Race Report- Halo British Downhill Series - Round 6

Brad Mather (our sponsored rider) on the podium again, collecting another 2nd Place!

Event: British Downhill Series - Round 6

Date: 22nd & 23rd September 2012

Place: Llangollen, North Wales

Riding: Empire Cycles AP-1


Saturday - Practice.

This weekend we travelled to the 6th and final round of the British Downhill Series at Llangollen, North Wales. We got there bright and early Saturday morning to a thick blanket of cloud smothering the valley with freezing temperatures. I headed up for the first run of the day to check out the track. I have previously ridden the track a few weeks before, so I knew what would be in store. Half way up you broke through the cloud and into welcoming sun!

First run I rolled down, as the track was wet from previous rain in the night - the top straight was good fun with some small jumps and into flowing switchbacks covered in bracken. Here the track dropped onto a grassy straight and then dropped down into the beginning of the steep stuff - dropping into a left hander and straight into a steep, tight left hander again. The track was full of switchbacks which all linked together well. The track started off boggy but soon became more established as the day wore on. Half way down you hit a small rough straight and into a sweeping left turn - two options here: a tighter inside or flow round the outside. By race day these two lines were battered, I opted for outside line after trying both. Out of the left turn and over some off camber roots, into a high line or a low line, the high would set you up for the coming turn but low meant you could carry more speed with less hassle. The right handed turn was a bit tricky to hit fast, a steep run filled with holes and roots which led into a small catch berm. Firing out of the berm and into an off camber small straight which came up to a small double, gapping the jump and suddenly into a drifty left turn, out the turn and over an awkward right turn with a lump in it, this would sometimes catch you out if you hit it wrong, then down a fast boggy straight and into two switchbacks. Coming out of the turn you could get some pedals to gain some speed, this was the lower section of the track running up to the finish, you hit a few bus stops and pedalled to gap an awkward hip jump, you either gap the jump or a line around it. I opted to go around the jump as you lost time casing it. Off the landing and down into another bus stop, then onto a straight, round a left flat turn and off the step down at speed, and being fired into the finish straight. Saturday was a good day with no crashes or mechanicals, the cloud evaporated and it was sun for the rest of the day!

Sunday – Race day.

We arrived back bright and early Sunday morning to a bleaker day than previous. As soon as we arrived I was straight to the uplift for first run of the day - the track had been rained on in the night so I knew it would be pretty slick. First run I cruised down just to check it out, most things hadn’t changed apart from the size of holes that had developed, the track was running a bit slower due to the wet but by the 2nd run all was well. For this run I decided to change to spikes, I had been running dry tyres all weekend and I knew there was rain coming in at 4 o’clock.

Choosing spikes was a good idea as they suited these conditions perfectly. I went up for seeding run at 1 o’clock and the rain had held off. I set off for my run and was feeling good, although the run didn’t go how I planned - over shooting turns and slowing in the corners put me in 6th position. My race run was at 4.15 and the rain started to come down at 3.30. It wasn’t the heaviest of rain but it affected the track. My run was delayed by 20 mins so the track was even wetter and the rain was getting harder which made me feel good and confident as I like racing in the wet!

I set off and had a good run, a few small mistakes in the turns by over shooting them on the exit but all was going well - I hit the step down and into the field, I sprinted to the finish I came across the line in second, missing top place by 0.137 of a second!

I was happy but gutted at the same time. As I came into the race I was 4th in the overall and by coming second I thought I may just make it to 3rd, in the end I came 4th overall for the season.

I'm happy with the result but gutted the season is over :-(

Thanks to the British Downhill Series for a good year of racing! Bring on next year!

Empire would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support:

HopeRenthalContinentalRock ShoxSramCane Creek

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