First race, first win
The first Downhill World Cup race went down in Lourdes last weekend and everybody at YT was excited to finally see Aaron Gwin on our bike. Would Aaron Gwin be able to win a World Cup race on a TUES? Needless to say, emotions were running wild at YT prior to the race.
The last weeks have been incredibly exciting. While we were busy with launching our new bike JEFFSY, the various departments such as graphics, marketing, R&D and workshop were working on our very first downhill racing team, the “YT Mob”. There was only little time between having gotten the final contract signed and the first race. Therefore, we were on Skype day and night to get all little bugs worked out and everything perfectly aligned. We gave it all to make the YT Mob happen and luckily, team manager Martin Whiteley, has all the knowledge needed to lead the mob in the right direction. Nevertheless, the YT Mob occupied all of us for weeks on end.
Aaron and Martin visited the YT headquarter for the first time in January and we settled all open points and finally sealed the deal. Aaron checked out the three locations of YT in Forchheim and got to meet the team that worked countless hours to get everything aligned. At the end of the day, CEO Markus Flossmann and CTO Stefan “Willi” Willared took Aaron to the company’s own weight room and knocked out a sweet Crossfit session with beers and burgers afterwards. The mood was great and the foundation for our team to really smash it at the World Cup was created. Time was running fast and all of a sudden, the first race was on our schedule.
Markus and Willi made their way to the World Cup to experience the first ever YT Mob race live on site in Lourdes. The general tension increased because the track in Lourdes was definitely a rough one: rain, lots of mud, gnarly rock sections were not only a challenge to our Spanish Youngster Angel Suarez but also to Aaron. They both had their difficulties with the track, but Aaron was able to manage a 10th place after qualifying. Angel had a crash during his seeding run and could not qualify for the finals on Sunday. It was quite a shock for him since he wanted to show everybody what he is capable of doing. Aaron had a chat with the Spanish rookie afterwards and Angel was able to shake the frustration off again.
Meanwhile, Markus and Willi soaked up some World Cup feelings, met familiar faces and had a chilled evening. The next day in Lourdes promised to be a good one as the sky cleared up and the track got drier and drier. Good news for Aaron. Our bosses watched the race in the finish area, while the rest of the YT crew met up at the headquarter to watch the race with some beers and a nice little barbecue. When it was finally Aarons turn the guys at the headquarter went nuts. After the first split time, Aaron was already up and everybody just lost it. We couldn’t believe how he managed to boss through the gnarly track. Markus and Willi were probably close to a heart attack and held their breath until Aaron crossed the finish line and the screen showed a new record time. Our bosses were more than relieved. However, there were still nine more riders waiting behind the start gate. One of them, top dog Loic Bruni.
Loic looked aggressive and showcased some tremendous speed. Some of the line choices had us wondering if this was real life and when the first split time showed that he was ahead of Aaron we were pretty much speechless. The mad Frenchman kept his insane speed and we were on the edge of our seats. After Loic’s first mistake his margin slimmed down a bit but then it happened: Bruni crashed and lost his lead. We couldn’t even believe it at first because at this moment it was sealed that Aaron would win the first World Cup race this season. For us! For YT out of the little town of Forchheim! For the Mob! What seemed like a rumor for a long time now hit everybody like a punch in the face. The underdogs just really appeared on the World Cup scene!
The party just started in Forchheim. However in Lourdes, the guys were just simply flabbergasted. For our chief developer Willi, a long-cherished dream just came true and he almost cried of joy. After the third beer, the tension after all the hard work turned into joy.
Our very first World Cup victory was truly emotional and liberating at the same time. All the pressure weighing on our shoulders since making the YT Mob officially disappeared on this historic Sunday. The Mob made exactly the right statement to confidently travel to the second race of the season to Australia. We are excited to watch how the story about the Mob unfolds and we are sure that Angel is going to kill it in Australia and show his tremendous skills.
YT - Tales of the Mob #2, Race Recap
Every race weekend we'll release two episodes of "YT - Tales of the Mob". Check the latest episode featuring Aaron's win in Lourdes. Yihaaa!