Maiden voyage in the Vampire Delux
Dirt Norco World Cup rider Duncan Riffle begins his race diary with a trip to Fort Will aboard Thundertruck MKII aka Vampire Deluxe.
Last week marked the official start to our 2012 season together. South Africa World Cup done and dusted, Santa Cruz Enduro, Sea Otter and the first Pro GRT in the states all handled. It was clearly time for D-Riff to pack up bags and get over to the wet’ coast, Ireland that is, where Ben Reid and the rest of the Dirt Norco crew have been posted up.
Words and photos: Duncan Riffle.
After a successful few weeks on the road training through Italy and Europe Ben was back home in sunny northern Ireland where I flew in just in time to get on board the newly re-done Vampire Delux bus on its way down to Fort William for the second round of the BDS. This would mark our Maiden Voyage on the bus together with our new wrench Craig Darly. The three of us will become quite close over the season im sure so it was good to get things sorted before we set out for the rest of the World Cups and bigger races to follow. Bus packed, beds picked out, tanks filled and Montely Crew on blast we were on our way to Scotland. We arrived in mid day Friday and had just enough time to get our pits set up and head out for a nice little XC bash up. Darly boy was fast up at getting bikes prepped for Saturdays practice as I started a nice cook up for dinner.
Saturday arrived, suns out guns out for practice. Ben and I took our time getting situated on the course, which was fast, rough and fun as usual. Fort William is a unique track to say the least but always a good time, the general direction is usually the same with a few different bits in the woods but takes a bit of time to get up to race pace nonetheless. Toward the middle of the day in to the afternoon, with Ben and I about 5-6 practice runs in on one of the longest most physical courses we have, got wind (no pun intended) that they might have to call off finals the following day due to heavy wind conditions possibly.
Structuring your day around practice and learning a course is not very conductive to producing a fresh and strong race run on the very same day, but it seems as though we had no option. After 7 runs each it sounded like our “seeding run" would be the only race run we got for the weekend. Sitting in the start line nearing just a bit after 6pm, wind chill down around the single digits, snow sitting just behind us and a foggy idea of where our “race lines" were we set out for seeding.
Ben put down a solid run to put him right in the mix with a lot of the boys who had been there days previous practicing. I had a few little mess ups but all in all for the conditions of myself after a full days training and an unexpected race run was fairly happy with how I was able to pull together. Stanny would have bit less luck with a rear tire puncture on course.
We were needless to say a bit disappointed not being able to have a race on Sunday but quite happy with the days riding and the trip out together living the Bus Life. After the days riding we all had some good bonding time inside the Vampire Deluxe with each other and a few friends. Glen O’Brien did all heckling as I cooked up some wicked stir fry for the fellas.
We stayed overnight, in hopes that the weather would hold out but there was no chance at all…we woke up to high winds and sidewise rain. With the VD (Ed. I'm not comfortable calling it the VD wagon!) all packed up we rolled out and headed back to sunny Northern Ireland to get a solid weeks of training in before the IXS Cup in Leogang, Austria. A few days on the moto, some weights to push around in the gym and some XC laps checking out the sites of Newtownards, Ireland and this Cali kid will be all set to go.
Until next week…