With the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg just about to kick into life, Dirt’s Welshside Correspondent, Back on Track owner and rider Rowan Sorrell has been living out of the van up in Fort William over the past two weeks, busy making some changes and getting things ready on the tracks for this year’s event. Here’s what he had to tell us…
The past two weeks have been predominantly spent on the 4X track, which has had an overhaul with most jumps and turns being altered or rebuilt in some way. The biggest change of all being the start and first straight, the start is now very tight with not much opportunity for people to lay down the horsepower, it will be technique that gives the edge. I had fun trying to test this out in the rain as we were building it to make sure it was all OK before the machine moved on – everything was soft from the torrential rain (yes, it was sunny down south but 4” of rain the one day here) but I persevered on my Orange M111 in the rigger boots and high vis jacket – a few cases and a little dose of huckers neck, but now it’s all dried out and gone hard it’s running really sweet.
The second straight is all change too and a lot faster as there were quite a few bits that were not working there.
The rock garden will be in this year with a new entry point – the gap may or may not be on, we’ll have to see, and the fourpack or lumpy bumpy as it was called, has been rebuilt with the quad being pretty intimidating.
Now to the Downhill – I’ve been working with Chris Ball and Mark Hedderwick on the downhill changes, after the great changes up top last year exposing a lot of bedrock, this year the request was for some big manmade features, so there will be a new road gap over the intake road coming out of the technical woods with a seriously steep landing and huge berm and there is a giant (2.7m diameter) pipe going into the puggy line so the downhill can flow straight into the motorway year round with walkers and riders able to go through the pipe underneath the downhill trail. This is already looking pretty crazy and is going to be an amazing spot for photographers and videographers to get footage as the racers will be level with the gondolas as the drop into the motorway. Changes are about half way through there, so still quite a bit more to do but things are looking good with the Nevis Range trail team taking care of all the maintenance.
Check out the images including Mark’s awesome 14T excavator with Engcon rotating and tilting bucket attachment and the sign we found when we came back to the 4X this week (below), made me chuckle – they’ve clearly never met us!
I’ll keep you posted as we finish off the downhill features and test them out in the coming weeks.