Ed T 3rd at Pearce Cycles Round 1 Hopton
This weekend just gone was the first round of the Pearce Cycles series at the classic venue of Hopton Woods. I was pretty excited to meet up with guys I hadn’t seen all winter and do some runs, but more importantly try and have the fastest trains down the hill and the most extended bow leggers over the stepdown haha!
We arrived on Saturday morning to blazing sunshine and a dusty track. The track started off with some nice mellow turns mixed up with a few little jumps and root sections. Out of the woods were some more flat out turns and a few tasty stump hucking lines, before diving back into trees. The turns of the old track had been taped off into a loamy straight line with lots of roots appearing over the weekend. After the last fireroad the track got really fast with a bomb down into a berm and over a stepdown into another berm before getting on the pedals for the final section; a bus stop around a fallen tree and a turn down into the finish tabletop. Practice went well and trying to hang on to the back of a loose brakeless norweigen certainly makes you up your game!
Overnight the heavens opened and first thing Sunday the track was rather moist. It was so wet that it rode really well, your wheels just cut straight through the mud. Some morning showers kept the track running fast for first race runs. I had a really good run for 2/3rds of the track and hit all my lines, but then near the bottom I washed out a turn and had to roll a jump, then further down I got a bit excited and braked too late into a bus stop and ended up sliding into a big stump missing the high line and losing my feet; so I was surprised when I went into 3rd. The finish area was super slick as well and I took a rather graceful slide on my back trying to stop!
After first runs it didn’t rain again and by 2nd race runs the track had got pretty claggy and hard going and very few riders managed to better their first run time. I rode the top as fast as I could but realised it wasn’t as fast as my first run so I just sat down and cruised the rest of the track. After a slower second run I was happy to hang on to 3rd and get on the box for my first race as part of This Is Sheffield. The mandatory post race BK finished off the weekend and I’m looking forward to round 2 at Bringewood.
Thanks to Pearce cycles, This Is Sheffield and Royal Racing for the fresh threads!