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British National Championship - Llangollen, 18/19 July 2015

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Saturday practice run - Jack following Will Jones

National Championships is one that every racer dreams of winning at some point in their career! Wearing the British jersey is an honor, especially when we have the strongest field of world-class racers in the world. This year it was Llangollen playing host to the event and with a new track for the race. Llangollen always provides a steep track, which is usually mega fun to ride, so everyone was super excited for this one!
The team arrived on Friday and got the pits set up ready for the weekend and walked the track. Over the second half of the season we have been including Jack’s best pal Will Jones in our pit set up, adding in an extra gazebo and giving everyone more space. Will is always the center of the banter and the mood is always high when he’s around, so he has been a great addition to the team set up. Everyone headed up for track walk and they weren’t disappointed with what was waiting for them. Steep loose turns and chutes which snaked their way down the hillside! We couldn’t wait for practice.
Saturday practice was an absolute blast for everyone! The track was bone dry and running fast. As the day went on the track got more and more blown out, making it difficult to ride fast keeping everyone on their toes. By the end of practice all the guys were feeling fast and couldn’t wait for racing the following day. Check out the gopro run of Jack following Will! All of the riders were running spike tyres to dig into the loose dusty ground – Jack on his cut Schwalbe Dirty Dans and Jamie and Pete on the Bontrager GMud tyres. Team mechanic Ticky Bikes was on site keeping the Trek Session 9.9s running perfectly.
We had a bit of rain over night on Saturday, but the track was so dry that it barely made any impact, and by the time practice started you wouldn’t have known it had rained at all. The lads got started early and were first down the hill, so managed to do three runs in the morning practice session. There were quite a lot of lines on the hill so it was important to get enough runs in to test all of the lines, and then feel comfortable on the ones you had decided to race.
So seeding runs, and everyone was hoping that this would be the event where Jamie’s season would take a turn for the better. Thankfully it was. With a steady seeding run, staying on his bike, he rolled down for 8th place in junior with a time of 2.19. He was relieved and we were all so happy for him! A big weight off his shoulders. He stepped things up in finals and rode to an impressive 6th place going 3 seconds quicker with a time of 2.16.
Unfortunately it wasn’t such a successful weekend for Pete. He crashed at the bottom of his seeding run and did some damaged to the AC joint in his shoulder. So he spent the rest of the day in Wrexham hospital having xrays and trying to find out what exactly he’d done. He’s crossing his fingers to be recovered in two weeks’ time for the next world cup, and with rest and a good physio it may be possible.
Will went off the track in his seeding run and was down in 37th place and not happy. He was aiming for a time of 2.12/2.11 in his race run and stepping things up he came across the line with a 2.11 so had to be happy with that. He finished in 25th place and builds more confidence moving forward.
Jack was feeling great all weekend and was aiming for a big result. He had a smooth seeding run and came across the line in 3rd place with a time of 2.07 behind Danny Hart and Sam Dale and less than 2 seconds back. He knew he had more in the tank for racing and was excited to give it everything and see if he could stay in the top 3 come finals and get a National Champs podium! He gave it everything in his race run and had a wild run as the track was really blown out by the end of the day. Minus a couple of mistakes due to pushing so hard, he had a great one and crossed the line with a 2.05 which was over 2 seconds faster than his seeding run. He was second through the split and amazingly in contention for the title of national champ with less than 30 seconds of track left to go! With a stall coming out of the last corner, he finished a still impressive 4th, only 0.8 of a second off the win! What a feeling for him and the whole team. We now can’t wait for Mont Saint Anne to see if he can keep stepping things up going into the last three world cups!

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