The 2013 Welsh Championships went down this weekend at Bike Park Wales, with a few small tweaks to existing tracks; the race track was a mixture of the best downhill in the bike park.
Nearly 200 racers turned up to battle it out for podium at Welsh Champs. MIJ Downhill are the first organisers to run a race at the venue since it opened earlier this year, Jon Davies from MIJ said:
2013 was going to be our year off from running Welsh Champs, but late in the season, we were asked to run it again. Some things in life are just meant to be, because at the same time we were approached, the opening date for Bike Park Wales was being announced. We were delighted with the race, and the podium ceremony saw crowds of around 300 people. We would like to thank Bike Park Wales for the privilege of using the venue and the trust they placed in us. Also, thanks to all the marshals and team of helpers. As always a big thank you to Don Skene Cycles who have supported us again this year, MOJO suspension for the miles and miles of track tape they donate, and XS Power Drinks who kept everyone energised and brought the fantastic finish arch and the inflatable cans for the side of the track. All in all it was a hard 3 days of work for the MIJ team, but the feedback has been fantastic and the smiles on people’s faces as they departed for home made our weekend.
The track started off at the top of Enter the Dragon, taking riders over a series of jumps and step downs before getting into a wooded section that was part of the original Dragon downhill track. It then went right into the woods and onto Dai Hard. The woods had a combination of slippery roots and plenty of greasy mud causing a few issues, but it also allowed riders to get pretty loose. It was slow going in race runs as the mud got stickier and the ruts got deeper, throwing riders into an off camber corner out onto an open section with a few lines to choose from. Over a section of small jumps, riders had the choice of two lines. The left a step-down jump, and the right, a greasy, rutted and rooty slope into the berm below.
Following on from the berm riders could take a left over a gap jump, or an alternative line to the right before travelling a short distance onto an uphill slog on the fire road into Coal not Dole.
Despite great weather all weekend the track stayed pretty muddy in places, with a few riders choosing to stick with spikes for the weekend. Coal not Dole was a combination of big berms, flowy lines and a fast chute that fired riders down towards a few turns and into a large tunnel.
The next section was a favourite with spectators, with many people lined up to see who would make it through the rock garden. Speed was your friend in this section, although it got pretty slippery as the day went on as riders dragged water out of the tunnel onto the rocks. The rock garden was a great place to catch all the action before racers reached the finish.
The last section had a few jumps into a large berm before a muddy finish, and a quick sprint to the end.
Overall the track was good fun and many riders had a great weekend. A lot of people got the same time on both runs with a few riders lucky to shave precious seconds off on their second run. It was a great end to the season with many local riders, and those from further afield taking the opportunity to race this brand new venue.
Muddy Bum Bikes, Joel Moore got the fastest time of the day in Elite with a 2:49, with junior, Mike Jones just one second behind with a 2:50. The fastest time of the day in women’s was by Madison/Saracen rider, Manon Carpenter with a time of 3:22, followed by Howie’s, Hazel Wakefield with a time of 3:38.
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Images from WDC CUTS