The buck stopped here, a great technical course. Proper steep descents that had riders queuing up to test ride on the Saturday, and many who failed, including 2nd place at Sherwood Pete Turnbull who broke bones. 3 sections that had B lines (chicken runs) that were a considerable time penalty to those without the skills. I even had one of them on the back burner, thinking the course might be hard to race for the first busy lap. It was in an old Mining quarry, loose and stoney and very exposed to the cold wind. The long fast ridgeline descent from the start down to a few lake areas, then a final long drag climb back to the start arena, the only grass section on course.
After round 1 I was gridded 12th with all the fast boys on the row in front of me. The plan was a trademark Jack Rabbit start as the arena had 4 tight turns before a narrow gate to the descent. I’d never seen these boys in start action and was pleased that a gap quickly opened up and I slotted into a comfortable second spot behind national champ Pete Harris. This worked like a dream as we flew down the descent, it was great to have a clear run of the course. Then a short climb and I waited for the flood of riders to pass. Amazingly it was only one; Ian Wright. Then we hit the “down to brown” section this was a real off the back near vertical double hairpin drop, and nearly the end of my race. Wrighty crashed/bottled it and I still don’t know how I failed to hit him, just squeezing past in the smallest of gaps.
Thats the drop above, from there on it was onto a tricky off camber section we were calling the horseshoe, the B line for this was a full 20 second penalty, and so many were taking it.
That probably explained why it wasnt untill about 3/4 of a lap untill both Tim Stowe and Pilch flew past like I was dying (which I was) Pete was putting in powerfull laps of 16:40 in a class of his own, Tim, Wrighty, Pilch, Roland Tilley and Pete Busby in hot pursuit.
First lap times show I was 11th across the line, I know my place and just settled into a climbing rythm and enjoying all the technical bits, proud that I was playing cat and mouse with all the B line riders. I was slowing as others got faster, the 32 ring probably just a bit stiff for the climbs. Last lap and the Plumz crew watching called me at tenth place, mental block removed it was time for full on pain. I didnt really have a clue who was ahead, I haven’t got to know the riders well enough it was just head down.
RESULTS 8th place was a great suprise, and a final lap time faster than the 3 riders in front. My fastest lap of the race at the end tells me what I alreday knew, I just cant hurt myslef enough on a climbing course to get much higher.
Only 37 secs behind Pilch at the end, with lap times of 17:48 – 18:05 – 17:53 – 17:54 – 17:31
My first national top 10 and that puts me in 8th for the series, with Pilch in 4th. But then I have beaten Steve jones in 6th and Rich Dale in 8th, but Peter Busby behind showed he was a demon climber at Redruth.
Next round is at Hopton Woods, one killer of a climb and a long descent, lets just hope its super technical on the way down with places to pass, and that my 30 tooth chainring arrives in time.