By Luca Cometti
Switzerland has always been one of my favorite countries. My mom was born there and I have always enjoyed going to visit family that still resides there. Lenzerheide, Switzerland, was also where I qualified for my first World Cup last season and sort of told myself that I could be a world cup racer.
After missing Dean in both Fort William and Leogang the team and I were excited to hear that he had made the choice to come race in Lenzerheide, a track that has been good to him in the past with a 3rd place last season.
The track in Lenzerheide pretty much follows the lift line, which gave us an early gauge of what the track was going to be like, and whether or not there were any changes from the previous season. Apart from a few new berms at the top, and a modified finish line step down, just about everything, including the conditions, was identical to last year.
As the first day of practice came around, we were all excited to get on track. While the track in Lenzerheide is quite simple, the loose conditions and high speed made for a fun, challenging track. We all got through practice clean and were eager for qualifying the following day. Nik was up first in the team and to no surprise was able to get another top 5 qualifer. Jack, Dean and I were shortly after Nik and for the first time this season, we were all able to qualify. Its been a tough season for the team; Jack out with an injury at the first race, Dean out for Leogang and Fort William with an injury, and I haven’t had the season that I was hoping for with mechanicals and crashes in qualifying at the last 3 rounds. It’s a bit ironic that the youngest rider has been the most consistent out of all of us. Nik has all amazed us this season with both his speed and results at each round.
As race day came around, we were all feeling good the morning of practice, the track even got some rain overnight which made some of the sections in the open have nearly perfect traction. Nik dropped first out of all of us, as usual, and didn’t have the run he was looking for. While he said he had a clean run, his time was a bit off pace compared to the others. He explained to us that he felt he never quite attacked the track hard enough and just rode smooth instead of fast. While his 12th place was not what he was aiming for, he explained to us that it only motivated him to train extra hard for the next round in Canada in August. I was first to drop out of Dean, Jack and I and I unfortunately sliced my tire on a triple right after split one. Lucky for me, my sealant filled the hole, but only after I had lost about 20 psi. By the last split my tire had gone completely flat and I could do nothing but cruise to the finish line. I crossed the line with a time just 9 seconds off my seeding time, which gives me the feeling that if all went good, I would have had no trouble having a quicker time then qualifying had my tire not gone flat. Dean dropped shorty after me, and came down in first. He was able to hold onto the hot seat for quite a while and eventually end up an impressive 15 place, having just ridden a handful of times after his injury to his heal. Jack ended up just behind Dean in 20th place, and just a few tenths of a second off of him.
Dean has returned home to Austrialia, while Jack stayed back in Europe for the next EWS and to do some training. Both Nik and I will be headed out to Mammoth Mountain for National champs, and then go to the next national in Killington, VT before meeting up with the team again for the next World Cup at the legendary Mount-Saint-Anne track.