Maxxis Cup Round 2 – Manon and Jason Fafe around

Mountain Biking Magazine



Maxxis Cup Round 2 – Manon and Jason Fafe around

Jason and Manon Carpenter race Maxxis Cup round 2 at Fafe.

Time for a Maxxis Cup now we are hooked on Euro racing.

We had a gap in our racing schedule in the run up to Manons first World Cup which will be Maribor.  Were tossing up whether to go to the Fort William National as Superfly need some air horns teleporting to the Bill.  I thought about it, then decided I couldn’t drive that far twice in one year.  Manon also doesn’t want to miss too much school as she wants to beat her sisters A level grades (not easy)

We’d been nagged by my pal Rui Cruz (Bike Club Faro) to do a round of the Portugeuse Maxxis Cup so I checked some flights out and found a Ryanair flight that could get us to Porto on Thursday night and back on Sunday night, perfect, just one day off school.  A quick grovel to Lynette, chopped two tons of wood as a penance and off we go, flights booked.  Team Mojo (Aimee, Tom and Ash) agreed to take our bikes, kit and tent out and a favour owed, Team Eco (Al Bond, Adam Morgan and Jimbo Stock) agreed to pick us up from the airport.  After a luxury trip to Vigo it was time to slum it…

Team Eco race slum


Slight period of worry when some volcano on a little island on the North blew up a bit, but planes started flying just in time.

Then, the night before we are to fly, we hit up our regular xc ride round the Castle and the Garth when Manon decides to bin it big style and land on her bonce.  A jump we’ve been riding all Winter in the wet and she goes down in bone dry and  dusty conditions, luckily she’s in her new Royal race pants and a thick hooded top.  A concussion, arm, rib and shoulder grazes.  When we checked her memory out things weren’t so good, she knew where we were, but not what day it was, or what she’d done that day.  “What did you do today Manon?”  “Err, went to school?”  “What did you do this morning Manon?”  “Err, went to school”  I had the pleasure of informing her that that morning she’d passed her driving theory exam in the morning!  She wasn’t pleased with the new grazes, as the wounds from Vigo had only just healed, but she was pleased that she’d passed her driving theory.


Anyway, after a night of not feeling very well we popped to the doctors and got the OK to go to Portugal, game on.

No rushing this time, we left with hours to go and were so chilled in the airport I even had time for a pint in the bar.  Bumped into Team Sunburn (Harriet Latcham, Adam Brayton and co) who were on the same flight.  The engines didn’t suck up the slightest bit of volcanic ash, phew.

Team Eco picked us up at Porto airport after the anticipated eco delay.  Good to see them and especially good to see Ad Morgan, nearly a year since I last saw him go down in a Tarmac berm in Cardiff.

We stopped for steaks in Fafe before getting to the race venue at midnight. Tent up, sleeping bags out, Manon not happy with the accommodation at all.  Still it was an eco trip.  I woke up with a bad back, brilliant.


Bit of a lie in to try to soothe the bad back, bit of stretching and things feel better.  We tooled up with some water for a walk of the track.  It was a bit cloudy and felt a bit like rain.  Apparently there had been an enormous rain and thunder storm on Wednesday night that had washed all the dust away and formed some serious rain ruts.  Track looked wild.  Highlights were the narrow V rock drop at the top, cool rock berm, to flat dust corner, rock roll to huuuggggee road gap to loose drifty berm.  Scaffolding bridge over the public uplift road, rock rhythm section, rock wall ride, huuuugggge road gap number 2, rock garden section that had soooo many lines, all the top 10 took different lines through it, amazing.  Last few corners to huuuggge step down number 3, to finish.

Uplift Fafe style

We chilled in the morning setting the bikes up then got onto some practice runs in the afternoon.  Cool uplift in the back of trucks (just like Dragons back in the day eh guys).  Basically as many runs as you wanted on Friday as most locals don’t turn up till Sat.  No real drama, we even did all the jumps pretty early doors to get the anxiety levels down, all were pretty easy if a bit fast.  I was first over road gap 1 then spun out in the corner, brilliant fun.  Manon went up with Gazzy B and he led her over them, cool.

Soo many Brits at the race, one truck we went up on was 100% Brit riders all 14 of them.


A full day of practice ahead so had a chilled out morning.  Was good to see our buddies from Bike Club Faro turn up, hugs and kisses all round.  They even bought their own uplift truck to help the organisers out.  No drama or crashes from us, but Joe Horton blew up the rock roll before jump one and sent it to the bottom – result, one broken ankle, nooooo.  A few days before ex high diver Joe had been busting out 14metre cliff dives without a problem.

Joe Horton cliff jumping

Hot, hot sun all day, phew, some serious sweat, sunburn and wilting going on.

Post practice course walk was very pleasant and entertaining with Team Emyr sharing his loony lines.

Ems and Al discussing Eco slumming

Saturday night was sooo chilled, Sam Dale and Gazzy Brewin knocked up a SuperX track, Team Eco played keepy uppy, and had a little accident, details confidential as this is an ongoing investigation…..  Fraser McGlone and his bud bedded in some sweet sand berms into the redgra footy pitch.

After dark we went into town for Al’s pre race steaks.  Three steaks and three fried eyes, Forget team eco, we’re talking team SteakRoider now, check out those guns.

Al ‘3 steaks’ Bond nothing Eco about the diet!

Sunday – Race day

Helmet Cam with Elite winner Bernat Guardia.

Early start today with one hour of practice for the masses and an extra half an hour for the top 20.  Manon was happy with one run but Gazzy B and I talked her into another, never a good idea, and she only went and crashed the tricky V rock roll at the top didn’t she, no damage done though, and she didn’t even hold it against us.

Fafe Maxxis race venue

The race arena was stacked with very professional looking pits, cars parked everywhere in the surrounding roads and the track thick with enthusiastic spectators, it was a fantastic atmosphere.

Portuguese crowd.


Top news for seeding was Al Bond coming in third overall.  Fraser McGlone took the Cadets, I was first old Git and the Elite ladies was Miriam Nicole, Aimee Dix then Manon.  Better pedal more in that race run….

Warming up in the Portuguese sun hat.

Bond in 3rd!!!!, ok, it was seeding but hey

Race time

The racing was wild. Scott Mears went past us with a double blowout but still hauling, Morgsy flew off the track with a blowout and my rear wheel.  Tom Deacon went down and twisted his forks.  The variety of lines in the bottom rock gardens was amazing. They had split times and live timing beamed straight to the internet too!

Blow that woofer horn… horn testing for Superfly, watch out guys 99 of these headed to the Bill and they are seriously loud.

Bernat Guardia took the Elite win, with top Brit Sam Dale in 4th, but most exciting was youngster Harry Heath in 5th in his 2nd Elite race.  Fraser McGlone took the Cadets, Ronan Taylor took the Juniors, I took the Old Gits, Miriam Nicole took the Elite Ladies with Manon in 2nd , Aimee in 3rd and Harriet in 4th.



Old gits

Elite Female

Elite Male

In the great race off of Jason Vs. Manon she was only 6 seconds behind this time, but I did crash into the bridge and have to run along it. Better luck next time…

Post race highlights were Harry Heaths no front wheel wheelying on Emyrs bag of old bones.

An amazing hot shower, the post event standfoff over a broken windscreen caused by overenthusiastic keepy uppy….luckily the brilliant organisers acted as go between and worked out a solution. We took an injured but chirpy Joe Horton to the airport with us and made sure he got on the plane ok.

Joe on the baggage trolley

Manon bought a tuna roll in the airport ‘cos she was starving, it was 5.5Euros and had NO tuna in it, just half a lettuce leaf and tiny piece of tomato!

Big thanks to Montycirclemix, FAFE locals and Town Council, Bike Club Faro,Team Mojo, and especially Team Eco for letting us shelter under their awning, dump our bags in their van and running us to the airport.

Race pics and a proper repo here.

Results here

See you next time guys

Jason and Manon

Check out the latest Manon Carpenter news here.


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