The 2021 World Cup season is over, so it’s time to look back at a very exciting year for our Propain Factory Racing Team. While many races were cancelled the year before, almost all races could take place again in 2021. This year the season consisted of a total of six different stops of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy.
The first World Cup 2021 took place in Leogang, Austria. With very mixed weather and extremely difficult conditions, the start of the season was more difficult than expected for the team. Of our four riders, unfortunately only George Brannigan qualified for the final and finished in a solid 36th place.
In the second round they went to France. In Les Gets, the team was able to forget the tough start from Leogang and George Brannigan achieved a phenomenal eighth place. Luke Meier-Smith rode to a very solid 19th place in his first Elite World Cup. Henry Kerr and Remy Meier-Smith unfortunately crashed in their qualifying run and were therefore even more hungry for a good result in the next World Cup.
The next World Cup took place in Maribor, Slovenia. With hot weather and a very fast track, our riders were able to show what they are capable of. The surprise of the day was junior Remy Meier-Smith, who rode straight onto the podium in his first World Cup final and finished in fourth place. In the elite ranks Henry Kerr could convince with a 17th place. Finishing closely behind was Luke Meier-Smith, Remy’s older brother, in 19th place. After his strong performances in Les Gets, George Brannigan was unfortunately only able to finish in 42nd place.
Besides the World Cups, the World Championships took place in Val di Sole, Italy. In the battle for the rainbow-coloured jersey, our team was able to ride very special bikes. In an unusual paintjob, which was supposed to imitate a TV test pattern of an old television, they took on the extremely technical and demanding course. But unfortunately this race turned out quite differently than planned. Luke Meier-Smith injured himself in his racerun and dislocated his shoulder. His brother Remy Meier-Smith also crashed. Fortunately, he did not suffer any serious injuries. Henry Kerr and George Brannigan also had little luck this weekend and ended up in 67th and 45th place. After this setback, however, everyone was looking positively towards the next World Cup in Lenzerheide and could hardly wait to improve their performances.
In Lenzerheide, Switzerland the team’s bad luck unfortunately continued. Luke Meier-Smith continued to drop out after his crash in Val di Sole and his brother, who had crashed in Val di Sole in training, was also feeling the effects of the crash more and more and could not finish his qualifying run. George Brannigan also failed to qualify. Despite a crash in practice, Henry Kerr made it to a great 24th place.
Due to the cancellation of one race in Scotland earlier this year, two races were held in Snowshoe, USA within one week, a so-called double header. In the first race, the team was able to put its run of bad luck from the previous races behind it and George Brannigan finally found himself in the top 20 riders with 19th place. Heny Kerr also did well in the race, finishing 30th. Remy Meier-Smith achieved a amazing result and secured a podium place with fifth place.
Just three days later after the first race in Snowshoe, the riders had to prove themselves one last time for this season on the World Cup. Henry Kerr managed to secure 26th place and George Brannigan managed to get a solid 36th place. Junior Remy Meier-Smith narrowly missed out on the podium this time due to a slow flat tire, but still ended up in seventh place.
George Brannigan was the best of the team with 24th place in the overall. Henry Kerr was able to reach 39th place. Despite his loss in the last races, Luke Meier-Smith still ended up in 53rd place. In the Juniors, Remy Meier-Smith was able to secure a place in the top ten, finishing in ninth place. In the team standings, the team was able to take 18th place.