Photo by AleDiLullo

After Fort William World Cup Joe and I we spent a few days XC riding and hitting the gym. The following weekend there was a local race which is part of the Welsh midlands race series. We decided to race considering it was only half an hour from Joe Smiths house. We rocked up Saturday, caught up with some local mates and got into practice. The track was unreal. Open pinned turns at the top, a big forest section with tight techy turns and roots, and to top it off an open grass field with some mean turns and a big sender to flat. What more could you want?

The sun was out and within a few hours the track was as dusty as ever. I’ve ridden here before a few weeks back so it didn’t take me long to feel up to speed. I threw down about 5 runs and on my last run I got a flat tyre. This made the bottom grassy turns amazing with some big feet up drifts.

Sunday and the weather had changed a little, clouds were about but the weather report from Gareth Brewin said the rain wouldn’t come until 2pm. We got into practice. These races are run so well, the track is fully bunted, shuttles were quick, they even had a split and a speed trap! I got two practice runs in and wasn’t feeling too bad. The races here are based on your best of two race runs. I decided to keep it as sort of qualifying and finals to put myself under more pressure for my final run.
My first run, I gave it a bit and kept it smooth, the track was still super dry and so fast. I threw some pedals before the line and came across with a 2:48.51
A few riders came down and snuck in right in front of me by no more than half a second. Until Joe Smith…Laying down a wild time of 2:43.95.
After first runs had finished I was back in 4th place. And only 6th place in the speed trap with a 59km/h, 3 km/h off Ralph Jones who took out the fastest speed for the first run. A lot of riders were sacrificing their race run and focusing on the speed trap, a serious competition at these races. As we were chillin with the boys watching some family guy in Sean’s van, 1:56pm rolled around. And the rain began, Gazzy B’s weather predictions were spot on. It rained pretty heavy for a while and as it continued to rain, people started talking “Change to spikes or stay on dry tyres?” A lot of people couldn’t decide. This year we are going to be racing on spikes at a lot of the world cups, so the more practice on them for me the better. I had a long think about the track, where they would be good and where they wouldn’t be, deciding change to Maxxis spikes, that convinced a lot of people to change as well. As soon as I finished pumping up my my last wheel the sun came straight back out, all the others that had just begun to change panicked, ran around for a bit, and changed back to drys. One guy went from Maxxis Minions, to High rollers, to spikes, and then right before we had to leave for finals he changed back to High rollers, I thought it was hilarious. I just ran the spikes and hoped the rain would come back.
The ride up for finals. The shuttle road was so dusty, all the boys started giving me stick laughing because I was the only person at the race on spikes. A lot of smack was getting talked about the speed trap as well. Because spikes apparently don’t roll as good as dry tyres.
Finals began. I didn’t know how these tyres would go on the rocky track, As I got into my run, they didn’t feel to bad, a few moments where I was getting bit of understeer on the slippery rocks, I did some nice wind tucks through the fast sections, I almost lost it on the hard packed forest dirt, but once I got to the grass turns it was unreal. I sprinted to the line and came into first with a time of 2:46.21. Joe was the last rider down and got me by over a second with a 2:44.89.
In the end I finished second behind Joe giving both Konaworld riders 1st and 2nd. I also got told that I won the speed trap having a speed of 66km/h. So who said Maxxis Wetscreams roll slower? A very fun event and a big thanks to perch cycles for organising it all.
Also a big thanks to my sponsors Kona bikes, Shimano, Rock Shox, Maxxis tyres and Muc-off

See you at Leogang World Cup this weekend.
JB