The conditions for the World Cup finals were extremely difficult. The heat had dried out the super steep course and holes were filling with super fine powder. The lack of let up in the track made for a very difficult final quarter of racing as riders became very fatigued with arm pump, and the race was fully of spectacular crashes and saves. Neko Mulally was one of the riders that fell victim to the track conditions, crashing just after the first split, but ended up his season as 3rd junior overall.
Justin Leov, who missed the entire first day of training due to a visit to the hospital to check on a neck injury, managed to find most of his speed by the finals, and moved up from 25th in qualifying to 12th on race day, finishing 9th overall for the year, his 3rd top 10 career overall.
For the women's event, Tracy had the unenviable task of riding fast enough to get enough points, but not pushing too hard on this difficult track and throwing away the World Cup title. With a lead of 125 points going into the final over Frenchwoman Floriane Pugin, Tracy needed to finish 7th or better to win. Tracy was not aware of this as she preferred to race without knowing the mathematical situation. In the end a solid, yet slightly nerve wracking run, was good enough for 5th, a perfect record of podiums for 2011 and the title safely in her hands.
Tracy said: "That is such an amazing relief. I'm so glad I didn't know what position I had to come, that would have played on my mind. As it was, it was super hard to race this course. I wanted to let it go many times and just go for it, but in my mind I knew I couldn't risk it all. Not the most enjoyable race, but so cool to win the overall in front of my boyfriend James and my parents. It's been an incredible honor to wear the World Champs jersey all year, and to have had my best season ever while wearing it. A huge thanks to my mechanic Sander, he has been a massive part of my success".
For Aaron Gwin, the title may have been wrapped up but that wasn't going to stop the 23 year old American from going for another win. Aaron has treated every race as an individual race to win, and the finals were no different. After qualifying first he was the last man to come down. For the team staff it was a nervous time after seeing so many riders crash, get loose and seemingly be on the edge the whole way down. Aaron however seemed to tame the course, almost looking slow by comparison, but the time gap kept building until eventually he crossed the line for the win. Not only the first to win 5 in a season, but now, after only 1 season, he is the 5th most winning man of all time in World Cup Downhills, behind Steve peat, Nicolas Vouilloz, Greg Minnaar and Sam Hill; quite a season.
Aaron said: "That was one of the toughest tracks I've ever raced on. So many holes you couldn't see and lines blown out, it was a mission to keep your hands on the bars. I had a solid run and felt like I learned a ton this weekend. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the season I've had. I want to thank my team, Trek for the incredible carbon Session 9.9, Fox and Shimano for giving me the greatest product and support, and my mechanic Monkdawg who is always on it. God has been great to me this year, and I'm extremely proud for all the American fans who have been so supportive trackside and on-line."
Team Owner Martin Whiteley said: "This year in Downhill we've had a dream season. It's hard finding the words to be honest. Firstly I am extremely indebted to Tracy and Aaron for all they have done for the program and for our sponsors; they are amazing athletes, but even better team-mates. To be the number 1 team is especially rewarding because it's something that all the hard working staff, mechanics, soigneurs, videographers, can take immense pride in. To all the Trek staff in Waterloo who have helped us become what we are today in just under 3 years, from the graphic designers to the engineers to the marketers, a huge thanks. And of course all of our sponsors that we include in the logos at the top of this page, we hope you have enjoyed the ride in World Cup 2011, and rest assured we plan to deliver again for World Cup 2012."