All systems set to #alwaysvollgas - we have a look at the first big race week-end of the year.
After the first EWS race and a few more local outings the racing season started in full for the Bergamont Factory Team powered by Hayes Performance Systems last week-end.

Team eating Hamburg's speciality Franzbrötchen
Photo: Introducing the Bergamont Factory Team to Hamburg's speciality Franzbrötchen

After travelling to Hamburg for our annual team meeting most of the downhill faction departed directly for Lourdes, while Reece Wilson went on a little detour to compete in round two of the Scottish Downhill Association Series in Innerleithen where he raced to a respectable second place.

Reece Wilson cornering in Lourdes
Photo: Reece Wilson testing berm quality in Lourdes

The following long week-end finally saw the start of the 2017 UCI Downhill World Cup in Lourdes and despite some foul cold weather, the spirits were up. Junior rider Patrick Butler looked forward to his very first World Cup race and was not one to disappoint with a top-10 finish on 9th spot.

Patrick Butler out of the gate and on the first jump
Photo: Patrick Butler out of the gate and on the first jump

Well done for the young Australian, keeping his nerves in check and putting down a solid run where most of us would have probably had problems keeping their shorts clean at the start gate.

Patrick Butler on point down the track
Photo: Patrick Butler on point down the track

Morgane Charre likewise put in a top-10 result in the first race of the season, clocking in on 8th place in the Women’s Elite finals.

Morgane Charre flying through the rough stuff
Photo: Morgane Charre flying through the rough stuff

Morgane Charre concentrating on a rocky section
Photo: Morgane Charre concentrating through a rocky section

Not much luck, however, for Edward Masters and Reece Wilson in Lourdes. Reece “went far too steady trying to stay safe” and missed the finals. Eddie got washed up on 58th in a crazy men’s final, finding himself among some illustrious company not usually seen massed there on any other day.

Eddie Masters flat out
Photo: Eddie Masters flat out

Reece Wilson coming through the woods
Photo: Reece Wilson during qualification

Meanwhile back in Germany it was time for the first round of the Bundesliga in Heubach for Ben Zwiehoff. A high profile race indeed with most of the world’s elite riders at the start. The race went well for Ben from the start and he was en route to fifth place in the penultimate round when he dropped a chain and lost 45 seconds.

Ben Zwiehoff racing in Heubach
Photo: Ben Zwiehoff had a fast race but some bad luck in the final rounds

This meant Ben dropped back to twelfth place in the end but he was able to finish the race knowing he has the form for the front ranks and is looking forward to the World Cup in Nove Mestro in a little over two weeks.

Ben will race his first 2017 Worlf Cup race in little over two weeks
Photo: Ben will race his first 2017 World Cup race in little over two weeks

Finally, local enduro racer André Kleindienst competed at the Wartburg Enduro in Eisenach, Germany and won the masters class with a good five seconds lead.

André Kleindienst during the team photo shoot in Hamburg
Photo: André Kleindienst during the team photo shoot in Hamburg