Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

What a week! To say we were under-prepared for the 2020 race season was an understatement! A few teams had to opportunity to race a couple of French races in the build up to the World Championships – we did not.

With the global pandemic and our elite female Tahnée Seagrave coming back from a major injury, our focus was World Champs – if and when it happened. Up until the end of August, it was still uncertain.

World Champs did happen and it was great to get back to racing. We love our sport, a summer sport that sometimes brings some unexpected weather and when it comes, we deal with it. The week prior to the start of the championships we rolled into Schladming just over an hour away from the venue – and it was snowing!

We started our journey from the UK with all staff and riders Covid-19 PCR tests before we left for europe. We did this to ensue our bubble was safe and with everyone returning a negative test, we cracked on with our preparations.

Schladming in Austria was a great way to build up, an awesome track where we could dial in rider fitness and get our bikes dialled.

We then headed over to Leogang for championship week – although we had to have more cover tests for the team at the event on the Monday – eight negative test results for the 8 members of our team our Covid test costs were spiraling!

FMD Racing had Tahnée Seagrave (Elite Woman) and Dennis Luffman (Junior Men) selected to represent Great Britain at the 2020 World Championships.

World Champs brings some special bikes and 2020 was no different. At FMD Racing we went against the grain of ‘country coloured bikes’ and with the newly launched Canyon Sender FMD we decided to put Dennis on the X-Ray green ‘team’ bike. Tahnée had planned a lightening inspired theme for her return to racing – and nailed it!

With a newly laid our course in Leogang, the first thing to do was walk it and see the changes. The course taping threw up some changes which had many riders discussing not only the technicality, but also how it would not only hold up with the incoming weather but also be safe under those circumstances. Those discussions turned out to be legitimate as the weather came in and the course turned to shit!

Qualifying was Friday with Juniors first up. Dennis put in a solid performance seeding 11th for the finals on Sunday. Tahnée qualified 4th in Elite Women – both riders had more in the tank and, although the weather was getting worse, they were looking forward to finals on Sunday.

Before finals, we needed one more PCR test on the Sarday for the whole squad as we were leaving Monday morning for the first World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia and had to show a negative result that was taken 72hrs prior to arriving at the event.

Again Dennis was first up and he put in an amazing performance for not only his first race of 2020, but also his first race as a junior on the World stage – Dennis finished 4th, just 0.09 off a 3rd place podium spot.

By the time it came round to elite men and women, the course really had turned into a mudfest. Anyone watching for the first time must have thought our sport was bizarre as everyone struggled to stay one their bikes, with most of the women ‘paddling’ through the sections. The winner would be someone who crashed least because you WILL crash.

With the course running slower than qualifying, Tahnée put in some amazing splits, being the fastest at the first 3 splits with better times than the fastest qualifier from Friday. Then disaster… just after she took the big line in the woods, she crashed. Not only did she crash but she slid down the side of the mountain, taking almost a minute to get back to her bike.

Time to clean up and get on our way to the first World Cup… with our negative Covid tests from Saturdays nose rape.

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