BDS Rd 1 Combe Sydenham

BDS Rd 1 Combe Sydenham


BDS Rd 1 Combe Sydenham Michael Coupe.
The long awaited BDS rounds were finally upon us, the Friday morning commute to work was replaced by a much more relaxed approach . It started by meeting team mate Mick Hill & Danny Kean, to load up the van with every tyre and spare bike part we could get our hands on. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day they say, so we made sure we did just that and called in for a cheeky Tesco’s finest ‘full English’ in order to help us on our way for the longest 4hr drive in the world.Finally we arrived in Combe Sydenham which welcomed us with cueing traffic for as far as the eye could see, but we found ways to pass the time with cookies and sausage rolls to hand so all was good. Eventually we broke free from traffic and hit the county lanes to the main event. As we approached the main entrance we became lost in a sea of motor homes and tents, not to mention the mud which was to become everyone’s worst nightmare. We parked up and set out for the dreaded track walk, all seemed ok until we got just over half way and looked at the 30ft step down. We new at this point it was no average race course and would have no choice but to tackle it head on.Track walk completed we left the boy scouts Liam, Danny & Jamie behind to make their beans on toast, whilst me Mick Hill & Rich Molloy booked ourselves in for a cosy night at a local B&B. The next day we woke up to a very wet Combe Sydenham but thankfully courtesy of Mick Hill he provided us all with some new slick water proof coats which came in very useful thanks again Mick.As the day went on the track conditions went from good to almost impossible, what was once a smooth corner became a deep rutted mess and all parts of the track became a pedalling frenzy just to maintain some speed. By the end of the day we all had tales to tell of crashes and near misses which left us all a little nervous for race day.

Race day- Mick Hill, Rich and I arrived back at the course refreshed & ready for the last practise runs before the race. After giving Mick Hill some re-assurance that everything was going to be ok we made our way to the top of the track with only minutes to spare before they closed the track for race runs. Mick Hill & Rich were the first to set off, I wasn’t far behind when I fell off in the forest section, I jumped back on the bike to find my pedal had snapped off. I had no choice but to pull off the track and coast back to the finish & begin the mad search for a spare set of pedals.-Thanks Rich!

Back at camp/services I caught up with the happy campers Danny, Liam & Jamie who were doing last minute checks & cleaning off the thick mud that was clogging just about every part of the bike. Finally we all made our own way to the start ready for the seeding run, my seeding run turned out to be the first full run down the track at speed , having a few near misses on the way down I made it clean and new I could improve on the time for the all important last run.

After an hours break it was back to the top for the race run which started out a lot faster, all was going well until I got to the 7ft drop down onto the fire track were I found myself looking down at the ground & not the entrance to the forest, needless to say it didn’t end well. I was slammed into the fire road winded & unsure if the bike had been damaged. I pulled of the track & called it a day & luckily I came away with just sore ribs & a bike still in one piece.

Once I had made my way to the finish I was able to catch up with all the team & see how everyone else had got on. Sadly we had no podium positions this time but I think we all left knowing what we needed to improve on. The main thing is despite the weather & track conditions, Liam nearly loosing his man hood on his seat, Danny nearly lost his finger in the car door & I receiving my first DNF we were still smiling & still had an amazing and fun weekend. And a hats off to Jamie for fastest of the day through the speed trap! 45.22 km/h

Mick Hill 18th 4.04 sec Rich Molloy 22nd 4.35 sec
Jammie Scott 20th 3.11 sec Liam Mcdermott 13th 3.11 sec
Danny Keane 42nd 3.33 sec Michael Coupe (DNF)










BDS RD6 LLangollen

BDS RD6 LLangollen
Liam McDermottLlangollen race reportMe and Richard Molloy pulled up just after 7am at the final round of the BDS at Llangollen. After a brisk track walk up above the fog it was time for a cuppa and an egg sandwich.
I missed the first 2 uplifts due to a tyre change but then I jumped on the 3rd uplift for my first practice run. The track was steep and muddy filled with plenty of switch backs weaving down the welsh hillside. Practice day went great with only one off at the top of the track onto my shoulder in the mud, I hoped that was my crash done and out of the way for the weekend. After practice day Rich Molloy decided not to race due to him injuring his back on the big drop therefore had to drive home to recover for this weekend’s help for heros race at Hamsterley. That Just left me and Rich around the warmth of the meths burner until an early 9:30pm bed time.
I woke up with a freezing head Sunday morning and after some breakfast I threw my kit on and hit the hillside. My first practice of the morning was sketchy and all over the place, almost like I couldn’t ride my bike anymore. I put another pair of socks on my frozen feet and my second run went much smoother. 3 runs later it was time for my seeding run. The idea was to get down the track smoothly with a nice steady time to put me in order for my race run. On my seeding I tried a new line which sent me over the bars into the banking on the steep roots, i jumped straight back on my bike and made it to the bottom putting me in 34th out of 50 in my category.
My race run came around and I put power down on the pedals off the start line and picked up plenty of momentum to smash through the top few burms and hit the steep switchbacks. I was keeping a fast pace down the track until I went off the edge off the track loosing about 2 or 3 seconds. Further down the track dropping down the root section I compressed into the burm with the back wheel kicking out I pushed on down to the big drop and hit it with some speed nearly landing flat. One last jump into the field and it was hard on the pedals for a long sprint to the finish crossing the line in 2:29 putting me in 18th.
Thankyou to the event organisers for an awesome weekend and well done to Richard marshall.


Richard MarshallBig rich race report:-British Downhill Series Round 6 Llangollen 22/23rd Sept 2012

Round 6 of the BDS and we were racing at Llangollen, we arrived Friday night and set up camp ready for Saturday morning, it was a chilly start to the day but the sun was soon out and it didn’t take long to warm up, unfortunately the uplift wasn’t running that quickly and we were having to wait some time to get to the top of the hill – I call it a hill but its that steep at Llangollen its more like a mountain, the track they were using is called the Squirrel track, it started off with a run of small table tops and rollers then turning into another slight incline and a straight to the first of many steep shoots with various twists and turns all of which were natural trails, once onto the lower section there

was a more of a man made feel to the track with three bus stops to keep it interesting, the final part of the track had three large drop off’s, the first was the largest and as I approached for the first time it was looking as if I was riding into oblivion!, the second and third drops weren’t as heavy and then a quick sprint to the line, Saturday’s practice when well apart from the slow uplift service until mid-afternoon when Richie had an awkward landing off the big drop and hurt his back, at this point we called it a day and richie had some painkillers unfortunately they were not enough to sort the problem which put pay to richie’s weekend.

Sunday morning – race day and the alarm went off at 6.30am, there was a nice ground frost and it took some warming up, no sun today but a chilly wind instead, with Richie now back in Harrogate it was left to Liam and myself to keep TeamRockgardener going, once again the uplift was painfully slow and we only managed 2 practice runs before racing started, my second practice run saw me crash off the big drop which left me a little worst for ware, a couple of painkillers and straight back up for the seeding run, half way through my seeding run and it became obvious I had damaged my left leg in the crash and I was struggling to put weight on it, I finished the run went back to the van for some more big pink tablets, three hours later I was back at the top for my race run, I gave it my best but once again my leg let me down, I crossed the line with a disappointing time but glad to have not crashed again, I quickly stored my bike and went back to the finish line to cheer on Liam, he came across the line with a cracking run putting him third at that time and finally finished 18th which once again was a cracking result in a large strong category.

Richard Marshall 3:18 17th (vets)

Liam McDermott 2:29 18th (junior)

Thanks to Ian Britton for the Photographs


British Downhill Series Round 5 Bringewood 25/26th August 2012

British Downhill Series Round 5 Bringewood 25/26th August 2012
Big rich race report:-

British Downhill Series Round 5 Bringewood 25/26th August 2012

Round 5 of the BDS and we were racing Bringewood a Pearce Cycles Favourite, we arrived Friday afternoon to find the course was baked in glorious sunshine and after a quick track walk it looked like it was going to be a fun weekend, unfortunately at round 7pm it started to rain and didn’t stop all night, Saturday morning’s practise uplifts started at 9am, as a rule we normally let the very keen riders bed the track in before we have a go but they had other ideas and for once we were the first to the top, the first run was exciting and i had more than a few sketchy moments but with the track drying and over three hundred riders hammering it it wasn’t long before it was dry and fast, i was keen to keep it

rubber side down for the weekend as i had upset my left thumb three weeks ago at round 4 and didn’t want to aggravate this old injury, so with this in mind when the thunder storms hit just after lunch i was ready to call it a day, of course there were still the hard core riders hammering it in the rain and by the time the uplifts had finished the course was almost unrideable, things didn’t look good for sundays racing.

Sunday morning arrived and we waited for an hour or so before we attempted our first sunday morning practise run, the BDS trail fairy’s had been hard at work over night and tidied up some of the hardest hit areas which was a pleasant surprise and with the sun shining and a slight breeze we were hope full that the track would dry out, seeding runs for us started at around 11am and the aim was to get down in one piece, crossing the line with a sub four minute run which seeded me in 11th place i was happy it was clean but steady, 3 hours later it was time for my race run, i was confident that the track would be in better condition and changed tyres from Kenda’s King of Traction to their new intermediate tyre the Nexcavator, with only one race run i was keen not to make any mistakes but try and let the bike go when ever possible, i crossed the line in second place with a 3:33 run which was 24 seconds faster than my seeding run and by the time the rest of my category had finished i ended in 10th place.

Well done to Liam for coming 18th in Juniors in his first National race and a sub 3 min run as well.

As ever many thanks to the BDS crew, they kept things running like clock work and the Pearce uplift system was superb.

Richard Marshall 3:33 10th place (vets)

Richard Molloy 4:10 17th place (vets)

Liam McDermot 2:57 18th place (junior)



BDS RD4 Caersws

BDS RD4 Caersws
Caersws BDS rd 4
Having raced at Caersws on more than one occasion myself and big Rich Marshall were looking forward to our return for Rd 4 of this years BDS.Arriving late friday night we made camp and bedded down before tomorrows early start. Having been woken through the night by very heavy rain I wasn’t sure what the morning would bring, but as it turned out it was bright and breezy and quite warm. After a cuppa and a spot of breakfast it was time to have a wonder up the hill to see which of the many Cearsws tracks we would be racing. It turned out to be one of my favourites but with a new steep wooded section added for good measure, a good choice from the organisers as it would prove to dry well after the down pours it was about to receive.Suited and booted we made our way to the always well organised uplift and before long were slipping and a sliding down a still greasy course, thankfully a couple of runs later and the track was drying nicely and we both felt we were dialling it in.

Time for a bite to eat and a few bike tweaks and then it was time for the afternoons practice session. By now the track was dusty dry and running very fast. Soon it was time for the last run of the day, just as we started our run the heavens opened and we learnt how quickly cearsws goes from dusty fun to lethal sloppy! a couple of minutes later we we happy to be down in one piece and call it a day.

A drive out to Newtown for some pub grub and a couple of beers rounded off a great days riding nicely.

It rained again through the night, but agin the morning was bright and breezy and before long we were back at the top of the hill for our first practice run of the day, the rain through the night had made the track a bit greasy but it was obvious it would soon dry so confidence remained high for the seeding and race run.

An hour later and it was time for the seeding run, sat waiting at the top we could see a wall of water coming our way, would we get our runs in before it reached us? well no is the quick answer, if it had held off another 2 minutes I’d have got a dry run in but it wasn’t too be so as I rolled to the start line it was already raining very heavily. With this being the seeding run I decide to take it steady and keep things smooth, even so it wasn’t long before I was having some dodgy moments. Thankfully the rain hadn’t soaked through in the wooded section and that remained fairly dry, which is more than can be said for the final field! after tip toeing my way down I was glad to cross the finish line in 9th, Unfortunately Big Rich wasn’t having a good run with a handful of offs I was glad to finally see him cross the finish line in one piece (almost).

time for race runs, the sun was back out, and we were ready to race. Again sat at the top we can see another weather front approaching, surely we could get a dry run in this time? Yes was the thankful answer, and what a difference a couple of hours of sun and 300 riders had made to the course, this time it was bone dry and running fast, even the grass field could be attacked and I was more than happy to see I knocked over 30 seconds off my seeding time to finish in a time of 2:36, unfortunately I’d slipped from 9th to 11th, partly due to Big Rich having a storming run even with a badly sprained thumb to cross the line in 2:19 and take 9th spot.

all in all another cracking weekend of racing, as always Si paton and the BDS team put on the best races the uk has to offer.




Fort William BDS rd2

Fort William BDS rd2


Fort William BDS rd2

Heavy rain and high winds with gusts of up to 60mph! – not the weather report you want to read the night before you set of on a 8 hour drive to Fort william, the venue for round 2 of this years British Downhill Series.

It was looking like Sunday race day would be cancelled, what left the organizers no choice but to cram practice and seeding(this would be our race run) into the Saturday, with this in mind, hotels booked, entry fees paid the decision was sod it were still off, whatever happens we’ll make the best of it and have a laugh doing so!

The long drive up was mainly through the above mentioned heavy rain until we finally got ahead of the rain and arrived if a sunny pleasant Fort Bill. Time for a track walk, 45 minutes later we reached the dear gate about 2 thirds of the way up and decided we’d find out if any thing had changed on that part of the track on the fly tomorrow! It was getting late so we headed back down checking our lines as we went and enjoying the view.

Saturday morning arrived and the sun still had his hat on, but the nasty stuff was coming, it was visible on the horizon, no time to loose we needed to get 2 practice runs done asap to be able to compete. Once suited up we headed to the gondola station and what is by far the best up lift in the UK, a very pleasant 10 minutes later and we were ready for our first practice run. Its considerably colder and windier and there’s a long queue so by the time I start my run down I’m very cold, fortunately this wears off in seconds as Fort William is a very demanding course and soon after the fast turns and boardwalk section you hit the first of many rock gardens and all thoughts of being cold have long been replaced with line choices, hanging on and out bursts of tourettes. A stop here and there to check out lines and off course one at the dear gate and I’m a third of the way down, a couple of minutes to compose myself and it’s time to continue, moments later and I’m having the first ‘big’ moment when my front wheel hits a rock it needed to clear, full travel and some blue language but I’m still rubber side down so carry on. The track from here down is basically rock garden after rock garden with some cut throughs as options until you reach a fire road crossing. Next it’s into the woods and time to pedal before fitting the long awaited motorway section, this comes as a massive relief as it relatively plain sailing from here to the finish, down the wall, over the 2 step downs and across the line.

A quick break to refuel and back to the top, it was nice to be fast tracked past the long uplift queue, the Marshalls are making sure everybody gets at least 2 practice runs in before seeding. This time I put a full top to bottom run in and even though its hard work I’m happy that I can string a full run together. Big Rich is also happy with his full run although his left leg is threatening to cramp!

Seeding Run is set for just after 3:30 so while the sun is still shining myself and Big Rich break for lunch and to collect or thoughts. No sooner have we reached the van and the weather starts to turn and the heavens open, and it looks like it’s here to stay! Thankfully after 20 minutes the sun is back out and blue skies are again gracing Fort William.

Back at the top and it’s nearly time for our seeding runs, it is however that cold by now that we shelter in the café until the last minute before making our way to the start hut. Because we had been told to make the seeding run count, basically this was going to be our race run, all the vets had agreed before hand to ‘self’ seed ourselves to give us all the best chance of a good clean run. I was quite happy to be one of the first few away, standing around in the bitter cold didn’t appeal! So with only a couple of rides away in front of me it was soon my turn, Big Rich wished me luck and I was off, battling against the wind the top smooth section soon gave way to the board walks and then the rock gardens, a shout of encouragement from Rich Easton who was photographing helped me to continue on my way, soon the deer gate was in view and the arms and legs are feeling ok, and even better I haven’t been caught by any riders, always a concern on such a long course. Soon I’m clear of middle section and down into the woods, by now the legs are begging for a rest so I’m taking every little opportunity to grab even a second on the seat – every little helps as they say! It’s a great relief to finally be hitting the motorway section, I’m down the wall in a blink of an eye before being cheered over the final two step downs and the finish line.

Big Rich is also having a good run and catches the rider in front! This causes him to lose some time which wouldn’t matter if this was really a seeding run but as we suspected and had been led to believe from the race organizers it turned out to be our race run as the race was cancelled for Sunday as the weather would be too bad to race.

All in all another cracking race from Si and the BDS team, even though it had to be a one day event it was still worth the long journey – and more importantly myself and Big rich survived or first race at Fort William, and now we have marker to aim to beat next year!


Richard Marshall 18th vets

Richie Molloy 20th vets

Photos: Rich Easton


BDS rd2 Video