National Champs – Part 2

Llangollen Uk national champs 2015 by Michael Coupe
The return to one of my favourite race locations ‘Llangollen’ Steep, tight twisting corners, flat out straight sections, jumps and of course the big step downs to finish guaranteed fun no matter what the British weather can throw at you.
Saturday practice can only be described as a blur. With no time for track walk and with no sign of the crew I headed on up on my own to see what was waiting to be shredded. The track was looking fast at the top and with dust clouds being kicked up from every corner & I couldn’t wait to get on it. Setting of for the first run was all straight forward until I got to the new sections. Although there wasn’t much line choice trying to ride blind is never a good thing and with some of the berms full of dust it was quite easy to lose the front end. Overall the bike was performing spot on as always even though I was running 26” wheels, 7 speed and not the most suitable tyres for the conditions. Not wasting anytime I got back on the uplift to get as many runs in as I could. As I couldn’t remember any of the middle section and I only had until dinner to practice as I sadly had to get back home. With all the rushing around that morning the only team member I bumped into was our mega manager Rich Molloy. Probably because he stood out more than usual with a freak hair bleaching incident ‘well at least it matched our bright yellow race shirts’
Sunday race day: With torrential rain on the drive down from Manchester I was expecting a river running down the track NOT BIKES. But on arrival it thankfully wasn’t that bad and with the forecast good for the rest of the day anything that was wet would rapidly dry and turn back in to a dust bowl.
Sunday practice: With 2 clean runs in & only just getting to grips with the middle section of the track. It was time to get back up & get the seeding run completed. With the seeding run being my first real chance to hit all the track with speed It felt more like a gamble run, well the gamble paid off crossing the finish line in 8th place. With a few mistakes and lack of high end gears making fast pedal sections look like scrappy doo was on the bike it turned out to be a good run. A bit of time to chill out and catch some sun rays before our race run. I was busy thinking of my next plan of attack and most importantly making sure I kept it cool & didn’t over cook it in the corners which changed on every run that weekend.
Race run: firing off the line with a bit more effort things got up to speed very quick & the flow felt much better through all the twisty stuff. Once through the ‘make or break ‘it was out on to the final quarter. This is the point when you start to shout at yourself to hold it together & really concentrate. Finally sending it off the last step down in to the field is an awesome feeling. And a huge relief as just a flat hard packed field is all that separates you from the distant finish line. With a flat out pedal to the finish I knew it was a better run, but was it enough? As the remaining riders crossed the line it was all looking good & with the final call the top 3 riders announced I managed to grab 3rd place which was a buzzing result to end the weekend. And with a team get together at the end of the day it turned out we all got within top 10 which in my book is a top result all round. Really looking forward to returning to Llangollen again for the Welsh champs in September.

Ben Tilford 2:39 9th
Cath Tilford 3:15 2nd
Hazel Wakefield 2:53 1st
Mick waud 2:46 5th
Rich Molloy 3:06 10th
Michael Coupe 2:19 3rd

Another great weekend of racing and a big thanks to all those involved in putting on yet another great event, and of course all our sponsors that keep us going strong. Please check out the links below.