Friday, 20 May 2011

Northern Downhill Series - Round 1, Alwinton, 24th April 2011

Nick Turner: The first round of the Northern Downhill Series kicked off at the now infamous Alwinton course, you want steep? You got it! This has to be one of my favourite courses of all time, it’s absolutely RAD. Last year people didn’t do race runs or even practice as the track was seen to be too steep and gnarly!

There had been some changes at the top which made it more rider friendly! However it was still steep and technical and so….. much….. fun……, it suits the FTW FB10 bike perfectly. The forecast was sunny skies all weekend and the organizers planned an uplift day for the Friday as well, unfortunately due to work constraints I couldn’t go. When it came to Saturday practice the course was more or less dry, the wet and slippy bits only hither and thither.

Practice was blisteringly good, a few sketchy moments granted, mind you most people were in the same boat. I only had one crash which was on my last run and it was because I was getting far too carried away, hit a lower corner with way too much speed and just washed out resulting in a big high-side down the hill to some rapturous cheering from the spectators! Excellent!

(Photographer currently unknown)

Rain?! Nooooooo…..!!! Six o’clock that evening and the heaven’s opened, did it rain? Oh yes! Was it heavy? Oh yes….. !! It went on for a good four hours and we all knew the track would be even tougher the next day. The morning thankfully dawned with clear blues skies, phew. Walked up the track, just to scope it out and leaning towards running cut down spiked mud tyres as there were quite a lot of exposed roots coming through. It was gonna be a fun day!

Managed three runs before the racing started, the first was quite wet and muddy but still riding well. Between the second and third runs the course was drying out again and becoming a damn sight quicker. I was really positive for my race run as the bike was amazing on this course. Overall it went pretty well just a few little mistakes that, collectively, probably cost me a few seconds.

I came down in 3rd place, was one second off second and 9 seconds from first. That fired up my determined further to go quicker and ensure a podium place. From the start I hit a root which stalled me into the first corner, I made up this time further down, I was railing it and crossed the line keeping my third place position, excellent!

Overall the weekend was awesome, really happy with the result and this is the kind of course where the FTW bike comes into its own.

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