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.