Yeah been back to Wales, at last got to a race out there, and what a race, this will of course mostly be from the viewpoint of a hardtail racer, and things didnt go to well for us.
So Taff Buggy round 3 May 23/24 09
Never been before, was told it’s a drag race through some fields, so when i got there and walked the track, well it was a surprise, aimed at newbies and not NPS there was still enough technical element to catch people out, that and it was super hot, baked track that was running a bit to quick for some people, although most people binned it in the rocks, cue a photo.
Ok 5 people in shot and a few outside shot, there is a lot going on here, i will explain. The young lady is Manon Carpenter next to her in the Dianese armour is Jason Carpenter ( her dad ) and the fella on the bike is Rowan Sorrell, this looks like someone taking a corner, it’s more than that.
I got caught up in a line choice, cornering master class, this was a debate on options, then Rowan went through the options to show Manon which was best and why, (best line choice in photo) Manon is doing very well in the NPS and has done well in NPS 4x too, she is a privateer and unsponsered and the Welsh think the potential is there ! she can hold her own against the Elite ladys (M is a junior) the masterclass may have helped her win ! raw talent future star perhaps.
The uplift was the normal tractor trailer affair, the nice touch was the foam rubber sheets to put between the bikes, a simple very effective and nice touch that went down very well with the riders, there where 4 tractors booked and a 5th was bought in as they had a full field of 150 racers, tractor 5 didnt have the foam sheets, guess what people would try to avoid getting on that one, again nice touch bike protection, bloody good idea that.
Blue skies – check. Sun – check. Mobile shop from Don Skene – check. Burger Wagon – check. Rockstar Energy Drink – Check.
I watched loads of people huck it, nose dive it or just give the bottom out bumpers some serious and noisy abuse on this jump, it put me off trying ( i am not the best rider in the world ) so i took the chicken run, but hey thats me, and i wasnt the only one to chicken it, that there is Lee Huskingson ( current Unofficial HT champ) who this year bought a licence an old Turner DHR and is hitting up the NPS series, not to be out done and also showing how to jump proper like is little Mo from Extreme Culture on a very shiny identi.
So Saturday practice went ok for me until someone decided to stand in the track with there bike on a chicken run, not stopping nowhere to go, so i hit him, HOW HARD is it to understand that just because you are hitting up a certain line choice doesnt mean everyone else will be, open practice is just that, you explore all options, in racing i did the jump, in practice i didnt, if you want to watch GET OFF THE TRACK, GET BEHIND THE TAPE it’s safer for everyone, or go and walk the track before it opens like your supposed to do ! so after a close encounter and 8 runs the heat got to me and i quit while i was ahead.
As i went home early i missed the action, thats Lee Hamer on the BMX taking the weight off his left knee, which he popped in a crash, his mate Stephen wasnt doing too well, he started the day by snapping the front off a Sanchez, then fudging the headset on the dmr he borrowed, then also taking himself out of racing in a crash, so 1 bike and 2 riders broken, and we havent had a race run yet, it got worse ! someone beamed me these photos from pinkbike of Lewis Bateman who also went down a bit hard, DNF run 1 made it back for run 2 and stayed on track, good man.
The HT cat was moved from our normal start near the front to being sent down in front of expert and elite (wtf ) that ment we didnt get to hang out with the girls like we are used too, and everyone knows girls always smell nicer when the weather gets hot ( i reckon the girls actually wash there body armour, more blokes should do that ) so rank armour issues aside, run 1, it was going well ahead of time in fact, only 5 left standing in HT this was soon to change, 4 down, we where waiting for Joseph Evans to crest the jump into the bombhole and sprint to the finish line, when the timer hit 4 mins we knew he binned it, i only found out later that Joe gashed himself open and needed stitching up, so down to four then, dont know what was going on, it’s not normal to lose this many riders.
So run 2 if i can find 6 secs i can make 2nd place, stayed upright felt faster only found 3 secs, no one pulled anything off and we all held place from run 1.
Ladys podium then and times.
1st manon carpenter……2.10……….2.21
2nd Angela Procter…….2.25……….2.21
3rd Kate Betts………..2.23……….2.32
4th Anne Langmaid…….2.54
Us lot the hardtail racers.
1st Ryan Lewis Extreme Culture…………2.06.17……….2.06.40
2nd Tom Constance PS Cycles/Cwmdown……..2.19………….2.22.780
3rd Ace ( me ) hardtailnation.co.uk…….2.25…………..2.22.409
4th Liam Jones Extreme Culture…………2.28…………..2.31
Joseph Evans DNF
Just for good measure Rowan Sorrell bagged fastest time with a 1.51.242. The race podium went to 5 places with everyone bagging a prize from Mynath or Don Skene winners got a pair of maxxis tyres, i bagged some Fox goggles, Lee Huskingson came 3rd in expert and bagged some pink Fox goggles, he tried to convince me that pink was my colour and we should swap, as far as i know Lee still has fetching pink goggles, i think he can carry off pink.
All in a cracking weekend, a tester with the 3 race mini series, it has gone well, future events here should be a go. full results and times are up on www.dragondownhill.co.uk and photos will up on the internet on www.flickr.com/photos/downhill4bikers and try www.jamesdowerracing.com as well.