|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