So the first race weekend was upon me! Alot quicker than I expected! Wish I had spent more time training instead of thinking save it for tomorrow loads of time yet well I was wrong….. Anyways….
So woke up to a beautiful fresh winters morning on the Saturday feel really excited! Once the car was packed mainly by me!!!! Me and team mate / gf and with our cheeky mascot Monkey we set off.
The drive was around 2 hours but soon pasted driving through the stunning mountains of the lakes. On arrival we was greeted by a smiley face team mate cath Tilford. All unpacked we set off for practice… me being here twice before kinda knew the route to the top. Riding up the fire road was full of turn offs and we headed down one only for the girls cath and kelly to say ” NO it must be further up !!! ” so 2 against one took their word hmmm but after another hour of climbing and ending up near fort William and a million wind turbines this can’t be right! Luckily cath got single rang the bike shop and yes the turn off we first went down was correct! I knew hate bring right!!! smile emoticon
So after a thousand mile detour we reached the track! The track itself was technical but with being just flat out speed it did make it tricky. First straight down a fire road into a tricky left hand harpin corner that was easy to overshoot. Then it was basically a straight line descent with a few small corners into little jumps drop offs and a nice bomb hole.
Once past this it took you into the woods that hit a nice drop off where you could go big depending how fast you hit it then into some nice smooth tables tops then into a small fresh cut piece and boom over the line.
Once finished we headed back to our hotels to freshen up and head into town.
Found a nice pub had a few pints and a good pub meal with lots of banter we won’t talk about the underpants! DOH! Shared a taxi back what I can only describe as dumfries most pissed up man in the world! A very polite old drunk I might add that made it interesting.
Sunday morning arrived again we clear blue skies perfect! Kelly had to drag me out off bed though was sooooo comfy! Breakfast sorted and we head for the track!
The tracked had changed slightly by adding in a few more corners that caught me out as I went down with out walking the track, lesson learnt always walk the track or atleast cruise down! Not go down at 80% race pace opps! Kelly swapped from flats to clips and she felt 100% better on he bike myself and cath was happy aswell! Was also nice to here a familiar voice in the background the one and only blakey boy! Nice little team turn out!
So my first race run was little nervous as wanted to make sure I got the first hairpin correct and nailed it, head down the track and once finished was sitting in 4th! Took it a little to easy as wanted to make sure I put in a decent time.
2nd run new I had to made only a second to podium so knew I had it in me. Set off only for the dreaded hairpin to bike me in the ass! Really put the cranks down and focused on the remaining track! Was slightly faster but remained in 4th! Was happy with the position as respectable. Kelly was stoked to be in 4th only a few seconds of Helen gaskell, proud of her. Cath finished in 3rd!!!! And blake finished in 2nd! Great result for the team!
Perfect weather for racing, perfect team mates, friends, good job from the marshals, nicely run by Carl Davidson NDH, also thanks to the photographers as I love a good pic! AKA as ( CALENDAR BOY ).
Big shout out to our sponsors Gt, Kenda and flare and TRG RACING for their support.
Bring on the next race! Keep shredding!
Race report – farmer johns champs I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect of the track whilst travelling down on Sunday, I knew it would be interesting with the weather but after my first practice run It wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought, the top was a struggle though due to the tacky mud which meant that ruts were forming on the take offs of jumps and in other places. This made the track harder to ride because you had to be extra mindful of these sections which you would otherwise class as straight forward. By the time race runs came around I felt okay on track, just lacking in energy.
My first race run was good, I rode smooth and just had a few dabs and mistakes. I had a solid run with a competitive time which was my aim, this meant I could open it up for my second race run to try and kill a few seconds. I was in 4th place and only 2 second off the win which was more than doable. My second race run felt a lot faster to me but that might have been down to the fact that I had a few wild moments and managed to save them, I ended up just over 0.5 faster than my previous run. This meant that I placed 5th.
Not a bad result by any means but it’s just not what I wanted. Any result is a good result for me after the disastrous season I have had. Despite this being another frustrating race I’m happy to be showing some consistency and I know I’ve got more speed there, I just need to put it down with some flow in a race run.
I have been yet again amazed with my GT Fury, after riding the bike for a year now it still never fails to amaze me, it’s such a machine to race on but also keeps riding so much fun! I didn’t have to tweak or change one thing throughout the while day, such a reliable bike! I’d like to say a massive thanks to my friend for helping me out on Sunday. Also to Rich for giving me the opportunity to ride for TRG racing a year ago, it’s been a great move and I’m sure it will continue to work well in future seasons!
Liam Mcdermott 2nd Experts
Mick Waud 1st Grand vets
Richie Molloy 9th Vets
Henry Giles 5th Youth
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
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.
This is my first year into vets and I have been a little anxious not really knowing where I will fall in the ranks of rapid gents…
Having just missed out on a Podium at Steel City and feeling so close at the Hamsterley round of Borderline series I was very keen to get to FJ’s and give it all I had. I went down on my own knowing I would meet up with a few people I know being pretty regular at these races.
The first thing I did when I got there was a track walk, knowing that there had been some significant changes to the top section of the track and the bottom always being interesting. The double had been taken out (thankfully) and replaced with a respectful table top and the run in was now perfect. I had seen a track preview that had not done the bottom justice, it was a revamp of carnage corner… hopefully it wasn’t going to rain! Meeting up with not so young Andy we went for a days practice trying to nail the bottom half as the top was just about how long you could stay off brakes and how long your legs would pedal.
I left the day happy with my lines and was very much up for my pint (or two, three) of wizard.
Race day brought familiar and unfamiliar faces. Trying to sus out who was vet and who wasn’t was amusing and led to me staring at random folk, no Idea what they thought ha! I did see a few I knew and they were fast, I knew I had a race on!!! My first run I held back a little wanting to just put a safe run down but most disappointing was messing up one of the last corners I had been nailing all day Saturday, could have been nerves or just a different pace. Coming down I was in 1st and was grinning from ear to ear. Then good old Duncan informed me they were waiting for one more time, when I came I was dropped down to 2nd place by a second.
The second run consisted of me pedalling my ass off over shooting the table, having a near miss on the bridge jump and basically blowing all my energy, I dropped into the finish with the clock in full view all I could see was I had not beaten my first time…! I was however still worried that Chris had improved on his time after crashing in his first run, thankfully I had held onto second place by a mere second. So this was my first official podium and it was commented that I was probably the happiest they had ever seen. I am so stoked and cannot wait for the next race.
Thanks to all our sponsors and friends.
Ben Tilford 2nd Vets
Richie Molloy 11th Vets
Cath Tilford 1st Ladies
James Gregory 13th Senior
I’d never been to BPW so was unsure what to expect and after the track walk, I wasn’t disappointed. It looked awesome!
It wasn’t overly technical or steep but with plenty of big man made jumps, step downs and swooping berms it was clearly going to be a super fast and fun track! Saturdays practise went well, no offs and I felt good on my bike. Even though I wasn’t making all of them, I was hitting all the big jumps and felt good through the majority of the track. There were some rapid girls in my category but I felt pretty confident going into race day.
We only had time for one practise run on the Sunday and obviously I couldn’t stay rubber side down for the full weekend. With confidence running high, I got a bit excited going over the big step down, nose dived and went over the bars. I was quite surprised to see my helmet and body pretty much intact. I then proceeded to fall off about four more times on my practise run!
A steady seeding run with a few small mistakes saw me place 3rd, I was pretty pleased as I knew I had a lot left in the tank for my race run. I had an hours attempted chill and got up to the start early to watch the old boys go down. I was 3rd to last down with Rona and Hazel behind me. I always get mega nervous before race runs but as soon as I was out of the gates and off the first drop, the nerves disappeared and I settled into race pace. I was cranking hard over the first jumps and felt quick going into the wood section. It wasn’t the quickest I’d been through the woods but it felt ok and was soon out in the open. I pushed hard for the next jumps but was slightly hesitant of the big step down where I stacked it in practise. I got over it, and the following jumps cleanly and was soon heading for the rock garden. I felt my bike doing her job as I tried to keep smooth and fast through the puzzle of jagged rocks. I came out puncture free and was on the home straight and crossed the line in 1st place with only Rona and Hazel behind me.
I gave the hot seat a quick hug and waited for the girls to come down. Hazel was on fire and took first place, with myself in 2nd and Rona coming in 3rd. I was pretty stoked with the result! I hadn’t really thought about overall standings until this point, I knew I was up there but had no idea on point standings. It turned out I took the overall win by a very tight 4 points from Bev Barnes. STOKED!
I know I’ve got a lot to work on but in my first year of racing, I don’t think it’s too much of a shabby result!
A huge thanks to my team mates at TRG, plus all the rad sponsors for their support over the year! Bring on next year!
Mick Waud`s race report Chopwell Woods
It was only Richie, Liam and me for this one so we all met at Rich’s to travel up in his van. After racing this venue last year on downhill bikes we knew the Kona Processes were the perfect choice. With the bikes loaded into the van and heading up north we were soon at the track.
First practice run went well, the track was smooth with tight berms at the top, a wet middle section and into the woods for the finish. After the second practice run I put the suspension into its middle setting front and rear for more peddling speed and increased the tyre pressure to improve rolling speed and reduce the chance of pinch flats already experienced by Liam and Rich. Next run seemed faster, and after a few more I was somewhere near race pace.
First race run went well with only a couple of minor mistakes. After all three of us had our first runs done it was looking good with Liam 1st in seniors me 2nd in vets. Rich was a bit disappointed in 9th but knew he had lost a lot on the first two corners, which he put right on his next run, improving by four seconds. Unfortunately Liam lost a place, finishing 2nd by only 0.087. I managed to hold on to 2nd place by going two seconds faster thanks to Liams shouts of encouragement and the awesome peddling power of the Kona Process.
Borderline UK DH Series – Round 1 Caersws
Good preparation was essential going into my first race under the wings of TRG Racing, so what better way to start a long weekend off , than a trip to Revolution Bike Park. Several trees later, I was a bit battered, had less skin on my shins, and a fat shoulder but was feeling good on my steed. I was riding well on the slippery roots and sending some technical drops so confidence was high and my wrist (which I broke 5 months previous, and now had a screw holding it together) was feeling strong. Having been told by the big South African…’Chick…you got balls man!’, I headed over to Caersws feeling positive.
Saturday practise arrived and I met up with the Tilfords. First practise runs never go well for me so why break a habit? I bottled the road gap at the top of the track, and in an attempt to regain my ‘balls’ I sent the next kicker only to ‘pirouette’ (bystanders description) off my bike into a thorn bush. I cased the small double and things didn’t get much better than that for a few runs. ‘Balls’ momentarily lost. I finally managed to get a few decent runs in and my confidence was starting to grow again. ‘Balls’ returning. Inevitably, the final run of the day resulted in an over the bars on a techy roots section and I face plant snapping, my already gaffer taped, visor off. Zip ties and more tape required. The track conditions at this point had become pretty grim; windy at the top (definitely no road gap now) and thick, slippery mud all the way down. A call out to my new team mates for some spikes and the lovely Mick Waud comes to the rescue.
Race day. Despite not feeling great in practise, I was still fairly confident I could crack on and get a decent result. First run down went ok, not fast but staying on my bike was priority at the time and becoming quite an achievement. Conditions had become even worse so Cath and I had a tyre change. I had two more runs to get used to running a spike. It felt a bit twitchy but definitely gripped more through the relentless mud. Once again, the last practise run was dire…but stylish apparently, as I cartwheeled over a berm and received an 8/10 from a spectator. Bonus.
First race run. I pulled on my brand spanking new TRG jersey and felt good to go. A team gun show was then required…obviously. As we reached the top of the hill, the wind had picked up again. I was first down out of the ladies. I felt ok through the top few berms but then got stuck in a rut at the bottom of the roller coaster section and my back end washed out. At this point, my racing Tourette’s kicked in. I got back on but lost a good 5-10 seconds. I finished the run with only a few minor mistakes and put in a time of 2.57…2nd place. It was slow and I knew I could give more. Monet Adams was 20 seconds ahead, and the lovely Mrs Tilford was sitting in 3rd. Was pretty dishearten by the time gap until I found out Monet was an Elite and had been riding with the ‘big’ girls at Stiniog the week previous. I knew top spot wasn’t really an option but if I could knock 10 seconds off, I would be happy. The lads put in good first runs with Liam sitting in 3rd and Ben, Richie and Mick all getting decent times.
Second race run. Team body warmth sharing, one handed handstands and pistol squats were the uplifts entertainment. It became apparent that the wind has once again picked up as it blew me sideways into a tree stump, after getting a bit of air off a small kicker. The red mist set in and I was desperate to make time back. Things went from bad to worse…bad lines and stupid mistakes were to follow. I cleared the double but for some reason, opted to use the embankment and my head to stop me, instead of my brakes. Then came the rooty section, which can only be described as un dignified, before washing out on a berm. I got to the bottom of the track in about 4 days, 2 hours and 27seconds. I managed to retain 2nd, with Cath closely behind in 3rd. I’m happy with the result but not pleased with my riding, I know I have a lot more to give.
Unfortunately, Liam crashed out in his second run and slipped down into 6th position leaving just the girls representing on the podiums for TRG.
Despite the mud, blood, wind and rain, I had an awesome weekend with valuable experience gained, and I’m feeling stoked about further races with TRG. Bring it!
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.