Schwable British 4X Series, Round 7, 417 Project Race Report & Series Round Up

I headed over to the 417 Project on the edge of Gloucester on a drizzly Sunday morning for the final round of the Schwable British 4X Series. The track which had been running well in the days running up to the event was running a little slower in practice & the continuing light rain would eventually turn the track into a slippery mess. 

My moto's went ok with me getting some good starts but struggling with the slippery corners, so I was only able to make the B - final.

By the time of the final the track had become like an ice rink! With riders struggling to get past the 1st turn. It was hilarious to watch but not so good to race on.

In my B - final I once again got a good start but Alec Bell came past on the second straight as I exited the second straight his bike slid out & I regained the lead which I held to the finish.

This ment I was 5th on the day & I finished the series in 4th (& a British Cycling ranking of 3rd) in the Veteran category.

Thanks to all my sponsors for their support through out this season.

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Schwable British 4X Series, Round 6, Falmouth Race Report

I arrived at the track with team mate Melanie Nice around midday Saturday after a long journey down. The weather was good for Saturdays practice & the track was running well, but we knew the track would be changed for racing & the weather for Sunday was looking damp.

As expected Sunday saw a mix of drizzel & light rain & the addition of some tight grassy turns which would prove the undoing of quite a few riders over the weekend (including some of the Elites).

Moto's went ok with some tight racing. I managed to get to the semi-finals where a bad start ment I would end up racing in the B-final.

I got a good start in the B-final & led into the first turn but another rider cut infront of me causing me to slow which allowed the other riders to pass. At the back with all the other riders going through the non-pro line I decided to roll through the pro-line to se if I could make up any places. I came out alongside legendary Curtis bikes frame builder Gary Woodhouse but with a better line into the turn I moved up into third but going trough the last turns I lost control & Gary slipped past to leave me in forth & 8th overall on the day.

Thanks once again to all my sponsors & to Clint Lanyon PhotographyPete and Anj's photography for the race photos

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Schwable British 4X Series, Round 5 & National Championship, Moelfre Race Report

I traveled up to the track at Moelfre with Dame cycling/Quidne IT teammate Melanie Nice on Friday evening. 
By the time we arrived & set up camp it was getting dark so we decided to forgo track walking till the morning, but the other riders there all were in agreement that the track was in a state. 
The next morning we walked the track to find it was as the others had said barely finished soft with large puddles, it had the bare bones of a descent track laid out but it was not bedded in or able to cope with the heavy rain of the previous days. But people rallied round to empty puddles & sort out rough & soft patches & then we as riders tried to make it work. Some parts were still hard going but as the weather improved so did the track. 
First up was the National Champs which started late on Saturday evening due to the problems with the track, late medics & gate failure. 
By the time we got started I was tired & hungry & my lackluster performance left me outside the "A"final in 5th place. 
After a late night, celebrating Melanie's podium finish, it was a fairly early start for the National Series race. Low numbers meant we had very little time between moto's & my legs were tired from the previous days racing, so I was happy to finish 8th in a mixed Masters & Veterans category which gave me 3rd place on the Veteran's podium. 

Thanks to all my sponsors & to all the people who made this track & weekends racing work when we thought it might not.
 

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Tidworth Roots Racing series, Round 2 Race Report

I arrived late with Melanie Nice to the 2nd round of the Tidwoth roots downhill race series & after getting ready we only had time for 1 practice run.
The track they were using was called "Beeches" & was one I had not rode before. It consisted of a number of tight turns followed by a drop/stepdown jump & a few table top jumps. Top riders were looking to do it in under a minute.

My 1st race run was a disaster as I managed to hit a hole that knocked my foot of the pedal just before taking of on the drop/stepdown jump as I landed the pedal slammed into the back of my leg leaving quite a deep hole, I rolled to the finish & then on to the medics who patched me up & advised me to go to hospital to get it seen to properly.
With my injury & limited knowledge of the course I new I wasn't going to do to well but I did the next 2 runs anyway improving each time to finish 15th out of 17 veterans with a time of 1.17.

Thanks once again to all my sponsors.

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Schwable British 4X Series, Round 4, Redhill Race Report

Round 4 of the British 4X series took place at Redhill in Gloucestershire. The track had recently been revamped by new owner & former 4X world Champ Katy Curd.  I traveled to the event with team mate Melanie Nice.
Having Crashed at the last 2 races I my confidence wasn't very high & I was struggling with the run in to the new pro line so decided after a few attempts to go round the longer non-pro line. 
The rest of the track seemed to be running well & I felt comfortable with it.

After some problems with the start gate & a shower or two the racing eventualy got under way. in my 1st moto I was pushed wide on the 1st corner & came 3rd, was 3rd again on the 2nd moto & then due to another rider making a mistake 1st in my 3rd moto. 

Semi finals saw me once again lose out in the 1st corner to end up in 3rd place unable to make a pass to get into 2nd despite many attempts. this saw me through to the B final where I made a good start putting me into 3rd a slight mistake gave me a chance at 2nd, but the rider forced me wide causing me to lose speed which enabled the 4th place rider to get inside of me an nudge me off line though a flat corner leaving me in 4th & 8th overall on the day. 

I was a little disappointed with my result but I enjoyed the close racing & it was good to see team mate Melanie Nice get her 1st podium. 

Thanks once again to all the sponsors for there continued support.

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4X Protour round 3 Fort William, Scotland - Race Report

A week after racing the Protour in Germany it was time for the next round in Midge infested Scotland. 

I headed up Wednesday with team mate Kelli Salone stopping at Cumbernauld BMX track for a special "4X Wednesday" event that Euan Rossi had organised. 

After some gate practice we stayed overnight with Kelli's relatives before making the final trip up to Fort William on Thursday for Sign on & practice.

Having rode there before I was getting on Ok with most of the track though felt a bit out of shape on the new section. Was also good to meet with our sponsors from Magura who kindly let up use there pit area for the weekend. 

Friday came around with more practice & seeding runs. My Seeding run went well up to the new section where my foot came out of the pedal as the bike slid in the new section & I lost time trying to clip in.

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Thankfully as it turned out everyone qualified due to the number of entries & I was 44th out of 48.

Saturday was race day & the mix of sun & rain brought the midges out in force, which made it hard to concentrate while being eaten on the start gate. Not sure if it was the midges or the pressure of the event but I made a terrible start & was some way off the pace of the other riders but tried hard to keep them in site just in case one of them made a mistake. As it turned out it was me that made a mistake getting a bit out of shape in the new section I got unbalanced & crashed over a jump ending my days racing with a gentle roll to the finish line. Where I watched Kelli's races on the big screen. 

I ended the day 45th out of 48 finishers.

Thanks once again to all our sponsors including Buff who sponsored this round of the Protour.

4X Pro-tour round 2 Winterberg Germany Race Report

This was my first experience of racing abroad. I traveled to London to meet up with Mop Head who would be driving us to Germany, we then drove down to Dover & caught the ferry to Dunkirk before driving across Europe to Germany. The 4X race was part of the Dirt Masters Festival & so the event had plenty of spectators & sponsors. Practice went well until I crashed cutting my arm and giving me a few bruises.
After visiting the medics I went to the Magura stand & got my brakes bled. After some more practice I did my qualifying run & got 63rd out of 64 qualifiers. Then after more practice it was on to the knockout stages. In my 1st race I was up against eventual winner Felix Beckerman. I had a bad start & finished 4th so was out of the competition. I ended the day 63rd. 

Thanks once again to all our  sponsors for there continued support. 
 

Schwalbe British 4X Series, Round 3, Afan

Round 3 of the British 4X series was at Afan, which is probably my favorite 4X track due to the mix of technical terrain jumps & other features. 

The track however, despite efforts by some of the riders the week before, was not in  as good condition as it could have been & the recent weather had left the track very dry & loose. 

After I had arrived & set up the Dame Cycling Quidne-IT eazy-up with Kelli Salone & Maddy on Saturday, we had a look at the course which included some changes to the available routes through the rock garden. We spent a couple of hours practicing the track & trying dfferent lines before Kelli & Maddy headed of to their hotel & I headed to the Bryn Bettws  lodge for my accomodation & some food. 

Sunday came around & after breakfast I headed up to the track to meet Kelli for a bit more practice but my legs felt tired from the previous day so I only did a couple of runs. 

Then after a short break it was on to racing. 

Unfortunately I had been drawn in the outside 2 lanes for all my motos which ment I would have a hard job getting out of the 1st corner in a decent position. In the 1st moto despite a resonable start getting me into 3rd place a well timed block pass by Paul Soden put me back to 4th. 2nd moto saw me get a 3rd  & in the 3rd moto I managed to pull off an overtake in the rock garden to claim another 3rd place. These results put me into the B-final, where a good start put me up to 3rd, then in the 2nd corner after 1 of the riders ahead of me clipped the rider in front slowing him up I was able to move into 2nd which, despite the efforts of the other 2 riders, I narrowly held on to till the finish. 

My 2nd place finish in the B-final put me 6th overall on the day 1 place off the podium with my best possition of the year so far. 

Thanks once again to all our sponsors for there support.

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Schwalbe British 4X Series, Round 2, Harthill

I headed up to the track Saturday morning with Kelli Salone to get some practice before Suday's race. 
My practice went OK but the usual windy conditions put me of trying the Pro line. 
In the evening Kelli went off to a hotel while I stayed on site & camped.
The overnight rain that was forcast never came & Sunday remained largely dry other than a few showers.
We were joined by fellow Dame riders Ami Grindley & Melanie Nice on Sunday. 
During practice the wind died down a bit & I had a couple of goes at the Pro line but kept coming up short on the 1st jump, as the wind picked up again, 
decided not to bother with it anymore.
On to racing & in my 1st moto. I had a bad start & ended up 4th, 2nd moto my start was better but I was unble to get ahead of the other 2 riders & ended up 3rd & then in the 3rd Moto I had a good start & was close to the other 2 riders when they collided, 1 went down in front of me & by the time I had got round him & his bike the other rider had a massive lead so I finished 2nd. Due to a couple of riders pulling out we all got through to the semi-finals. 
I came 4th in my semi putting me in the B final.
In the Final I was in gate 4 the furthest fro the inside of the 1st turn so had my work cut out to try & make up any possitions, but a good start enabled me to get into 3rd but Paul Soden was right behind me & managed to squeeze ahead in the final turn putting me back to 4th & 8th overall on the day.
Thanks once again to all our sponsors for there support.

Schwalbe British 4X Series, Round 1, Chicksands Race

Wet weather greated us on our arrival at Chicksands Bike park for the 1st round of the Schwalbe British 4X series &, despite the weather forecast of a dryer afternoon, the damp conditions stayed making the first 2 corners "interesting". After Kelli Salone had handed out new race tops & other kit from the sponsors to myself, Ami Grindley & Melanie Nice we got down to practice.

After a small delay with the starting gate we got onto the racing. With 14 riders in my category I knew it would be difficult to make the semi-finals but it started well with a 2nd place in the 1st moto. Unfortunately it didn't go so well in the next 2 motos with me finishing a close 4th in both. This meant I missed out on a chance to race the semi-finals. The girls did better with all of them qualifying for the finals, unfortunately for Melanie a crash in her last moto left her unable to continue. So I helped her load the car then went to cheer on the others with a bottle of Bepoke brewery cider.

My overall position for the day was 13th which although not what I wanted is an improvement over last year when I was 14th out of 14 so a good place to build from.

Thank you to all our sponsors for there support.

Chicksands - Dual Race - Feb 5, 2017

I traveled down to Chicksands bike park with Ami Grindley & Kelli Salone on Saturday the 4th Feb to practice for the dual slalom race on Sunday.
The course was a little damp in places but running well after some repairs by the locals.

Sunday morning came around quickly & we arrived early to set up the Dame Quidne-IT Eazy-up. After some practice & a long delay due to problems with the gate the timed runs got under way.
The Masters & Veterans categories had been merged into an over 30's race, which meant I'd be racing people up to 12 years younger than myself, this resulted in it being the largest race category of the day with 44 riders.

My qualifying time of 28.67seconds put me 37th out of 44. Because there were not enough riders to have a 1/32 race some of us had to race while others got a bye to the next round.
For some reason those getting a bye were chosen at random as apposed to the fastest getting a bye. So riders I had beaten in qualifying got through to the 1/16 race without having to beat anyone while I had to race a local who was 4 seconds quicker than me in qualifying!
He beat me in both races (as you get to race in both lanes so no one has an unfair advantage) But the gap was far less than 4 seconds on each of those runs. So I ended the day in 41st place out of 44 riders.

On a more positive note I now know what areas of my riding need most work ahead of the upcoming 4X season & I still have quite a bit of my planned training to go before then.

Thanks to  all my sponsors for their continued support.

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