Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Northern Downhill Series, Rnd 4 - Alwinton

Here's what Nick had to say, I'll add a footnote at the bottom:

I was excited to be back on this track because last time it was really challenging and the conditions didn't help at all. This time around there had been some alterations to the course from rider feedback, and thankfully the weather forecast was a damn sight better.

First uplift came around, tryin' to remember the best way to hit the tricky rock and the drops at the top and just couldn't get it clear in my head so put some foot work in to check it out and watch what other riders were doing. The majority were hitting the 'chicken run' but this added at least 10 seconds, it was completely out of the question. I hauled it, hitting the rocky section and the drop first time and then straight on down over a small step into an off-camber left, it was a real struggle to control the speed into it. All through Saturday was much the same, pretty damned sketchy but made it through each time, so I was happy. The NDH Series organiser, Carl, told me there were four racing in my Expert category, there was a real low turn out due to the rider reports and feedback from the last event, this course is full-bore hardcore and it scared a lot of riders. As the day progressed it was apparent that two of my category hadn't turned up and that James Scott was a late entry, I was looking forward to racing with James as he's a bloody fast rider. Unfortunately he crashed out in the morning injuring his hand and so had to pull out, damn!

Photo courtesy of Rich Easton, http://www.photo-moto.co.uk/

Come Sunday the course was pretty rutted and slippy, spike tyres were a must! I was really chuffed and sticking to my lines consistently, kept my flow, really cool. Decided to do 2 or 3 practise runs on Sunday. On my first run I hit the most difficult part of the track with aplomb although slipped into a faster line that I hadn't noticed before, bonus! Pushing wide to the right I found a really smooth and fast line into the next corner, it opened it all up which was absolutely bang on. Tried it all out on the second run and nailed it again, fast as hell, real happy.

When I went up for my first practise run I was more nervous then I would have been at any other race, it was crazy! This was because although wasn't any competition in my category, I knew I had to finish to get the result and this course is quite insane. Thought I would take it 'nice and steady' you know but once I was on the track, I was absolutely loving it! I was standing 3rd overall and only 5 seconds off, pushed a little harder and knocked a further 2 seconds off that time with the final race run.

Photo courtesy of Rich Easton, http://www.photo-moto.co.uk/

It was a really good weekend, and there's a lot of interest in the bike. Frank's made a top notch product.

Top weekend for Nick there. The Alwinton course begs the question as to why British riders won't push themsleves to do the harder courses, we need up and coming racers to follow in the footsteps of the Peaty, the Athertons, Lewis Buchanan, Ruaridh Cunningham, Danny Hart et al. These are the type of courses that we need. Could we be seeing an British National Downhill Series event at Alwinton in 2011? Time will tell.

On another note it was great to see one of the old Development Team riders competing again as a privateer, Marc Purkiss, he pulled off the third place in the Masters category - well done Marc! It's nice to know I have so many old and new riders keeping it hardcore out there!

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