2009 UCI World Cup DH Champion: SAM HILL
Schladming, Austria- Monster Energy Specialized racing ended the 2009 Mountain Bike season on top at World Cup Finals held this weekend. Sam Hills win today allowed him to secure the overall UCI World Cup Downhill Title, while Sam’s teammate Brendan Fairclough also made a trip to the podium in 5th place leading to 8th overall in the series.
The track in Schladming is legendary, dropping 601m over a distance of 2.2km. The entire length of it is incredibly rough, filled with massive braking bumps and is littered with slick roots throughout the extremely long woods sections. The track pushes riders to their limit, forcing them to push their own personal envelope to the very edge; the perfect venue to end a very tight points race and crown a champion.
Hill took the momentum from a large 3+ second qualifying margin into the finals and never looked back smashing the field by 2.33 seconds. The usually calm and collected Australian was nervous as he waited for his chance to put a finish touch on a successful season.
“I was pretty nervous at the top. I could see Jacy getting texts and I knew what time Minnaar had run. I could see Jacy looking at his phone every rider and not saying anything so I knew he was still leading. I was getting more nervous the more I thought about it. The first half of the run all I could think about was, I’d be coming into turns and I should be turning, and I also found myself thinking about the overall. About half way down, I could hear the crowd cheering and this snapped me back into it. The cheers got louder when I got out to the open grass section toward the bottom so I knew I was on a good run. The bottom grass turns sorta felt like a celebration lap. It’s pretty awesome to get the win as well as win the overall.
Sam on the gold jacket; Palmer’s an idol of mine and we are good buddies, basically at the World Cup in Ste Anne, Palmer said that if I had a could get close enough for a shot at taking the overall, he’d lend me his old gold jacket that his mom made him that he used to wear on the podium when he rode for Specialized. “That jacket was the real deal and I’m pretty proud to be able to wear it up there for him.”
Fairclough was the man everyone was talking about all week, with much of the media commenting that he looked even faster than Hill through the woods. A race morning practice run mishap may have ended his chances when the Englishman went down hard on the first set of corners on the track after losing his grip on the bars. Sore ribs and a banged up shoulder meant that staying on the bike while running ragged would be nearly impossible, and forcing him to tone it down for his race run.
“I can’t ask for much more than a podium. I went off the start and hit the first bump and started really hurting. What can you do? I shot myself in the foot by crashing this morning and hurt my shoulder and ribs. I felt so good on my bike all week. I was smashing stuff, the bike was running awesome and I felt great. The crash really knocked me back a few steps, it was a bit of a bummer. I am gutted knowing I could have been up there with Sam and given him a run for his money.”
Team Manager Sean Heimdal says “I’m so happy for Sam that he could secure the overall. Sam has trained harder than ever this season, and it’s all paid off for him in the end. We all know what he’s capable of doing, but to pull off the overall title after his mishap in Andorra…that’s a testament to his strength as true champion. While Brendan had a roller coaster ride this season, 3 podium finishes is something he should feel good about and I’m looking forward to seeing Brendan and Sam standing 1-2 next season.
With this race, the season ends for the Monster Energy Specialized Team; Sam, Jacy and Sean head to Vegas for Interbike, while Brendan will head over to Vancouver to film a few days before everyone’s season officially wraps up.
The season wouldn’t be a success without the support of our co-sponsors; Monster Energy, Specialized Bicycles, Mad Catz, SRAM, Truvativ, Rock Shox, Avid, SDG, FUNN, Troy Lee Designs, Alligator, Cane Creek, Crank Brothers, DT Swiss, e-thirteen, Five Ten, Maxima, Obtainium, Freestyle, Kicker, KMC.