Round 2 went down at a dry and dusty Hopton last weekend, Nathan Carvell tells the story.
Pearce Series 2010 round 2 – Hopton
Speed trap, dust, marbles and tan to top it off.
Can you feel that sunlight warm your bones, waking up the butterflies in your stomach? Oh yeah, that’s a warm and dry race weekend. The second round of the Pearce Cycles Series landed at Hopton, an old favourite of many but an old enemy of many too. Last year at Hopton saw a weekend of shitty rain, mud and tiny streams running down the track. This year though was a different story. This year we were greeted with lots of dust and marbles.
In usual fashion Saturday was the day to get your lines dialed, session and just generally have some fun. With the new Forestry Commission regulations set deeply in place, Pearce, like many others, have been made to make smaller uplifts of 10 or 20 with riders safely tucked inside a Land Rover. Not that this makes a lot of difference to safety when you get to the top and gun it down trying silly lines and fancy tricks. But hey, we all need to play by the rules otherwise there is no racing. It must be said though the smaller uplifts were just as fast, if not faster than the previous cattle trucks of yesteryear, with some getting 12 or more runs in! Hats off to the drivers, especially the one that took us to the very top.
With all this nice weather and clean kit, moods were high and Saturday evening felt more like a festival with fires dotted around the sleeping quarters and monster fire in the arena. It was great atmosphere to enjoy a few beers and pre-cooked pasta. Most folk were saying that a spot of rain would do the track some good, give your tyres something to get into like, and what we got during the night was just that. At five in the morning a nice shower fell, waking those staying the night. This shower didn’t really do much for the track though apart from settle Saturday’s dust cloud a little.
The track itself started in the trees. Tight and twisty with some lines that you either took or you didn’t. All that can be said is there was a good crowd around that tree stump most of the weekend, you had to get over it to straighten it out a bit. Some succeeded, others didn’t, but it was the line to go for. Through the trees is where time was made, after this it got a lot more straightforward. Out of the trees and you are greeted with a nice open section where the death grip came into play and the speed trap was set. Then it was back into the trees through a few switchbacks, small drops and a nice line to the right if you had it in the bag. The next section caught a load of folk out over the weekend, which ended with a tight right-hander through a bar width gap in the trees. Well a bar width for the fashionable types. It was tight, reminded me of that girl I once knew. Anyway, this saw a few accidentally getting a bit ‘taped up’ during practice. You had to get it right.
The bottom section is all about fun with a big berm leading you over a small, slightly oppositely hipped double then onto a step down that threw you about a Ford Focus to the landing straight into a big drifty bermed right-hander. This corner is renowned for its braking bumps but the Pearce crew had dug them out a bit this year. Time to pedal now, into a slight uphill, a cheeky high line, a few bumps then into the ‘bus stop’ – a corkscrew type of affair. Then you are home and dry, possibly too dry. The following long sweepy left-hander was a bit like riding on marbles at times, if you kept on line though there was plenty of grip. Now all you had to do was show off on the table leading to the finish.
Race day. Time to get up early and cram in some runs. Piece all those lines together and have your last little fettle. A few showers kept the bogeys up your nose from getting too dry whilst you played the waiting game. The uplifts drove down to the arena making sure you were not to tired as well, damn nice of them really. Thankfully the rain stayed off and the speed trap got its debut. It was cancelled last round ‘because we felt the course wasn’t really fast enough to make it interesting.’ Which is fair enough, no point if your only clocking snail pace. But this round was dry and the open section was fast like a horse on crack. Jess Stone took the fastest for the women with an impressive 23.84mph and Dave Smith took the men’s with a thundering 28.29mph.
(Trial Addiction) supplied sponsorship and prizes for the speed trap, which were gratefully received. As for results, Jess Stone took home the Elite Women’s with a 2:34.70 three seconds ahead of Emily Horridge and Matt Simmonds took the Elite men’s with a sprightly time of 2:06.66, two seconds ahead of Joe Smith. These boys are going to be battling it out all season.
It was yet another success for the Pearce crew, who I’m sure are looking forward to the next round back at Bringewood as much we all are. The next round incorporates the Midlands Champs, which always attracts a few extras gunning for the prestigious title. It’s sure to be another top weekend of racing and hopefully the weather will be as good as round 2.
Full results can be found here
Words by Nathan Carvell www.nthncreative.co.uk
Photos by Turnip Towers www.birdcagegames.com