AE Forest NDH TT – Sunday 15 Jan.
The first race of 2017 was upon me, not sure if I was ready for it in all honesty due to the Christmas holidays (all the booze and food) and changing jobs I had hardly been on the bikes much or trained much, but sod it I thought will just enjoy it.
6.30am – My friend drew turned up and we quickly packed the car and set off, the car temperature read a balmy 7c outside, toasty!
As we got closer to the Scottish boarder and the iconic sign the temperature literally dropped from 7c down to 0c and we even saw the white stuff a few miles later, me and drew looked at each other thinking damn it’s going to be a nippy one!!!
The event was sold out with 120 riders entered, so there was no surprise when we reached the venue to find the car park jam packed with racers.
8.30 am – Myself and drew got setup and signed on, the number 35 was handed to me and I saw this as a lucky sign as I have just turned 35. After speaking with Carl the race organiser he informed us it was the same track as last year where I managed 4th, with this in mind there was no need to overdo practice.
9am- The course started on a fire road sprint into a very tight left hairpin corner, this was actually quite tricky with no grip to help slow you down and get through the corner, but in the back of your mind you wanted to leave the braking to the last second to help carry speed for the 50m sprint ahead. This nice fast stretch of single track had a few whoops, jumps and drops then followed into the woods with a nice drop off sending you a good 10ft, onto 4 or so mini table tops and then the last straight that had a weird table that kicked the back end up hard. This year I spent more time looking at this section and decided it would be faster to go around it.
11.45am – Practice over time for food and a quick change as I was soaking wet and freezing cold, giving my bike a quick check over I found I had smashed the cage off my left pedal L this will make clipping in interesting!
My race run was at 1.20pm so had lots of time to kill, once changed we sat in the car with the heaters on full blast which was nice and toasty, so much so it was sending me off to sleep nearly.
1pm – Setting off up the hill for my first race run, I managed to time it perfectly as I only had to wait 5 minutes which saved me getting cold again.
On the line ready to go although it felt strange having to clip my left foot in first instead of my lead leg, was also worried if I unclipped on the left side I wouldn’t be able to get clipped in again! Putting this to the back of my mind the countdown began, 5, 4,3,2,1 and I was off!
Hitting the first corner well I then push hard through the sprint, the run was steady with no real mistakes other than maybe being abit to cautious. The time keeper informed me I was 1st, how-ever I knew my nemesis Brad was still to come down. After the first run I was sitting in 3rd and my good friend drew in 4th his best result to date so he was really happy!
Photo courtesy of Jerry Tatton below.
1.50pm – A quick 40 min rest and a top up on energy then back up the hill we went, knowing I was only 1 second off the win I had nothing to lose.
2.10pm – Once again starting with the dreaded left foot 126.96.36.199.1 GO! Being over excited I hit the first corner to fast, leaving my braking too late and nearly went though the corner which lost me some precious time. With this in the back of my mind and the 1 second gap to think about I pressed on hard, I felt a lot faster on the rest of the track and kept it low while pumping as hard as I could over the jumps. As much as it killed me I didn’t style it up for the togs on my race run.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Tatton below.
Back to the time keeper and I was 1 second faster how-ever 1st and 2nd had also gone quicker, this left me one second off the win again. Considering I haven’t really rode much in the past few months I was happy and with the pedal being smashed I did ok. It felt good to be back on the podium and the Gt sanction was perfectly suited to the track, it’s so planted on the fast stuff. Drew finished in 4th so was stoked for him and his best result, well done mate!
Big thanks to Carl Davidson race organiser, the marshals, medics and spectators. Big thanks to TRG for the support along with GT, Kenda and Flare clothing.
A big shout out to Jerry Tatton for his awesome pictures and hard work! Go check out his work on roots and rain and bag yourself an awesome picture!
3.30pm- Car all packed up with muddy kit, bikes and smiles on our faces we headed home! Until next time! Keep shredding!
PMBA Round 7 Grizedale forest – Sun 02/10/2016.
14 mile loop, 2750ft climbing.
Bike – GT Sanction Team 2016
The last race of PMBA series was upon me! At the stunning location Grizedale Forest. Not only is this a mecca for Mountain bikers but also the general public ranging from walking, Go ape and Segway’s! Could have done with one of the segways for the climbs!
Turned up for practice on the Saturday at 3pm which felt strange being so late in the day, but we could only practice stages 4 and 5.
So myself, Kelly and Fabian set off on the climb to 4 and bumped into race promoter Kev, so he dropped on with us as he was sweeping the stages. After a good nattering we soon got to the top of 4. Stage 4 is the longest stage and drops all the way down to lake Coniston! The amount of rainfall the previous night meant with had a river flowing down the track making it quite interesting, roots, steep and mud = me going over the bars and being covered in mud, great!
Moved onto 5, wow the transition from 4 to 5 was huge, all climbing! Stage 5 started fast and only one corner caused me some issues going into it too fast and blowing through the corner same as last year, hello big holly bush! So had to remind myself not to make the same mistake in race day. Practice done and was feeling quite good.
The Saturday night we headed to the Queens in Hawks head for a nice birthday meal, meeting good friends celebrating Katie Clarks birthday.
So race day was here, and woke up to a glorious morning!
Bikes ready and kit ready, well soaking wet shoes and shorts from Saturday we set off too practice the remaining 3 stages. The surface water was still abundant as I hit stage one, at a snail’s pace. One eye squinting 10 meters down both eyes squinting after 20 meters, goggles were defiantly in order for the day. Other than this practice caused me no real problems. With practice finished we headed back to the café for free chilli and bread, thanks PMBA
My start time for the day was 1.10pm along with my team mate Kelly and the usual race buddies, hoping the tracks would have dried out abit, they hadn’t.
Stage one was a walker’s path closed for the event, never been raced on before. The stage was fast, loose and rocky, right up my street just all-out attack, oh and the goggles defiantly helped this time. Put in a steady run maybe abit too hesitant in places, finished stage one in 13th with a time of 1.52.92. The GT sanction soaked up all the rocks and everything I gave it on this stage and the bike didn’t miss a beat! Awesome bike!
Stage 2 was my favourite of the day. Wood section all the way to the bottom, rooty and muddy! With a little rock drop causing a few people some issues I sailed through it on the GT. Hit the first section nice and smooth with confidence coming back I hit the rest of the stage smiling! Some of the corners I hit loose and sketchy just holding on! Love the feeling of being on the edge and getting away with it. Finished the stage in 9th with a time of 1.29.63.
Stage 3 was the shortest track of the day but still fun and exciting. Started with a little fire road sprint then into the slop and woods with a little climb, needed to carry good speed from the sprint to get through this section. Then it was single track all the way to the bottom with a few nice berms to catch you! These felt good slamming into them nice and deep. Finished the stage 7th with a time of 1.13.10.
Stage 4 was the longest stage of the day a real test. This is where I had my crash in practice on Saturday. I knew I had to put that behind me and focus. The start was steep, crazily rooty and muddy! Managed to make it down getting all my lines with no dabs, however not the fastest pace just wanted to survive and not lose too much time with a dreaded crash. After this section it dropped onto a fire rood sprint at least it was going down and not up like normal! Jumping of the fire road a nice 6ft drop and back into good stuff. The second half of this stage was tricky, make one mistake or choose the wrong line and you lose so much time trying to get going again. This part over a dreaded uphill sprint on a fire road but then drops into a nice roocky loose decent that was fast! Very fast! Slamming into a natural left hand berm at the bottom of this felt amazing only just held on, flat out! Foot out! The stage finished at the lake, what a stunning stage and stunning view of lake Coniston. Finished in 14th with a time of 4.29.87, too careful I think.
So the last stage 5 and no crashes all day, just keep it together I said to myself. Will this be my first PMBA with no crashes! Stage 5 started fast and flowy on single track, no roots on this part of the track. Just all out speed, dropping into a steep left hander then into a right hander, Yep the left hander caught me out again and I stalled! Oh hello holly bush again and spectator! Who Screamed “ go go catch him! “as I was close to another rider gaining on him until this point, love the spectators. I hit the corner with just so much speed couldn’t control it! Put that behind me and again same mistake as I dropped onto the fire road went too fast as it was a 90 degree right hander of a little 4 ft drop, lost me a few seconds. Then the dreaded fire road spring must have been 300 meters but felt like 3 miles at the end of the day, spotted my friend Fabian and I started to gain on him, only to realise as I got further up it climbed a little more no wonder he slowed! Nope I wasn’t catching him! The last part of the stage was the walkers path through the fields leading to the café! The end was in site! Finished the stage in 26th!!!! With a time of 3.43.12. A fun stage to ride but my fitness cost me dearly on this stage and on 4.
Finished the day in 12th, was happy to not have crashed but wish I had pushed a little harder in places. For next year I have learnt that I have the pace on the technical parts just need work on my fitness and push a little harder.
Finished the PMBA series with 10th overall, very happy with that as my goal was to finish top 10, next season top 5! More winter training!
My team mate and GF Kelly Gott finished 11th, not her best result but she really struggled with the stages, how-ever well done for still getting down was a tough day! In respect to that Kelly finished an amazing 6th overall and that’s with missing 2 events! Smashed it!
A big thanks to TRG for supporting me through the series! A massive Thanks to GT for providing the GT Sanction, just eats rock gardens up all day long! Kenda tyres for the grip on them pesky roots and Flare for supplying the Killer race kit! A big thanks to Team manager Richard Molloy for all his time and dedication to the team! A big shout out to PMBA, Kev Duckworth and Mike Marsden for the best endure series in UK, the marshals, spectators, Photographer’s, my racing buddies and my GF/Team mate Kelly, wouldn’t be the same without all you guys!
Bring on 2017 season! Best get the road bike out for the winter training! I feel the pain already!
Tony Kay!!! Also known as PEDAL GROMMIT!
After allot of planning and map studying we was all set for our trip to Europe to race the IXS downhill cup in Germany and Switzerland. By ‘we’ I mean my little pit helper Jess/girlfriend, though I think she’d prefer to be named girlfriend.
With the car packed full with everything to make 2 weeks camping comfortable and my Gt Fury ready to race strapped to the back We set of on our journey with a long drive ahead. Racing the ixs was all new to me and I had no idea what to expect. Friday practice was good and the track was dusty, fast, fun along with a few technical features. Once I seeded 13th out of 130 on the Saturday I was feeling very confident with allot more to give which I think helped with Sunday mornings practice. I’m not usually excited for my race run but this one I was. Once out the start it was all or nothing, I’d come all this way and I wasn’t going to give up easily.
My run was going brilliant until the final section where I chose the line to jump a big gap between two turns where then my shoe popped out of my pedal, I landed it just but went into the next corner too hot, in a puff of dust I was down with one knee on the floor and loosing time rapidly. I pushed myself off the ground with my right foot still clipped in and worked my hardest to gain lost time but there was no chance I’d of made a comeback. For me the race was over. I crossed the line and felt sick inside, however not so sick once later I found out I finished 9th place with 3 seconds off the champagne!
With fire in my belly the following day we set off to the next round down in Switzerland. We arrived a few days early after spending the night in the car to enjoy abit of the local area and do abit of what people call (holiday making) but enough of that because practice day was soon here! The track here in Switzerland was a hell of allot different to the one the previous weekend and to be honest it didn’t mix with me well to start with. There was fast long berms, long sprints wide open sections and allot of features that would only be found in a bikepark. I’ve always been a technical rider and never really been fond of bike parks but I was trying my best to adapt and hopefully put in some competitive racing. Seeding soon came around and I wasn’t feeling too bad on track, though it may of felt like I was pulling barbed wire out of my throat and carrying lead in my shoes, I crossed the line that exhausted I crashed in the finish arena sliding along the Tarmac floor. But I did it and I was in 2nd place and pain never felt so good.
With a very sore nights sleep I was back on track the following morning ready to race. I give it my all on the fast greasy track and managed to hold second place! With my team top on I earned myself a step on the podium! Feeling very confident we had a long drive back to the uk to be soon met by work, but with round 5 of the British downhill series the following weekend my mind was set and I couldn’t wait to race. Before I knew it the car was re-packed and I found myself in Wales.
We fell pretty lucky with the weather, nether the less the track was like an ice rink through the top switchbacks at Revolution bikepark. I was soon met by team mate Michael Waud and after a good nights sleep we headed up for practice. Even though the track was drying out unfortunately the top slate switchbacks weren’t and riders were getting flung all over the place. Come race the following day the rain started which gave us a lovely sloppy, wet and slippery track, for me I didn’t mind but for Mick, he was having a little nightmare. But thankfully he soon woke up and manage to bag second place in grand vets. Next up was me and after finishing 13th in seeding I was praying for my first top 10 finish at the British downhill series. I crossed the line in 4th and with I few more riders to come I managed to finish in 7th place in experts just narrowly missing the podium by 0.5 seconds! With another good race and a massive grin on my face I’m just hoping I can keep up this momentum and follow it through into the 2017 season.
Enduro Rider Tony Kay rounds up the season so far….
First race of the season was at Ae forest NDH TT 28th feb taking home 4th, super-fast fun short track with hardly any pedals needed.
Next race was at Gisburn forest my local for round 1 PMBA- 20th march, I was expecting a great result here. However, was a big eye opener, fitness was just not there my fault really as didn’t really commit over winter, so after this race said to myself need to knuckle down.
Onto the next race steel city- 16th april, great atmosphere and as always great race, took home 9th. Happy with the result as only 1.60 seconds separated the top 10, very close racing. 2 mistakes cost me a podium, but that’s racing for you.
Onto race number 4 at hammers NDH TT- 17th april, A long 3.30 none stop pedal fast flowy track! Again fitness played a big part here, was confident as the previous year I took home 2nd, could only manage 5th on the day. Didn’t help that my first run didn’t record on the timing system.
Race 5 was PMBA round 3 lee quarry- 8th may. This was a big day on the bike a nice 23-mile loop, a proper day out on the bike! Took home 7th my best result in PMBA’s so was happy, only 15seconds off 5th. A few mistakes let me down but it’s almost impossible to have perfect runs in endure, that podium is getting closer.
Race 6 was round 4 PMBA – south lakes- 5th june.
This was a strange one hardly any pedalling in-between stages was all hike a bike but was worth it for the downs. Took home 14th for this, not so great. Stage 1 let me down with 2 crashed along with stage 2 one crash! Pesky crashes costing me time for this round.
Race 7 PMBA round 5 – Kirroughtree- 3rd july.
This was a good mix of tech, fitness and flow a really good all round event. Took home another 14th not the best result was hoping for a top 10 here again but made to many mistakes trying too hard, but had a fun weekend of racing.
Race 8 – stile cop summer series- 24 july.
This was a mini DH event on a great little fun track, 53 seconds to get down. Really had to think about lines on this one. 1st race run made 2 mistakes so knew I could defiantly improve my 2nd run time and push for that podium! Once again got carried away made more mistakes and went 2 seconds slower???, think the lesson I’m learning this season is to focus more on control and smoothness.
Next race will see me at NDT TT august 21st!
Currently sitting in 9th for PMBA series with 2 more rounds to go. Going to give it my all in the remaining stages and get as many points as I can!
Loving the GT Sanction what a do it all bike, rock gardens, roots and jumps so balanced by far the best enduro bike I have had the pleasure to ride.
Lessons learnt so far, think more, focus and work on the bloody fitness. Thanks to all my great sponsors!!!
Plenty more races to still come this season……………
Revolution Bike park is great venue and the weather had decided to play ball too and unbelievably it wasn’t raining in the Nog!
The track was still wet in places and very very greasy! the rooty shoot down into the first fire road crossing would see Mick crash hard! Game over for the old boy with a dead leg. Nearly as old Rich would also suffer leg injuries but just about managed to carry on, but by the time race runs came around it was a case of just free wheeling down the track to at least finish the race.
Liam as always was loving Revs and was on it all weekend. Heres his account:
“When I heard the national champs would be held at Revolution bike park I was quite excited to say the least and after a recent fork and shock service my Gt fury was running spot on. With a little rain Friday the track was damp but along came the sun and conditions couldn’t of been better. Along with rolling on my Kenda honey badgers the grip was fantastic. Practice went well along with allot of banter track side and I couldn’t of been happier with the track. Sunday soon came and I was cooking in the sun waiting for my race run. With a brilliant uplift run by the revolution bike park team themselves I was straight up and sat on the start waiting for the beeps. Due to been mixed in with the elites I wasn’t expecting miracles but I guess this took a few of my nerves away. My run was good, a little shakey but I crossed the line in a respectable time. My 2nd run however was allot smoother with very few mistakes. Overall it was a brilliant weekend and a very organised event with thanks to Mike Marsden and his team. Next stop Germany and Switzerland for the ixs! I will be keeping you updated.”
Big shout out to Farmer John and his crew for prepairing a great track and Mike Marsden for running another excellent National Champs.
Liam McDermot 58th senior champs
Richie Molloy 11th 45-50 vets
Mick Waud DNS
BDS Rd4 was the perfect weekend, the sun shone, the uplift was fast, the atmosphere was relaxed – Oh yeah! and then it all went wrong for race runs – the heavens opened and for the first time in 2 days of riding the track was now wet. Well thats racing and these are the results:
Liam Mcdermott 25th Experts
Mick Waud 4th Grand Vets
Richie Molloy 14th Vets
Round 3 of the Bds was fast and dusty!
The report on pinkbike summed it up nicely “Track conditions got increasingly dry and loose throughout the day, leaving most corner blown out. Despite the blazing sun the main wooded section stayed tacky. Coming out the woods and into the open stump section, the combination of exposed roots and loose, sandy dirt had riders on edge, especially the stump gaps.”
Thankfully the team held its nerve and 2 out of the 3 came away with the results they wanted. Liam unfortunately crashed early on his run.
Hazel Wakefield 5th Elite Ladies
Mick Waud 3rd Grand Vets
Liam McDermott 38th Experts
Borderline events Llangollen and sunshine, now that was sounding promising! I arrived early Saturday morning to be soon greeted by team manager rich along side team mates Michael coupe and Blake white. But unfortunatley the sun didn’t stay long and along came the rain.
The track was riding great, even in the slop and ruts, all of TRG were feeling good on track and the sun even came out to play at dinner time.
After about 7 runs we called it a day and packed up and headed home for the night.
Sunday’s weather was mixed, with torrential rain quickly followed by baking sun! Once race runs came about the track was unknown and was unpredictable. My first run went really well and I was sat in 4th place only 3 seconds back from 1st.
I was hoping 2nd run I could make up that time but due to a silly mistake where my foot popped out my cleats and I was unable to pedal along the bottom section which cost me allot of time and crossed the line 2 seconds slower.
I was knocked back to 7th place in experts but was still happy with how I rode throughout the weekend