Llangollen Uk national champs 2015 by Michael Coupe
The return to one of my favourite race locations ‘Llangollen’ Steep, tight twisting corners, flat out straight sections, jumps and of course the big step downs to finish guaranteed fun no matter what the British weather can throw at you.
Saturday practice can only be described as a blur. With no time for track walk and with no sign of the crew I headed on up on my own to see what was waiting to be shredded. The track was looking fast at the top and with dust clouds being kicked up from every corner & I couldn’t wait to get on it. Setting of for the first run was all straight forward until I got to the new sections. Although there wasn’t much line choice trying to ride blind is never a good thing and with some of the berms full of dust it was quite easy to lose the front end. Overall the bike was performing spot on as always even though I was running 26” wheels, 7 speed and not the most suitable tyres for the conditions. Not wasting anytime I got back on the uplift to get as many runs in as I could. As I couldn’t remember any of the middle section and I only had until dinner to practice as I sadly had to get back home. With all the rushing around that morning the only team member I bumped into was our mega manager Rich Molloy. Probably because he stood out more than usual with a freak hair bleaching incident ‘well at least it matched our bright yellow race shirts’
Sunday race day: With torrential rain on the drive down from Manchester I was expecting a river running down the track NOT BIKES. But on arrival it thankfully wasn’t that bad and with the forecast good for the rest of the day anything that was wet would rapidly dry and turn back in to a dust bowl.
Sunday practice: With 2 clean runs in & only just getting to grips with the middle section of the track. It was time to get back up & get the seeding run completed. With the seeding run being my first real chance to hit all the track with speed It felt more like a gamble run, well the gamble paid off crossing the finish line in 8th place. With a few mistakes and lack of high end gears making fast pedal sections look like scrappy doo was on the bike it turned out to be a good run. A bit of time to chill out and catch some sun rays before our race run. I was busy thinking of my next plan of attack and most importantly making sure I kept it cool & didn’t over cook it in the corners which changed on every run that weekend.
Race run: firing off the line with a bit more effort things got up to speed very quick & the flow felt much better through all the twisty stuff. Once through the ‘make or break ‘it was out on to the final quarter. This is the point when you start to shout at yourself to hold it together & really concentrate. Finally sending it off the last step down in to the field is an awesome feeling. And a huge relief as just a flat hard packed field is all that separates you from the distant finish line. With a flat out pedal to the finish I knew it was a better run, but was it enough? As the remaining riders crossed the line it was all looking good & with the final call the top 3 riders announced I managed to grab 3rd place which was a buzzing result to end the weekend. And with a team get together at the end of the day it turned out we all got within top 10 which in my book is a top result all round. Really looking forward to returning to Llangollen again for the Welsh champs in September.
Ben Tilford 2:39 9th
Cath Tilford 3:15 2nd
Hazel Wakefield 2:53 1st
Mick waud 2:46 5th
Rich Molloy 3:06 10th
Michael Coupe 2:19 3rd
Another great weekend of racing and a big thanks to all those involved in putting on yet another great event, and of course all our sponsors that keep us going strong. Please check out the links below.
How to win a National champs – Hazel Wakefield.
Here’s my slightly later on race report from the National Champs in Llangollen. Sorry Rich… ! It’s more of a reflection really.
On a whole the weekend was brilliant with a super fun track and the TRG team out in force. Also trying to teach Mick a Welsh accent whilst sipping tea and consuming a pack of choccy biscuits!
In a way it’s been good to look back, I think sometimes you have races that you learn a lot from even if at the time you don’t initially know it. Here’s a couple of things I learnt:-
1. To have more confidence in my riding ability, I’m a bit of a doubter sometimes. Moan less.
2. To not overthink – remember kids we do this for fun!
3. That being really nervous increases the rate that you’ll be running through the field for a pre race wee!
All in all a ‘cracking’ weekend. (That ones for you Mick)
I came away with the Masters Ladies Champs which is pretty fantastic. The last time I rode a champs was 13yrs ago when I was dressed head to toe in lycra and I thought slogging up a big climb was ok. I definitely have more fun riding DH.
The people, the challenges and that adrenaline is very addictive.
Massive well done to the TRG team, reckon we did a good job! Coops getting 3rd, Cath getting 2nd and Rich, Mick and Ben for shredding the whole weekend. Thanks guys
At last after missing a the last few races I was back at a bds race!
The first ever downhill race I competed in was moelfre, and now 5 years later rd5 of the bds was here and I was looking forward to it.
The track by large was the classic moelfre we all now at love with the addition of a few new jumps up top and a slightly reworked switch back section, the lower section remained the same and took in the end of the 4x course before snaking to the finish with a cheeky couple of grass turns.
Saturday’s weather was dry and sunny and the track was dusty and loose and very fast. After a couple of runs with no front brake I finally sorted this and started to get my head round the track, Mick and Hazel we’re loving it too and with the uplift running smoothly we all got plenty of practice runs in.
Sunday saw a muddy greasy track for first runs but pretty soon the sun and stif breeze the track was back to its dusty best. Seeding went without a hitch for all of us with Mick seeding 2nd with some work to do improve, Hazel also seeded 2nd but happy she had more to give even though she was pretty beat up after a crash in practice. I was 12 after a steady but enjoyable run.
Race runs: Mick was away first in grand Vets determined to take the top spot and set off and gave it the full beans, crossing the line a good 6 seconds faster unfortunately still wasn’t good enough to beat his rival Steve Falstead – there rivalry continues onto rd6. I was away next and had a fun smooth run, it was great to be back on the bike and back at moelfre, my run was good enough for 11th. Hazel was last of TRG Racing down the hill, her determination and long legs powered her down the track putting her up 2 seconds at the split when disaster struck the drive train on her bike jammed and so from then on the only option was to tuck and pump, coming into the final sprint to the shouts of ‘pedal’ all Hazel could do was keep low and not brake, oh and shout a reply of “I can’t!” – had she done enough? yes! By the slimmest of margins she managed to pip Becci Skelton and take the win! Making that 4 podiums in a row at the BDS(3 wins and a 2nd).
Overall a fantastic weekend and a old school track that still delivered the goods.
Hazel Wakefield (master ladies) 1st 3:18
Mick Waud (Grand Vets) 2nd 3:18
Richie Molloy (vets) 11th 3:47
I caught up with Mick Waud, Grand veteran rider to find out what went down at Bala:
1: The track was pretty good.
2: The uplift was excellent, due to Pearce cycles.
3: The weather was nearly perfect.
4: The new jumps were not needed.
5: The main topic of discussion in the pits – boycott the bds in 2016 due to price increase etc.
6: Finished 2nd
7: Overall pretty good weekend.
8: Hazel smashed it to take 2nd
Yep Mick is a man of few words but apparently this sums the weekend up.