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Downhill

Caersws Cup round 3

Carsws Cup. Midlands Champs.

STEEP Learning Curve.

“Stop messing around and just get yourself booked in will you”.
“Yeah, but I’ve never done a race before you crazy Butcher”, Jay said.
“Go on the web site, take a look, it’s an entry level event”, I replied.
“Ok Butch, I’ll check it out”.

The next day I receive a text message. It’s from Jay. “Ok butch, booked in, were on”.

Now I should just explain that Jay has recently left the Royal Marines. He is fit, tough, hard and isn’t really scared of anything or anyone. Who would of thought that a relatively small hill in Wales could turn a trained killer into a big girls blouse!

The problem is, that even some seasoned Downhillers were at times in trouble on the
Carsws hill.
It was steep, twisty, slippery and kind of like all Royal Marines – hard and a little bit nuts! You either loved it or hated it, but I can honestly say that it’s a course that is Downhill bike worthy. Slack head angles and low bottom brackets were the order of the day. So were spikes, body armour and flat pedals. The hardcore clips boys still rode and raced with their hard soled plate protectors on, but God knows how. I didn’t do a run without dragging my sneakers from top to bottom and if you did get it wrong, you were suddenly catapulted into no mans land. Fun and scary all at the same time, it’s why we do it I guess?

And then there was rain. Lots of it. Riders got anxious. You could tell. Jay was anxious and he had recently been shot at. I need not say anymore really. Within around twenty minutes there was a river running down the hill. People actually spotted fish. Some swimming down stream, Salmon swimming up. First runs over, time for number two.

“You’re late”, Mark the starter said. Not me. But other riders were. Not there fault really. For the first time ever, I think anyway, a downhill event was running dramatically early. The masses had left the building. Second runs were not on the agenda for most. They were either injured or just plain scared. I know I was, I’m not ashamed to say it. The Carsws cup course was hard enough in the dry, but in the mud it would be easier to get to talk to big man Jones (who never answers his phone )!

The second run for me is now a distant memory. I’m glad I just made it down even if it was like one of those off piste skier type blokes. In other words, the course was hideous. How the hell Young Gun Jones did the time he did in such conditions is beyond me. It’s a miracle. So your new Midlands champion is DIRT mag man ‘Rocket’ Ralph, from Newtown Wales. I suppose it’s kind of near the Midlands, but who cares, he could be from CATMAN bloody DOO if he wants to be, to do that time – makes me want to move him across the border. Perhaps he could stay with the midget and his wired haired poodles?? Now, gis a goo on ya new M6 Ralphie. Hopefully he should now understand a bit of Black Country – after all, he is Champion of the Midlands.

For those of you who are interested -Jay has re-enlisted into the Marine core. He says it is safer and would rather take his chances negotiating a mine field wearing ski crampons and a luminous green suit with a target on his back…..just kidding, he loved it really.

Dirt team rider Ralph “Wreckin Ball” Jones took the win at the weekend, here’s what he had to say.

“The course was steep and had some really hard new sections which started of pretty straight forward but as practice went on the berms and catches got blown out and some nice roots came out turning a course that I thought I knew into one I didn’t. There were five big jumps on the track making it a lot of fun and some slippery grass turns in the field to finish off. Practice went well and I managed to get the track dialled and changing a few lines as faster ones had come out. Once practice had finished there was a monsoon for about half an hour which just stopped for my run. So I swapped my tyres for Michelin mud 3’s and scrapped all my high lines and just pinned the low lines. The field was slippy as well which was a lot of fun drifting through. For second run the course was running slower with the rain holding off the course was now sticky mud and rutted and I ended up doing the same time which was still good enough to beat Tom Deacon and Dave Smith for first. ”

Thanks for listening, again!

The Butcher.

Photos: Andrew “The Duck” Dunwoody.

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