Caersws was the venue for the 2010 English champs, a hillside once stooped with deep forestry now felled to tree stumps, 2 team riders coming off the back of wins and a maiden voyage for the new mega team bus.
Plus i learnt..
Swinie preparing for race day.
I know Swin has just put a report up but as I had already written this, I figure we can have two…!
So this weekend was the first race held at new downhill venue Nant Gwrtheyrn. Nant G, as I will now call it due to epic Welsh spelling complexity, is situated on the northern side of the Llyn peninsula in an old disused mining village that has been converted to the Welsh language and heritage centre, and for last weekend a downhill race venue.
A weekend of domination for thisisheffield over at Nant Gwrtheyrn! On a technically challenging track were the slightest of mistake meant a big loss in time, riders had to be precise with line choice and keep things flowing from top to bottom on a steep, rocky track. Bobby Stokez, on a rare racing appearance, dropping the bomb on Saturday with a storming run, putting 5.4 seconds into the rest of the senior field! A time of 2.27.398 put him 7th fastest of the day overall. Enter more races please with performances like that. Swinny struggled to get to grips with the steeps and rocks on Saturday but was good enough for 3rd place on the day, a time of 2.34.097 was good enough for 14th fastest overall but still plenty of improvement was needed to get up to Bobs speed and make up the 6.5 seconds gap he had put into his teammate.
Sunday rolled around and Bob had decided to take on some other Welsh tracks so Sheffields hopes rested on the shoulders of Myself. After a couple of practice runs and noticing a bolt had fallen out the bottom of my forks, letting fork oil drip onto my disk (no wonder i had no working front brake all weekend!) A quick brake swap and a clean disk and things were as good as new, all that was needed was a spot of manning up.
A first run time of 2.30.86 was a sign of definite improvement but more was needed during my second run to take the win on the Sunday and show that i had actually manned up to the track in front of me.
Second run was a massive boost again as i crossed the line with a 2.27.634, good enough for the Senior win by over a second and good enough for 10th fastest run of the day. Not quite good enough to beat Bobs time on Saturday but more than happy with the time i had posted on a track i wasn’t best suited to.
Bobby Stokez though was the performer of the weekend and his little face sure was as smiley as a Potato Smiley stood on the top step of the podium.
A great result for the team which hopefully can follow onto the next race in a weeks time.
(Photos were taken but after a hectic tidy i lost the camera, photos will be updated once the camera is found!)
Mixed emotions from the national champs this past weekend.
A second top five finish in succession but what could have been if i were able to avoid another race run crash? 5th place and 8 seconds off the top spot left me feeling disappointed to have fallen so close to the finish line yet pleased to have finished on the podium.
Weather wasn’t brilliant with a low mist swirling around the hillside in the morning but the track up at AE dried up quickly throughout the day, speeding up the track but giving a false impression of what some sections would be like when the rain was due for Sunday race day.
The track was great fun, fast with the odd technical section thrown in, bug jumps and challenging but funny sections, all in all, just a fun track to ride on.
I did a few runs Saturday with Jack Reading as we line spotted and tried out a few different approaches to sections. the main focus being on the sketchy rock garden. After stopping to spy the line a few times and gapping into it, i went for the big gap at race pace, only to bottom out onto a rack and smash my chain ring and chain device up a bit.
Big thanks to Jack for sorting me out with a new chain ring and spare roller for the chain device.
Bike fixed and the rest of Saturday went well and things were really speeding up, the big gap was somewhat avoided slightly as i didn’t want to break more components, especially not my own. Jack posted the fastest timed run on Saturday, good work buddy.
SUNDAY – Race day
The rain had come in through the night and made things pretty wet and interesting for race day. I struggled massively with the tight tree section up near the top of the track and came off both practice runs and seeding suffering a pretty nasty dead leg which hampered me for the rest of the day. Seeding was reasonable and i came 9th knowing without the crash i would be able to finish well in the finals.
Finals came around and i was excited to go racing! I got to the top early so i could try to get my brakes working.. but i failed, thanks avid.
Nerves didn’t really set in as i was enjoying the track so much, all was going good until the tight tree section, i took it steady coming into and said to myself if anything looked like it was going wrong i would drop both feet off just to get through it! Felt like a rank amateur but my method worked, got through slowly with a stall but better than coming off the bike. The rest of the track was running well and i felt like i was hitting sections faster than all weekend, confidence was high and i felt comfortable, until i came off on the exit of a tree stump corner, right before an uphill section. I went on to nail the steep tech section and flew round the last few bends and sent it off the final sketchy drop and over the line. I went into first but with the crash new it wouldn’t be enough. 5th place was the result, stoked to be on the podium but devastated knowing the stall and crash possibly cost me the win.. Good weekend though.