Sunday, 11 September 2011

Northern Downhill Series - Ramsgill, 20th - 21st August 2011

Whey hey! The Northern Downhill Posse rolled into North Yorkshire with their Ramsgill round. This was a new track to race on, it’s always great when there's a brand new course as you don’t have a clue what it has in store for you. It was on the opposite side of the hill to the course of years gone by.

Angie got there with Steve (Foster) on the Friday night, Nick was soon to follow and and they walked the track...

I’ll let Angie take over here: …..It started about five fields up from the valley bottom, scattered rocks here and there and a bit of a boggy left hander which got more blown out and a bit deeper as the weekend went on. Around some corners over a rock berm and down over the stream gap (embrace the case, respect the bounce!) it had a funny landing if you weren't giving it big big licks. Onwards on the gas to the next corner, an immediate left off the infamous "cock jump" (a wooden kicker-jump with a lovely ‘cock’ shape drawn on it to help distract you, Nick was laughing about it all weekend!), a few more corners, past the cow barn and then back on the gas again for the rest of the way, past a little step down and some hellish flat turns into the finish. Verrrrryyyyyyyy old school!

When Angie races, everyone takes note! Photo courtesy of Richard Easton

Nick was super-excited to be back at Ramsgill, so many good memories from the NAMBS races of old (Lee: I’ll try and find an old photo of Nick at Ramsgill from years back….)

Here's Nick many thousands of years ago on the old Ramsgill course!

And here's Nick doing a practise run:

Angie: For me it was just a brilliant experience, the opportunity to race an old school course. Something I have missed out on having got into the sport all too late. These days most turns are bermed or banked up, but uh-uh, not these ones, great fun seeing how fast you can go, how much the bike can slide at the back and still being able to control it.

The course is deceptive, it’s a pretty easy track to ride yet at the same time you need to be on the ball as there’s no room for mistakes, the times are just so close. Nick was saying how unbelievably slippy the corners were becoming.

It was dry on Saturday and I got 7 runs in, everyone seemed to be loving it... however the evening came and brought heavy rain with it. It lashed down all night and we awoke to soggy fields which left the tractors a bit useless in getting up the hill to the top, not to worry, ce la vie! A 10-minute push wasn't going to kill anyone, was it?

Nick was pretty much on it with his first run however he also knew where to make up. Sadly with his second run he mis-judged a boggy corner losing time, he has however kept his fourth place overall standing. Consistency is the key!

Nick's kicking up the dust! Photo courtesy of Richard Easton

Angie's back: I got two practice runs in rocking some brand-new Maxxis Super-Tacky ‘Wet Screams’, baby yeah! So much more grip! My first race run went fine, hit all my lines and pedaled like a banshee where I could. I got a 1.41. That put me 7 seconds in the lead, totally on it!

Second race run came around and the track was drying out real quick, knew it was going to be a faster run. Hit everything harder, getting more pedaling in until I hit the second kicker-jump and got distracted, went straight over the bars and got all tangled in the tape. Not wasting anytime I jumped back on, feeling that the other girls were going to have a faster run with it drying up, luckily this wasn’t the case and I took the win! Elated!

Top step! Photo courtesy of Richard Easton

Big thanks to Carl and the Northern Downhill Series team for getting Ramsgill off the ground, we all had a belting weekend!!

Lee here now: there was a bit of debate on the internet over whether there is a place on a modern race series for such an old school styled course. And I back Carl 100% for what he achieved at Ramsgill which was in effect a short open course, the style of which we had in the middle of the 90’s. Today we see a huge influx of steep technically demanding courses and there are people who thrive for these. However in order to have an fair balance throughout a race series there is, I feel, a need for variety and this is where such a course fits in perfectly. It shows you the riders who can handle ALL types of terrain, not just the purely vertical gravity set. My hat is off to Carl for pulling off such a brilliant weekend.


  1. Cracking blog and well done for 2012 guys! :)

  2. As far as i can remember, it was a combination of the big rock on the inside corner and following straight at 12 and 13 seconds in the video that were responsible for the titanium now holding my back together!

    Funny how after riding/ racing everything going in the UK for many years, that an old school track with seemingly little in the way of technical challenge can be the one to do the most damage! Thankfully i am on my feet and hope to be back out on the road bike within the next month.

    Massive thanks to the guys who helped me off the hill that day, including Nick... will be back soon ;o)