Meier-Smith is one of the new riders on the revamped Giant Factory Off-Road Team. The 20-year-old finished fourth at the Australian nationals in 2022 and came into this year’s race aiming for gold. Racing on a prototype composite-framed Giant Glory, he turned in a near-perfect run on a challenging track that took out its share of competitors.
The race, part of the Thredbo Cannonball Festival, was open to international riders, and the top Australian would be named national champion. Canadian Jackson Goldstone posted the fastest time, but Meier-Smith, finishing second at less than 1.5 seconds back, earned the Aussie title. He beat veteran Australian pro Troy Brosnan, who finished third overall.
“What a week,” said Meier-Smith after his win. “Jackson beat me but I couldn’t really care. I’ve worked a long time to achieve this, so I’m so stoked. I’ve been feeling the best I ever have on my bike this month, and have been working hard in the gym, so a lot of momentum has been building up to our national championships in Thredbo."
After a crash in qualifying, Meier-Smith bounced back quickly to lay down a flawless finals run. "I was way back in qualifying as a result of the crash, and my right arm had some muscle tension coming into race day," he said. "For finals I managed to keep it together and put down the race run I wanted to have in qualifying. I had more nerves sitting in the hot seat than during my actual race run, that's for sure. But I'm so pumped to be the new Australian national champion!"
Luke’s younger brother Remy Meier-Smith, 18, who also joined the team this year, rode well in qualifying but had a crash in the final round.
Both riders raced in their Giant Shuttle DH shoes and the team's new DH kit from team sponsor Cuore of Switzerland.
Hot Start for Carter Woods
XC racer Carter Woods, another new signing for the squad this year, kicked off his European race season with two podiums in Spain, including a win in the Under-23 men’s race at the Chelva XCO event, a top-ranked UCI stop with a deep field. The 22-year-old Canadian scored valuable points that will help him move up the start grid in the upcoming World Cup season.
"After a great week of riding and bike testing with the team on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, we went two hours inland for the HC class race in Chelva," said Woods. "The terrain in Chelva is much like riding in the desert. After a week of riders getting to know the course, the dirt turns into a light red powder hiding sharp rocks and blown out holes—which makes bike setup that much more important."
Racing on his new Anthem Advanced Pro 29 XC bike, Woods got off to a fast start, taking the holeshot and testing the field throughout the first lap.
"Heading into the second lap I knew I was the strongest rider there," said Woods, who wore a Giant Rev Pro helmet and Charge Pro shoes to take the win. "I waited till the perfect spot and pushed to get a small gap. From there it was smooth sailing to the finish riding a fast tempo and hitting all my lines lap after lap. I am heading back to North America with confidence and excitement for the 2023 season!"