With all the Leogang World Cup hoola last weekend I missed this Rhyd-y-Felin race report, so here it is:

Pearce Series 2010 round 4 – Rhyd-y-Felin (Bala)

Another dry one! Almost.

Round 4 of the Pearce Series lands at Rhyd-y-Felin, or Bala, whichever. This time you are in the trusty hands of Will Gough. Take it away Will.

Bala... dry weekend number four? Not many would of put money on it, yet despite none of the Pearce faithful having to race in the rain this year the near impossible happened! Early Saturday morning saw the sun starting to break through, and a bigger than usual presence on the camp site due to the slightly more remote location of this battle ground for the latest round of the Midland series. By the time the Saturday morning course walkers had been up to varying levels of the track, the ground conditions were perfect and blue sky was starting to dominate the epic scenery. The Rhyd-y-Felin track is a little bit of a legend, and a massive highlight of the Pearce series. The private track has a big draw, and saw a very slightly different but still packed field of racers. Some new names to upset the podiums perhaps? The next couple of days would answer all.


Seb Frost chesty cam.

Coming into the waiting area for uplift saw a bit of a longer wait than usual to get to the top of the hill, the uplift still ruthlessly efficient with only the extra time to get to the top slowing lap times.  I doubt many would have needed a lot more punishment at the hands of the demanding track by the end of play on Saturday, although I’m quite sure that if the uplift had run until dark, there still would have been a queue of people hooked on the Bala drug.  It can be a tricky balance between learning the track and killing yourself to death on the day before race day, especially at a track that very few have had the chance to ride since last year’s Midland champs.

http://mpora.com/videos/bvMdybEiu 2010-06-12 - Chestcam - Pearce Cycles @ Rhyd-y-Felin ("Bala") >>

Once dropped off by your trusty uplift vehicle there was a short push and ride up to the top of the course, take a few seconds to catch your breath, wait for a suitable slot, and then start your pedalling down the fast wide track ahead. By the time the wide line into the first bus stopped is reached, most were already on the brakes trying to scrub off some of those extra pedal strokes that were put in to ensure things looked good from the off.  Nip round the first bus stop and drop down on to the wide track and it’s already time for the next. Once round that, your first taste of Bala speed. A pretty straight run down to a dive off to the left is plenty enough time to gather up pace. Diving in with as little braking as you dare leads to a fast curve, a kicker on the right for the straight line but that would lose all important braking time for some. The next fast left gave view to the first major line choice; to carve further left then right on to the fire road crossing, or cut the corner, sending it off a natural lip to clear the rock and small step-down. Once that decision was over the fire road was crossed and it was time for more speed!


Another slight curve, with the option of staying right for the straight line this time flying over threatening rocks. By this time you’re riding on rock anyway, small fragments of which make the following berms a bit of a roller coaster ride. Scrub speed for the left, and a hard right banked turn, keeping high out of the loose stuff down low, then more loose rocks and braking bumps into a tricky right, left, right combo.  On to the lipless step up of fun – everyone loves a good step up. Once back on the ground in one way or another from that it’s an unsighted drop in that leads to the fastest section of the track. Over the fire road and off the fly off, was it faster the better? No time to think, how about pedal? The innocent little mound awaits, and whether this was to be a help or a hindrance to your flight as the ground fell away was usually up to you. More speed could be had from launching it on to the down slope though, and with the split and speed trap bragging rights yards away it was time for the brave pills to kick in (that’s if they hadn’t already been used up).


Time for the trees, but not before figuring out how to decelerate on the very loose run in with far too much speed from being a ruddy fool through the speed trap though. Not many different lines in the first woods, and after a drop down and left berm into a rooty opening, it was line choice o’clock. The next set of trees had three major routes, many falling foul of the quick but tricky middle line, after which some steep tree and stump dodging action levelled slightly to bring riders closer to the last fire road crossing.  Sprinting down the side of the fire road it was time to tree it up for the last time, flowing through for the most part, with a cut option lower down, the sting in the tail was the final left hander, sharp with plenty of anchor, proceeded by off camber joy, Everyone wanted it to get this one right to make their grand entrance into the field.

The finish is nearly within reach, two fast grassy open corners before another fly off to punish your cycle. The final few green bends were home to a couple of cheeky little doubles as a final test to see who could still get there whip on before the sprint over the lane and on to the line.


On race day things started well but some light showers hit as the juniors were on their way up for their second runs. It was just enough to affect the track, especially the grass (or speedway section when wet) at the bottom. Despite the sun returning later on most from juniors on wards kept first run times for the final results, with the speed trap also not exceeding the near 40mph (!!!) hit during the first runs.

Cheers Will, sounds awesome! The results were (drum roll)… With another poor showing in the Elite Women’s race Emma Wareham riding for Leisure Lakes took it with a swift 3:26.11 with Harriet Latchem a whopping 13 seconds behind. Emma also took the fastest speed trap for the women at 33.21mph. The Elite Men’s race saw the return of a couple of Elites to the glitz and glamour of the Pearce Series after some boring World Cup action. Fair play though for continuing the Series whilst racing World Cup’s too, nice one. Anyway, Joe Smith on the Kona Factory team blistered down in 2:43.95, 2.29 seconds ahead of Joshua Button also on the Kona Factory team. The speed trap went to Joshua Button 41.05mph on his second run – by all accounts that’s bloody good going!

Apologies for the lack of podium pictures, Turnip Towers is preoccupied with a house move. Hopefully have some soon.

Full results can be found here http://www.pearcecycles.co.uk/files/pcss10_bala_130610_-_event_ranking.pdf

Words by Will Gough www.will-hire.co.uk and Nathan Carvell www.nthncreative.co.uk

Images by Will Gough www.will-hire.co.uk