Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Northern Areas Downhill Championships, Hamsterley Forest, 28th October 2011


The Northern Downhill Series came to town with the Northern Areas Championships, a big race with a fantastic turn out and, more importantly, held at Hamsterley Forest in County Durham with the assistance from Descend Hamsterley. You may ask why that is so important, well it is for us you see, we have a whole lot of good history with that there forest! So, all in…… bring it on!

(Strike a pose! Photo courtesy of Ben Sadler)

Here’s Nicklaus: The course was a combination of two tracks that were least ridden by Nick, starting on the 4-cross, crossing the fire road at the top and then onto the main line through the rock garden. Some nice flowy jumps up top and a gaggle of spectators near the bottom of the 4-cross section watching riders crash their guts out on the triples, bless!

(Muddy good fun. Photo courtesy of Ben Sadler)

A wooden booter threw you over the road into some technical traversing corners and drops then through the rock garden. Saturday was bone dry and a load of fun, got a load of runs in and things were going great, fantastic banter between the riders, nice to see such a good laid back event. Completely forgot the GoPro on the Saturday, I know, I’m an idiot! The conditions were ideal as well. Race day span around and so did the weather, the recurring trend this year, it was foggy and cold, meh! So….apologies for the filming quality as it was a tad dark in the trees. The track hadn’t changed that much, I’d dare say there was actually more grip to be had apart from the rock garden which was a greasy little *expletive deleted*.

(Nice day on the moor! Photo courtesy of Richard Easton)

My three practice runs which went pretty well, hit the lines I needed to and got into the flow of everything, feeling top notch. Chilled out with my mates after that until the race runs. As I was the reigning Northern Champion from 2010 I was determined to put in a good result, it was a very competitive field.

(Photo courtesy of Richard Easton)

My race run went well although I lost a little time over jumping a few jumps and getting a little carried away in a corner where I ended up stalling on the exit killing the speed needed to hit it full tilt through the rock garden. With that aside a side I was happy and only a couple of seconds off the pace.

(Get your rocks off! Photo courtesy of Richard Easton)

With the second run I knew what needed to be done. Loads faster up top, staying smooth, hit the lower corner that was giving me grief earlier and same thing happened, stalled it, bollocks! Made up some time further down the course and came across the line taking the second place in the champs, awesome!

(This Vimeo Link will take you to the video on the Vimeo website - a new blog template is being worked on as I type)

So it’s a wrap for this year’s racing and I want to say a big thanks to Lee Walker and all the support from the Sponsors. The hard work now starts for 2012, it has been a good year however I need to up the ante. Really looking forward to getting the new frame as the FB10 has been beyond awesome….. and I would like to add that it’s the only frame I haven’t snapped! Top work indeed Mr Wadleton!

Angie: Hiya Lee, I'm sat in the van here with Chris and Steve Foster on our way up to Aberdeen and then off on a road trip around the Isle of Skye with the XC bikes. Really excited!

I'm pretty happy I actually got to race at Hamsterley, the beginning of the week was a nightmare as I thought it just wasn't going to happen because of my wrist.

We walked the track on Friday and knew it was gonna be a wild race...starting off on the 4X past the hut and into the main line down all the drops to the bottom table-top by the river. I only had one concern and that was how my wrist would hold up off the hard hits but Helen (Gaskell) gave me a nice metal wrist support which helped loads. :)

Practice on Saturday was good, I had three uplifts but sectioned a lot of bits. Did most of my practice with Sara and The Tea Lady. There was a big wooden booter by the hut over a gap to a landing which was a bit dodgy for me as I wasn't clearing it quite like I wanted and was getting bucked about a little.

(So smoooooooth. Photo courtesy of Richard Easton)

After a dry Saturday you almost knew Sunday was gonna be wet! I kept the same tyres on and got two practice runs in in the morning. It well went damned well.

On my first race run, I'm not quite sure what happened really, I will put it down to pedaling a lot more and having a big crowd cheering me on but I managed to clear all the jumps on the 4X track and landed off the wooden booter fine. I got to the bottom with a 1.47 giving me a 10 second lead against the other girls!

Second race run was better overall by 1 second with a 1.46 which is amazing as I messed up a bit of the 4-cross section but let the brakes off through the rock garden, totally railed it. Kept the first place with a big fat grin on my face!


(Wha-heeeey! Photo courtesy of Reuben Tabner)

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