Vigo Independant Race, Manon and Jason go racing continued....

Mountain Biking Magazine



Manon Carpenter and Jason go racing in Vigo

The inside story of the weekends Vigo race from Manon and Jason Carpenter.

After their Crankworx adventure last year Manon Carpenter and dad Jason set off for Vigo in Spain for a pre World Cup warm up race, where they both did bloody well indeed. (Race report here)

Vigo Independant Race, Manon and Jason go racing continued….


The journey started a bit stressful, we were flying with the Irish from Stanstead to Santiago De Compostela, got all the way to the M11 then white van man stuffed it into the Armco not far in front of us and everything stopped, nice, but thats travelling I guess.  Well we made it, but only just and that was going to be the theme for the weekend…

Landed in Santiago, got the bags, got the bikes (three bikes for the two of us ‘cos we had spare wheels for Manon and a hardtail for the Pumprace), made our way to the car hire desk, we’d rehearsed this as we didn’t want to scare them, I went to the desk and Manon waited about 100m away.  When I got to the front of the queue the nice Spanish lady politely informed me I was going to need a bigger car!  And guess what? She upgraded us at no extra cost, cool.

Even so, we only just got it all in, with no room to spare.  Loaded up and bombed down the 80km to Vigo to walk the track before dark.

Got to the venue and made our way up the track, Manon getting increasingly concerned at the size of the wooden jumps spread out at intervals up the track. The last one a huge road gap to finish line.  Track itself wasn’t too difficult, a couple of rock sections (one near the top a rock roll thing that was going to cause us some trouble later), some muddy bits, main thing was that it wasn’t too steep so carrying speed was going to be tricky especially with a long flat section towards the finish line jump.

There were five decent jumps on the track, the first a 6m dirt jump then two wooden step downs with scarey landings with vertical wooden sides and backs, another flat wooden gap jump with a cool rock gap on-gap off just before it.

Got down just before dark and set off to find somewhere to stay, we drove round for a bit then went back to the first Hotel we had passed, went in, met Fernando and stayed there, nice twin room with a Jacuzzi bath, a restaurant downstairs all for 35 Euros a night, mint.  Met a bunch of the British racers outside their hotel, flippin Hardjet had forgotten to offload their bikes on the turnaround, 12 Brits but only 4 bikes doh!  Checked the local paper and found an article about Brendog signing autographs in the Local Specialized Concept store.

Thats not him on the left…


Up early and off to the venue in Fragoselo.  Stopped on the way for pastries then got a coffee from the bar below the podium!?!?! Sorted.   It had been raining on and off overnight so the track was a bit wet.  It started hoofing down with rain so we unpacked and built the bikes up in the big concrete shelter where prize giving was going to be held.  It was highly effective as the wind was whipping up and launching a few Easyups.  Got sorted and ready to ride by 12, got one run in then they stopped practice for lunch….a new one for us, should have checked the schedule eh?

Cool pic of the armed marshals

We ate, then got ready for resumption of activity at 2:30.  Practice was good, really grippy rocks, got a few lines sorted, I got all the jumps in bar the finish line jump (which was closed because the new landing was a bit swampy – I even got a picture of Brendog using the Chicken line!!!!  Ha ha, only ‘cos the main jump was closed, honest).

Manon did the dirt jump at the top and the lower two wooden jumps.  It was a track for getting the jumps in because it was so hard to carry speed for the flat bits without them.

Manon had enough of practice after 5 runs and I made the mistake of insisting she did another run…..she was soooo grumpy.  To top it off, it started pouring and she had a terrible run, my bad.   I really enjoyed a wet run, did all the jumps in the wet too, so was set for racing whatever the conditions.

At the end of practice the event organisers let us put the bikes in their office (saved us a lot of work, thanks guys, top event team by the way).    Then it rained ALL NIGHT.  Pump race was cancelled, shame as the track was good fun.

Saturday – practice, hospital and seeding

Bit of a weird day for us.  The organisers had worked hard blading all the gloopy mud off the finish line jump ready for Saturday practice, so we got straight up there.   First run was a bit scarey as the track was seriously wet.   The flat section before the finish was 6 inches deep in mud and was hideous.

We went up for our second run on the uplift with Miss Moseley and at the top I had the bright idea that it would be good training for Manon to follow Tracey down, oops.  Manon followed Tracey down the rock roll and went proper splat.  You were supposed to wheeley drop or bunny hop the rock roll and Manon didn’t do either, you can see by the video.  I was right behind her and had a job to not run her over.  Was a bit ugly for a while, lots of groaning and winded noises, medics, bad Spanish, bad English, the odd fainting fit, wound checked Manon  etc etc.  Initial assessment was a bad gash in her ribs and Manon went down in the ambulance, her bike and kit in a pickup.  I rode down and promptly rode into a tree just below where Manon crashed, luckily nothing hurt but my pride.   I got to the bottom, got changed and went to meet the ambulance.

They wanted to take her to hospital in the big Ambulance as she was pretty shakey and VERY white (I had to explain she had just wintered in Wales).  I agreed she needed checking out but not taking the big ambulance, I wanted to take her in the car as she was shakey but stable.  We compromised and off they went in the little medic van with me following, woo woos, sirens and all.  Needless to say, they lost me immediately and there followed a comedy series of ambulance doing laps around roundabouts, then me doing laps, then us meeting up again then off we went again woo woos and all, all top fun.

Anyway she was inspected by the nice Spanish doctor, given an ultrasound scan, cleaned up, patched up with five or six steristrips then they left us alone till 3pm.  Seeding was at 4pm so we were getting a sweat on.  Nice Doctor gave her the all clear, no trauma or internal damage, just external wounds so off we zoomed back to the venue.

Got there, checked out the times for the seeding run and I was 4th off in 20 mins, rush rush rush, why does everything end up in a hurry?  Manon wanted to ride but had been scratched from  the seeding list.  Luckily we got kitted up and to the start in time and the organisers had added Manon back to the start sheets and even informed the start Commisaire, cool.

Seeding run was a bit sketchy after an afternoon in hospital, but the track had dried out a load.  They had got the finish line jump dry enough to ride so I did it in my run, would have been rude not to, big and scarey but surprisingly easy.  I took the Vets and Manon was in second behind Tracey.  All down safe and sound.   We went up to watch the elites through the gully, it was proper raining cats and dogs for the top 4.  Marc was fastest with Brendan next.  When we went to watch the elites we met Mark Scott who had injured his wrist in practice.

Mark looking on the bright side.


Seeding crowd and the rain

After seeding we went out for dinner and saw a couple of classic examples of Spanish parking.

Spanish parking

Sunday – race day

Sun, sun, Sun, the rain had stopped and the track was drying nicely.

We didn’t rush too much on Sunday, there was an hour and a half of practice so we planned on doing just one run to warm up.  Bernie Kerr did the finish line jump without pedalling to show Manon how easy it was, cheers Bernie and she did it sweet first time.

Race time.  Off at 11:30 on the dot.  I just loved my run, lots of whoops and whips for the crowd (who were ace by the way, lots of cheers all the way down).  Got the Vet win and had a lot of fun too.

Me – hot seat

Manon was down 10 mins later so I got a shakey vid of her over the road gap.  She finished 20 seconds down on Tracey which was very good for such a pedally track.

Mission accomplished!!, we were there to get the UCI points needed for her to go to World Cups, first attempt and 30 of them in the bag.

Just a couple of more minor disasters….We were riding the pump track with the locals and nearly missed the prize giving ceremony, oops and sorry.

Then on Monday Manon went to the bank to cash her prize cheque and left her passport behind, we were 50km away when the bank called my mobile to ask us to come back, don’t know how they got my number, only guessing they contacted the long suffering and excellent race organisers, oops and sorry again.

After the race we rode the pump track some more with the locals then went with them to their skatepark in the centre of Vigo, cheers guys was fun.


Monday we went to the Beach and lay in the sun for the afternoon before heading back to Santiago and the airport.

Full results somewhere else.  Massive thanks to the event Crew in Vigo, especially Guillermo and Claro for all their help and for putting on such an excellent event.

Beach, sun, Zzzzzzz

Local paper – Faro De Vigo

Written by Jason, not Manon


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