2012 UCI Trials World Championships
Location: Saalfelden, Austria
Event: 4-7 September 2012
The 2012 UCI Trials World Championship took place in Austria alongside the Cross Country and Downhill World Championships, just up the road from Leogang in Saalfelden.
The Great Britain team consisted of four riders - Jack Carthy (junior 26”), Sam Oliver (elite 20”), Patrick Donovan (elite 26”) and Andrei Burton (elite 20” & 26”), accompanied by team manager Ben Swales.
Sam Oliver and Andrei Burton were first up in the elite 20” semi-final, riding against a very strong field that included the current world and European champions. They had to ride three laps of six sections within a time limit of four and a half hours.
Both rode very well on the difficult and technical sections, struggling on their first lap and then picking up on their second and third. Andrei finished in 13th place with 81 dabs (feet down) and Sam was close behind him in 14th on 83. Only the top eight rider qualify for the final, so the competition was over for Sam and Andrei only had the elite 26” event to focus on.
Wednesday saw the 26” semi-finals take place, with Jack Carthy riding first in the junior qualifier. Jack was a strong medal hope, having competed in elite in his first world cup and finished on the podium in all but one event leading up to the world championships. He didn’t disappoint in the Semis, riding incredibly strongly through the sections, clearly a class above the vast majority of the riders in this category.
He qualified in second place for the final on just 16 dabs, behind Switzerland’s David Bonzon on 12. If you take a look at their scores, you can see the difference in their approach, which is perhaps what made the difference here.
Jack’s all or nothing approach in his first world championship meant that he either cleaned a section, making his way through with no dabs, or came off his bike for a maximum of five, whereas David Bonzon, riding in his third and final world championship had a more measured approach, choosing to make sure of a difficult move with a well-placed tactical dab, rather than risk falling and taking a five.
In the afternoon, Andrei and Patrick rode in the elite 26” semis. Patrick had a difficult day of it, struggling with the extremely difficult sections and finishing the day on maximum points. He finished in 30th place on time. Andrei fared somewhat better, getting through all but five sections, including a record time of one minute twenty-four seconds and no dabs on one section! He finished in ninth place, missing out on a place in the final by just five points to Hungary’s Laszlo Hegedus.
The junior 26” final, and Jack’s last ride of the competition, took place on Friday evening, with the six sections set out around Saalfelden town centre. This combination of central location and late hour meant that the crowds were huge and there was a real party atmosphere as the riders set off on the first of two laps.
Jack started positively, cleaning his first section with style and dropping just two as he made his way up onto the roof of the wooden cabin in section five, another clean, a two and a one saw him comfortable in the lead.
However, an unlucky five on the rolling pipes in section four saw him drop two points behind Bonzon at the end of lap one. Jack’s score improved on lap two, but another five on the rollers left him uncertain of his position. He and Bonzon handed in their punch cards almost simultaneously and it turned out that the Swiss had snatched the victory by just one point, relegating young Carthy to second place.
A heartbreaking finish for the young Brit, but a fantastic result nonetheless; a silver medal in his first ever world championship. Once again, Bonzon’s mature, measured approach had won out over Carthy’s all or nothing, attacking style. As mentioned, however, Jack has a further two years in the junior category, so there is plenty of time for him to refine his style and approach, to mature in his riding and we can expect much more from him in the future.
All in all, it was a great performance from the Great British team, with some excellent results and a medal to bring home.