Downhill pro’s pain


Queenstown’s downhill mountain biking star George Brannigan has suffered yet another setback after breaking his collar-bone for the fourth time in 12 months.

The GT Factory Racing team rider, 26, is taking some time out from the sport with his girlfriend in Germany after he fell and sustained the injury while training in Austria earlier this month.

He’d only been back on his bike for a week, after a previous period of injury, when the crash happened.

‘It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow.

“It was just a small, but big enough crash – and I landed straight on my shoulder.”

He travelled to Belgium to see a surgeon this week after doctors gave him an electromagnetic device to help with the bone-healing process.

He could be out until October.

An X-ray of George Brannigan’s broken collarbone

“It’s a case of becoming fully strong again – I won’t ride downhill until that,” he says.

“I guess it gets harder and harder each time,” he adds.

“I have already been off for a while but you just find ways of filling in your time.

The two-time New Zealand National MTB champion left Commencal to join the team at GT at the start of this year.

But he’s only raced twice this year and his season’s now over.

“It’s just really bad luck.”

Brannigan, who is originally from Hastings, is keen to compete in Auckland and in as many other races across the country as he can once he is back to full fitness.

He then intends to prepare for World Cup races.

“When I am feeling 100 per cent I will be back to my normal ways.”

Some of his accolades as a pro rider include finishing in first place at the Crankworx Rotorua AirDH in 2016 and finishing second at the UCI-Oceania Continental Championship dur-ing the same year.