Back to Ae Forest with round 4 of the SDA series and the rumour mill was in full swing prior to the event of some sweet new sections. Ae Forest has been a popular racing venue for many a year now, and it's good to hear they're keeping it fresh and challenging.
The track had changed up the top with a fast start to the left of the original course spotted with a few little drops that you could double up over. Take the high lines from here around the following corners before dropping into a newly cut loamy steep off camber exiting across a pallet drop over a stream.
In the typical Ae Forest fashion it became tighter and technical through the trees with plenty of shiny roots coming through to catch out the unwary. Another new section, all BMX track-a-like before leading back onto the original course where you dropped down across the fire road and back into the tight trees with more greasy roots to throw into the mix. No time to catch your breath here though as soon you're dropping down another newly cut section of track leading into the infamous Ae Forest step-down followed by the 50 foot drop into the finish line arena, airborne all the way baby. Pretty scary stuff, as it damned well should be!
Tyre choice on this course was gonna be crucial, the mix 'n match terrain sure as shit wasn't helping.... practise went OK, I knew I was gonna struggle with grip in several sections, as were most people, but hey this is racing for ya!
(Photo copyright of Stewart Dickson)
I was all primed and ready for run number 1 on Sunday, there had been a fair few delays due to red flags, I was still pretty relaxed though. Straight out of the start gate like a hound possessed giving it some really big licks, move over Cedric Gracia! Came out of a compression and had a bit of a struggle with the front wheel, bounced a bit off line with a nice course tape a'stretching for a good measure and lost a fair whack of time. Got straight back on it, hit the rest of the course with aplomb but couldn't make the time back up.
So it was all to play for with my second run. Again there were a lot of delays with red flags going up left, right and centre which had now become very irritating! Second run wasn't too shabby, I had two stall in some tight corners which cost me dearly and I came across the line in 8th place, can't lay the blame on anything but myself for over cooking it.
Bring on the Northern Downhill Series race at Carlton Bank, I'mma ready for ya!