Well first race of 2016 Kicked off at good old farmer Johns and riding the 2016 GT FURY WORLD CUP again this year with a new fox shock and amazing paint job, that even Tim peak can see from the international space station. Although with snow and sub-zero conditions on arrival it seemed a sledge might have been the better tool for the job.
As always with fjs there are continuous track improvements going on which makes every visit exciting and this year it was clear a lot of hard graft had gone in to making it even better. The track walk was looking amazing with 2 good size drop offs right from the start, tables, rock gardens, board walk sections and not forgetting death woods. It had everything you could ask for a good days racing. With the only job being to change the front tyre for a spike, sign on and grab a brew it was a very chilled start to the day. Ex-team mate Michael Rodeo Hill came out of the wood work for the day and as usual was great support making sure we hit the fast lines and shouted at us if we didn’t!
Practice was kept to 3 runs mainly to hold on to abit of energy as the track saps the life from you when it’s wet. First run was almost my last as I hit the first table top and the lip kicked the back end up unexpectedly sending the bike in to a nose dive, thankfully that’s where the drama ended & I carried on smashing the track. Second run was much smoother on the top section but took a tumble in death woods slamming my ribs first on the muddy deck again, no major damage just a little reminder that it still hurts when you fall off! Third run went without a hitch so I felt pretty confident by this point.
After a quick re-fuel and clean down from the thick layer of mud that swamped the track and site, it was time to get the race face on and get back up the track and put a time in. The top section rides brilliant even though gravity doesn’t help much at fjs and the track was wet, you can really pick some speed up and maintain it just enough before your lungs catch fire and legs burn just as you enter the woods. The plan of attack was to take it steady to help avoid stupid mistakes, this seemed to pay off well as I crossed the line with a clean run and a time of 1.40 putting me in 1st place, but with 2nd and 3rd hot on my heels and a second timed run I knew I couldn’t relax too much.
With the track drying out, times would also tumble so I kept with the same plan for the last run, only this time hitting the top section harder and steady through the woods. All went well again at the top but losing some of the flow in the woods had a major knock on effect on the traverse sections, not convinced I had improved on the time I powered every last ounce of energy towards the finish! I glanced up at the timer seeing 1.39 just clinging on to 1st place.
Richard Molloy and Blake White also put in a great effort with a 2.19 for Rich putting him 10th and a 1.43 for Blake landing him 9th.
Big thanks to Rich and the new sponsors Flare Clothing for making us all look pro for this season even though I was told off for wearing the wrong coloured shorts- I’m sure the results will let me off….
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
North West Champs 2015 – Farmer Johns race report I headed down on Saturday in the afternoon to get an idea of the track, do some riding but try not to tire myself out (not being in the best shape after 3 months off the bike). It rained a lot when we arrived which made the top part of the track really hard with soggy jumps and terrible visibility. I spent some time hitting the new jump sections that had been put in, some not so new because I hadn’t been to Farmer Johns since the last round of 2014!
The bottom half of the track, in the woods, was ace to ride, it was full of roots and loamy corners with the addition of the old school farmer johns awkward section thrown in there! It begin to rut out pretty quickly but after getting hot and bothered in the humid weather we burnt ourselves out and headed back home to prepare for a bright and early start for race day.
First run of the track on Sunday was amazing, the top was almost fully dry so it ran faster than the day before and the woods were very dry which made them a lot better to ride. I only did around 2 hours of practice before calling it a do and waiting for my first race run, this was because my wrist started to ache and I wanted to save myself for race runs.
My first race run was solid, no super wild moments but I knew that there were places where I could make up time, especially in the pedalling at the top and the beginning of the woods. I was very surprised to be in 2nd place after my first run, only being beaten by 0.2 something of a second! My second race run (that I nearly missed!) was very nearly ended on one of the very first jumps, a weird pedal movement/sprint before it made me nearly got OTB! I managed to save it and compose myself to carry on attacking the course.
My run was going very well until the woods, I messed up the same section that I had in my first race run and then nearly stalled in one of the last corners, I came across the line expecting to of been knocked right down because I had only made up a fraction of time on my first race run but my time managed to hold me a podium position and I came away with 3rd! Not very far off the win either.
I’m pretty happy with 3rd, it’s nice to know I’ve still got the pace to be up there after a pretty big injury at the first national. Excited for the BDS at Bala next weekend, looks like it’ll be a good race and I’m looking for a solid result, nothing amazing, just a bit of damage control after a disastrous season so far! Big thanks to the team, TRG Racing, for bringing me on board at the end of last season and I’m glad I’ve brought in my first podium for TRG! Big thanks to GT bicycles for the fury, that bike is on another level! Hopefully I can bring it home to some more podiums this season.
Henry Giles 3rd Youth.
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
Sorry this is a wee bit late! (unfortunately work gets in the way of having fun sometimes) so here it is Liam’s first race report as an Expert racer :
My first race this year was Boarderline events farmer johns.
Even though farmer johns isn’t a national I was still feeling a little nervous due to been in the expert category for the first time.
Out of Trg racing was myself, Jamie, Ben, cath and mick hill there to offer his support on Sunday due to his injured shoulder.
After a great day riding with Trg and a few others on Saturday I felt confident for Sunday. There was a few corners I needed work on but I knew and hour in the morning would polish them up nicely.
Sunday morning was a much more chilled environment than usual. Maybe that was because I was ready, and I had a good feeling the team would do well.
Around 11 my mum, dad and dog arrived to offer their support which was nice. A spot of lunch with plenty of carbs and sugar had me race ready and I pushed up the track to the start.
Sat in the start gate back pedalling my cranks with the noise of my Hub clicking away helped me focus on the track that layed ahead. With the all clear I was already upto speed floating over the jumps. With gym work through the winter I was feeling super strong, I was scrubbing the jumps and hitting the pedals where I could. The new kona oporator was feeling awesome! Dropping into the woods I had plenty of cheers and hecklers and scared a few people as I nearly lost the front end. Coming down the steep shoot I hit the corners I had been struggling on with ease and crossed the line feeling positive in a 2nd spot not even a second off 1st place.
Some more food and drink later I was back at the top in my coat waiting to be called. With my mum by the start gate she shouted me along the first straight untill I disappeared around the corner. I must admit I wasn’t feeling as strong as I did on my first run but my technique through the woods was so much more planted and the crowd so much louder. I reached the bottom clean to find I only just beat my previous time but unfortunatley I was still only 0.1secs off 1st place so I had to settle for 2nd place in my first expert race which I was incredibly happy with. The rest of team also did great. Jamie managed a 2nd in juniors, cath a 5th in women’s and ben with a 10th in masters.
Well what another great race put on from mike and john and the rest of the guys and girls at Boarderline events along with all the Marshall’s and crowd for making this event awesome.
Liam McDermott 2nd Experts
James Hurst 3rd Juniors
Cath Tilford 5th Women
Ben Tilford 10th Masters
So here it is – did a hangover stop Mrs Cath Tilford smashing farmer Johns – no it did not! read on….
I’ve raced Farmer Johns MTB park now for over 1 year, so I guess you could say I know it well. Its done me no end of good in terms of developing my skills, confidence and its been a great introduction towards me completing in bigger events. Again I find myself excited by prospect of new team, good friends and another challenge.
Its not the steepest of tracks nor is it the most technical, in fact you could say its quite flat in places, and those that have ridden it will know, it never ceases to deliver good quality fun and atmosphere.
Yet, this time I really really had to dig deep to even ride my bike let alone race, having gone Team TRG Karting the day before and had a few too many beers, my energy reserves were low and I struggled especially with upper body strength, a battle already lost by fellow team members Mcdermott, White, Kean and a husband who spent the afternoon drinking tea, heckling or behind the lens nursing their hangovers. Yet, Molloy, Hill and Ward were ready to show the young prodigies how its done.
My practice consisted of a few scruffy runs of the bottom section but only one full practice, in a bid to preserve energy for the race I missed out the gap jump due to the muddy conditions. A couple of hours later, was I ready to race?…not in the slightest but I was determined to give it my best shot.
So I wandered over to the “muck off team” with a slightly nauseous stomach I hoped that cleaning my bike with would give a perception that loosing a ton of mud may make me ride faster with less effort!!!!
After a bit of pre race banter with the other 3 girls in the women’s category I prepared early at the start ramp and began to think through the line choices, I knew I had to peddle and stay off the brakes where possible and I knew I had to hit the gap if I was to get a good time.
The race beeps sounded and I took a deep breath as I got into position. I raced out of the start hut and took a line over the grass to the left and drifted around the immediate berms with a little feather of the back brake, through the trees and out into the open section. I peddled to clear the small table tops but only managed to land them half way. I pretty much rode the cat litter tray in a straight line to carry as much speed as possible and then swiftly changed gear to give plenty of cranks towards the gap jump.
As I didn’t hit this in practice I knew I’d have to give it several enormous cranks to get over it and I knew this was essential to getting a good time. I didn’t think it was even possible to give it too much but somehow I ended up overshooting it and panic breaking as I landed in the banking to the left narrowly avoiding the fence…I swore rather loudly and wished I had the “moto” skills of Danny Hart having felt like I lost a shit load of speed. I swiftly pointed my bike…in “one direction only” and got back on the peddles to regain some speed.
The track from this point runs over a series of rock gardens via the berms, hitting the gap jump well should usually give plenty of speed but I felt heavy as I opted to pump them and rode towards the wooden table and over the hut jump.
The bottom section was a line not used since last year and this time it included the drop into the fast sweeping left handed berm that really kicked out extra speed into a tight switchback, steep rooty section into a final couple of slippy corners towards the finish.
I immediately knew I didn’t have the run that I wanted…loosing more speed on the final corner I practically came to a stop, costing me time, I was in second place.
My second race run, I decided I needed to get a better line over the gap jump and have a clean run in the wooded section. I also realised that I needed to utilise my gears more something that I’ve not really considered in other races. At the race beeps I peddled out of the start gate and into the immediate berms, again drifting down the line through the trees… Again I cranked several times toward the gap jump but rather than overshoot I nearly didn’t make it at all as I lifted the front end I dropped the back wheel on the lip!!! but it didn’t cost me too much time as it gave me the speed I needed to clear the rock garden, rail the berms like a roller coaster and into the wooded section with a new found confidence…and clean over the finish line …..had I done enough??? I sure did. I managed to make nearly 9 seconds on my previous time and secured a mighty 1st Place.
My final race of 2013 as a member of TRG was a success, having found a new confidence and a new speed, I feel ready to push my skills in racing and I’m looking forwards to 2014.
Cath Tilford 1st Ladies
Mick Hill 1st Vets
James Hurst 1st Youth
After a long excited wait for farmer johns race weekend I was soon packing the car with my tent and bike ready for a weekend of madness.
A quick pitch up of the tent and practice was underway. There had been a few changes on track and it was running sweet. The most tricky part of the track for me was one rooty off camber corner. But after far too many attempts I had it dialed.
All the team we’re having a right time and it was good to welcome our new team members, Ben and cath into our team. This was their first race for us so both were hoping for a cracking result.
Strangely enough the weather was on form and I was looking forward to the fancy dress race that evening. The lights were lining the track ready for us nutters to fly down in fancy dress. A quick change later into my clown outfit everyone was ready in their costumes some funny, some strange and well…. Some just odd. The darkness dawned on us and the lights were lit.
This was by far the funniest race I have done. The atmosphere was amazing with the hecklers and everybody was having a good time.
We had two race runs on the loomy track filled with berms, smoke, darkness, camera flashes and noise. I came down with a time of 34seconds Which put me in 3rd place.
I must admit the rest of the night was pretty wild. With the redbull dj blasting out the dubstep we were even having a mosh pit with josh bryceland!
Waking up in the morning myself, Blake,Danny, Tony Ben and cath felt fine. Mick hill on the other hand felt a little worn after a few beers and his nice little lie in. We were soon greeted by team manager rich and team mate mick Waud. A few hand shakes later we were back on track for our morning practice.
Racing commenced around 1pm and before I knew it I was sat in the start gate. I knew what I had to do and kept myself calm. Powering out the start gate and down the log steps I was into a sprint even keeping my cranks spinning in the air, there was no slowing me down. I was feeling stong and fit (for once).
Entering the woods a spectator was shouting stop with no red flag, I saw in the distance a rider getting up. I could tell he was okay so I ignored him an carried on. As I his the berms at top speed and leant into the floor my head narrowly missed him….. With my kenda nevagals holding my grip it was the best overtake I have done. The crowd couldn’t believe I got away with it and I carried on steaming through the woods. Through the bottom of the woods I heard my name being yelled and horns being blown. Hopping over the roots I hit hit my lines and put in such a smooth run. I crossed the line in 1:16. Currently in 1st I felt confident for my second run. But I knew the fast lads still had enough left for a fast run. We all had a cracking run, with Blakey also in first in the hard tail category he was also feeling confident.
I had less pressure for my second run and I was really looking forward to getting stuck in.
Through the top half of the track I was speed tucking, pedalling where I could and and pumping every little hump. The wood section was a little out of shape but I made it through clean. I powered through beating my time by a fraction of a second. That was it. There was nothing more I could do but it was plenty enough to keep me in 1st place.
All my team mates also got excellent results with new team member cath bagging a 2nd in the women’s category, Mick HIll 1st vets, Richie Molloy 12th vets, Mick Waud 4th vets, Tony Kay 3rd Masters, Ben Tilford 6th masters and Danny Kean 13th seniors.
I must say it has been the best weekend I’ve had in a long time. Just want to say thankyou to everyone that made this event possible. And our sponsors who continue to be great.
|Adam Hurst: Race Reportit was the 4th race at farmer johns. jesus it was hot. pants were a no go. the track was the usual, fast and pedally up top with champery style corners and a finishing straight down a river. throughout practise i was riding smoothly, dialling in all the lines on the dusty track. it didnt take long before i had worked up a sweat and a decent appetite. race run time, i had an energy shot and pushed my bike up to the top of the hill. in the start gate the mood was relaxed. a different mood to your normal racer who is usually very nervous. both race runs went well allthough i should have gave it just a little bit more at the top due to still being kind of fresh at the finish. overall i finished in 7th with a 1:36.13. which was a little disappointing for me but will again add some more experience for me as a racer.
Photos By David Law, check out his website here: www.downhill-photo.com