The official word from Trek World Racing regarding Aaron Gwin’s race run:
“Race favourite Aaron Gwin saw his hopes of taking a ‘bonus’ title this year come to an end around 1min 20secs into his final race run, when inexplicably both his front and rear brakes failed, resulting in a crash. Shortly after the crash Aaron pumped the brakes to try and get some pressure going but it was insufficient to complete the course safely at speed, and he cruised to the line disappointed he was unable to throw down a run on the three and half minute course.
At the World Championships there is no qualifying round or seeding run, but a timed practice session where riders can check their general race speed against official timing. Aaron was happy with his fourth in timed practice and as race day drew nearer, and the sun came out drying the track dramatically, all was set for a classic Aaron Gwin run. Unfortunately the brake failure, something he has never experienced before and in fact is his first mechanical in a race run since joining the team, really took him by surprise.
Aaron said at the finish line – “I really don’t understand what happened. I warmed up as usual, tested the brakes as usual at the top, walked down the course to have a look at how the track was running, went into my run, brakes working fine for the first minute or so, and then bang, nothing. I crashed and got up as soon as I could, pumped to see what was there, but it wasn’t enough, and knew my day was run”.
The brakes have been taken back to Japan for further analysis as there was nothing immediately evident from the post-race inspection, and nothing new was done to these brakes that Aaron and the team has run for most of the season.”
I think what it’s important to note here how calm and humble Gwin remained about the situation. Having crashed and lost the use of his brakes he could have easily thrown a trackside tantrum and refused to ride the rest of the course, but instead he put on a show for the thousands of fans that had come out to watch the race.
Unlike some sports there was no trash talking other riders or claims of “what if” had his brakes been working. Equally Greg Minnaar showed incredible sportsmanship in his victory, commenting on Gwin’s troubles that this was “not the best way to win”. In fact both riders had nothing but kind words to say to each other on twitter.
And that ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls is how you recover from a nightmare situation.