BDS RD3 Ae Forest

BDS Round 3
Ae Forest
The name almost describes where you might end up A&E! Thankfully that wasn’t the case. A new venue, great weather, great company and of course my birthday. All had the making of a fantastic weekend of racing.
Transport as usual, was of course provided by Mick “Rally” Hill and his trusty 3 wheel van, and making sure we had everything on board and to get there safe was in my hands. We convoyed up the M6 with Tony Kay and Becky Skelton before arriving at Ae Forest. We arrived at the forest to see the track and before we even got on the track the midges had taken a pint of my blood….. so we didn’t hang about and headed straight across to the finish line, were what can only be described as a grass wall with 2 lines of ‘HOPE’ tape stretched down either side of it. One good thing about that is we didn’t have to pedal to the finish line! A quick scramble up the steep hill took us up into the bottom forest section to some mega berms and a nice big step down. With all this gravity hard packed track and big corners it had fast written all over it!
Continuing up we eventually met up with the rest of the gang, which were currently eyeing up the large rock garden at the fire road, finally we broke out of the top forest section onto open hillside towards the start line.
We concluded that it was a track that we could learn pretty quick and get the lines nailed, our wish full thinking was soon to come to an end during practice.
We left the track and the monster midges behind and headed off to check ourselves into the B&B, Rich Molly organised for us all- “Thanks Rich” B&B’s don’t usual shock us but this one did, me and Mick Hill shared what can only be described as the antiques roadshow set with 2 beds in the middle and captain Kay and queen Bex slept in the cabin themed room, with its very own ships steering wheel attached to the bed! “If you see the boat rockin’, don’t come knockin’”Apart from the quirky taste in décor it was a 10/10 for everything else. A quick wash and go we hit Dumfries centre for a few pints and pub grub.

Practice Day
After a ridiculously long wait in the uplift queue we were ready for our first run down, the first obstacle was a slippy off camber section across the hillside, before dropping down steep into the forest, Which looked easy but let me tell you it wasn’t! Once picking up speed before dropping into the next technical section the bars were too wide, the tress to narrow but we managed to squeeze through. Once out of the mayhem, speed picked up again and we were then ready to take on the step up and dreaded big rock garden. Were we then stopped before tackling the coffin jump and massive step down. Once I made it to the finish line I waited for the others to come down to see how everyone had got on. Mick Hill was the first one down behind me, he came down the finish so fast that he had to use his extra ball sack break, in absolute agony rolling around on the floor we gave him some TRG sympathy and raced back to the uplift queue. With 6 practice runs completed it was time to head back.

Race Day
We aimed to get to the track as soon as possible but only managed to get 1 practice run due to us being late! (Nothing knew there!) Once on the track we realised just how slippy it was considering it hadn’t rained. With not having as many practice runs as I would have liked I decided to take it steady and try and get all the lines pinned. We headed off to the tent to find our seeding times and chilled out until we had to go.
Right it was that time already off I go, with a good strategy in place I completed the seeding run confidently. Now time for the main run, with the threat of rain, nerves were kicking in and we were all hoping the track would stay dry. Knowing I had 8+ seconds to gain to get anywhere near a podium I had to keep my cool and concentrate on hitting the correct lines. The bleeps of the timer sounded and I was off, slipping on the off camber section disturbing my speed, instantly causing me to push harder in the next section which then caused me to make yet more mistakes- things weren’t looking good!
I managed to pull this back into shape and get down in a respectable time, finishing 9th.
Taking the podium in 3rd place for TRG was Becky Skelton not only did she win for the team again but she also made a fab birthday cake that we all tucked into at the end of the day.
Just when we thought all the fun had finished driving home Mick Hills van developed an unusual burning smell and flashing ABS warning light a few miles later we found ourselves on the hard shoulder with a knackered wheel bearing- finishing the day off on the back of a RAC van! The Joys of racing