Forest of Dean Mini Downhill Round 3 - Endo
The Deakinator's back for another round
Chris Roberts and the Mini downhill crew are continuing to kill it this year down in the Forest of Dean. Round three moved to Endo with an awesome turnout, a carnage corner and a finish line road gap.
Words and videos: Ben Deakin. Photos: Dave Price Photography
Ben Deakin reports below:
Forest of Den Mini Downhill 2017: Endo
The Onza tyres Mini Downhill - organised by Chris Roberts and his team - returned last weekend to the Forest of Dean and into 'Endo'. As usual, it was a sell out event with 277 riders on track, including 20 girls and 17 little Rippers.
While the track wasn't as long as the previous race it certainly made up for it in the technical department with a number of wet, slidey roots and off-cambers. There were plenty of surprise crashes and a heap of riders tasted the dirt during practice.
The track seemed to have a bit of everything, ranging from smooth flat out berms, to off-camber, to wet roots before finishing on a very fun and playable bike park style track, littered with jumps of various sizes.
It was a decent track and not one that could be won with fitness alone - you needed the technical skills to get down clean It was nice to see a total change of track from the previous round where it was slightly more slow and technical with plenty of switchbacks rather than letting the brakes off and going flat out down the fast straights!
The track started out of the gate with a sprint into a number of sweeping bermed corners before dropping onto a fire road which wasn't the easiest due to the slippy conditions. Next, you dropped into the technical woods with off camber and wet roots coming at you from all angles and sharp hair pins that required you to keep your speed without stalling.
Going fast here required a bit of imagination and the fast guys were picking some spicy lines to keep their speed over the roots and through the tight switchbacks. Anyone who wasn't comfortable off-cambering roots was left stalling in the tight corners and fighting to build their speed for the bottom section.
The good thing was that Chris' track didn't benefit the locals and the fast line definitely wasn't the obvious one that had been ridden flat out up to the event.
Times were tight and the average seemed to be about 1:26 - if you could get it under 1:20 you were in for a top 5.
After a slip n' slide practice session the track amazingly dried up and most riders went into their runs relieved that conditions were a bit less wild.
Kicking things off were the little Rippers - sponsored by Shred XS - with Rudi Eichhorn take a commanding lead over Zachary Dunton with Milan Machacek. At no older than 12 years old those kids have some of the most tricked out kids bikes I've ever seen!
The Juvenile filed saw Boyd Martin take the win by 3 seconds with Dennis Huffman just edging Llewie Betteridge into 3rd.
The Youths saw the tightest racing of the day with 0.7 of a second separating the top 3. Sion Margrave got in front of Drew Whatley and Evan Davies by an extra half a pedal stroke.
Juniors saw pinner Riley Jenner onboard his Polygon take a convincing win over Pedalabikeaway local Dillon Clarke and Owen Martin.
Seniors next. It's great to see that Warren Field has finally received the support via he deserves, thanks to 2:1 Racing. He was onboard his new Specialised Demo and took the win over Archie Box and Tom Prestedge - all going significantly quicker in their second runs.
Matthew Lakin just nosed his way in front of Dirt Jump and Flyup 417 project shredder Tom Gethin in Masters with Ben Day bringing up the top 3 respectively.
Veteran Guy Theron took the win with a time that would have placed him first in the masters (there's still life in the old dog yet!). He was just in front of Lee Howells and Pete Crump.
In Grand Veterans an absent Pete Little meant a shake up in the podium with Mark Taylor taking the win by over 5 seconds with Stephen Lewis and Mark James coming home 2nd and 3rd.
Hardtails were faced with a tough track! 10 riders took on the challenge with Linford Mill coming home with a respectable time 1.16. Matthew Shearn came down behind him and Ben Jones scraped 3rd on the same second as the two other riders behind him.
A great thing about MiniDH is the strong ladies field - with over 20 racing. Rosy Monaghan took the Youth girls win ahead of Corinna Brisbourne. Senior Ladies saw Abbie Sloan take a good winning margin in front of Maddy Brown and Chloe Buys. Master Ladies saw Irish Erika Mcdermott literally edge Ellie Dewdney by a tire knobble (0.009 of a second) with Ami Grindley bringing up the top 3. Veteran Woman saw Rene Stent taking a convincing 21 second victory over Susan Digges La Touche and Gayle Atherfold-Dudley in 2nd and 3rd.
Last but by no means least were the Expert/Elite racers.
On first runs Glenroy Martin (Grips MTB Race team) set the pace with an outstanding time in the wet condition with myself (Ben Deakin / DMR Bikes) following in 2nd and legendary mr Old Skool former multi National and Masters World Champ Tim Ponting (Mondraker UK) in 3rd.
This all changed by second runs as the track dried out. Unfortunately for Tim and myself we tried a little too hard on second runs both tasting Forest of Dean's finest mud leaving nothing to do other than show boat for the crowd on the way down.
Local pinner Kyle Hall had crashed on his first run and wasn't going to let all the practice he had clocked up the day before go to waste! He pushed me down to 3rd and took 2nd, just 0.050 off the win.
Mini Downhill races are a real good laugh with a great vibe. The race was run on a track that was a challenge at speed but also one that the beginners could negotiate and get some experience with slightly easier lines around the hard stuff. So a great place to start for a first race.
Thanks to Chris and the Naked Racing team for the organisation. Huge thanks to the medics, marshals and spectators who braved the cold conditions all day and added to the already great atmosphere this race has to offer.
The next Mini Downhill will be on Sunday 26 March at Forest of Dean. Entries are open here.
Cheers Deaks! #OiOi
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