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