit the main rut and try stay in it, as this helps to stay away from the worst of the mud.

Follow the ruts all the way home.
At this point, the mud seems to be staying clear of that rear end. All will change, don’t you worry.
And if by magic, the mud has been found and the slipping around, starts here.
Tracey Hannah rode her way into third place today with some neat bike control in the woods.

So we’re now into the woods, the second section of this track and this is where it all gets really interesting. From an initial drop as riders enter the woods, the hill drops very steep indeed, and at this point touching the front brake in any way, could end in disaster.

Picking a high line to avoid the worst of the gloop.
Pads are meant for catching riders, not mud splatters.


It’s easy to get carried away, talking about the endless mud out here in Les Gets, but unfortunately, it’s hard to step away from the fact it’s very very muddy. This is where these riders really earn their crust, as riding in conditions like this is not for the faint hearted. This takes real skill and bike control.

Gloop, glorious gloop.

After the woods have been seen to, the riders drop out into another pretty open section, taking it a series of flat corners where traction and carrying speed can mean the difference between competing for the podium, or a frustrating finishing time. It’s here where the mud had glooped and stuck together in big clumps, as the worst of the surface water drained. It turned out that walking down the track is almost as difficult as what we think riding it might be. It’s a pain on the knees, I tell you.

Coming down into the final few turns, it was pretty hard work pedalling in the flatter stretches.
Emilie Siegenthaler looking down the barrel of the camera, before heading to the second step on the podium, with Morgane Charre taking the step above, claiming the victory.


It’s smiles and high fives all round for the podium crew. A tidy €1000 third place prize for Tracey Hannah in the womens and Jack Moir takes third for the mens. Emilie Siegenthaler congratulates the podium before climbing up onto the second place step, and in turn receiving a cheque for €2000 – not bad for a muddy days work in Les Gets.

In the mens, it was the calm as ever Remi Thirion who took the win on his Commencal Supreme DH.
Our own Brendan Fairclough who beat the conditions to take an impressive second place on race day in Les Gets. The Brendog smile hits the podium.
The full Elite mens and womens podium on race day here in Les Gets.

After a soggy weekend of racing, it’s easy to see what it means for this lot, to get on the podium. There’s only so much training you can do to prepare for conditions like we’ve had here at Crankworx Les Gets this weekend. It’s a crazy world is downhill, yet this bunch know how to tame each track and get the job done. This is the official standings after a crazy race day:

Results Men, Crankworx Les Gets Downhill presented by iXS:

  1. Remi Thirion (FRA)
  2. Brendan Fairclough (GBR)
  3. Jack Moir (AUS)

Results Women, Crankworx Les Gets Downhill presented by iXS:

  1. Morgane Charre (FRA)
  2. Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI)
  3. Tracey Hannah (AUS)
No race is complete without the obligatory champagne celebrations. We were right in the thick of it this time.
The race may be over, and the win in the bag. But Morgane Charre jumps back on the bike, with her cheque and fresh rubber in hands, and gets herself back to the pits.

So that is that, from us here at Crankworx Les Gets. It’s been a wicked weekend, even with the rain falling and the unfortunate cancelation of the Slopestyle event. In true downhill fashion, we’re going to get back to the chalet, get cleaned up and treat ourselves to a cold beer. After all, it’s a long old day taking photos and sliding around in the mud.


Our coverage of Crankworx has been in association with More Mountain, providing luxury chalets and apartments in Morzine, France.

Comments (1)

  1. Just caught this on BIKE channel. Conditions looked nasty!
    You should check out this guy Daryl Brown — Brit who stomped the Crankworx Dual racing. What a rider!

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