YT Mob Log: Entry #3.18

Crazy in Croatia

Words by Arron Gwin  |  Photos by Isac Paddock
Column Sponsored by Fox

This month’s YT Mob column comes to you from the current World Cup series leader, Aaron Gwin. Over the years we’ve talked with Aaron about his passion for new tracks and locations, and this year’s stop in Croatia provided the team with just that. Despite a new track, fresh experiences and a new bike, Aaron walked away with a feeling he’s quite familiar with, victory.

The Temecula, CA native showed up to an unfamiliar track riding a new YT Tues, and after a third place qualifying, it was clear race day would be a battle royale. It was a challenging weekend for a lot of racers but Aaron came out on top with an incredibly smooth, fast run to edge out Luca Shaw. Though the season is just getting underway, Gwin has proven yet again that he’s out for blood and looking to add more wins to his ever growing list. Croatia was his 20th World Cup win. After the race we asked Gwin to expound upon any of his experiences during the weekend or the season ahead. Despite our prods, he was his usual understated self, showing nothing but professionalism and a pure focus on racing.

YT Mob Log: Crazy in Croatia - Aaron Gwin

How was the race in Croatia? Were there any major hurtles in terms of language, the country itself or logistics? How was the food and scenery?

AG: The race for me was awesome. It’s always fun racing somewhere new and I really enjoyed our time there. The drive from the airport in Trieste Italy, through Slovenia and into Croatia is one of the most scenic I’ve been on. The town of Losinj had a cool vibe being right on the water. Our hotel was great, the food was awesome, and the people were super nice. The track was short but challenging and with the sunny weather, it really was one of the more enjoyable race venues that I’ve been to. We had a great time and it was so cool to get the first win of the season on our new bike too!

How important is it to have new tracks on the circuit regularly?

AG: I really like going to new tracks. It keeps things fun and interesting for the racers and fans in my opinion. It also separates the riders a little more because it’s new and you have to find the lines, which I think is really cool.

You’ve been a big proponent of new race locations. What was it like racing on a track that people haven’t had memorized for the last 10 years? Since it was a new track, did it erode or change differently than the more established tracks on the circuit?

AG: Yeah, exactly! The challenge of dialing in a new track is really fun for me. The track broke down a bit but I think the builders did a great job considering what they had to work with. That whole hill was rock. There was almost no dirt anywhere and I was really impressed by how well they got everything to hold together. It was also a small hill with limited options and I thought the track was fun and flowed well.

YT Mob Log: Crazy in Croatia - Aaron Gwin

What are your thoughts about the current race scene as a whole?

AG: I think the race scene is awesome right now It seems to just be growing more and more every year. We’ve got new bikes, new tracks, different wheel sizes, etc. There’s a lot of progression happening right now and I think that’s a great thing. It’s an exciting time to be a racer and a fan of downhill. I’m stoked to see how things unfold the rest of this season and into the future.

The World Cup circuit truly is more competitive than ever. With bike brands pushing the product envelope and riders reaching for new fitness levels, things are heating up. We’re all for new tracks that take teams out of their comfort zones and help to level the playing field between new riders and seasoned vets. Any time riders have to learn or discover lines on a track, the excitement as a fan is increased. Thankfully we aren’t the only ones that enjoy changing things up, since it seems most pros we talk to enjoy new stops as much as we do. Now all we have to do it sit back and enjoy watching the pros do what they do best! It’s race time.

YT Mob Log: Crazy in Croatia - Aaron Gwin
YT Mob Log: Crazy in Croatia - Aaron Gwin
YT Mob Log: Crazy in Croatia - Aaron Gwin
YT Mob Log: Crazy in Croatia - Aaron Gwin