Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Rd1 Race Report published on SouthernDownhill.

My race report from the weekend has made it on to Southern Downhill accompanied by some very slick looking pictures from Dave Franciosy, check it out!

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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

NPS4x 2011 Rd1: Leamington Spa


This weekend saw the opening round of the national 4x series at Leamington Spa. It was a hell of a start to the season, these people spreading the quite frankly ridiculous rumours that 4X is dead need to get to an event and check one of these events out, the atmosphere was buzzing. There were 40 riders signed up in Senior, 20 Elite riders on top of the Youth, Juvenile and fun categories making 170 riders in total. Even the women were really well represented and battling hard. This year the series is looking very pro. The trackside was lined with big team stands and there were loads of spectators giving the event a real motocross feel and great atmosphere. The quality of the organisation from Naked Racing is top notch and very slick. Out on the track the it is obvious how competitive the team competition is going to be this year. There are now a number of really big teams displaying some trick looking bikes and striking race kit. The big players for this season are going to be team 44Racing who have last years victory to defend but that wont be an easy task when up against the formidable looking team Identiti and team Nukeproof. It was also great to see a load of the dirtjump scene signed up and charging hard, Glen Coe was on the gates and Ross Tricker was back giving 4X another go in the Elites.


The track has just been rebuilt and so it was super fresh for this event. The track has a clear BMX influence with lots of steep close set jumps and rollers. First straight was awkward right off the gate, first pedal stroke put you into a small double that required good timing and control to pedal over then there are 3 doubles that split into a small roller/double and a do or die double into the inside of the first corner. This line couldnt be rolled, it was the faster but slightly more risky option. On the ouside there was a triple to double. Again very closely spaced so you had to be really on the ball or else it got really ragged. The first corner was long and loose and tarmac on the second half. This saw some big crashes as people struggled to hold the inside flatout. Out of this corner was a large camel hump table, most people were stepping on to the hump but a few were storming the corner and clearing the lot. This lead into an S-turn and a few more BMX style roller doubles. A right hander lead into the final straight where the track split to form the pro line on the left and a load of small tight rollers and doubles on the right. The proline isnt the biggest out there but the run in out of the corner is more or less uphill so you really have to be on the cranks to have the speed. Not everyone was into the BMX feel of the track but I think we need to have a range of tracks that make a dynamic and interesting race series and which can test the full range of riders skills. It was definitely challenging to ride but good fun, its a track that I would love to have on my doorstep as there is so much there to play with and learn from.





The sky was threatening to produce a big storm but we managed to dodge the worst of it and we had a mixture of sun and big heavy clouds with some wind to keep people on their toes down the first straight. The track did produce some good racing and really showed which riders were still asleep from the winter break. Most of the action happened on the first straight but there were plenty of moves being made lower down the track. The best racing of the day was coming from Nathon Parsons. It was his first race in Elite and he was pushing to the limit and not giving any of the more experienced Elite riders an easy time on the track. In one of the motos he came from 4th at the end of the first straight and chased down the riders in front making up two places by the finish. Nate made it to the A finals but got tangled with Oggy to take 4th overall. Not a bad first outing! In Senior Alistair Keen was the shocker of the day. He is a Leamington local and has clearly been getting the practice in as he was storming every moto and held it all the way to a 3rd place finish overall. The big crash prizes went to Ross Tricker who was gunning for the inside on the first corner but caught the other riders wheel and lost it at full pace shoulder barging the upslope of the next jump which marked the end of his racing for the day due to a suspected collar bone injury. Tom Knight had a good one coming off one of the doubles half way along the first straight getting thrown impressively over the bars with bike still attached. He got away with it and was back up and sprinting back down the track. Lee Ferry went down sending the camel top table in what looked like a really heavy crash but luckily he was back up and able to race.


I was happy with my day. It was literally my first day back on a mountain bike since the cast came off. The ankle was giving me some grief in practice so I took it easy and got it strapped up ready for races. My first two motos werent that great. I was too fresh on the track and a little hesitant which gave me two 3rd place finishes. the last two went a lot better and I was feeling my racing form coming back and feeling like I was riding far more respectably. Third moto was a 2nd place finish. The last moto I had a decent start but got chopped at the end of the first straight and didnt have the speed for the inside line. Coming from the back I managed to get back with the pack and finished the moto in 3rd. This wasnt enough to get through to the quarters but I am super happy to be back on the bike and its great to know that even after hanging up a few jumps the leg is in one piece and good to go. Bring on the next round!


Thanks to Chris Roberts and the team at Naked Racing for putting on another great event. It was brilliant to see so many riders out, the scene looks really vibrant at the moment, the atmosphere was awesome, I am looking forward to seeing how this 4X buzz develops throughout the season. If any of you DHers realise you are missing out and want to give 4X a stab then next round is at PORC on the May the 8th.

Heres a nice video from Duncan Philpott covering the event.

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