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Lenzerheide Race Roundup: ‘Beaters and Brutal Conditions

Words: Tom Caldwell

Well, Lenzerheide certainly turned out to be a savage monster that none of us could have predicted. What the team thought would be a relatively fast bike park track, was in fact one of the hardest tracks this season – intense heat, minimal grip and 60kph+ speeds added to the fact this place is bloody steep and hard to push the limits without scraping your face along the deck.

Sadly this weekend it seemed bad luck struck the team, with an array of tumbles and technical issues. Phil mentioned it was one of the best tracks he’s ridden, purely because it was so full on. His qualifying was riddled with errors and injury unfortunately, check out what he had to say:

“1st run was going really good. Ben was up the top watching me, so I did the first rock garden nice, gathered some momentum through the next 3 or so corners, and then for some reason got red flagged. I’m not sure why though, the boy behind me just kept going, so I was a tad confused about that. Big thanks to Mick Hannah, he pushed my bike back up for me for my re-run. The UCI dude said I’d have to wait until the end, so I waited at the top for an hour and a half with Matti Lehikoinen, big thanks to him for babysitting. Dropped in for my second run and just took her way too steady. I’d injured my shoulder in practice and just couldn’t push that hard. It’s strapped up now and hurting like a b*tch so hopefully that heals up soon. Came down a dissapointing 97th so didn’t make the cut”.

Phil photo by Seb Schieck.

Isak on the other hand had a much better weekend and salvaged a respectable result for the team. At first he wasn’t accustomed to the terrain – but felt better as the weekend went on and built towards a good result in finals. Check the word from Isak:

“I’m real happy with how it went, pretty much went to plan (which I wasn’t planning for). I’m feeling it’s a step in the right direction, I came across the line 6th. I’ll probably end up 30th/40th (he ended up 37th), which is about the same as the last world cup, so I’m happy with that. I felt that this weekend it was harder for me to achieve that, and I had to push harder in order the get that position, so I’m pretty happy with how I’m riding and the fact I’m starting to get the consistency back.”

Whilst the boys were on track, Ben and mechanic Derek took to a few shirt modifications in order to deal with the intense swiss heat. “Ben Reid TM Wifebeaters Incorporated”

Jacob suffered the most tumbles of the team this weekend. He really enjoyed the track here too, just like everyone else – he was positive and confident after his 2nd place in Leogang and BDS win at Bala last weekend. However it wasn’t to be, he was plagued with tumbles and mechanical issues. Check out his post race thoughts:

“Practice was going real good – I picked out a few new lines before race day, ones I thought would be fresh as the rest of the lines weren’t there anymore – so blown out. In my race run, I came into the first rock garden and sliced my tyre, burped some air, and didn’t have a complete flat so I kept on going, I was saved quite a lot by the Schwalbe ProCore however, as that survived and enabled me to hold speed on basically a flat tyre and cross the first split in 2nd place, only 2 seconds back. I went into the technical section in the second woods, where the Plunge drop is, went off it and my back end slid out, overtook my front and threw me and my ribs straight onto a stump. Bent my brake lever, dust in my goggles, I was riding down basically dribbling muck out of my mouth trying to wipe it away. I could barely see with one eye closed and full of dirt. I’m not sure where I ended up – not sure if I want to know but onwards to MSA and Windham.. hopefully get a win over there.”

Jacob Dickson. Photo by Ben Winder.

Not the most success the Orange Dirt World Team has had compared to recent weekends, but nevertheless a brutal and brand new track conquered (even though it did claim many a victim). Hopefully better luck next year for our boys, and maybe a little more grip. We’re now off to Pila in Italy for a few days riding so expect a video from that pretty soon. Then onto MSA and Windham to meet some rednecks, race some bikes, and fingers crossed get some more good results! Peace out from the Orange Dirt boys.

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