Update from Halo BDS Rd 1 Saturday practice session.
Somerset local, Ace “Of Spades” Woodley reports back from Combe Sydenham after today’s practice session.
Words and photos: Ace Woodley.
Saturday, practice day, over night has seen the car park fill, a damp night. Got back out there about 10.30, practice has been running for an hour or so. Then it rained. Quite heavily, some carried on, some scampered back to pits for a wheel/tyre swap. Bumped into Mr & Mrs Flooks in the car park, Tim is still off on the sick so to speak, but couldn’t resist coming over for the day (and was later spotted in Madison’s workshop trailer, maybe advising) not happy about having to miss SA but getting better comes first.
Stroll in through the pit lane, and a big cheesy grin from Peaty. Asked him about the track as he dosen’t exactly hold back if he’s not happy, bit greasy and slick in places, fast but works. I joked about SA WC track, well thats fast, very fast and easy to hold the speed, the Combe is fast but you have to earn the speed and hold onto it, other than that Steve was enjoying it.
People still setting up pits, a quick walk round showed that most were up on track, so I wandered off for a watch (after the rain stopped).
Team Scotland are down in force, managed to chat to several of them over the day, Alastair Maclennan, team Nuke Proof, he didn’t stop for long as he was heading back up the hill, last year Alastair won the Fort William DH Enduro outright, not a class win, the overall so maxing out the uplift on our not so lumpy track is easy work. Must ask if that’s the same bike that’s logged over 300runs of the Fort or have they given him a new one yet
Finish line all ready for Sundays action. It kind of builds slowly, the buzz as you watch the venue transform from a few camping in a field to the full set up, be a bit more about on Sunday, the timing screens should be out, for full race day effect. Sunday is short practice session then seeding run, then race run. Many of us have never been to watch a BDS race as they are nearly all up country, this is quite a bit different to doing a local race.
Uplift seemed to run smooth, 10 tractors on a circular route, didn’t hear any complaints, bikes in one trailer, riders in another, queue is very close to the finish line and a short walk/push up from the drop off point to the start line. Not as flash as a chairlift but gets the job done.
Rachel Atherton scoping out the rock drop lines, Gee is out with injury but here on crutches, no sign of Marc, team Dirt where somewhere on track, only really saw Peaty down in the pits.
A few binned it in the morning, the heavy downpour sent things slick, a few hours later it was drying out nicely. The Heli is coming in on the Hi-vis man, the haze is from the red smoke canister to aid the heli on location and wind drift. The downed rider is about 80m from where the heli touched down, not going into details as I don’t know 100% on the injury, other than he was sat up and on gas/air, practice was halted for the duration of the heli visit.
I part walked with Si who was always reminding riders “don’t push back up the track” “check your helmet” and a couple of photographers had to be reminded on safe placing themselves. To be frank I was impressed at how calm Si was about it, health and safety gone mad, perhaps, keeping on top of riders to minimise any possible crashes, yeah sure the bitching would soon start if the track was closed due to careless people, some needed reminding !
Someone else was having a bad day, made a change from tear-offs, used to finding bits of mech but never found a flattie before.
Exit from the bus stops and drop into the middle wood.
More from way up north, Angela Coates from Newcastle, bumped into her a few times up in Scotland when I trek up there, also enjoying the track. They didn’t know what to expect, you get the impression some believe there are no hills down here (try North Lincs for that) nice to see that the UK has come down to visit us here.
Haven’t seen lil Manon today, but kept bumping into Jason, like Peaty if he isn’t happy you will soon know about it, on good form, just dialling in some cheeky lines for the vets class fight club, and if I had a licence I would be fighting it out with them, Manon is doing fine, so the ladies is going to be a good scrap as well, not to mention the other classes, some fat whips and styling going on with the field jumps, race day is going to be exciting, who can blend some style with race winning speed !
2/3rds of team Halo having a mid practice break. The track was drying nicely when I left, forecast for Sunday is a frosty night, damp start, then sunny/cloudy for the rest of the day. Should be back early to catch practice then settle in for seeding runs, we are expecting a hell of a show, more tomorrow night and reckon on some vids cropping up next week of race action.