Dirt Team pilot Ralph Jones took the win at the first Pearce Cycles Summer series. Our man on the spot Steve "The Butcher" Walker was there to watch the action. Here's his report:


The beginning.

It’s kind of strange really. Everyone has a fresh uplifted attitude. Positive thoughts, new bikes (for some anyway ), fresh kit, smiles on faces. The start of a new downhill season for the masses. The working man, or women, for that matter. The people who support their chosen sport for love not glory. Grass root riders who prop up the mountain bike industry as a whole with blood, sweat, tears and any spare change they may get from their monthly pay cheque. You have electricians, factory workers, HGV drivers, a midget and a butcher all on a hill that has been made into a magical bicycling paradise by Dave and his band of merry men (let’s try and keep the fairy tail thing going, what with the midgets and everything). Anyway, back to Disneyland - I mean Bringegood, derrr, Bringewood.

So, for a start off it was dry. Well, dry-ish. There were a couple of slick spots, mainly a freshly dug right hander that was littered in roots, and I mean, loads of the buggers! They were fresh, slick and a challenge for most. I kept looking around for a magic beanstalk (fairy tail theme again). No beanstalk, but I did have a chat with a bloke called Jack.

From the moment you leave the start, a dry Bringewood simply leaves downhill riders elated. I say a dry Bringewood because it is notoriously difficult in the wet when the place becomes a constant challenge, yet one that should be relished. However, on this day, for some reason, Zeus, or whatever God you do or don’t believe in, decided to let it shine. And shine it did (although it was still bloody cold on top of the hill).

Everyone loved the track and the event as a whole. I know, because I asked them – all four hundred of them! Well, I asked at least four riders and a midget. Here’s what a couple said:

Chris Derry, second place in Masters. Ten years riding and racing. “The course is great all the way down. I particularly like the last part where it gets steep, rough and technical. The braking bumps are big in that section. Pearce have got it dialled, I give this race a 10 out of 10”.

Foz Willis, thirteenth in seniors. First downhill race. Ex moto-cross racer. “My favourite part of the course is the second section after the road jump all the way to the bomb hole. It’s the only part I can remember!!!10 out of 10 though, absolutely loved it”.

This style of course seems to suit riders of mixed abilities with everyone involved getting that ‘racers buzz’.

The uplift was faultless, but it’s kind of the norm with Pearce races. Pearce just seem to have their uplifts sorted. I sometimes wonder if Dave or Lyndsey Pearce could pull a rabbit out of a hat? Considering they use your run of the mill tractors and trailers it always just seems to work. However, I did spot Lyndsey with a magic wand. Poof!! Simple as that.

“The usual suspects” were there. The Pearce boys were all looking fast, including the Morgan boys, Bradley Shields etc. Scott “Boom Boom” Beaumont was looking as smooth and fluid as ever with his effortless, natural, riding style. The other Jones was there. Not the old man Jones, but the new young gun Jones. The Dirt team rider was making easy work of the course. Flat out. Flat pedals, bike loose, drifting. It was great to watch - scary in fact.

Chris Derry of “DerryAir” cycles looked smooth and fast with his usual clipped in style – silent, but deadly. As did the Solid boys; in particular Colin Williams, who always looks good on a bike.

Mr Paton was testing some steel thing out and also racing it .He seems to have this uncanny knack of being able to ride any bike he wants and look fast straight away. Perhaps it was because his NEW girlfriend was there (who I’m going to call Snow White for the time being in keeping with the magical theme).

Hard-tails. Needs no explanation really. These boys are all nuts, or “Well Ard”.

The ladies class, sorry, womens class, was as competitive as always. No one seems to suffer with the “I’m a lady” syndrome. You never seem to get any complaints from the girls, they just get on with it. Pretty gutsy really, it takes a special sort. Put it like this, you wouldn’t get my wife or sister going down there. Proper!

The racing was great. Real good in fact. The atmosphere was great too. You could here the occasional air horn blasting and the usual screaming and hollowing from spectators that had weaved their way up the course, into the trees, looking out for the odd bear on the way. Batman and Robin were doing there usual commentary, with the smaller of the dynamic duo dishing his usual barrage of abuse - hilarious!

The biggest shock of the day, for me personally anyway, was from Mark Millward. Now I’m not going to lie to you. I know Mark from moto-cross. He’s an ex British Championship rider who retired last year. Without a doubt he can ride a bike with an engine. But, to turn up at his first major downhill race and get on the podium in a competitive masters class is really pretty impressive. Third place. No more to be said really.

Here's what Elite winner Ralph Jones had to say:

"I'm always nervous about the the first race of the year how I'm gona rack up against the other riders. I forgot my kit on saturday so spent the day walking the track with top line spotter Steve Dale getting all the sneaky lines dialled.

I put down a solid first run and backed it up with a good time in the second run. The course was really good if not better than ever and the pearce cycles crew put on a top event. I’m off to the BUSA student champs next weekend where I'm looking for a repeat performance."

Anyway, for you boys that are interested, here are some results and a few photos.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Tom Braithwaite says "fair cop" to winner Ralph Jones

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

See you at the next round - it’s Hopton I think. Don’t forget to bring your bag of magic dust and any wands you have hanging around in the garage. Let’s keep the magic going!!! I could of sworn I saw a large eared mouse, standing with a duck and Goofy looking dog by the finish line????……………………. Must have been Parr, Paton and his brother! Steve "The Butcher" Walker.

Full results here.