Words: Georgina von Marburg

Images: Amelia Howler 

After a touch of rain overnight, the All Mountain track was primed for early morning practice today. But as the day wore on, the trail split itself into two: a smooth and tacky upper, and a loose and dusty lower. Riders had to be prepared to handle variations in conditions, and the Pros were fittingly gifted the most challenging conditions at the end of the day. Even the final uphill fire-road sprint was loose, with rear tires spinning out under big watts. 

Young gun Ryan Gilchrist - racing his first year in Pros - was beyond impressive during his run. As fellow rider Lachie Forbes put it: "How the **** do you ride that fast without dying? It literally defies the laws of physics." His skill, fitness, and finesse was enough to hold off Propain Factory Racing rider Luke Meier-Smith in second, and an ever classy Tim Eaton in third. 

The women's field is stacked this year, but noticeably missing the presence of Sian A'Hern who has decided to focus purely on Saturday's Australian Open Downhill race. Ellie Smith rose to the challenge today with a scorching time, putting 35 seconds into third place Tess Buckley. Ex BMX hitter Leanna Curtis was in second, only 2 second off Smith's pace. 

Tomorrow will force a new challenge, inevitably shaking up the favourites again. The Pros should post some telling Downhill seeding times, while amateurs and age-groupers take on the Flow Motion Cup. 

Check out all the action from the festival's days below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5