Picture saga: Pinkbike Racing’s first World Cup season – Part 2

I don’t have the audacity and happiness to sit here right now and tell you what an amazing family the race team is, what an amazing experience with amazing people, and going to amazing places, that goes beyond any experience anyone has ever had and is just amazing, so profound… Wow… amazing and healthy fun. Likes. Follow. Subscription.

The truth is that working on the World Cup circuit is like any job that demands a lot from you. Asking for work is stressful, but it also has its own reward. Starting from scratch as a new team was sometimes difficult. Other times, it was very difficult. With us closed this season, I don’t mind telling you it wasn’t perfect. The results are the ultimate rationale for any racing program and I think as individuals, some PBR racers go home with disappointment. And what do I think of that? Personally, I think it’s a good thing. If all your dreams don’t come true as you thought, and you’re not disappointed, I’d be just as worried.

As we look back on the year, with every high and low just another brushstroke on the canvas of what PBR is, let us also remember that these runners, these humans, are doing something that many of us wish we could do. We may lack the guts, courage, or desire to be professional mountain bikers, but we can follow their journey, tip our hats off and thank them for being so real, brave enough to allow us to document their struggles and tribulations. Because, while you have to be brave to be a World Cup racer, it’s a whole other level to open yourself up to that level of scrutiny. So here are the PBR racers, the brave ones, both on two wheels and on two feet.


we left part One We also left Linzerheide. Here, we are back once again to the Andorran World Cup. Once again, thank you to Ross Bell, Andy Fates, Nathan Hughes, Nico Widowicz and Jack Tennyson for working with the team this year.


Round 5 – Andorra – Dust in smoke

I’ll let you in with a little secret. This year, and especially in the beginning, we were sometimes guilty of making lemons out of lemon juice. In some ways, it felt new to be present in the eye of the dirty storm and not really our fault. The organization of the World Cup in Vallnord was not worthy of introduction. It was pretty much nonexistent. Meanwhile, they were still happy to charge the pit space, even if the place we pitted actually was miles away in a literal gutter. Either way, it was great to see how well the team has coped with adversity.

This was our second race aboard the Leona and she was enjoying the dry and dusty conditions. On the other hand, Amy found it difficult at first. The beginner class is for learning though and it was great to see Amy admit she didn’t fit in, process it, accept it and continue to do her best. The result may not have been the highlight of her season, but I think that’s where the winning mentality really shined through.

Cathru still had his wrists hurt and didn’t make it to the finals. On the other hand, Thibault came in at number 46. I know this might not sound like great newsAnd I don’t think Tybalt would be entirely different with that, however, after the turmoil at the start of the season, it was great to see him making the finals constantly.


Round 6 – Snowshoe – On the Technophilia Trail

Snowshoe has been on the calendar for a few years now and always tends to provide excellent races. However, this year was the first year the weekend race got wet. Honestly, the slime was like nothing else. It wasn’t helped by the inadequate laundry facilities which made the labour-intensive weekend worse. You were expected to queue for forty-five minutes to put your hands on the low pressure hose with a broken pistol.

The weekend provided some significant moments though. Jackson, who broke his wrist six weeks ago in Leogang, is back with the team. The day before he walked the track, he did two blue runs, his only time on the bike since the injury, and then managed to qualify. This achievement, once again, only shows what potential he has. I will always talk about Jackson in the loudest terms. I just have this feeling he got it – whatever He. She he is. However, he also needs to get into the rhythm of riding and enjoying his bike, not having to jump to the deep end to get back into the race.

With his back, and everyone qualified, it was the first time we had all the runners cut out the race for race day.

The latter was that Amy was already vying for the win. In fact, at the top of this run was the first time we mention W-word. The more bad the weather, the more shallow the track, it doesn’t seem to bother her. I really hope you can crack next year’s duck.


Round 7 – Mont-Sainte-Anne – Strength and Mind

and I know that Much of the riders in North America and the Southern Hemisphere struggling with the European calendar, and I really sympathize with that. I think the North American leg is just a snapshot of what their lives often must have been like. Having said that, because of where the trucks are, I would say there are a lot of non-Europeans having a good time on teams in Europe too.

The Muslim Student Union came after the tours of Switzerland, Andorra and the United States. There was a weekend of layover after Vallnord, but with the travel it didn’t really mean much. After 5 weeks on the road, everyone was perfectly cooked by the time MSA was over. Six months of sitting in a ditch to get a trench foot was definitely not the case – but that doesn’t mean it was easy.

It was also interesting that there was not enough space on the flight that most teams booked for all the equipment. There were plenty of last-minute rentals and deals as people scrambled to get pickups to drive their cars to MSA, avoiding risking their bags by not getting on the plane.


Round 8 – Val di Sole – The end is near

It’s just a mountain biking team, a few bikes with a few people mountain biking, but it was great to get to the end. At first, I was concerned if we, as staff and individuals at Pinkbike, would complete this season and provide riders with what they needed. After Lord Lows, I felt a great deal of relief to reach the end. I imagine Cathru did that too. I think there are many levels for Ben. Yes, he races, shows and runs, but there is also a family man who spends a lot of time away from his wife and young children. There were learning curves, false starts and emergency stops, but damn – he’s a good guy who was never shy about toil or trouble when it came his way. He always took her by the chin and hung on her.

Sadly, the 2022 final curtain call came a day earlier than we would have wished for the half riders, with both Ben and Jackson not making it to the finals. It wasn’t really Jackson’s year. Again, applying the same lens as we do with Ben, it’s easy to see an 18-year-old trying to make his way in the world. The hello results might not add up much, but you have to realize what a very difficult time his mind, body, and spirit have been through in the past year or two. I know it doesn’t show up on paper, but the truth is that he’s been kicked out a bit and is still coming back for more. This only increases my hopes and I hope to see him do well in the future and realize his potential. This year served a purpose in terms of development and learning lessons that I really hope will serve him later in his career. They are lessons everyone has to learn at some point, Jaco got out of the way early.

Amy, of course, was something of a PBR’s golden child. Her results have been fantastic and she should be very proud. It’s developing at such a rate, who knows where it could take it? I really hope to see Amy continue to unravel the intricacies of racing at the World Cup level and to evolve so that when the elite class comes along, she can take it her way. So much about World Cup racing isn’t about being crazy or idling, it’s about being efficient in the rider’s actions. How quickly do you learn the path? How quickly do they refine their lines? How much do they plan for contingency? As much as seeing Amy’s talent is great this year, and the results speak for themselves, we also have to appreciate her efforts in the lesser known aspects of the racing industry.

Tybalt has had a season of highs and lows. Coming to a new team, he really helped shape the culture at PBR and I think he was a true role model for both Aimi and Jackson. He’s got the passion, he’s got the skill and he’s got the guts, it’s almost as if he now needs to break the glass ceiling to take it to the next level. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him in a good off-season winter and eventually break that number 20. Then again, we can say that about 50 riders. With Thibault, his incredible appetite for life and work ethic sometimes feels like a double-edged sword. He is insanely busy with school and his assignment, as well as trying to be a World Cup athlete. I think the basics are there, which was shown in flashes in 2022. I think for Thibault it’s about developing in 2023. I really think he can do something special and I’d love to see him.

Want to support the team? Pinkbike Bike Racing jerseys are available for sale from Dharco, and net profit goes directly to team support.