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Forest of Dean Mini Downhill round 1 – report, video and photos

Ben Deakin brings the goods

With over 300 riders entered, including 18 women and 21 rippers, the first Forest of Dean mini downhill of the season proved that grassroots downhill is alive and kicking in the UK.

Despite sub-zero temperatures, and the race being on one of the shorter tracks, the event was a huge success and even drew a decent crowd to cheer on the riders – what else would you expect from one of the longest running series in the UK. Race winner Ben Deakin takes up the story for us:

Words by Ben Deakin
Photos by Doc Ward

Last weekend saw the return of the well established Mini Downhill run by Chris Roberts at the well known Cannop Cycle Centre at Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

The race was held on the run Ski Run, generally a rider’s favourite with a variety of tech, jumps and sections that you can commit to fully brakeless and carry some serious speed. It’s also one of the oldest and most established DH tracks in the forest.

The top section had a few lines that the faster riders were gapping up to avoid roots and compressions, which then dropped you onto a fire road before dropping into the slightly steeper part of the track with a few technical lines with various roots and tight corners to negotiate and take you at a moment’s notice!

This was then followed by some flat-out chutes before sending you into a off-camber part of the track which you could go brakeless swooping you through the woods if you dared!

This then shot you into the last part of the track with a couple of tight corners and jumps to conquer before a lung busting sprint to the finish line. The average time was around the 1 minute 20 mark which doesn’t sound like much … but after the last sprint it was certainly catching a few people out!



Turning up first thing in the morning with the temperature gauge reading minus 4 isn’t a great start. I was praying that the track wouldn’t be icy but with a lot of keen racers rolling down the hill as soon as practice opened the track soon thawed out. After a couple of runs it was actually fairly grippy with just the odd root still catching a few people out!

Towards the end of practice the track was running great with plenty of grip and no sloppy mud for December, which was great. The race attracted a sell out 317 entrants which was great for the sport but not so much for getting a full run in practice! You just have to remind yourself that everyone has to start somewhere and that these races are intended for fun and encouraging people to get into the sport.

The Rippers category (Age 10-12) saw some impressive talent with 21 kids showing that the future is bright. Some of them were barely as big as their bikes and were tackling the track like seasoned champs.

Local Will Haines took the win from JC Harris in second and Henry Chester in third. I’d love to have started racing at that age but I’m obviously showing my age as you weren’t allowed to race until you were 16.

“Keep it up boys and don’t find girls and alcohol until you’re at least 21!”

Juvenile men (13-14 year olds) was won by Chris Cumming ahead of Sean Margrave and Dennis Luffman in third. Youth men (15-16 year olds) saw Morgan Tyrrell take the win with an impressive 1.08.360 that placed him 4th fastest overall ahead of Riley Jenner and Dec Wilicombe.

Juniors also saw some seriously quick times with Jay little and Kyle Hall separated by just over half a second and both making a respectable top 10 overall with Jack Aldred rounding up the top 3

Seniors saw probably the tightest racing with the top 3 on the same second, Warren Field took the win with a time that placed him 5th overall with Matt Bateman being 0.010 behind Warren and Lewis Webber being 0.580 respectively

The Masters category saw Mike Taylor take the win with wayne Davis and Ricky Dorrington ending in 2nd and 3rd respectively behind him.



The veterans saw Pete Little a seasoned racer take a convincing 1.7 second  win with Dan Bishop and Guy Theron rounding up the Top 3.

The Grand Vets had a guaranteed podium but fair play to these guys I don’t think I’d push up the hill when I’m that age with very respectable times in 1.20s Mark Taylor taking the win with Jerry Dyer and Ian Cheshire 1.2 seconds behind the leader.



18 women showed up to race which is a great turn out for any race! The fastest female on the day was youth rider Rosy Monaghan taking the win in front of Ellen Flewitt and Corinna Brisbourne.

Senior woman saw Abbie Sloan taking the win in front of Franki Evans and Erica Exelby. Master Woman saw Rene Stent take the win with Ericka Mcdermott and Debbie Walker.

Right now onto the Top Boys and most importantly me! I was stoked to show the young guns a thing or two and stay in Elite rather than my age category (Masters). A time of 1.07.360 put me (Ben Deakin Muc-Off and my honorary winter sponsor Team Shit House) top of the board in Expert /Elite and the fastest time of the day.

Will Soffe (BikePark Wales) was close on my tail with a 1.08.010 to put him 2nd in category and overall. Fergus Ryan (Team Skene) rounded up the top 3 with a 1.08.950. Unfortunately the majority of times couldn’t be beaten in the second runs for the back half of seniors and Expert/ Elite due to the light in the woods. Eating a lot of carrots is highly recommended!



Overall the Mini Downhill races are a real good laugh with a great vibe (the fact that it was fully booked a few weeks ahead tells a story). It was run on tracks that intermediate/ advanced riders can challenge themselves with creative lines and to go as fast as possible while the beginners and less experienced racers can safely negotiate a regional downhill track.

There are chicken runs and rollable features to make everything safe and – most importantly – enjoyable, with plenty of people on hand to help.

Thanks to Chris and the Naked Racing team for a brilliant race. Huge thanks to the medics, marshals and spectators who braved the cold conditions all day and added to the already great atmosphere this race has to offer. Get entering the next quickly as it fills up quick!

The race was sponsored by Fly Up Downhill, ShredXS, Sprung Suspension, MTB Morzine Bed, FlowMTBApparel and Mud Hugger.

More at http://minidownhill.com/

Cheers The Deakinator!

You can follow Ben on
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Full Results

Flow MTB Youth girls
1. Rosy Monaghan
2. Ellen Flewitt
3. Corinna Brisbourne
Flow MTB Senior Men
1. Abbie Sloan
2. Franki Evans
3. Erika Exelby
Flow MTB Masters Women
1. Rene Stent
2. Erika McDermott
3. Debbie Walker
Shred XS Rippers
1. Will Haines
2. JC Harris
3. Henry Chester

Elite

1. Ben Deakin
2. Will Soffe
3. Fergus Ryan
Hardtail Men
1. Joe Bremner-Foord
2. Ben Jones
3. Guy Holder
Juvenile boys
1. Chris Cumming
2. Sion Margrave
3. Dennis Luffman
Youth boys
1. Morgan Tyrrell
2. Riley Jener
3. Dec Willicombe
Junior boys
1. Jay Little
2. Kyle Hall
3. Jack Aldred
Senior men
1. Warren Field
2. Matt Bateman
3. Lewis Webber
Masters men
1. Mike Taylor
2. Wayne Davis
3. Ricky Dorrington
Veterans men
1. Pete Little
2. Dan Bishop
3. Guy Theron
Grand Vets
1. Mark Taylor
2. Jerry Dyer
3. Ian Cheshire

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