First race of the year, so I was pretty excited, neither Chris nor me attended the first round of the British Downhill Series the week before as it was held at Combe Sydenham which is a very long way to travel for what is in effect a flat as a pancake pootle through their woods! A controversial comment there, I know! So this weekend was the first opportunity to gauge myself against the other riders.
This was the first round of the SDA's at Innerleithen which is a superb venue with some great tracks. Got to the pits really late in the evening and didn't have time to walk the track. In hindsight, after the first practise run on Saturday morning, I wish I had taken a torch and gone up the mountainside as there were so many lines to choose from.
Photo copyright of Paul Mears
I am waiting for my new Team-Issue FTW Industries 'FB10' downhill frame to arrive from the 'States before fitting all of the new kit so sent my Boxxer forks off to the guys at TF Tuned for some TLC. As usual they came back working as sweet as a nut, thank you so much guys, you rule! The bike was running damned good and the course's conditions were only a tad moist which made for a nice change as of late. Track wise, well it had a bit of everything to put me and the bike through its paces. Some real nice tight technical sections, some big jumps and some flat out sprints.
Photo copyright of the awesome Ian Linton
Unfortunately due to the good old Post Office being so incredibly efficient (quite!) I was unable to collect my new DFender mud guard which would have been a great advantage however my 100% goggles and laminated tear offs did a great job of keeping the cack out of my eyes!
Photo copyright of Steve Wyper
My last practice run was going well, I was riding fast and hitting most of my lines bang-on. Coming into the last jump section near the bottom of the track there were a load of spectators indicating for me to slow down, which I did, one of the trackside marshalls told me to carry on so I started to pick my speed back up. Due to being out of sync with the track I hit the first jump awry, usually I was hitting it perfectly lined up and flat out. It went all to hell on landing and my head took the hard brunt of it, very grateful to my Urge lid for protecting my youthful looks! I was feeling pretty dazed so left it at that for the day.
Photo copyright of Steve Wyper
Race day hit and there had been a bit of rain over night so the track was a little slicker. In the morning's practice session I was a little more cautious, pulled back a fair bit, but I guess that's understandable though. Having said that I was feeling darned good for race runs. On the first run I washed out across one of the fire roads which costing me a little time, that really hacked me off as I was on it. Took that annoyance into my second run and really tried to nail it, shaved off 6 seconds, that's not too shabby but I was off the pace. The crash in practise gave my confidence a hit.
Next up is the first round of the Northern Downhill Series at Kidland, I will be on it!