Final Race Report of the season from the BDS Rd 6 at Llangollen.
We’re leaving Llangollen disappointed. We shouldn’t be, but we are. You see what happened was…
Saturday was an amazing day. The track was a bit greasy in the morning but it soon dried out & we put in some decent times without even trying. 5 of us were riding together, Andy Horsburgh, Greg Kerr, Jason Holland, Binnsy & myself. 5 blokes in their 40’s & 50’s giggling like children & buzzing off riding bikes down a hill in the sunshine. Does it get any better?
By the end of the day we all had a time between 2:39 & 2:41 without really even trying, with me & Horse being separated by 0.005 of a second, much to my amusement. No pedalling on the straights, no fancy lines... Well that’s not strictly true, Binnsy tried some, but after crashing 4 times on one run & sending me out first to try some on the next run & me also crashing we soon went back to what we knew. So, on Saturday night we walked the track thinking we could get deep into the 2:30’s.
But Sunday came & it all went a bit pear shaped.
Mist descended on the track & left it greasy again for practice. First practice run down I had the first of 2 incidents at Marshall Point 5, a flat right hand turn that I just couldn’t seem to get right. The bike’s been brilliant all season so I don’t want to criticise it, but it’s so long & so slack that despite weighting the front wheel I just couldn’t stop it drifting off the track & I went sliding 12 feet down the banking. Second practice run was a bit better & I went into seeding thinking the crash was just a one off with me being a bit cold & the track a bit slippy. So, I went for it in seeding & was on a good one until the same bloody corner. Went in far too fast, I don’t remember it even drifting this time I just know I did 2 somersaults down the bracken, ending up 15ft below & upon my return to the side of the track the marshall said it was the best one he’d seen all weekend. Shame they don’t give medals out for that, although having decided to wait (for what seemed like an eternity) at the end to see Binnsy receive his medal for winning the series, there was a point at which it felt like they might. I was pumped for seeding because, well, within the Vets there’s several groups of riders. Due to the fact I was sitting in 7th in the series & the people in 4th, 5th & 6th weren’t racing, I had Andrew Titley starting 30 seconds behind me. Now, the final 3 riders, Andrew, Mark Weightman & Will Longden are at a different level to me. They might be Vets now but they’ve all raced at Elite level in the past & they’re all pushing for the win. With a 30 second gap I didn’t think they’d catch me on a 2:30 track but a couple of mistakes and well, anything’s possible. So, laying in the bracken on my seeding run I just let them all go through as I didn’t want to spoil their runs by trying to force my way back on to the track.
The result of this was that I was last in seeding, which was OK because it meant I was off first for my race run with a clear track ahead of me. Binnsy also stacked it in seeding on the corner after Marshall Point 5 & this left us with a bit of a conundrum. We could see the track was drying out, surely it would be like Saturday afternoon again by the time we started racing? We could push on, glory was there to be taken... But we didn’t. We thought of the overall & we both backed off & took it steady. So steady that it actually felt like I walked past Marshall Point 5. Binnsy ended up 2nd in Grand Vets with a 2:40. I was 13th in Vets with a 2:46.
Why shouldn’t we be disappointed? Well, Binnsy won the Series in the Grand Vet category which is a bloody massive achievement (photo below) & I came 7th in the Vets, having been 21st last season. Those times were also the fastest we’ve ever raced down Llangollen which shows that we're making progress. Oh & I got to sit in the hot seat whilst the next 4 or 5 riders came down. But we’re still gutted. It didn’t quite go to plan for any of the Revolution Team really, with Louis coming 8th in Juniors & Jack 6th & Riley 11th in Youth. Better luck for those guys next weekend in the final round of the Pearce Series. Massive congratulations to Jack Reading on taking the win in Elite though, bloody amazing skills.
So, that’s it. Another season down. 6 months of graft, rain & dark nights ahead. Oh & Cyclocross. Yep, I'm doing some cx races over the winter. I know... I'll be terrible but it'll be a laugh.
Thanks to everyone who's helped us out this season. All the guys & gals at Revolution & on the Revolution Team, Alex at Ticky Bikes for keeping my wheels turning, Richard at the Fitbox for keeping my legs turning & Jack for the training. And to Binnsy for constantly telling me "I think this is your race" all season & then turning it on & beating me on race day (except at the Mega). It's been such a top laugh. 3 highlights spring to mind... Crossing the line in seeding at the BDS at Ae & hearing the commentator say "and George Thompson goes fastest". 5 words that I've never heard anyone say before or since; making the Pro race at the Megavalanche, I've never put myself through that much physical pain before & everything about the Masters Worlds in Val Di Sole.
Right, best get some work done...