So here it is – did a hangover stop Mrs Cath Tilford smashing farmer Johns – no it did not! read on….
I’ve raced Farmer Johns MTB park now for over 1 year, so I guess you could say I know it well. Its done me no end of good in terms of developing my skills, confidence and its been a great introduction towards me completing in bigger events. Again I find myself excited by prospect of new team, good friends and another challenge.
Its not the steepest of tracks nor is it the most technical, in fact you could say its quite flat in places, and those that have ridden it will know, it never ceases to deliver good quality fun and atmosphere.
Yet, this time I really really had to dig deep to even ride my bike let alone race, having gone Team TRG Karting the day before and had a few too many beers, my energy reserves were low and I struggled especially with upper body strength, a battle already lost by fellow team members Mcdermott, White, Kean and a husband who spent the afternoon drinking tea, heckling or behind the lens nursing their hangovers. Yet, Molloy, Hill and Ward were ready to show the young prodigies how its done.
My practice consisted of a few scruffy runs of the bottom section but only one full practice, in a bid to preserve energy for the race I missed out the gap jump due to the muddy conditions. A couple of hours later, was I ready to race?…not in the slightest but I was determined to give it my best shot.
So I wandered over to the “muck off team” with a slightly nauseous stomach I hoped that cleaning my bike with would give a perception that loosing a ton of mud may make me ride faster with less effort!!!!
After a bit of pre race banter with the other 3 girls in the women’s category I prepared early at the start ramp and began to think through the line choices, I knew I had to peddle and stay off the brakes where possible and I knew I had to hit the gap if I was to get a good time.
The race beeps sounded and I took a deep breath as I got into position. I raced out of the start hut and took a line over the grass to the left and drifted around the immediate berms with a little feather of the back brake, through the trees and out into the open section. I peddled to clear the small table tops but only managed to land them half way. I pretty much rode the cat litter tray in a straight line to carry as much speed as possible and then swiftly changed gear to give plenty of cranks towards the gap jump.
As I didn’t hit this in practice I knew I’d have to give it several enormous cranks to get over it and I knew this was essential to getting a good time. I didn’t think it was even possible to give it too much but somehow I ended up overshooting it and panic breaking as I landed in the banking to the left narrowly avoiding the fence…I swore rather loudly and wished I had the “moto” skills of Danny Hart having felt like I lost a shit load of speed. I swiftly pointed my bike…in “one direction only” and got back on the peddles to regain some speed.
The track from this point runs over a series of rock gardens via the berms, hitting the gap jump well should usually give plenty of speed but I felt heavy as I opted to pump them and rode towards the wooden table and over the hut jump.
The bottom section was a line not used since last year and this time it included the drop into the fast sweeping left handed berm that really kicked out extra speed into a tight switchback, steep rooty section into a final couple of slippy corners towards the finish.
I immediately knew I didn’t have the run that I wanted…loosing more speed on the final corner I practically came to a stop, costing me time, I was in second place.
My second race run, I decided I needed to get a better line over the gap jump and have a clean run in the wooded section. I also realised that I needed to utilise my gears more something that I’ve not really considered in other races. At the race beeps I peddled out of the start gate and into the immediate berms, again drifting down the line through the trees… Again I cranked several times toward the gap jump but rather than overshoot I nearly didn’t make it at all as I lifted the front end I dropped the back wheel on the lip!!! but it didn’t cost me too much time as it gave me the speed I needed to clear the rock garden, rail the berms like a roller coaster and into the wooded section with a new found confidence…and clean over the finish line …..had I done enough??? I sure did. I managed to make nearly 9 seconds on my previous time and secured a mighty 1st Place.
My final race of 2013 as a member of TRG was a success, having found a new confidence and a new speed, I feel ready to push my skills in racing and I’m looking forwards to 2014.
Cath Tilford 1st Ladies
Mick Hill 1st Vets
James Hurst 1st Youth
So here it is Liams Race report from Chopwell:
Here it was. The final race of 2013 at Chopwell organised by the guys at NorthernDownHill. Not only was this the teams last race for 2013 but the last race I would be doing on my trusty Devinci. With this been a season ending race, me, Blake, Rich and both Micks were keen as always to put in a good result.
Around 8am we arrived and signed on. It was abit chilly but when we saw how much pedalling was needed we soon got the blood pumping. After 2 or 3 practice runs I called it a day and chilled out in the van for my race. The rest of the lads put in a few more to get every part of the track dialled.
The race was classes as a trail bike TT. Therefore an enduro bike was most likely the best bet for putting in a quick time. Unfortunatley I had no other choice than my dh bike. Mick Hill rode his hardtail kona and Mick Waud, Rich and Blake chose to use their dh rigs.
My 1st race run went smoothly with not as much pedalling as I should of but I placed 2nd, 4seconds behind 1st place. I was happy but wasn’t settled. I could smell 1st place and that’s what I wanted. In the meantime the other lads put in their run and had a good one except Blake who unfortunatley had a minor off the track moment.
After a re-group at the van and a few rude things drawn on Riches number board we were ready to get our arses in gear. This time there was no messing about. A heavy dh bike wasn’t goin to stop me putting the power down in every corner. I wanted to make my time up and wanted it badly. Pedalling through every section I could I blocked out the pain. Reaching the finish with my legs feeling like led I made up my time and planted 1st place. With been chuffed to bits I made my way to the woods to watch my team mates come through and give them some abuse. First through were the old boys who looked very fast. Poor little Richard, god I’ve never seen that guy pedal so hard! His head was bobbing and he was hungry for it. Mick Hill finished 6th Mick Waud 8th and rich 9th. We then all Waited for Blakey boy to come through until one racer took a tumble injuring his knee which called the race to be delayed. Meanwhile me and Mick Hill helped carry him down on the stretcher. (Hope you heal up soon enough mate!) the race was then resumed and we cheered Blake on to get those legs moving. He came down smashing into the berm and hopped over the rock with his shoulder scrapping the tree. Man he looked quick! He was on it! We soon caught up with Blake for him to tell us he finished 7th out of 53 which is awesome!. I could secretly tell he wasn’t happy but bearing in mind 85% of people were on enduro bikes and he pedalled his little heart out on his transition.
As the darkness closed in the podiums were done and the flow of traffic was creeping out of the forest.
During the journey back watching the white lines on the motorway disappear underneath the van I was thinking what a great season Trg has had with so many great results and so many laughs with each other. It’s quite sad to see the old bike go and 2013 disapear into memories and results on roots and rain.
Coming from everyone at TeamRockGardener, thankyou to all of our sponsors for supporting us all through 2013 and to everyone else who has done the same and we look forward to working with our current and new sponsors throughout 2014. Also thankyou to Carl at NorthernDownHill for putting on this event and everyone else who helped out.
New team members Ben & Cath had a great weekend at the Urban X race – here’s Ben’s Race report:
So this was our second race as official members of TRG. Cath didn’t race Urban X’s Help for Heros race last year as she was ill. I did and some how managed to pull a 1st in Masters so this year I was feeling the pressure and knew there were a fair few gunning for me.
We had been down the day before to have a little practice as we’d had a few weeks off our bikes and knew we were a little out of shape. Meeting up with a few others the basically went like this… push up, ride, crash, hail, rain, hail, home!
Not feeling a 100% percent we rocked up nice and early to get some more bike time in. It’s hard to go to these grass roots events and get your race face on straight away as they are so social but that’s what we love, so after saying our hellos we headed up to the track. The sky was clear blue and sun was warming us up nicely but reports of the track was bogged up in the middle single track and top half was full of water.
After watching a debate on who should drop in first in front of us I rolled into the top shoot trying not to obsess over where I had an off the day before but sadly I couldn’t help myself and slid out in the exact same spot but managed to recover and stay on track. After several runs at it I had a new safer line dialled and was feeling good.
The middle Section was bogged up and wet, heading back into the woods it was rough, greasy and wetter. Not wanting to waste energy we only did one full run an sessioned the sections that needed attention.
Race runs came and I knew the Masters field was littered with guys that could take my mantle from last year, I would need to put in a pretty much perfect run in to keep it! I dropped in and hit my lines clearing everything and carrying some definite speed, cheers to Blakey Boy and his secret line out of the last bit of top section, wow that was fast!
Into the middle and I was already out of gas, having raised my seat for this bit I sat down and put in some xc strokes. The sun was aiming straight down the single track and creating some full on glare. Feeling the bike going I slid off to the right, half expecting to get pulled fully into the under growth but some how managing to find my way back onto track only to slide off to the left. Now pedalling my ass off just to get back up to speed I knew I was going to struggle with the entrance back into the woods where it gets a little ruff again.
As I was about to enter I emerged out of the bus stop to be greeted by a yapping little dog and a group of people screaming! Avoiding this feisty little chap I pushed on chuckling as I could here the owners shouting to come back, it was chasing me!
Now into the last section I managed to keep the switch backs nice and smooth and just pedalled as much as my legs would let me and finally choosing to trust the root riddled berms I broke out of the woods completely spent…
I watched genuine fast lads Paul & Craig pop out and across the finsh. After some banter they had both put in faster times. I knew I had more if I could keep the middle clean and was amped for the second run.
Sadly one of the riders had a serous crash and the race was called off after the 1st runs. We really hope Simon makes a speedy recovery, best wishes to you dude!
Catching up with Cath she was very pleased to tell me she was comfortably in 1st but I had already guessed this as she was looking pinned all morning. Even with a second run there was no real worry with her runs consistently being faster than her 1st.
We would both like to thank our new team and team boss, it’s good to be in a team that works as a team. We can’t wait for the new season!
Thanks to Trev & Co for the event and Dave for the pictures.
It was great to see everyone
Cath Tilford 1st Women
Ben Tilford 3rd Masters
With low numbers due to a bad weather forecast predicted across the uk numbers were a little low and all the fair weather riders were a little put off. But not the fantastic 4! Me, rich, mick Waud and Mick Hill grew a pair and got ourselves down to the welsh lands of caersws. I wasn’t too fussed about the weather to be honest, with it been my final points race, final bc ranked race as a junior and possibly my last race report written as a junior I just wanted a great day with my mates and a great result.
As I currently sit here writing this on the bus on the way to college I can’t help but think back what a laugh we had sliding around in the welsh mud and watching Rodeo Hill live up to his name and tumble down the hillside.
Caersws was a one day thing for us. I was picked up by rich and mick w at 5:45 and later met up with mick hill and James at McDonalds.
As we arrived at the track the rain tumbled down almost straight away. We threw our kit on and made our way to the uplift.
On out first run down I couldn’t stop laughing, to the point where it was actually affecting my riding. I was following Mick rodeo Hill down and to watch him sliding all over really made my day. We were loving it. Further down course I spotted a nice line and went for it. Unfortunatley I ended up sliding sideways towards Mick, which then caused him to look back and end up riding through the tape. With both of us piss wet through we couldn’t help but laugh. We were met by Mick w, Rich and James at the bottom of the track, all looking like drowned rats. We all agreed to keep out spirits high and get back up the hill.
Practice was going good and surprisingly I felt confident and upto speed. Race runs soon came about and up the hill on the trailer we went. I was first the first man down out of TRG. And could already feel the wind holding me back. Through the top section I was strong and in control. The conditions weren’t bothering me much until through the woods where I went a little off line to loose myself a little time. I crossed the line in 2nd place behind a local lad. The rest of the boys came down, some with crashes some without. But more importantly second runs were ready to smash.
Rich was feeling very excited as he was in front of Mick w due to a crash. We gathered at the top and tried to keep warm from the icy cold gusts of wind and lashing rain. Setting off from the start I could really feel the wind picking up. I knew I had to push a little more this run to keep up in the table. But before I knew it I was down. I jumped back on and overkill kicked in, I was down again. I rolled the rest and crossed the line with a much slower time and settled for 2nd.
On the other hand Mick Hill bagged 1st and believe it or not Rich bagged 2nd! My god he was chuffed as little mint balls. Mick Waud came across the line hard on the pedals but unfortunatley it wasn’t enough for the podium and finished 4th. He tried his best but sometimes the track gets the better of you. And this was the case. James also came in looking a little pissed off with a not so good run. But at the end of the day this was winter racing at its best.
So in a nut shell TRG Racing receive 3 podiums with ;
Micheal Hill in 1st vets
Rich Molloy in 2nd vets
Mick Waud in 4th vets
And little me in 2nd juniors.
We had an early finish and was away for 3, already thinking about next season as the sun eventually started to show.
Thank you to Mike Marsden (boarderline events) for such a great, well organised day and to everyone else who made it happen.
Michael Rodeo Hill Crash report, Moelfre.
After a successful come back from injury with my first ever 1st place at farmer johns last week end. I set off to Moelfre with my new side kick James, with the usual macky D stop on the way. An hour later we was there walking the crass scenes, little did I know! Not much had changed from the previous races I’d done there before.
First run down went ok and steady. 2nd wanted to come out of a berm n my bike didn’t so off I went sliding down the grass looking for and finding rocks with hip n little finger
3rd run followed my bike of the track picking some thorny bushes and track tape up on the way, eventually stopping at the side of a nice man who help to untangle me and get me on the way.
Decided to soften my front a little and boom, pinned my 4th and 5th run, the confidence was there, sliding into berms and hooking into them (very nice).
On the up lift for my 6th run I got talking to some nice men from the Army Downhill Team, I asked if I could follow them as they weren’t using there loser levers(brakes) in a few places and would help me to carry more speed. Off we went and just managing to stay with them until I smash my self into a berm. Winding me like I’ve never been winded before it felt like id dislocated half my ribs, the army guys stopped and helped me to get going again. Then hitting the big jump, landing flat and bouncing me of the track, for another trip through some more thorny bushes for a good hundred yards, re joining the track momentarily only to get bucked off.
The army guys then took over the reins as one had crashed just after where I landed, so off we went again over the road gap. One had gone off the track and an other crashed watching his mate go off. So we though it best just to cruise down and call it a day and just for good measure off I went again!
After cleaning the bikes we were off to the b n b with my confidence and body bruised. Cleaned my self up and then off for a few ciders and give James a good frashing at pool, then back to the b n b and on to their massage chair(you don’t get that at every b n b) for 12 mins of pleasure/pain !
Sunday morning came to fast and was time to meet the rest of the team. We all put a good few practice runs in with out any offs and feeling confident.
1st race run, Richard got down with no incidents. Mr Waud lost the back end over the big jump losing time. My turn, got down to the straight section and off I went again got going pretty quick only to come off again(I forgot to pick some thorny bushes up). Tony boom rooky Kay tried riding down with steamed up goggles and little Liam not quit smashing a berm half way down.
All of the team felt they could do better, the only problem was the heavens and opened and the track got a little bit wet. I got a clean run until I caught a rider up losing me a little time but still improved my time. Tony knocked about 5 secs off his time.
Crash results:- Michael Hill 7
Michael Waud 1
Liam McDermott 1
Tony Boom Rooky Kay 0
Richard Molloy 0
Glad to be keeping the winning streak going!
I’d like to say a big thank you to Richard and all our sponsors for a brilliant 2013 session and really looking forward to the support in 2014, Michael Rodeo Hill
After a long excited wait for farmer johns race weekend I was soon packing the car with my tent and bike ready for a weekend of madness.
A quick pitch up of the tent and practice was underway. There had been a few changes on track and it was running sweet. The most tricky part of the track for me was one rooty off camber corner. But after far too many attempts I had it dialed.
All the team we’re having a right time and it was good to welcome our new team members, Ben and cath into our team. This was their first race for us so both were hoping for a cracking result.
Strangely enough the weather was on form and I was looking forward to the fancy dress race that evening. The lights were lining the track ready for us nutters to fly down in fancy dress. A quick change later into my clown outfit everyone was ready in their costumes some funny, some strange and well…. Some just odd. The darkness dawned on us and the lights were lit.
This was by far the funniest race I have done. The atmosphere was amazing with the hecklers and everybody was having a good time.
We had two race runs on the loomy track filled with berms, smoke, darkness, camera flashes and noise. I came down with a time of 34seconds Which put me in 3rd place.
I must admit the rest of the night was pretty wild. With the redbull dj blasting out the dubstep we were even having a mosh pit with josh bryceland!
Waking up in the morning myself, Blake,Danny, Tony Ben and cath felt fine. Mick hill on the other hand felt a little worn after a few beers and his nice little lie in. We were soon greeted by team manager rich and team mate mick Waud. A few hand shakes later we were back on track for our morning practice.
Racing commenced around 1pm and before I knew it I was sat in the start gate. I knew what I had to do and kept myself calm. Powering out the start gate and down the log steps I was into a sprint even keeping my cranks spinning in the air, there was no slowing me down. I was feeling stong and fit (for once).
Entering the woods a spectator was shouting stop with no red flag, I saw in the distance a rider getting up. I could tell he was okay so I ignored him an carried on. As I his the berms at top speed and leant into the floor my head narrowly missed him….. With my kenda nevagals holding my grip it was the best overtake I have done. The crowd couldn’t believe I got away with it and I carried on steaming through the woods. Through the bottom of the woods I heard my name being yelled and horns being blown. Hopping over the roots I hit hit my lines and put in such a smooth run. I crossed the line in 1:16. Currently in 1st I felt confident for my second run. But I knew the fast lads still had enough left for a fast run. We all had a cracking run, with Blakey also in first in the hard tail category he was also feeling confident.
I had less pressure for my second run and I was really looking forward to getting stuck in.
Through the top half of the track I was speed tucking, pedalling where I could and and pumping every little hump. The wood section was a little out of shape but I made it through clean. I powered through beating my time by a fraction of a second. That was it. There was nothing more I could do but it was plenty enough to keep me in 1st place.
All my team mates also got excellent results with new team member cath bagging a 2nd in the women’s category, Mick HIll 1st vets, Richie Molloy 12th vets, Mick Waud 4th vets, Tony Kay 3rd Masters, Ben Tilford 6th masters and Danny Kean 13th seniors.
I must say it has been the best weekend I’ve had in a long time. Just want to say thankyou to everyone that made this event possible. And our sponsors who continue to be great.
It’s not all downhilling…. well it is most of the time but this weekend Tony Kay decided to bike up the hills before racing down them, here’s this race report:
Omg gravity enduro round 5 done!!! Hell of a weekend but loved it !
Seeding started on Saturday with me getting a front flat about 30 seconds into the track and i decided to still ride it down on the rim with every one cheering me on ha finished with a 2.52 and still wasn’t last with a flat should of got a 2.05-ish.
So Sunday stage one which is also the seeding run and stage 6 I set off. Being seeded near the back I had slow riders in front of me but the guys in front were nice enough to let me past if I did catch them. So setting off on stage one I caught my 20 second rider in front of me quite quick with-in 40 seconds or so, only 10 seconds later of passing him another front flat tyre I couldn’t believe it as I was flying trying to make up for the seeding time. So decided to push down this time to avoid smashing my rim. Got to the bottom in last place ha and quickly changed my tube which was a pain with a crappy small pump. By the time I had made it to stage 2 all the masters had gone and I received a 3 min time penalty Did stage 2 with no real problems apart from being tired as hell from rushing to get the stage 2. Stages 3,4,5 went really well with me catching my 20 seconds guys on every stage and on stage 5 made 40 seconds as caught the next guy as well
Ok onto the last stage the dreaded seeding stage, stage 1!!! I set off smashing it as fury took over me, over took my 20 seconds guy again and as i approached the last 500 meters chain decided to jump off in front of all the crowd ! Everyone was shouting run, run, run to the finish but with there being a smallish double and people taking pics I thought….. Nope no running I’ll get this chain back on and throw some nice whippage over the double for the crowd !! Boom they loved it as went big
So if it was for no mechanicals would of been in the top 20 with no dropper post and bike that weighs a tank! bring on next season when I have a enduro bike and fitter but all in all a great weekend and great lads and sick tracks.
Blake Senior-White Race report llangollen. Race weekends tend to start on Fridays this one was to be no different. as we neared llangollen on Friday evening the weekend started off by pretending to be Michael Schumacher and giving tony okay a run for his money in the transit turbo we arrived and managed to get a track walk in before the sunset. i was feeling pretty confident as the track had a quick sprint along the top then it was all about smashing the turns to the bottom. Saturday was good the weather and uplift included we all managed to get plenty of runs in and I think I’m safe to say we were all fairly confident ready for racing Sunday. I decided to stick with the Kenda nexcavators as i thought they would dig in better than other tyres. after a stroll into town with a few of the others i decided to head back to the van and the local police were kind enough to give me a lift… bonus we all gathered for a quick ‘prep talk’ Sunday and practice seemed to go smooth enough. Team coach mick turned up and was giving us encouragement which is always nice. Next thing I’m setting off from the start gate I powered across the top before dropping in to the steep stuff it was all going to plan until I got to the final corner where I slipped out and lost a pedal I got it back on just before the first drop but obviously it wasn’t good enough as I then slipped a pedal and had most probably the biggest crash I’ve ever had and my weekend was just about over. I was hurting a bit but I gave the second race run a go and it was nowhere near as good as it should have been. The good news is however Coupe and Liam both got under 2 minutes and Tony and Rich both got down the hill safe and did well in their respective categories. next week Fort William awaits us
|Michael Coupe: British Downhill Series Round 5 Bringewood 24th/25th AugustAfter an eventful start to the season with either injury or crashing out, It was our time to take on the final BDS & I was eager to give it my all. We arrived Friday to do the all important track walk, to my surprise the track seemed quiet tame compared to some of the other rounds & to top it all off it was dry too. Whoooo!! Well that was until the next day at least.
Saturday morning we didn’t hang around and got straight onto the uplift ,which apart from being crammed into the back of a land rover like sardines turned out to be a far more effective way of keeping the riders moving and getting to the top of the course quicker. ‘Good work to all the organisers for that’ by the end of the day I was feeling really confident with the track.
Our recovering team mate Mick Hill had been on track surveillance duties looking out for new lines that could prove useful to us all. At the end of the practice me and Mick walked the track yet again which did turn out to be a very useful thing to do although you wouldn’t think so with the results that followed the next day.
RACE DAY: No rain, No mechanical problems, No injuries and No issues with practice runs it was almost beginning to sound to perfect.
SEEDING RUN: all ran pretty smooth, picked up all the lines I wanted & came through the finish with a 2.19. I was confident at this point I could knock a lot more off the time so fuelled myself up ready to hit the race run hard.
RACE RUN: The lights hit green & I was off hard on the cranks straight into the first set of tight berms, when disaster happened & my front wheel washed out sending me towards my beloved tree friends, luckily they helped keep me upright. I was back on the pedals pushing even harder to try & make up for lost time, but that proved to be a big mistake sending me off the bike yet again, this time upside down in the dreaded bramble patch. It was clear that I wouldn’t make the time back so I pushed on to the finish and still enjoyed every minute.
Team manager Rich had a few tricky moments at the top of the course but came down safe And we had a very disappointed Liam who had a big off at the bottom of the track on his final run too. But after this disappointment we put our bikes to bed, united as a team, held our heads high and continued to watch the race to see how the professionals do it!
If our hosts at the Bateman Arms B&B read this page we would like to thank you for the great hospitality and food, but do need to apologise for the mess left on the restaurant floor from Liam & Blake, if they could eat as well as they ride it would be an achievement and the heavy hand mob Mick & Rich for breaking the priceless Aston Martin model car.
Despite a bit of doom & gloom over our results we still had a fantastic weekend and can’t wait to get to the next event and do it all over again.
A HUGE get well soon goes out to Jamie Scott who is still recovering from injury. And a big thanks to all organisers for putting on a brilliant event & to all our sponsors.