A great result for Wideopenmag at Pietermaritzburg World Cup Round 1

Ladies and gents – we’re celebrating over here following the news that Wideopenmag’s Rich Thomas scored a solid 46th place at round 1 of the World Cup in South Africa yesterday.

Rich joined the team at the start of 2012 and is our very first foray into international World Cup racing. Alongside South Africa he’ll be racing all of the European World Cups, World Champs, the full Halo British Downhill Series and a select blend of UK downhill and enduro events.

Sure – Tea Bag’s result didn’t quite warrant a slot on Red Bull’s live coverage … but it’s the back story that we think really makes it worth celebrating.  South Africa was actually Rich’s first big downhill race since his 9th place at the UK National Champs back in July 2011.

Due to a few ups and downs last year Rich had to take a break from racing meaning no racing for the best part of a year and no downhill bike to train on until his new Nukeproof Scalp landed in Feb 2012.

Regardless of that – Rich trained hard over the winter with Alan Milway (fitness coach to the downhill stars and the man who helped get Danny Hart win his rainbow stripes), smashed out the laps on his MX bike down in Weston, borrowed a DH bike from his mate Brendon Fairclough where he could and – at the end of 2011 – signed up to the Wideopenmag team and focused on getting back on top of his game.

As soon as we could we Rich hooked up with a Nukeproof Scalp and got him (and team-mate Jay) out to Spain with team sponsors RoostDH to train on some big, rough, gnarly tracks.

Rich’s solid result in Pietermartizburg was the end of a mammoth effort from him to get back up to pace and from us here at Wideopenmag to pull together a team that was top quality enough to help him and the other guys perform the best they possibly can.

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His 2011 South Africa race went well with Rich scoring a 43rd place and the pedally track really suiting his fitness. The aim for this year was for a solid, clean race with no mechanicals, no crashes and a result that would do his riding justice.

Rich hit qualies happy and confident … but cautious not to puncture or get too excited and crash out. The approach payed off with a solid run and a 50th place putting him well within the cut-off for finals. “it was good” he managed to send over on Facebook “I made a few mistakes and was a bit cautious so generally played it safe – it’s on for tomorrow though!!”.

Come race day, all the hard work and training payed off and 46th place at the first World Cup of 2012 is – we reckon – a pretty damn fine stamp that the training, the team, the sponsors, the awesome kit the guys are riding and Richie’s talent is all up to speed and working super well!

Here’s a few vids that Tim Lake and Rich cooked up last week:

So yeah – huge well done to Rich for his hard work out in SA and a huge thanks to all of the team’s sponsors for making our vision to race World Cups come to life. Thanks also to Tim Lake for covering the World Cup action for Wideopenmag.