Farmer Jack’s venue of Moelfre was the place of choice for this year’s Nationals champs and with the sun out it was bound to be a belter!
We’ve been going to Moelfre for years now and over the last couple of years the track has got slightly less technical and a hell of a lot faster. This year a load of work had been done to the top and middle of the track to put the technical sections back in. Up top, the infamous quarry gap wasn’t taped in to a lot of rider’s relief after last year’s wind. This was a great choice by the organiser as in the wind it’s just a bit too dangerous. Instead a massive berm had been made to send you round the quarry and into the bomb hole jump after. The berm was huge and just over the crest of the hill so spotting it was a little difficult to begin with until an established line became apparent. From there more work had been done to the step downs to make them have a bit more kick and just ride better and then it was into a whole new section through the gauze bushes.
The new section went through a couple of high speed berms and then straight down a steep part of the hill. There was a difficult switchback that was tight and caught a few riders out flipping them over the bars. This section was really good, flowed well and was well built – Moelfre needs a load more of this to keep it new and keep bringing riders back year on year. This new section joined the old track coming on the steep shoot and road crossing. From then on it was the normal traverse across the hillside. This section was a fast as ever with barely any braking points. From here you flew down to the 4 cross jumps and into the packed finish arena.
Riders couldn’t ask for much more on Saturday for practice; there was no wind so we didn’t get blown off the side of the hill, the sun was out and you could get tons of runs in. The uplift was working really well and riders could have a few breaks during the day and still get 6 to 8 runs in with ease. This was helped by the fact that uplifts were running until 6 due to the long evenings.
Saturday night saw a bit of a ‘rave’ in the beer tent and a fire outside which attracted a load of riders and brought up the atmosphere. Loads of BBQs and a few beers in the evening sun made for a top quality weekend.
On race day the wind had picked up a lot, it wasn’t too much of a problem as the quarry gap wasn’t taped in but you could feel it pushing you to the side where ever you wheels left the ground. Fortunately by the time you got to the step downs where there was big air time the wind was a tail wind so it wasn’t much of a problem. Morning practice went well with most managing 3 runs in before the uplift closed which is fairly good going. Seeding and race runs went without a hitch, seeding was even running slightly early which is a first for me! The atmosphere in the packed finish arena and lining the track was awesome for the riders, the sunning weather really brought out the spectators.
The nature of this track really mean you can’t make any mistakes or you lose speed for a large section and that made the times super tight. The elite national championship win went to Gee Atherton, being a local boy he’s a bit of a favourite on this track but Josh Bryceland wasn’t far behind taking second. Steve Peat finished the elite podium.
Elite woman’s win went to Rachael Atherton with Madison Saracen’s rider Manon Carpenter taking second, less than a second behind.