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BDS Round 4 - Bala, 27/28 June 2015

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The fourth round of the BDS headed to Bala which is a riders favourite! The track is always good fun with lots of variation and challenging features. The BDS team had the diggers up there the week before, revamping the top jumps making them bigger. The whole team was looking forward to the weekend and some good racing. The weather forecast was for sun on Saturday but rain Sunday, which would make things interesting for race runs.
We all arrived at the venue on Friday to set up the pits and walk the track. Dry and dusty were the words to describe the track! Practice was going to be a blast. Unfortunately the midges were out in force and we spent the whole evening being eaten alive by them! It wasn’t fun!
The BDS were trying a new system for practice on Saturday morning. For the first hour the experts and elites weren’t allowed on the track, but they would get an extra hour at the end of the day on their own, in order to get a clear track. A good idea we thought. Jamie headed up first thing for a warm up run and Jack and Pete joined him when practice opened for everyone.
The track was amazing all day with deep dust in places. Jamie and Pete were running the Bontrager spike tyre the GMud, and Jack was running cut down Schwalbe Dirty Dans. This is because these tyres cut into the dust the most with their big knobbles, and provide the most grip to prevent washing out. The uplift worked perfectly all day and everyone got loads of runs done – Jack thinks he did 10! Unfortunately Pete had a huge crash at the end of practice and really bashed himself up. We weren’t sure if he’d be racing the next day!
Saturday night brought lots of rain! We woke up to completely different conditions, which is always hard to get your head around. We decided not to rush up the track and let some wheels go down it to see if it would cut up a bit. It didn’t. When we got to the top about 45 minutes into practice we had to wait up there, with the midges for company, for 45 minutes because so many people were crashing. The resultant red flags were causing long delays. The one practice run we got was wild! It was hard ground with a layer of grease on it, kind of like glass covered in butter! Both Jack and Jamie crashed in the slippery field at the bottom and came back to the pits covered in mud, but still smiling so it was all good. Pete had decided to miss practice because he was really sore after his crash, so he saw the physio in the morning and planned to use his qualifying run as his practice for the day.
By the time seeding came along for Jamie it had stopped raining and the track was starting to dry up. He was feeling good and went up hoping to have a good run. Unfortunately a crash in the woods meant he would be one of the first juniors down come race runs. Pete had a couple of crashes in his seeding run and was a bit off the pace as a result, but even being on the bike after his crash the day before was a good effort. Jack was having a good seeding run until one of the last corners in the tight woods, which were still wet. He caught a root and flipped the bars. Unsettled he then rode like, what he described as, a complete idiot, crashing off the bike two more times and body checking some trees before crossing the finish line in 24th place way off the pace. All our riders were hoping for a better performance come race runs.
Jamie was first up, and second junior down we were hoping would cross the line with a great time and spend a lot of time in the hot seat. Unfortunately he yet again had another massive crash and caused a red flag and track closure. He was ok, just winded and bruised. He keeps putting too much pressure on himself to perform instead of relaxing and having fun! But soon he’ll have that race run that reflects how well he’s riding in practice and that will calm him down!
Pete was up next and with two crashes in the tight woods he was left in even more pain than he was after Saturday's crash. Jack was determined to stay on the bike this time and get a result, so attacked everything hard except the tight slippery woods that were refusing to dry out unlike the rest of the track. He wasn’t overly happy with his run but finished in 11th spot, which wasn’t too bad. He’s lying 9th in the series now and within reach of 7th by the end of the season with some good results at the last two races.

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