Aston Hill- Lovelo MTB Racing Team at UK Downhill National Round 4 -Rhyd y Felin

This weekend it was the long trip to Rhyd y Felin or Bala as most people know it. Forecast was rain which always makes Bala a tough track even tougher.

It was the same track that Pearce cycles had used for their race albeit with a small change at the top and taped slightly different in the bottom field.

Saturday practice was dry, and the track was so grippy from the recent rain. The Pearce uplift ran like clockwork so there were no delays and the chance for plenty of runs. Joe, Josh and Jeremy were loving the track and were all using the new Michelin Enduro front and rear tyres.

Towards the end of Saturday practice the rain came and it continued into the night and the next morning. This turned the track into a mud fest with conditions in the bottom field almost impossible to stay on your bike.

Tyre change to Michelin mud tyres was now needed and it was a Mudhugger race to keep the vision clear.


Words by Jeremy Coe Youth category

“Last weekend I was at Bala for the 4th round of the British National Series. Saturday morning the track was a bit greasy in places and slippy but soon after the sun came up conditions were on point. Got in plenty of practice and was feeling good for Sunday. Just as practice was coming to an end the rain came in and rained till the early hours of the next morning totally changing the conditions. I felt a bit nervous not knowing what the conditions were going to be like after the rain”

“Unfortunately, I was only able to get 1 practice run in on Sunday which was clean and knew what the conditions were like. Seeding run was not good with many mistakes throughout my run and a crash in the bottom field. Putting that behind me I was keen for my race run. My race run was going well up until a big mistake in the middle of the track and another crash at the end of the track. The weather made the weekend difficult but was another weekend on the bike. Looking forward to the next round at Bringewood”

1st Run: 3:37:727 19th

2nd Run: 3:52:360 20th

Words by Joe Killner Grand Vets category

“After missing the previous Pearce race due to injury, I was not sure how the shoulder would feel. All strapped and filled up with pain killers 1st run down felt ok. Little slippery on the slate up the top of the track but I felt I could hold on and push down the track. I had the Cushcore fitted and this really helped with the grip by allowing low tyre pressures but also cushioning my shoulder.

Managing the injury and not doing too many runs, I felt good and the grip from the Michelin tyres was giving me so much confidence. Later in the afternoon the rain came, and it was time to call it a day.

Sunday was a new day but also a very wet one, tyres changed and due to a long delay, we were only allowed one practice run. The track felt ok, slippery in places but not too muddy.

Seeding time and with more rain I didn’t know what to expect. Good grip at the top of the track and entering the open section there wasn’t too much mud but as I carried on down the track it became thicker and more slippery. I made a small mistake and I lost momentum causing me to catch every root and stump. I survived the field section and finished in 5th which wasn’t too bad considering the run I had.

Race time and with an injury to a young rider there was a long delay at the top of the track. The pain killers were starting to wear off. I set off and felt good at the top but as soon as I entered the open section the shoulder was feeling weak. I hit a root and slipped which jarred the arm meaning I couldn’t hold on. I was just hanging on and rolling down the track I finished in a disappointing 7th

1st Run: 4:21:578 5th

2nd Run: 5:11:941 7th


Words by Josh Mead Junior category

“I came into the weekend feeling pretty beat up after crashing hard at Pearce the weekend before, but I was excited to race as I enjoy the track at Bala. I felt relaxed and confident after a track walk as it was pretty much the same as the track we raced for Pearce a few weeks before. I chose to stick with the lines I had, and it meant I could relax in practice rather than having to think too much about line choice. Conditions on Saturday were pretty good for practice, it was a bit greasy up the top, but middle was perfect. I felt I was riding quite cautious after my crash the weekend before and then having another one on my second run down. I took my time and chilled until I found I was up to speed”

“On Sunday morning we were told we were only allowed one run, so I waited until near the end of practice to go up as it had been raining all night. It was raining and sunny on and off all day which meant the track conditions were always changing. It rained whilst I was waiting for my seeding which made it hard to get a clean run down. I made a lot of mistakes and crashed in the middle of the track. I don’t worry too much about seeding as it doesn’t count towards my result, so I forgot about my run and focused on my race run. After a long wait I went up the hill only to wait longer at the top. It hadn’t rained in a while before my run, so I was expecting the track to have dried out a bit which it did. I felt I was on a good run the whole way down and was 3rd at all the top splits. However, I came over the last fire road and washed out on a root at the start of the last wooded section. I got up and pushed on only to come off again at the end of the woods before the field. I ended up 7th which is ok, but I’m gutted as I had a chance of being on the podium”

1st Run: 3:53:633 10th

2nd Run: 3:25:059 7th

Thanks to MIJ for organising a good race and next up for the team will be World Cup – La Breese France for Josh who has been selected again for Team GB for the final round. We wish him the best of luck and then Round 4 of the Nationals at Bringewood.

Photo Credits: Sally Ross,

Many thanks to all our sponsors

  • ION
  • Ison Distribution
  • Troy Lee Design
  • Mudhugger
  • Lovelo Cycle Works
  • Squirt
  • Invisframe
  • Friction Media
  • Decade- Europe Ltd
  • 100%
  • Orange
  • Hope
  • Unior Tools
  • 2Pure
  • Michelin
  • Southcoast Suspension
  • Saddleback


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