Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Blog: Ross Tricker on Afan 4X


Photo: Brotherly love from Tricker and Goose in the Afan Lodge

Right so I've hijacked "windsock" Goff's blog because due to high winds and poor visability she decided to sack off racing the Euro round at Afan. Oh and there wasn't actually a class for her to race in... So apparently I've got more to say about the occasion. So after a wet national round on Saturday, I woke to more lashing rain on Sunday morning. Myself and Jordan (AKA Jordan) took a high-viz'd wander up the course; safety first kids. Verdict? Wet. Same for everyone. Lets go racing.

Mad Dog Bates was looking well turned out during practice, due to the fact he remained under the easy-up for the entire session, a sizzling 40th place in timed qualifying his reward. I hadn't really practiced the last two corners and lost a bit of time there but ended up 13th, happy with that, I haven't ridden against the clock for a good 6/7 years.


Photo: Cool shot of Tricker at Afan by JT Photography

And so onto the knock out rounds. Despite the appauling weather a good atmosphere was beginning to build up on the windswept hillside, fans mainly crowded round the rock section, baying for blood. I managed to get myself through the first two rounds, with a 1st and a 2nd, going into the 1/4's a felt confident a place in the semi's could be mine. I emerged from the first corner well in the mix, but found myself on the back foot chasing down Lukas Mechura for that much needed 2nd place, I was eyeing up a move in the last corner but it just wasn't gonna happen. Paddy wants to know why I'm riding better now than in my glory days. Three letters B M X. I went off and learned how to gate. Oh yeah and clips. Jordan Gould got stitched up after winning his 1/4, they decided to rerun the race as the 3rd and 4th place guys had a tickling match at the back. Luck wasn't on his side for the rerun, no justice.

The final was a close run thing, I guess you'll have to look elsewhere if you want to know the results, some Euro chap won, I didn't catch his name, Beaumont took third. I keep hearing how 4X is dead, I dunno, everyone seemed to be having fun racing their bikes. It is what it is, tracks need be different due to geographical variation, that's what mountain biking is about. How fast and gnarly does it have to be? If it goes big and fast how close will the racing be? The wet conditions made it slower but it was still tricky, people were taking different lines, taking a gamble on gate pick to get cleaner lines. Tactics in the house. Yeah sure we don't want to look like a bunch of penguins but it's definitely more interesting than some 20 minute XC eliminator.

I'm really looking forward to Fort William World Cup this weekend. The crowd is always awesome and the track looks fun. Even if I have just spent two days cleaning bikes and kit and the forecast looks piss-poor I can't wait to get up there. Right, better give this blog back to it's rightful owner...

Ross Tricker

Below: Jordan Gould, hi-vis power slide post qualification run

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wet, Mud and Gears

I knew it was meant to rain overnight, I thought that would be ok, the track was kinda dry on Friday. I didn't realise how much it would rain, and it was still going when I went to register.

As it was a Saturday everything was put back an hour as the rain was meant to stop... which it did, but what was left was a sloppy mess of a track. One go down and you were absolutely filthy.

At this point it was not enjoyable in the slightest! I raced masters men  again with my only goal being to get down in one piece for all four moto's!

The first race I was particulary cautious, and my motivation was way low, the track was still pretty horrendous. After that, the track got better every race, though still really muddy. I had some good races, the top 2 berms were a bit of a lottery but I was able to get on the gas quicker than most and hold my own, leading at times, one race resulting in a 2nd, but in two races I got bumped in the berm under the bridge and ended up 3rd!

So with three 3rds and a 2nd my day was over but I can't say I wasn't happy to go and get clean and dry! This wasn't my idea of fun, but I definately gained something from it in preparation for fort bill next week so it's all good.

It's now Sunday morning and it's raining again... I was gonna race the girls today at the euro round, but with only 4 girls here yesterday it isn't worth another race in that mess in my opinion so I'm having a chill day!

Pic: Paddy ready to rock, he rode good in the mud and ended up 3rd for the day!



Friday, May 27, 2011

Rough and Rocky

Today was a chilled affair, everyone trying out the track for the first time. Most people were walking about with tires in their hands, changing to something tougher and grippier after one look at the track!

There's nothing too taxing on the track, the corners were the most important thing to practice for most I think, wide and loose, I think there'll be plenty of block passes happening tomorrow.

The rock section is long, but there's not a great deal of lines to choose from what people were riding. Well there are lines, but there's one quick one! I really enjoyed riding the rocks, something really different for me, but I got into the swing of it reasonably quickly.

Later on the wind dropped a bit and the fast guys were hitting the pro line. The first one looks pretty easy but the second not so much.. not with a head wind! If you mess up the first you don't really have a way out of the second, so you gotta be on the button. Good to see Ross Tricker back on it after his collar bone break, one of the first few to hit the pro line, no problems. He was looking super quick through the rocks too. Should do good here!

Racing tomorrow, not sure I'll fair too well here, but it's all good practice for fort bill and will be fun for sure.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

On the Road

Today we set off on the road to Wales, for the first leg of my 4x racing trip. It's a long old journey from Norfolk, we planned to leave pretty early but were delayed a little when my box of goodies from vans showed up! Just in time, thanks guys :)

Got here about 4pm, wasn't interested in riding today just glad to get the journey done and dusted. Went to take a look at the track, it's pretty rough like fort bill so should be good practice, the rock section is long too so fort bill's should be a breeze after that! Really looking forward to riding out of my comfort zone!

It was super windy and the rain dampened the track down, but the sun's out now and the forcast looks decent. Will update tomorrow!

Pics: Afan rock section and jay the cat who lives in my postie van




Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jonny Rankin Video

Jonny explains how he recovered after a nasty leg injury on the French trip last year. It wasn't a bad crash, but he was in a lot of pain and passed out several times. It wasn't till a week later when he got a diagnosis in the UK that he was told how lucky he was not to have any severe complications whilst in France...



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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scott Shepherd


Just want to say a massive get well soon to Scott Shepherd. He had a really awful crash at Penshurst last weekend and was airlifted to hospital. The whole MTB community have really got behind him, there are literally hundreds of messages of support, including a very special one from the inspiration that is Stephen Murray (click here for the message). So many riders are running the "stay strong beans" logo and there is a fundraising page for the Kent air ambulance who took him to hospital that day. It's really hard to believe these services are not funded! It costs apparently £1000 for every call out so that's the target that's been set. If you like to donate click here.
If you'd like to send scott a message of support click here.

Here's a cool video of Scott shredding some riding some DH that was posted on the facebook group, hope to see you shredding again soon Scott.









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