World Cup Maribor: Žak’s first elite men finals

Žak Gomilšček has set a new personal milestone in front of the home fans – he qualified for the elite men finals for the first time in his racing career. He’s 47th on the end. Jure unfortunately experienced totally different Maribor as he didn’t qualify for the finals; the last time that happened was so long ago that we aren’t really sure when it happened. 

Maribor was all about downhill racing in the last two weeks – climax happened this weekend with the World Cup race, after already intense racing on the iXS European Cup and European championships. There was a lot of drama for sure as the new track proved to be a big challenge for many, but the race was a spectacle. Fans made the show even greater, after they had to stay away from the venue last year, they gave everything they had this year. Of course they were especially loud when Slovenians left the start gates.

Maribor is a home race for our team, this is where Jure & Žak do most of the practice and testing. Desire to prove themselves in front of the friends, family and Slovenian crowd was big. Jure is fastest Slovenian for the last couple of years, but somehow he just couldn’t find the right rhythm on the new track and in the hot & dusty conditions. His qualy run was average at best, but the big mistake just ahead of Gapzilla put him out of the contention. Žak did way better and qualified for the elite men finals for the first time, he was 51st on Saturday. He’s even better today and finished the day with 47th place.

“Feelings were great. It’s true that I’m not completely happy with the result as I know I can do better, but it will do for now. But I’m really happy that I came into my race runs relaxed and have shown what I’m capable of. So far in the season I didn’t do that, I wasn’t good on the runs where time really matters. I just need to add some speed and the results will be there,” said Žak after the race.

A lot of words were said and written about the new track on the Pohorje mountain, organizers really put a lot of work into in it and made big changes after the two races earlier in the week. We got lots of new sections and brand new finish area. Žak loves the rough conditions and had this comment about the track: “They really did big changes, this is a Maribor that we don’t know. The tracks here were always packed and fast, this one was completely loose and very dusty.”

Žak injured his finger a month ago and had to skip Slovenian national champs and European champs, but on this race he completely forgot about the pain and showed his best performance so far in the season. Fans knew how to award him, they were so loud when he (or any of the Slovenians) came on the track. Žak had this to say about the atmosphere: “It was really loud, I think this was the loudest run of my life! It was extra loud on Rox’n’Roll, I just wanted to get out of there fast as possible.”

There is no break for Jure & Žak. They will go to Austria for a few days, then head out to Val di Sole for the World Championships!

Photos by Klemen Humar
Video by Clement Fromont