Heading towards Caersws for this year’s fifth and final round of the Caersws Cup the conditions didn’t look hopeful. The fog hung low over the valley and the roads glistened. In the parking field the main pastime was watching people with road tyres and front wheel drive wheelspin their cars nowhere fast across the slick, wet grass.
Climbing onto the uplift trailer there was that sinking feeling that you were in for a weekend of damp, sticky mud coating your bike and body. But as you headed up there was a special sight, especially for Wales in October, loose dirt.
Somehow Chris and the guys at Naked Racing had managed to pick a weekend with perfect track conditions: dry, but with enough moisture in the soil to give bags of grip.
Off the start mound you hit a left hander then straight into the first roadgap. From here you dropped into a series of switchbacks before the track opened out into a couple of big, flatout bus stops. The second spat you into a small stream gap landing right in the middle of half-foot deep braking bumps. Through two more switchbacks and then under a tunnel beneath the fireroad.
Back in the open the tapes were wide to give tons of line choices into a tricky, right-hand switchback. A small drop, another roadgap and you dropped into the woods and hit the big tabletop. From here tight singletrack led you into another right-hander and the long, off-camber section, with a tree bang in the middle, waiting to take your collarbone.
Dropping out of the section into the uplift area, then dropping again into the field you were into the long, grassy sprint to the finish line. Under two minutes was for this was quick.
146 Leon ROSSER Team Bicycle Doctor 1:55.63
231 Duncan PORTER Continental/Orange 1:57.45
335 Dale RUSSELL n/a 1:57.72
11000 Richard ACOTT n/a 2:05.29
21019 Daniel YEOMANS Howies/Scott 2:06.21
31179 Adam PAGE Cwmdown/PS Cycles 2:11.23
963 Callum HAVARD PS Cycles 2:02.80
958 Shaun RICHARDS n/a 2:08.99
972 Lewis BOYCE n/a 2:09.66
867 Philip ATWILL Swiss & Swallow/Tomac 1:56.59
858 Jono JONES n/a 2:00.60
856 Mike JONES n/a 2:00.68
724 Callum DEW n/a 1:55.68
693 Andrew KELLY n/a 1:56.23
658 Matty STUTTARD Ride-On 1:56.98
109 Simon STUTTARD Ride-On 1:55.13
273 Jonathan OWEN Stan Jones Cycles 1:57.14
320 Joe FLANAGAN All Terrain Cycles 1:57.77
435 Dave LIST Stourport Cycles 1:56.83
407 Foz WILLIS Pete Yates Cycles 2:00.34
417 Neil WHITE Fanatik Bike Co. USA 2:01.10
509 Darren HOWARTH 661/Guak/Marzocchi 2:02.39
507 Niall INGRAM Red Mist Racing 2:04.55
520 Tim WEBB (eng) Red Mist Racing 2:11.19
1104 Charlotte HUGHES No Bull Cycles 2:34.72
1112 Lianne BARTLEMAN n/a 2:23.84
1117 Amie WILLS n/a 2:27.15
1109 Esther SANDS n/a 2:44.74
For full results visit www.rootsandrain.co.uk
Words – Matt Wragg
Photos – Iain McConnell