Tracey Hannah, aged 27, is a champion downhill mountain biker and a Cairns local. She is currently ranked number three in the world.
Tracey started riding bikes at three years of age, and when she was just four years old raced her first national BMX title. She was initially inspired to take the sport up professionally by her brother Mick, who is also a professional mountain bike rider. When Mick was 14, he attended a mountain biking camp and never looked back. Tracey followed in his footsteps aged 13, when her parents allowed her to start downhill riding with them.
Tracey began her professional downhill mountain biking career one year later, when she raced her first elite national title and came second. She has since won a plethora of mountain biking titles, including first place in the Australian Championships 2014, first place in the Crankworx Air DH in 2014, and first place in the City Downhill Bratislava in 2013.
“I love riding downhill and I love racing. The fear and nerves are challenging to deal with, but the thrill of racing down the hill knowing that the timer never lies is addictive and brings me back every week for more”, Tracey says in her Gravity Polygon team profile.
After taking a break following a few serious accidents which left her with two broken collarbones, a bruised lung, and a broken femur, Tracey returned to racing in 2014. She is now competing for a win in the UCI MTB World Cup to be held at JCU Cairns in April 2016.
Tracey has recently commenced part-time external studies at JCU with plans for a career in either multimedia sports journalism or sports marketing and business. She is doing this with support from JCU’s Elite Athlete Program, which will contribute to the cost of her degree.
“Some people might be a little bit surprised by my choices, but it’s not as big a jump as you might think. I deal directly with my sponsors and the business side of racing, and I’ve seen how important sports media is in building awareness of mountain biking and generating support for the competitors”, Tracey said of her study interests.
“I’m grateful to JCU for their support. It means I can focus on my racing now, knowing that when I cross that finish line for the last time I can move straight into full-time study, getting ready for my next career”, Tracey said.