On the Friday evening before the steel city race. Me, my brother and dad went to have a look at the track and were hoping to find some sneaky lines we could rail the following day. Whilst walking it we noticed that a few berms had been built up and most importantly it was dusty dry!
It was the same track as the previous year so we new we could get straight into hammering it in the morning. I could have probably gone to bed a bit earlier than I did that night to make sure I was rested up for the day ahead but knowing it was only a short track I new I was fit enough to lay down a flyer. The following morning I went for a spin on the xc bike and felt fit for the race. At 8:00 we set off in high spirits. When we arrived I met up with Liam and went to sign on. As soon as practice started I was at the top, buzzing to get riding.
My first practice run was like any other first practice run. Knackering and wobbly! I always try to hit all my lines on the first run so I can get straight into it on the next run. Because there wasn’t many lines I new exactly what I needed to do to bring home the win. 11:30 soon came around and after 3 practice runs I felt ready to race. After heckling louder than ever before at Ben, cath, becci, rich, tony, coops and the micks I set off up for my run. At the top I was pretty confident but starting to overheat as us Brits aren’t used to hot weather. Hearing the beeps I was raring to go. When my run was underway I was trying to go fast but all the heckling at the Jump into the open section made me just want to put on a show. To please all the hecklers I pulled a huge goon which made them go wild! The rest of my run was pretty good but quite chilled. I crossed the line in 1st but was then knocked back to 2nd only 0.3 seconds off. I was surprised I got this close as I was on the downhill bike and everyone else was on all mountain bikes which are more suited to the track. However the super light carbon operator made it as close as I was going to get to an all mountain bike.
Sitting in 2nd I was pretty keen to get back to the top to do my second run. With team mate Liam in the pro category he was still to come after my run. I went up to the hecklers jump to watch Liam compete with the super fast pro category. I could see him flying through the trees to where I was stood. With everyone shouting him on he ripped the carbon kona operator past us, pedalling in the air. He was on a flyer! He went into 11th in a category with quite a few World Cup racers which is pretty impressive! After 1st race runs everyone was up for smashing their times to pieces and were looking forward to 2nd runs. After some dinner and more heckling I went up for my 2nd race run. I knew what I needed to do. I was going to take this one more serious! Very soon I was in the gate and focused on the win.
When the beeps went I exploded out of the start gate, pre-hopping the first jump and getting straight on the pedals. Staying completely off the brakes I was on a flyer. I came up to the hecklers jump and remembered to keep it low on this one. Squashing the jump hard I was into the rough open section where I was doubling up what holes I could. I was soon in the bottom section where the all mountain bikes generally excel so I knew I had to pin it. Fully committing to all the corners I was spat on to the finish straight before the bomb hole drop. Sprinting hard and squashing the bomb hole I tucked over the line. I was relieved to hear a shout through the speakers saying “2 seconds up!” All I had to do know is wait for the last man down.
He crossed the line 1.8 seconds back. Id won! I was relived and I knew I could relax now! It was a great day with some good results throughout the team. In the pro category Liam took 14th place in the end with a storming time. In the masters category tony came away with 8th and coops right behind in 9th. Ben took 17th. In the vets category mick hill came 13th with mick waud right behind him in 14th. Team manager Richie Molloy took 28th. In the women’s category becci came away with a great 5th place and kath behind her in 6th! The next race is for the british national series at AE forest where everyone’s going to smash it!