Sunday, 31 May 2015

British Downhill Series Round 2 - Fort William, 16th - 17th May 2015

*Ding Ding* Round 2

Nelly: Fort Bill here we come!  Newrick and his dad had left home at 4am on the Friday morning to make sure he had decent time on the track and I wasn't far behind with my crew. This weekend was going to be turned up a few notches as not only were there international riders competing at the event with the World Cup being here in just a few weeks' time, the adverse weather was also closing in fast.  It was going to be a bumpy ride.

Come Friday evening I was buzzing for race day because let's face it, Frank Wadelton's downhill bikes are simply made for this course, they rail!  Had a chat with my co-pilot Tom Newrick and he'd had an awesome day on the hill despite a puncture earlier on, our practise runs weren't in sync so we didn't get any joint runs in sadly.

Saturday morning Nick turned up and with him the wind and pouring rain, it wasn't looking good.  There was a lot of uncertainty about the gondola running and a lot of riders were holding fire in hope that they would open.  Mother Nature had won this one and sure enough the call was made; it was going to be an old-school style 30-minute push-up to the top of the lower section with the event being run from there.  

As Nick was saying, there's not a lot to practise on that section of track, they'd built up the motorway jumps ready for the World Cup and you had to either go fast and clear the lot or take it cautiously losing time.  The track although short was still fun to ride, some riders were grumbling though and I could see both sides of the coin, it wasn't a good day for the BDS management.

The push-up was knackering after a few rides though, I reckon Newrick had the best idea; get a couple of runs in and then go ride the cross-country route to keep his legs moving! Nick got a few runs in and then headed back to his hotel.  Regardless to the course conditions I was happy with my riding and had it all nicely nailed down.

Race day Sunday arrived with no change in the weather and with just one race run it was going to be all or nothing, I had to keep it pinned..... which sadly I didn't. Mother Nature got the best of me here and I crossed the line in 17th place, not the top ten that I was aiming for.

Newrick: I was one of the riders getting fed up with the pushing to the top, it certainly wasn't helping my mood and I was shattered.  My race run was lousy after nearly crashing on the first pointless rut and that was my only shot at it done and dusted, or should I say mud splattered, I took the 25th place in the youths.  

Nick: Fuelled by a massive Full English breakfast I plodded up the hill with everyone else and got a couple of runs in.  One of the main issues was catching people up on the track which made taking the motorway jumps at full pelt sketchy, took it easier with the later runs just to make sure I knew what I was doing come the racing.

The start was catching people out, it was pretty tricky and a lot of riders were coming off, thankfully I stayed on my bike but only just and got the power back on!  The course from there to the motorway jumps is uneventful, under normal conditions with a the full course being used this section is mentally demanding after you've been assaulted by the top of the course.  With this weekend's format it was just, well....!  I got to the motorway which was the only really challenging bit where I hit the hip jump and drifted off my line on landing and although I cleared the step down my landing there wasn't too hot, came in far too fast and to brake hard otherwise I would have hooked up on the next jump and been another victim heading to the local A&E. Mid-way in the Masters with a 17th for me.

Next up are Robyn's Welsh enduro assault at Afan, Jamie's ballet training with the Scottish Downhill Series at Glencoe and then the big bad BDS at Llangollen.

You can follow The Development's shenanigans on the team's Facebook page: The Development Racing.

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