Halo BDS Final – Llangollen Race Report
This weekend I had the pleasure of riding one of the best tracks I have ever ridden.
The BDS circus came to Llangollen for the final round of the 2012 series. Now Llangollen is a bit of
a nemesis for me; I’d crashed in 5/6 race runs I’ve ever had there. I find the track in the woods is
so steep that it stops being fun and the track in the open had too many long straights so I wasn’t
particularly excited about this race… How wrong I was!
Arriving at the track on Saturday morning we were greeted with thick fog. I went to walk the track
with Ride It Out team member Sam Boardman and suddenly half way up the track we came out of
the fog into beautiful sunshine and did some full-on Instagram photography. The track began on a
flatish section of hill with some jumps and great berms, then suddenly at the end of an off camber
straight it just dropped into a series of switchbacks which were truly incredible to ride. About
halfway down, the starts to open out a bit for a faster berm, off-camber root section and drops onto
an incredibly rough straight with a big catch in the middle, leading to a jump. Following this there is
another switchback before riders are released onto the flatter bottom section and the speed picks
up over several bus-stops before riders drop into the now infamous Moelfre step-down and two
more jumps into the field.
The track was truly amazing, with many riders expressing disappointment that the skinny and
difficult uplift road was limiting the number of runs possible. The dirt slowly dried throughout
Saturday practice and the course became sticky and difficult in places.
Sunday dawned dry, but with some angry clouds lurking. Toby Parodi the “Voice of BDS” was in
full flow and seemed to be enjoying that a live stream of the race being shown online via a GoPro
camera in the finish area. He was reading out many Tweets from fans and riders alike to the
Rain before Elite race runs has become a rather frequent occurrence at this year’s BDS events and
Round 6 was no exception. Shortly after the Junior riders had finished and a triumphant Phil Atwill
had won the category it started to drizzle.
Senior riders had greasy roots and rocks to deal with compounded by the mud which had become
very sticky and slow. And it was
In Expert it was Dave Kynaston who took the win ahead of Brad Mather and Oliver Morris with Jay
Williamson in fourth and setting the fastest Expert bottom split time.
It was then time for the Elite riders and after a practice crash I was seeded way down. I tried to ride
the track as if it was dry and this strategy worked well and there were only a few mistakes in my run.
Upon entering the field on my race run I realised I hadn’t crashed! So I mashed the pedals all the
way to the finish. I managed a result of 15th of 32 riders in Elite which is a personal best for me.
Up on the podium and taking his second National level win at Llangollen was former Junior World
Champ Ruraidh Cunningham, he smashed the difficult track, finishing ahead of a hard charging Olly
Burton with Bernard Kerr coming in third, Al Bond in fourth (on dry tyres!) and Ben Reid rounding
out the podium. Interestingly it was Sam Dale who flew through the bottom fire roads the fastest
with a speed trap of 31.42mph.
Phil Atwill (FTD)
Full Results on Roots and Rain
Words – Will Soffe
Photos – Sarah Barrett