The Farley brothers Kona Grassroots Wheelbase.co.uk team headed to Llangollen in North Wales for the series finals of the six round British Downhill Series. Dan was looking for an improvement after just missing out on a podium finish at the previous two rounds and needed a good result to keep hold of second place for the series overall. Andy was aiming for a top ten finish.
Arriving at the track early on Saturday it was clear that Martin and his crew at onegiantleap had put in a lot of hard work to build a completely new track that included the Llangollen trademark steep turns, some technical off camber root sections, a couple of shortish pedally sections and some tables, doubles and hip jumps. Most riders were of the opinion that this was probably the best BDS track of the year. Si Paton and the BDS crew had pulled out all the stops in terms of setting up the venue; there were plenty of trade stands including full Shimano tech support for all riders and the pits had a real world cup feel.
Saturday practise ran from about 9.15 until 5.30 and the uplift seemed to work well with none of the issues normally associated with this venue. Riders had plenty of time to scope the new track time and dial in race lines.
As usual the tension started to rise during Sunday morning practise as riders focused on practising full race runs and making final tweaks to set up. In the seeding runs Dan clocked 2.26 for seventh after a few errors so he knew he could improve when it came to race runs. Andy clocked a brilliant 2.25 putting him into s seasons best fifth in seeding. In his race run Dan managed to improve by 5 seconds to 2.20 placing him fifth in Youth and securing second overall Youth for the BDS series. Andy made a few mistakes in his race run and dropped to 16th from 56 Senior category starters with a 2.22 placing him 19th overall for the series from 98 entrants. Former Junior World Champion Ruraidh Cunnngham took the win in Elites for Alpine Bikes / Poc with a time of 2.14.
Hamsterley in County Durham was the venue for the Help the Heroes charity race on the weekend of 29th and 30th September. Hamsterley is one of the top downhill venues in the country and multiple tracks have been developed there by the team at Descend Hamsterley over the years. Former world champion and Hamsterley local Danny Hart honed his riding skills there and uses the venue for off-season training. The field included a number of top elite riders including Adam Brayton and Jack Reading. The race format was best time from two race runs. Andy weet well on his first run with a 1.41 putting him into sixth but couldn’t improve on that time so dropped to a still respectable 10th at the finish. Dan clocked a 1.39 in his first run and improved on that to register a 1.36 for second place just behind Callum Havard from South Wales.
The final race of the season is the English championships at Moelfre near Oswestry over the weekend of 13 and 14th of October where Dan will be looking to go one better than last year’s second place and Andy will be aiming for a top 10 finish to round off the season.
Here’s a video from the Help for Heroes race featuring Dan: