Last weekend saw the last round of the British Downhill Series at the popular venue of Bringewood, near Ludlow, Shropshire. This venue has been in use for years by both the BDS and Pearce Cycles with lots of tracks and different combinations available to mix it up a bit.
I arrived late afternoon Friday in good time for a track walk and to set up camp, having not been to Bringewood myself for a year or two I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to walk the track. Upon inspection I was pleased, nothing to technical but it looked fun and fast with plenty of bits to make up or lose time. The main character of the track was tight and twisty through dense trees interspersed with jumps and sections to pump through.
Come practice on Saturday morning I was on the first uplift and faced with a damp track, not too wet but the well used course was hard packed and greasy. This soon dried up through the morning though and the speeds picked up, helped by the incredible grip offered to me by the Continental Der Kaiser Projekt tyres. Unfortunately a result of this extra speed was me having a minor issue on the bomb hole jump, ripping my rear mech in half. I limped down to the pits, after leaving my bike with Shimano for half an hour they had very kindly fitted a new rear mech free of charge, thank you very much. Time for three more practice runs before the uplift closed and an early night before race day.
Up early on Sunday for a bike check, some porridge and back on the first uplift. The course was running well now, good and dry but not too dusty, three quick practice runs left enough time for a short rest and some pasta before seeding. I went up early for seeding to check a few corners near the top before my run just to settle some unanswered questions. Questions answered and I was ready for seeding, unfortunately I took it too steady trying to be safe and get a time, too cautious in too many places didn’t give me the qualifying result I wanted – 16th. Time for more food before the race and a quiet word to myself about getting it together.
On the start line for the race and I was in a good frame of mind, I had been riding well all weekend but just too safe in seeding, time to step it up a bit now. Out of the gate and I was hitting my lines, pedaling out of corners where I hadn’t before, I had stepped it up for the big event. Into the bomb hole jump however things quickly unravelled as I nosed it in too early and didn’t make it, the bike hitting the landing and me being catapulted into the take off for the following jump. I picked myself up, convinced the now large collection of onlookers I would be ok and carried on with my run. To finish 22nd when I was aiming for a top ten is a disappointment but I knew in myself that I had been riding well all weekend up to that point, so that is a consolation.
A weekend off now so some time for more training before the last round of the UK Gravity Enduro series at Eastridge on the 7th/8th of September. I’ll try my best to keep it rubber side down for that.