Brown eager to please home crowd

2014-04-10 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Gregg Brown is hoping to give his hometown a better showing in this weekend’s UCI MTB World Cup than he did in last year’s World Championships at Cascades MTB Park.

Last year, despite riding a brand new bike, a broken chain during the downhill for juniors resulted in Brown finishing towards the back of the field.

“Hopefully it won’t break this time around,” the 18-year-old Brown told The Witness yesterday.

“I’m very nervous, but I’m ready and aiming high. They’re only selecting the top 30 for the finals this year, but I’m confident as I qualified in the top 15 last year,” he said.

He was hoping to put the disappointment of last year behind him and was looking forward to ride down the downhill track in front of his hometown crowd.

Brown, the number one ranked junior in the country, said he was going to be riding for his friend Andrew Martin who recently broke his leg. Martin was ranked as the number one junior before his injury.

Speaking about the track, which has seen some changes since last year’s World Championships, Brown said, “Rocks are my weakness. There weren’t too many last year.

“Last year I just had to get through Cloud Nine, this year, I’m going to have to say, ‘Sorry bike’ and just go for it,” he said.

After ditching his seven-year-old bike before last year’s World Champs, he said his new one was holding up, albeit with a few scratches.

“It’s holding up beautifully. It has a few scratches since last year, but I’m hoping it holds up, especially with the rock garden at Cloud Nine,” said Brown, who added he has been training for the World Cup since last year’s World Champs.

Australian Tracey Hannah, who finished third in the elite women’s downhill at last year’s World Champs, was happy to see the changes on the course.

“They’ve put some extra rock gardens in and I’m really excited. They’ve done a lot of work building man-made rock gardens and changing some of the turns. It’s changed a lot, but you still get from the top to the bottom so it hasn’t changed that much,” said the Aussie.

With Pietermaritzburg being the first leg of the World Cup series, Hannah’s goal was to get through the season without injury and said she wasn’t going to “kill myself over the win”, but was still looking to put in a strong performance.

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