Australian siblings aim for historic showing

2014-04-08 00:00

HAVING tasted success at the Cascades MTB Park previously, Australian Downhill star siblings Mick and Tracey Hannah are hoping to make history and become to first siblings to win the men’s and the women’s downhill titles respectively at the UCI MTB World Cup in Pietermaritzburg when they take to the tricky Cascades MTB Park layout this weekend.

Having lost out narrowly to South African hero Greg Minnaar at the 2013 UCI MTB and Trials World Championships in Pietermaritzburg in 2013, Mick has been hard at work in the off-season in an attempt to get himself back to the summit of his discipline.

“Going into the season I have changed my training a little this year,” the Hutchinson UR Team rider said. “So far, I’m really happy with the results, but I never know until the first race. Also we have done a lot of work with the bike so I think we’re giving ourselves a good chance to do well this year.”

Mick Hannah has ended in second place twice in Pietermaritzburg, once in the 2009 World Cup leg and then again at the World Champs seven months ago and, with a good knowledge of the course and a fondness for the unique layout, his chances of going one better in 2014 seem bright.

“I really enjoy riding the Cascades course. It’s fast and fun. It’s definitely physically demanding as well. I think it’s an exciting venue,” he said.

“I have done well here consistently. I really enjoy the high-speed courses and here you need a lot of power, which is a strength of mine,” the 31-year-old added.

Tracey Hannah rode to a memorable victory in Pietermaritzburg in 2012 but was unable to repeat her feat in 2013 with British rider Rachel Atherton producing a near flawless display to claim the converted rainbow-striped jersey at the World Champs at Cascades.

Tracey has been plagued by injury in recent times but is in the position of having a clean bill of health heading into the 2014 Pietermaritzburg spectacle.

“I’ve had probably the best off-season I’ve ever had. In the past I’ve had injuries but this season has been clean and I’m feeling fit and fast with no injuries,” the current World number 10 said.

The two Australian stars have got an exciting prospect ahead of them as they prepare for the first World Cup event to be staged in their hometown on Cairns following the opening leg in Pietermaritzburg.

“Getting a good start to the season is very important for me,” Mick mentioned. “As I said before I would love to win. Firstly, because of my history in Pietermaritzburg, but also because the second round is at home in Cairns and I would love to start there with the leader’s jersey.”

The trip to Pietermaritzburg is a popular leg of the World Cup with it offering up something very different to what the riders are used in Europe and Tracey enjoys the different aspects of the Cascades course as well as the atmosphere that surrounds the event.

“I think it’s a really great track. I love the speed and the jumps and its super fun to ride and hard to race. It’s usually slippery and dusty so the bike gets loose but I just love the speed of the track and the way it’s built to flow.

“The most original thing about Cascades must be the people, the atmosphere, it’s very different to say Europe or anywhere,” she added.

Having come off a successful off-season, Tracey is heading into the event confident but is cautious about putting too much pressure on herself as the defending champion at the Pieter­maritzburg World Cup.

“I’d love to win it again but my goal this season is to be consistent without injury.

“I’d say getting a good start to the season is very important but all my eggs aren’t in the Pietermaritzburg basket. I just hope to do my best race and I’ll be happy with that,” the 25-year-old said conservatively.

More information can be found at

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.