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!
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 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.
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!
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!
More at http://minidownhill.com/
Cheers The Deakinator!
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