After a long winter off season last weekend brought me to my first race of the season, round one of the Pearce series at bringewood.
The Pearce series is something I’ve never tried but heard so much about so I was looking forward to seeing what they had to offer. Early Saturday morning I walked myself up the track to see what there was to tackle, thankfully the weather held out for the weekend and the track was perfect for grip and the roots weren’t too treacherous.
I was really looking forward to practice as it was looking flat out. This was my first time wearing my superb quality Flare rider jearsey and only my 3rd ride on my new 2016 GT Fury and I was loving it. This bike really is designed to go fast and stay in control. As the day passed by I was feeling good with the track and well connected with the bike and now the track was drying out more it was even faster.
Sunday morning started cold so the pants and coat were on, with just 2 runs in the morning I was happy to relax and keep myself reserved for the race. After a refuel I was set for my first race run but coming through the first section at the top my chain came off and I unfortunately had to do all my run without any pedalling which put me in last place 13 seconds behind 1st. 2nd run however went really well with only one sketchy moment which cost a short amount of time. With the track being so fast this meant the times were ridiculously close.
Overall I finished 6 seconds off 1st place which put me in 22nd place. I was really happy with how I rode but I really wanted to be further up the leaderboard but for the 1st race back i felt really strong and can’t wait to get this year in full swing and see what it brings. With our current and new sponsors I feel this will be a good season for TRG Racing.
PMBA Enduro series, Round 1 Gisburn Forest.
Race report by Kelly Gott
If you ever fancy entering an enduro I would recommend Guisburn Forest, it has something for everyone, from small to medium and large drops, fast flowing trail centre tracks or greasy, technical off camber rooty madness!!
I went into this event feeling quietly confident, I knew most of the tracks as this was my local so I could really push myself. This may have been the reason for my big crash! I’m struggling to find the happy medium between pushing to do my best and over doing it and taking too many risks. I mean you need to take risks to do well but I’ve learnt its more about knowing your game plan, committing to that plan and choosing great lines. I am fairly new to racing and I’m still in the beginner’s mind of just go as fast as you can and hope for the best (not the best tactics as I found out).
The day started on a high meeting up with friends at 8.30am with the sun shining and every one in good spirit for the day. Obviously there were a few mechanicals, my boyfriend and team mate Tony Kay managed to somehow loose the pads from his back brakes, and another fellow rider Drew got two punctures before we even finished practice.
Practice was over and with all our bike problems sorted it was time to head back for a much needed rest and refuel ready for the race. By this point we had already ridden 21k and the thought of doing it all over again but at race pace was a bit daunting.
1.55pm race time!! Now to make that all important decision, clips or flats?!?!?! I have a never ending battle deciding this. Most sections I found better being clipped in, but I kept having to dab in the woods and once I had done that I couldn’t get clipped back in again. As this wasted a lot of time I decided to play it safe and go back to flats.
Stage 1 and the rooty madness begins, dropping into the woods was fast and you could get some good speed if you took the right lines. The track was tight and very rooty, now I’m not the best when it comes to roots, this is where practice helps as I knew which parts to aim for and when to be light on my bike to avoid hitting the deck. With this in mind there were still some parts that I couldn’t ride as the mud was so thick and deep. My plan was to jump off before hand and run as fast as I could with my bike. Now I hadn’t practice this, but seemed perfect in my head. Reality kicked in and it became one of those nightmares where you’re running but not getting anywhere. To make matters worse when I jumped off my bike to run the mud was so deep and thick it pull my shoe off (AHHHHHHHH). I then had to stop drop my bike, run back for my shoe and try and get it back on my foot before the next rider caught me. Eventually I got going again and hit a fun part where you could get some good speed before turning left and dropping into a cheeky bomb hole just before the finish.
After catching our breath my group then headed up to stage two, this was quite a frustrating loop as you had to ride back up to stage 1 again and then some. There were long ques for both stage 1 and 2, although some people found these frustrating I quite appreciated the break.
Stage 2 I can only describe as a massive obstacle course! It was fast with tight corners, big rocks, trees, and tree stumps galore to try and weave yourself round. Part way through was a fun rocky decent that put a smile back on your face, this came out onto a fire road sprint before heading back into the woods. The second woods section was just as fast and flowy as the first, with a bit of an up at the end which caught quite a few people out. Regrouping with my fellow riders we had a short break before tackling the awful long climb up to Stage 3.
Quite a few energy cubes later and we were at Stage 3, the SLAB also known as big foot!! This was by far my favourite stage as it was short and fast. At the top you could either go straight down big foot or take the chicken run to the side, going off big foot gave you loads of speed onto the trail centre section so was by far the best choice to make. The corners were a test of nerves, who can go the fastest without touching the brakes. I have to say I struggled not to tap the brakes a little, the corners were so loose and there was not much if any berm to catch you. Most people did fly down this section though, and everyone had massive grins at the end.
Now onto stage 4, which was only a hop skip and a jump from the bottom of stage 3, quite a blessing after the last slog. This section was hot on the peddles but by far my strongest stage, I knew I could do really well on it.
Setting off I was full of confidence and had a clear game plan in my head, regrettably this game plan like in stage 1 was unpractised. There’s a drop at the start that turns into some nasty braking bumps, but soon opens out onto the legendary berms of hully gully. It was all going great until I hit the small section of switch backs in the middle of the stage. These had not been a problem in practice, but having listened to my fellow riders it seemed clear that straight lining through the middle of them was the fastest option.
I did attempt this in a much slower practice run to see if it was possible but for some reason at high speed I doubted myself. This doubt then caused me to make a last minute decision and revert back to hitting the corners as normal, which at race speed I found impossible. I soon found myself in a heap on the floor with my bike… OUCH!! I immediately untangled myself and just jump back on my bike to set off again. Sill quite baffled by my crash I hadn’t actually paid attention to where the track was going next, it was a steep drop which veered to the left… I think you can guess where this is going. Yep, I chucked myself off in the wrong direction and no sooner had I been back on the bike I found myself plummeting down the side of the gully and landing head first into the stream below.
This was now game over for me, bye bye podium, my goal from this point was getting back to the track and making it to the bottom. I waved to my friend Katie Clarke as she flew passed and just laughed at myself. Eventually I got back on my bike and trundled down to the end with my twisted handle bars.
As for the rest of the riders this part of the course was brilliant, it really opens out with a few drops and two streams to blast through before hitting the finish. My amazing friends then fix me up and with a massive pat on the back I was ready to take on stage 5.
This final stage was a downhill line, I had been a little worried about this stage in practice as the drops were gnarly. Putting a brave face on I tried to shake off my crash and focus on hitting the drops well and getting to the finish line.
Starting in the woods at the top of the DH line were some off camber rocky descents, a few sharp corners later and I’m flying down the drops getting some great air. You then went over a fun table jump, which sent you to a nasty rooty corner. I had crashed on this corner several times in practice, remembering what team rider Tony had told me I stayed light and tried to hit them with as much speed as possible, I managed to nail it (mini fist pump). I was now on the home straight, dropping back into the woods and over a few little drops that came out onto another very short road sprint. Once over the road its back into the woods and into another very rooty section with plenty of line choices to choose from. The last part came out onto a really off camber rooty banking, I tried to keep on the high line so not to end up in the mud bath at the bottom. I kept high as long as I could but just a twitch of the brakes and off I was again. No worries though as I was only racing myself now, I jumped up and peddled as hard as I could to that glorious finishing line!!!
Although I didn’t do well results wise coming 12th out of 18 I had a blast competing against some very fast ladies. Well done to team rider Tony Kay coming in 16th out of 120!!! A massive thanks to my Team TRG and sponsors GT and Flare clothing for the support, and to Mike Marsden and Kev Duckworth for hosting the event. Will be going into my next race with a better mind set and a change of strategy, fingers crossed I will be much closer to the podium at the next race.
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….
So the first race weekend was upon me! Alot quicker than I expected! Wish I had spent more time training instead of thinking save it for tomorrow loads of time yet well I was wrong….. Anyways….
So woke up to a beautiful fresh winters morning on the Saturday feel really excited! Once the car was packed mainly by me!!!! Me and team mate / gf and with our cheeky mascot Monkey we set off.
The drive was around 2 hours but soon pasted driving through the stunning mountains of the lakes. On arrival we was greeted by a smiley face team mate cath Tilford. All unpacked we set off for practice… me being here twice before kinda knew the route to the top. Riding up the fire road was full of turn offs and we headed down one only for the girls cath and kelly to say ” NO it must be further up !!! ” so 2 against one took their word hmmm but after another hour of climbing and ending up near fort William and a million wind turbines this can’t be right! Luckily cath got single rang the bike shop and yes the turn off we first went down was correct! I knew hate bring right!!! smile emoticon
So after a thousand mile detour we reached the track! The track itself was technical but with being just flat out speed it did make it tricky. First straight down a fire road into a tricky left hand harpin corner that was easy to overshoot. Then it was basically a straight line descent with a few small corners into little jumps drop offs and a nice bomb hole.
Once past this it took you into the woods that hit a nice drop off where you could go big depending how fast you hit it then into some nice smooth tables tops then into a small fresh cut piece and boom over the line.
Once finished we headed back to our hotels to freshen up and head into town.
Found a nice pub had a few pints and a good pub meal with lots of banter we won’t talk about the underpants! DOH! Shared a taxi back what I can only describe as dumfries most pissed up man in the world! A very polite old drunk I might add that made it interesting.
Sunday morning arrived again we clear blue skies perfect! Kelly had to drag me out off bed though was sooooo comfy! Breakfast sorted and we head for the track!
The tracked had changed slightly by adding in a few more corners that caught me out as I went down with out walking the track, lesson learnt always walk the track or atleast cruise down! Not go down at 80% race pace opps! Kelly swapped from flats to clips and she felt 100% better on he bike myself and cath was happy aswell! Was also nice to here a familiar voice in the background the one and only blakey boy! Nice little team turn out!
So my first race run was little nervous as wanted to make sure I got the first hairpin correct and nailed it, head down the track and once finished was sitting in 4th! Took it a little to easy as wanted to make sure I put in a decent time.
2nd run new I had to made only a second to podium so knew I had it in me. Set off only for the dreaded hairpin to bike me in the ass! Really put the cranks down and focused on the remaining track! Was slightly faster but remained in 4th! Was happy with the position as respectable. Kelly was stoked to be in 4th only a few seconds of Helen gaskell, proud of her. Cath finished in 3rd!!!! And blake finished in 2nd! Great result for the team!
Perfect weather for racing, perfect team mates, friends, good job from the marshals, nicely run by Carl Davidson NDH, also thanks to the photographers as I love a good pic! AKA as ( CALENDAR BOY ).
Big shout out to our sponsors Gt, Kenda and flare and TRG RACING for their support.
Bring on the next race! Keep shredding!