Bloody hell fire, that was an odd weekend, done 1 write up on HTN and since then things have changed a bit, but inbetween drunk antics with a mars bar air cannon from Wales, my car getting a midnight burgering ( not buggering, burger as in meat product) Tim Black tried to pull his arm off and didnt get past practice, speedy recovery there, another lad from HT went to join Tim in hospital, a few broken bikes and forks. Get this Kenny Dyers psylo forks pissed oil all over his front brake all weekend and it kept working, how ? oil on calipers/rotor/pads should have killed Kenny but that set of Magura Julies just kept working, he also ripped off his rear mech just for good measure, not bad going for his second race. Anyway what else, yes a race, and a very strange one it was this year.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

We had a few proper riders mix it up with the animals and newbies and Female, Cotic sent in Robbie Rickman, sent Steve larkin, he came down from Scotland and robbed a few T;shirts and a DVD from jamie the mags editor, all good stuff for prizes, the boys from dmr where booked up this year with 4x and KOD and couldnt make it, i talked Andrew Wright of Astrix/RHUK into racing, he bought a mate that caused a stir, and was something i never expected to happen at the Unofficial champs, even Chris and Vicki from RHUK came to watch, they also donated a very loverly stash of Spank bars and stems and grips as prizes, Ben Irons from Southerndownhill also turned up with the site boss Rob Lewis on a "borrowed" bike (ahem, that got well ridden/tested by some big blokes) Alex Marshall (2nd in 07) and Ryan Lewis (3rd in 08) and a girl !

The first time at the HT champs a young lady rocked up on a black trailstar, took a battering, got back on and keep riding, and that was only practice, Clair did alright in the race runs.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Ben Deakin on the start ramp, with Andy wright about to warm up his legs on the blue Astrix, Alex marshall in the red T, and Lewis Warrington from Wales.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

The wildcard entry that caused a stir, Ben Baker, Astrix/Axo just back racing from a broken neck, sporting a Leatt neck brace, this Ben raced at world cup level last year, and therefore could not win the Unofficial title, would he win, could he be beaten by some hooligan on a beat up bike, race run 1 was very interesting indeed, it ended with Baker 1st in 1.22.25, Andy Payne from Torico/UK Bikepark in 1.22.29 then Deakin in 1.22.65, how tight can it get, and oh shit a world cupper is leading, this race is for the unlicenced unsponsered heros of grass roots racing, but great if we can stuff a world cupper (in a nice way)

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

The corner of Doom, dont think for one minute showing photos of Clair binning it is to belittle her, she went wide and hit the tree head on, this was in practice, she got on and going, this was the main bottle neck on the track with most people having an off here, the other photo is of Andy Astrix man, with Deakin in the background with a damaged susser, hit the same tree as Clair. Uplift gossip was the frame was damaged and unrideable, we had badgered Deakin into racing all weekend, being a Marine he went a bit further than that, he had a chat with the UK Bike Park and talked them into letting him race both HT and in senior on the bent susser, not sure how that works, but 4 race runs in two classes, WHAT A LEGEND, this also gives us some interesting DATA to look at, we all know a susser is faster, but not by much, depending on the rider, the 4 run times are very different, more at the end on that.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Andy Payne on the prototype Curtis and James Horton getting Foot out Flat out.

So run 2 saw everyone go nuts to shave off a few seconds, and as we had been winding the living piss out of the awfully big Marine he went really nuts and trimmed 2 seconds off his time, no-one else could even come close to that.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

The top 3, Ben Deakin 1st, Ben Baker 2nd, Andy Payne 3rd, Deakin picked up £30 for the class win, a case of Becks from , Gold Spank grips and a token from for a free fork service thats about £100 on it's own, the new mangement Martin at TF tuned also threw in 3 Lower lube kits as well for the podium which was very nice of them.

We do things different in Hardtail and like to honour last man down, as they have done a sevice to everyone else, no one wants to come last, but someone has to, and after blowing his fork, ripping his gears off and giving the front brake an oil bath, that honour fell to Kenny, who bagged a Spank 1 timer stem and Bitch Stick bars and White Spank grips from and a copy of Fastlane mag, they fell into the back of my car while Rob from Southerndownhill wasnt looking along with a wedge of Robs stickers, which then mostly fell into the happy crowd at the awards.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

And Clair got a special mention for now being the Unofficial Hardest bird in racing, i kinda thought it could happen and came semi prepared with the green Basil Bag i blagged from the fisher trade show, wideopenmag threw in a T'shirt, Chris from RHUK found another pair of Gold spank grips in his car, and i robbed a bottle of energy drink from the cafe as Clair didnt drink beer or cider, a first for us and maybe more girls mixing it up in the future (maybe not next year if i get the venue i want).

A big big thank you to every one at for letting us in, even they where surprised at how many turned up, the 2nd biggest class of the day no less, thank you to Steve Larking from for catching my camera and getting some podium photos and getting some t'shirts and bits from Jamie at the mag, to Chris and Vicki from for there help and support and prizes and Caroline at who i bribed with jaffa cakes to pitch the idea to the new boss, all this shamless plugging is hard work, but without the help of all these people i wouldnt have been able to do it, thank you all very much ( be in touch about next year )

So onto the list of The national ranking of the Unoffical Hard Tail Champs. And Ben Deakins other 2 run times on a susser.

Ben Deakin Susser times R1 1.34.75 R2 1.16.75

Ben Deakin Hard Tail times R1 1.22.65 R2 1.20.72

2nd Ben Baker Astrix Axo 1.22.25 1.30.26

3rd Andy Payne Torico Uk Bike Park 1.22.29 1.23.33

4th Andrew Wright Astrix RHUK 1.50.00 1.25.57

5th Steve Larking wideopenmag 1.27.52 1.25.60

6th Robbie Rickman 1.32.40 1.26.56

7th Alex Marshall The Hills Have Eyes 1.34.51 1.27.97

8th Ash Brown Uk Bike Park 1.54.84 1.29.01

9th Ryan Lewis Extreme culture 1.31.22 1.34.00

10th Andrew Gardiner 1.31.47 1.48.19

11th Ian Bressat 1.34.16 1.32.30

12th James Horton 1.33.33 1.38.08

13th Ben Irons 1.34.00 .1.38.74

14th Stuart Bond 1.35.92 1.34.19

15th Rob Lewis 1.35.65 1.49.54

16th Danny Evripidou 1.40.11 1.39.47

17th Ace 1.39.52 1.43.74

18th Simon Nash 2.25.24 1.42.24

19th Lewis warrington 1.43.54 1.43.46

20th James Evans 1.50.20 1.56.02

21st Tim Grant The Defective 1.51.92 1.51.56

22nd Antonio Fiore 2.04.67 1.56.10

23rd Clair Lloyd 2.02.94 2.00.58

24th Joe Gibbs 2.13.97 2.03.21

25th Connor saxon DNF (jammed back wheel) 2.05.70

26th Kenny Dyer DNF (ripped gears off) 3.05.07