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.
|After a long 3 hour journey listening to some of rocks greatest hits me and Richard Molloy rolled up at round 2 borderline events at caersws. First job was to replace my forks with team mates Michael wauds as mine exploded the day before…… Luckily he wasn’t racing!!
Practice was underway and no other words could describe it apart from awesome!! Even the slop and ‘slut’ ruts couldn’t dampen our fun. We soon changed our tyres from our trusty kenda nevagals to our kenda kot’s spikes, with me and mick running and open tread nexcavator on the back with spike on front. They were perfect! After a day of smashing in run after run at the end of the day came the snow and rain. We all stood shivering on the uplift getting piss wet through and thurther up the hill came the heavy snow. Must say even though we couldn’t feel our hands or arms we had a cracking run down with me and coupesy leading the pack. Later taken over by Richard ‘erosion’ Molloy and Micheal Hill, a little like the hare and tortoise due to me and coupes unable to stay on from the poor visibility and urge to go faster down the rut infested shoot. Mick was eager for one more so went back up, but the rest of us descided to call it a day, get changed, book into the b&b, get a shower and go to the pub. What a plan!
After seeing Rich in a pair of underwear a man should never ever wear(lucky pants!) we had a few drinks followed buy an indian meal and a few very competitive games of pool. Me and coupes called it a night and went back to the b&b to get our race heads ready. And mick and rich….. Well they went back out and smashed in the jagerbombs. Thank god he’s not my mentor.
Race day took off and we arrived at the track with a full belly of good old English grub and hit in a few practice runs to warm the legs and refresh out minds.
Race time came and I was in the complete mind set and felt good about my run. I smashed it of the start with all my power in my legs. I hit the step down jump with plenty of speed squashing the jump. I hit the left hand berm and dropped into the rooty off camber section. I hit all my lines and rode like I never rode all weekend. I came to the steep shoot and let off the brakes picking up speed but unfortunately too much speed and ended up hitting a tree stump sending me riding through the tape down the hillside totally off track. I decided not to finish my race run as I would of been too far behind and put all hope into my second run.
All pressure was on as I sat on the start ramp waiting for the countdown. My tactics for this run was to keep a slower more steady pace as my team said it would be still plenty fast for the podium. I nailed the top again but as I dropped onto the fire road too far to the right I made a stupid amateur mistake and let the front end slide off the edge of the drop which sent me over the bars down the hill side tumbling through branches and brambles and used my head to stop me on a log. That was it, I felt sick I was that gutted! …… It was over. I took the fire road back down with my head held low and was given a DNF for both runs…. Disaster! For me racing isn’t just about having fun it’s about doing well and getting the podium aswell as having fun. Call me nieve but….Comeon!! That’s what racing is about!
But all in all we all had and excellent weekend and had such a laugh. Can’t wait for the next race there. We will be definitely coming back.
Well one to all my team mates who all did great especially Michael hill who took 5th spot in the vets. Rich came 8th in vets and coupes managed a strong 15th in seniors no thanks to him crashing on his first and getting stuck in tape on his second. Well done guys!!
Thanks to mike Marsden (event organiser) for doing his stuff and everyone else who was involved. Made it an awesome weekend
Photos from Down and Dirty: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Down-and-Dirty/386422444789114
Great Vid from Will Sanders Productions: