Monthly Archives: July 2011

Chromag 2011

Chromag 2011

As you might of seen by now, Chromag/Shorelines have been supporting us so far this season. We were all a huge fan of Chromag beforehand, so to be able to nip into the U.K office just down the road in the centre of Sheff, is spot on.

They’ve stepped it up a bunch this year with a load of new colours and a few new products as they try to delve into other areas of the component market.

The Moon saddle. Ti railed (chrome/cheaper version optional too), super light, full bred race saddle. Available in White or Black.

The Director direct mount stem. Red or black, with in ya face Chromag lettering.

Fubar(google it) OSX bar in chrome. Available in a billion other colours aswel. Black Chrome is the nicest looking bar i’ve ever seen…

See the product being tested hard, right here:

Swinnys Ellsworth, decked out.

If you like what you see, head over to Shorelines to check the full range out and look out for 2012

North Shore Billet

North Shore Billet

Hopefully this new bad boy will be the end of the mech hanger woes….

North Shore Billet CNC everything in their infamous shop in Function Junction, Whistler B.C

Attention to detail in those little parts you always seem to be scrounging for. They have you covered whatever mech hanger you need.

Distributed in the U.K by

3300m up, one big walk down.

3300m up, one big walk down.

One hell of a big week is finally over at Megavalanche 2011.

5AM race day and the Germans had some weird ass noises coming from there red lit caravan.

Cloud cover all morning up top, meant it was a cold 2 hours wait. Glad to see the toilets had been improved…. naaaat.

The start straight was the most technical i’ve ever seen it. Stick left and you had a thin patch of snow, middle was pure ice, stick right and you entered a loose boulder field. The top guys traipsed up and down here all morning.

“I turn right and go through the boulders” Clem.

Who needs DSLR when you have Hipstmatic?

Sun trying to break through….

No race pics for obvious reasons. Some dude in Poc on a snot coloured Ibis got the holeshot, I snapped my mech hanger on the same rock as last year (fail) and the start was so insane it was like freekin D Day.

Full results and video HERE

Until next year…

Spring Series – Round 7 – Cycle Speedway

Spring Series – Round 7 – Cycle Speedway

With the penultimate leg of the Spring Series we returned to the battle ground of the cycle speedway track. Rob Mawhood of the Sheffield Stars has hosted races for us several times in the past and we keep coming back because this is about as much fun as you can have on a bike. Ok so that’s a phrase I use as lot, but these are bikes being raced against mates, Fun is the name of the game. The Cookson park track in Hillsborough has seen many a battle in the past, the Sheffield Stars Club are riding pretty high in the national league, but it tends to get a bit bloodier when we roll.

Speedway has been around for a long time but gained popularity in post war Britain. Tracks sprang up amongst the rubble of decimated cities and were ridden on ghetto bikes otherwise un-roadworthy. Cycle speedway is still raced on bikes with no gears and, like its big motorised brother, with no brakes on a short oval track with a loose sandy surface and only the slightly of banking in the corners. A race lasts 4 laps and its pure sprinting whenever you’re not hanging a foot out in the corners. The locals do this with the bike leaned over to 40 degrees railing the turn, we turn up, drift in and roost the hell out of the corners killing all speed. Bloody mountain bikers.

On a gorgeous Tuesday evening a big crowd turned out to watch, heckle and race. Rob was joined by a few of the youth team who’d come along to help out and show us how it was done. Moreover, they’re raced with us before and know how we roll. They’d come to see the carnage and, if they could, cause more. Rob had pulled out all the stops to put on a proper race with the full start gate and a very well prepared track. He might as well have rolled out a red carpet. With series leader Swinny absent due to work commitments it left the rest of us hungry for points to try and catch him up in the series standings. After a few practice laps and a bit of instruction we got straight down to the racing, with 19 of us we didn’t quite get to race everyone else but not far off. Speedway uses a predefined grid system to define who races who and in which lane you start. We rattled through the preliminaries pretty quickly but not without incident. The lack of brakes and straight line sprint meant many riders ended up on the track loosing various amounts of skin. Josh Lewis took a great rag doll tumble and Joe Bowman went down really hard on his knee but manned up and kept racing.

Prelims Grid

Once thorough the Prelims we were divided up in to finals, A to E. The E’s went first to decide the wooden spoon and no one wanted to be last. Lane positions were chosen at random by drawing a ball out of a hat. It was hard fought but Irwin came out on top with Steve Hardcastle walking away with the booby prize. The A final was contended between Tim Pearson, Jack Bauer and myself. Jack had been commended by Rob all night on his skills on the bike, he cornered like a natural. Tim, as ever, can ride any bike bloody quick. I got a lucky draw with lane 1 for the final, a real advantage to be able to get the inside line on the first corner. I managed to hold off the other two and walk away with the gold medal. Tim did a great job of holding Jack off to take second.


Then came the Challenge. Two of the team riders wanted to take on Tim and I in a team race, who were we to say no. As we walked up to the start line Aiden Wild, the challenger, proudly said “He’s going down in the first corner” while looking at me sending ripples of laughter throughout the crowd. Now I being 6’2” didn’t think I had much to fear from a 5’4” 15 year old, how wrong could I have been. The start of the race was rerun about 5 times as we couldn’t get through the first corner. Twice Aiden put me straight down and I couldn’t do anything about his tiny shoulder getting under mine and knocking my front wheel out of the way. Then I managed to get my wheel in to his and just about stay upright but ran with my feet so we had another restart. Then Tim and I switched lanes to try and at least get through the first corner and on the second try we were finally off. As you’ll see documented in the video it wasn’t the cleanest of races. I’ll not say anything other than, they got what they deserved.

So to the points, 16 points for the win as usual with a linear distribution down the standings. Jody also picks up top points for being the highest placed (only) lady.

Spring Series – Round 7 – Cycle Speedway
Position Final Name Points
1 A Nick Hamilton 16
2 A Tim Pearson 15
3 A Jack Bauer 14
4 B Joe Bowman 13
5 B Will Swinden 12
6 B Chris Pearson 11
7 B Ruari Hallam 10
8 C Josh Lewis 9
9 C Ally Fraser 8
10 C Shane Townsend 7
11 C Daz 6
12 D Rob Jolley 5
13 D Ol Green 4
14 D Rich Baybutt 3
15 D Jody Vallance 16
16 E James Irwin 1
17 E Martin Baker 1
18 E Duncan Philpott 1
19 E Steve

The Series standings are getting closer and closer with only one race left. Swinny is still out in front, with myself and Tim in 2nd and 3rd. With Martin Baker moving down the standings, Chris Pearson and Ruari both move up and Jody retains here Leading Lady status.

Spring Series Standings
Position Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Total
1 Swinny 15 16 16 15 16 78
2 Nick Hamilton 12 11 11 9 11 7 16 77
3 Tim Pearson 16 6 15 9 14 15 75
4 Will Swinden 16 14 13 1 2 12 58
5 Chris Pearson 8 10 1 12 12 11 54
6 Ruari Hallam 11 14 13 1 10 49
7 jody Vallance 1 15 16 16 48
8 Jolley 1 10 7 8 15 5 46
9 Martin Baker 14 1 1 1 14 13 1 45
10 Steve taylor 12 12 1 13 38
11 Jordon Gould 15 15 6 36
12 Ally Fraser 10 2 7 1 1 5 8 34
13 Joe Mallinson 1 13 8 1 6 29
14 Dave James 1 10 11 22
15 Adam Wiles 1 7 1 10 19
15 Joe Bowman 2 4 13 19
17 Katie Hallam 1 16 17
17 Simon Choppin 1 1 15 17
17 Matt Hunt 9 1 1 1 5 17
20 Jack read 16 16
20 Liz Bowman 16 16
20 Hanna Jonsson 16 16
23 Tom Stewart 15 15
24 Davi Birks 14 14
24 John Inman 13 1 14
24 Luke Meredith 14 14
24 Rob Stokes 13 1 14
24 Jack Bauer 14 14
28 Steve
6 6 1 13
28 Shane Townsend 3 1 1 1 7 13
30 Cheggers 1 11 12
30 Ed Thomsett 12 12
32 Danny Whitehead 5 2 4 11
32 Dave Camus 1 4 6 11
32 Chris Davey 10 1 11
32 Simon Bowns 1 10 11
36 Malco 9 9
36 Nat Hay 9 9
36 Ol Green 1 1 1 2 4 9
36 Josh Lewis 9 9
40 Henry Norman 8 8
40 Sam Taylor 7 7
40 Oli Cooper 7 7
43 Alex Owen 1 5 6
43 Duncan Philpott 2 3 1 6
43 James Irwin 3 1 1 1 6
43 Daz 6 6
47 Dean Dobson 5 5
47 Dave Mitchell 5 5
47 Ivor Biggun 5 5
50 Duncan Wiggans 4 4
50 Rich Baybutt 1 3 4
52 Franky
3 3
52 Denis Cumming 2 1 3
52 Neil Hunt 3 3
55 Oscar Monk 2 2
56 Harry Tate 1 1
56 Simon Fagg 1 1
56 Tom Kahler 1 1
56 Will Shaw 1 1
56 James Crossland 1 1
56 Sam Reeve 1 1
56 Chris Palmer 1 1
56 Marco Wood-Bonelli 1 1
56 John Horscroft 1 1
56 Jake Monk 1 1

Tonight is the last round of the Series, a classic XC loop from 18 bikes in Hope. Its all left to play for depending on who turns up.

Is This Sheffield?

Nope, i’m at the Megavalanche in Alpe D’Huez about to go into Sundays world of pain.

Pretty bus ride from Allemont.

85mph blowout on the way here. Just like Gee Atherton’s Continentals at Mt St Anne……

Banshee tucked away in the back of the @vivarosport #keepsfuckingbreakingdown

Do you recognise this well travelled Frenchmans tent? Clue: Sideshow Bob.


Middle pointy mountain top= pain tommorow.


Banshee Legend…..

Got out for a quick first ride on the new Legend at Le Tour yesterday….

Initial impressions are limited so far as I only cracked two laps out. I can say its very different to the Sunday I have come off, but its kinda strange to be on a DH bike again after having 6 months of exclusively riding the XC bike.

It rides much more planted than the Sunday, it doesn’t appear to be a bike that pops and floats its way down the trail, more of a monster truck charger bike…..which I think will be good for me, with a little style adjustment, as I only ride the DH bike on big tracks/races these days.
The suspension is so supple, I wound the pro-pedal all the way off as soon as I got it and headed for a run, first thing I noticed was how quiet the thing is. Literally silent. Awesome. Secondly it feels like the rear end is far far superior to any other suspension I have ridden (probably because the shock is not blown yet!) it just sits in the sag and grips like crazy! Small bump sensitivity is ridiculous, mid stoke feels great but I can’t say I have sent her into any hucker’s-neck inducing big hits yet….

This bike seems to grip like mad in the turns. I cant quite get used to it yet. I found myself struggling with some corners to be honest, Bowman noticed this on his first ride too. Its strange, I cant quite put it into words just yet, but it just feels like I am railing everywhere on the back wheel. I hope this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, its more that its so grippy at the rear, I need to get more weight over the front to get that front wheel gripping and guiding where we are going….

Anyway, enough of the chat….BIG BIG thanks to Banshee bikes, Bowman for setting it up,  and to others that helped me out with the build like Ian and Sat lad at Edinburgh bikes Sheffield and Persist components.

Race Report: BDS Catch up

Race Report: BDS Catch up

Its been a confusing season so far to say the least. Things couldn’t have started better way back in February when i finished 7th in my first Expert race at Nant Gwrtheyrn on my Pitch, only a few seconds from a podium on a course which far from suited a short travel bike. Then things continued to roll forward when in March, i finished 2nd to Peaty at the incredible Steel City race.

Since that confidence inspiring start, things haven’t exactly gone to plan.

Rd.1 Nant G – March 20th

Only a month had passed since i rode my Pitch to 7th on exactly the same track, i was feeling quietly confident yet reserved about the weekend ahead. It was a wet one to say the least and the track was changing yet holding up, with mud parting way for more of the rock that lay under it.

Saturday – went as standard, clean with the odd crash but nothing major, just getting into the swing of things and dialing in my lines before race day.

Sunday rolled around and the weather was bleak, a couple of practice runs in the morning and i was feeling good. Quali then came around and as i sat in the van keeping warm and waiting for my time to ride, an incident occurred to one of the riders on course causing Quali to be red flagged for a while, not to worry i thought, keep warm and things will be under way again soon. This was not to be the case as the rider had hurt himself more than we at the top were told and he was trapped on track.

The organizers then had to make a big decision to cancel Quali and go straight into race runs. With the weather being so bad the light was already fading so this surely was the best option. Unfortunately i let this affect me too much, i snoozed a bit to much and got comfortable in my warm environment. Once my race run came around i had to try and wake myself up and get back into the mood. i struggled to do this and as a consequence i failed in hitting my high line in the devil rock section, causing me to tumble over the bars and rip my mech into my spokes. End of. I pushed to the bottom as there was no other way to get off the track. 47th was the end result, last place.

Rd.2 Moelfre – 10th April.

A track that has treat me kind in the past, my first UK win came at this venue and i was feeling confident to banish Rd.1 from my mind.

It was a scorching weekend with the sun out both days. I had Joe Bow and Duncan in support taking snaps and cheering me on so that was a nice plus.

Saturday – Went well, a flat rear tyre but that was all. Just out enjoying ridding in the sunshine.

Sunday – A couple more practice runs to dial in my line and ready for Quali. Which went well, 12th place after not pedaling the whole top/mid part of the track. On a track which is pretty basic flat out riding/pedaling. I have been working hard on my fitness over the winter and felt good on the pedals after a whole bunch of xc ragging.

Race run started great, hit all my lines and pedaled hard. I cleaned the top part of the track and carried good speed through the tight switchbacks, shot over the crossing and headed along the traverse pedaling hard all the way. It felt like i was carrying good speed and i shot off the last drop only to find myself land a lot further out than i had planned, front wheel landed right on a pointy rock and that was that, a flat front tyre. I was devastated as it was the last harsh place i could have had such a problem. DNF end result.

Rd.3 Glencoe – 29th May

What a venue! a track i hadnt previously done and on arrival i was instantly excited. From the bottom you could see nearly the whole track on the steep hillside facing you. It looked incredible, steep and rocky and very, very wet.

Saturday – Managed 2 runs due to some bad timing! i arrived in time for some one to fall and hurt themselves, this delayed things, did a run, someone else got hurt, did another run, wind caused havoc, went to to do another and noticed a cascade of yellow florescent jackets coming down the hill. was practice over? yes it was. oh well. i Enjoyed the track and looked forward to Sunday.

Sunday – One more practice run and i was buzzing. the track was very technical and difficult  to clean top to bottom without a scary moment but i felt good and happy on the bike. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas, the wind picked up and the chairlift looked to be struggling. riders getting blown harshly from side to side, some heard to have come in contact with the Pillars. A meeting was held and the decision to cancel the event was confirmed. A real shame but probably the right thing to do.

Rd.4 LLangollen – 26th June

Not a track i have enjoyed in the past for some reason i have no idea why.. its a brilliant venue and you can see riders from top to bottom as the tumble down the steep hillside. there isn’t a whole lot to the track, no real tree roots, no big rocks, pretty smooth compared to other tracks, just very steep. why i haven’t enjoyed this in the past is beyond me.. this time however i was having great fun! loving the steeps and trying to flow as best as possible from top to bottom.

Saturday – things started wet and muddy but so much fun, sliding down the hillside pretty uncontrollably was a real challenge but a laugh non the less. i had one big crash on the fast traverse, things were roughing up down there and before i knew it my hand was off the bars and in front of me, then i hit the ground pretty hard. fortunately for me iv had some good practice when it comes to crashing so was able to comfortably tuck and roll out of it before i got too hurt.. for the speed of the crash damage was very minimal.

Sunday – The sun had been out since late on Saturday and continued to shine all Sunday. The track went from slightly moist slippy dirt to dust in places! A real contrast from Saturday morning but again as loose but this time even faster! I had felt good During practice, Put 6 runs in Saturday and was 2nd an down the hill on Sunday and went on to do 2 more practice runs, i had my lines comfortable, no big risks, just wanted to clean this track. Quali came around and things were really hot by this time. i was keeping cool hiding out in the wagon waiting for my time to come. Quali went well, i made one or two minor errors, one being scrubbing the banking on the top pedal traverse causing me to loose my momentum. This wasn’t too bad as i qualified 6th, only 1.8 seconds back. was my luck starting to change? I went back to the wagon happy with my time and thought about my race tun ahead. i was confident of a top 5 podium finish.

Race run started good, i didn’t pedal as hard as quali as i wanted to avoid scrubbing the banking again, top went smooth, dropped into the first steep, went pretty good, nailed the traverse pretty fast, cleaned the bottom steep, sent the drops and pedaled hard to line. 3.6 seconds back?! what?! that was a clean run and i went slower than quali! i ended up 4 seconds down on first place. Pretty disappointed with myself as i felt i should really have done much better than that. Thinking back i just didnt attack enough on the steeps, i comfortably rode them with no major force being put through myself or bike. 21st end result.

And thats that for now, looking forward to a short break from the bike and going to aim to come back strong for Fort William.

Thanks to all those who have supported me this season, sorry for the lack of top results!

Special thanks to:

Duncan Philpot for all his amazing pictures

and especially Ma and Pa Swinden and Marian (for putting up with my moaning all season)

Cheers, Swinny

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