Well, that was some weekend at the first round of the British Downhill Series at Nant Gwrtheyrn. First race with Joe Poyzer and the new Moore Large O’Neal Race Team, driving through the Welsh valleys I was praying for sunshine and good weather. Was I disappointed!
Heavy mist, rain and very dark woods was what was in store for practice day. Visibility was virtually zero as I clambered my way down the side of the course looking for any glimmer of light shining on to the track and what a track it was! With the top section worthy of a world cup race it was just carnage. The course was brutal and just to show how gnarly it was a young girl crashed right in front breaking her leg badly which held things up for a while. After meeting up with three of the team riders earlier, Riley Jenner, Sion Margrave and Ellie Dewdney who spoke of just how tough the course is, watched as they pinged and popped off the rocks making their way down another practice run with Sion stopping off for a quick unintended dip in the river half way down (this was not the incident that held up race day, Sion actually fell in the non-netting side?!). Finally making it back to the pits after the hardest track walk and the team were buzzing from the challenge ahead on Sunday with hopes of better weather from everyone.
Boy did it deliver a race!
Sunshine all day meant a faster track but by no means any easier and with seeding runs done the race was on. Punctures and catching slower riders meant the team were unsure how they would do so there were a lot of pre-race nerves but they only went and blooming smashed it! Sion was down first in the youth category and finished a solid top ten finish in 8th place against some very tough competition. Ellie was down next in the women’s category and blitzed most of the field to take an amazing 2nd place and the first national podium for the team. Riley riding in junior men category was our last rider to go and he was on fire as I watched him give it his all into the finish arena to cross the line in as superb 11th place, just a tenth out of the top 10.
As I watched Ellie on the podium I could reflect on an amazing weekend for myself and the team and things are really going to take off this weekend at Pearce Cycles round 1 where we will have all 7 riders and the weather and the track looks like being a corker.
Film by Nick Armstrong, Photography and Race Report by Dave “Bigmacphotography” Mcfarlane.