Borderline events Llangollen and sunshine, now that was sounding promising! I arrived early Saturday morning to be soon greeted by team manager rich along side team mates Michael coupe and Blake white. But unfortunatley the sun didn’t stay long and along came the rain.
The track was riding great, even in the slop and ruts, all of TRG were feeling good on track and the sun even came out to play at dinner time.
After about 7 runs we called it a day and packed up and headed home for the night.
Sunday’s weather was mixed, with torrential rain quickly followed by baking sun! Once race runs came about the track was unknown and was unpredictable. My first run went really well and I was sat in 4th place only 3 seconds back from 1st.
I was hoping 2nd run I could make up that time but due to a silly mistake where my foot popped out my cleats and I was unable to pedal along the bottom section which cost me allot of time and crossed the line 2 seconds slower.
I was knocked back to 7th place in experts but was still happy with how I rode throughout the weekend
Llangollen Downhill track is famed for it’s steepness without the addition of the top woods or to give them there official title ‘Death Woods’
Myself, Mick and Liam travelled down friday and once we were settled in our cosy holiday cottage we set of to the track for registration and track walk. The bottom third of the track was nothing new as its been used for many races, the 3 infamous drops and sprint finish preceded by the steep switch back section. After climbing this and chatting to Rachel Atherton about death woods we were soon looking at them ourselves and now understood her wry smile as we questioned her about them! We’d seen them in the dry and even ridden them, but in the sopping wet – well that was going to be interesting to say the least.
On the way back down we bumped into Peaty who decided to change the track – apparently the drop was dangerous at the speeds the top boys were hitting it – old boy Mick asked why didn’t they just put there brakes on then but this seemed to fall on deaf ears and a route to the left of the drop was tapped in!
We soon retired to Llangollen and some pub grub and the best karaoke we’d heard in a long time!
Saturday morning saw us meeting up with the rest of the team, Coupes and Mick Hill had already bagged a decent spot when we arrived and soon the van doors were open and wheels were going in bikes. I’d be lying though if I said we rushed to get in the uplift queue – Liam was man though and he went up asap with Seb Frost the man behind Roots and Rain – the rest of us decided to wait in the vain hope it would stop raining! Well that was never going to happen so eventually we decided to get out first run in, the uplift queues were tiny a sure sign that a lot of riders were thinking the same way we were or had already sacked it off!
Once at the top we found out why the queues at the bottom were so small, everyone was waiting at the top – it took an hour before we made it to the start line! with 20 second gaps between riders to try to help the flow it was obvious that it was carnage in the woods, just listening to the marshals radios confirmed this ‘red flag at 1’ or ‘red flag at 4’ were being repeated over and over again.
Soon it was my turn to tackle death woods (the rest of the gang were already in there somewhere) and sure enough ‘red flag at 1’ greeted me as I entered the first corner, from then on it was a mixture of half off’s, walking, riding where i could until I’d cleared marshal point 4 from here on down it was fairly ridable even in the wet – once out of the wood a pedally roller coaster traverse took you to the steep switch backs and on down to the drops and finally the finish line.
Back at the vans we all looked like we had been through it, not much was said, the looks on people faces said it all! With reports of riders dropping out left right and centre even the resolve of The mighty TRG wavered slightly but after a dose of man the f**k up it was decided we all had to get back up the hill to complete your 2 runs to enable us to race on the sunday. This time there wasn’t a queue at the top of the hill and we were soon under way with our second practice runs – with mixed results for us all.
I called it a day after 2 runs and decided to sort the van out for our return to the digs, the rest of the team braved it out with another run and to be fair to Liam he couldn’t get enough, clipped in and running dry tyres he was smashing it!
Back at the cottage we cleaned the bikes and our kit, and then heading off into town to meet the rest of the gang for some food and what would turn out quite a lot of beer! I think there was definitely a ‘last supper’ feel to the evening and the thought of a hang over in the morning was the least of our troubles.
Race day! and the sun was shining! but the track so far wasn’t with practice runs still being a messy on off affair. soon enough it was time for seeding and my initial thoughts were to break the beam and sit it out until race runs, but once up there and waiting to go the F**k it whats the worst that can happen attitude kicked in and I was soon away down the small sprint to the first steep corner, making a right mess of this set the tone for the whole run through death woods and I was soon caught by team mate Mick Waud who was faring slightly better than me, but basically we bumbled our way through until we could enjoy the last 2 thirds of the track.
Time for race runs and the sun had been beating down all day so hopefully the track was drying and the good news it was. With a terrible time in seeding I was first away, this time the death woods were dry and I was able to scrabble ride much more than in practice and soon was out of them and in to the long traverse down to the switch backs, I’m not sure who the supporters on the hill were that day bit thank you for the chants of TRG, TRG, TRG they really do make a difference and soon I was exiting the switch backs and my team mate Mick nibbling my back tyre, he was on a flyer, unfortunately he could hold the long left had burn after the tree drop and I un-laped myself as Mick Hill put it! well I was down and I was happy to have survived Death woods – with 101 riders that had entered either not turning up, going home or not finishing the race I was very happy to have crossed the line. The rest of the team did brilliantly, another podium for Becci (after a DQ farce!) and very nearly top ten finishes for both Coupes and Mick.
Bring on RD5.
Liam McDermott 25th Experts
Michael Coupes 11th Masters
James Hurst 31st Juniors
Mick Waud 11th Vets
Richie Molloy 13th Vets
Becci Skelton 3rd Womens
Blake Senior-White Race report llangollen. Race weekends tend to start on Fridays this one was to be no different. as we neared llangollen on Friday evening the weekend started off by pretending to be Michael Schumacher and giving tony okay a run for his money in the transit turbo we arrived and managed to get a track walk in before the sunset. i was feeling pretty confident as the track had a quick sprint along the top then it was all about smashing the turns to the bottom. Saturday was good the weather and uplift included we all managed to get plenty of runs in and I think I’m safe to say we were all fairly confident ready for racing Sunday. I decided to stick with the Kenda nexcavators as i thought they would dig in better than other tyres. after a stroll into town with a few of the others i decided to head back to the van and the local police were kind enough to give me a lift… bonus we all gathered for a quick ‘prep talk’ Sunday and practice seemed to go smooth enough. Team coach mick turned up and was giving us encouragement which is always nice. Next thing I’m setting off from the start gate I powered across the top before dropping in to the steep stuff it was all going to plan until I got to the final corner where I slipped out and lost a pedal I got it back on just before the first drop but obviously it wasn’t good enough as I then slipped a pedal and had most probably the biggest crash I’ve ever had and my weekend was just about over. I was hurting a bit but I gave the second race run a go and it was nowhere near as good as it should have been. The good news is however Coupe and Liam both got under 2 minutes and Tony and Rich both got down the hill safe and did well in their respective categories. next week Fort William awaits us
|After breaking my collar bone, so putting an end to my race session, the only things I can do is support my fellow team members or have a lie in for once at week end.
Up at 5.30 I was and ready for Coopy to take me to Mc Donalds, Oops Llangollen I meant to meet up with the rest of the team. Every one seemed in good spirit and wasn’t long before I was walking up the squirrel track and the lads on their up lift.
There wasn’t much line choice on the dry steep twisty track except at the old oak tree (sing if your old enough). The teams main choice of tyre was the kenda nexavator. Practice seemed to go well, coopy nearly going over the bars bringing back memories for me. Seeing a couple of good lines from some of the fast riders and reporting them back to the team. Coopy had some un finished work to do back home so we headed back home early and the rest of the team got about nine runs in.
Sunday 5.30 then Mc Donalds again and back up the hill, to watch some more practice runs and then seeding.
Everyone seemed to get through seeding ok, well they all got to the bottom, Coopy had a few moments and knew he could do a better/cleaner run, Liam went over the bars and injured his hamstring and Jamie was hitting the berms too hard and stalling in them and losing a lot of time, but it was only seeding.
So now the one that counts Danny just wanted to get another good run in, Jamie knew what he had to do, so did Coopy. Little Liam needed his hand holding and some girly chit chat, as Richard and Lauren wasn’t there, I stepped in and it seemed to work with no mishaps just a little slow through the top switchbacks and finished with a time of 2.16. Danny was next with a good clean run, well done Danny 2.25 as he had never been her before. Coopy smoothed his run out with a team wining time of 2.15, well Mr Scott smash the course till the last dusty corner, enough said about that 2.20.
All in all was a great week end, could have been better if I was racing but still had a great time and was really good seeing people and spending time with them on the track and in the paddock.
Thanks again to all our sponsors, it’s so wonderful to be involved with such a team.
Michael Hill (team coach)
|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