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UCI World Cup, Round 4 - Lenzerheide, Switzerland, 2/4 July 2015

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Timed practice run - Lenzerheide world cup

Last weekend One Vision Global Racing headed out to Lenzerheide, Switzerland, for world cup round 4. This is a new venue and it will be used for the next three years, so everyone was really excited to see what was on offer! This race marks the mid point of the season and with Jack sitting in a career best 39th position going into this round, despite the puncture in Lourdes, it would be an important race for him to score some valuable points.
Unfortunately with Pete having some bad luck this season at the first three events, he’s now 1 point short of the 20 UCI points required to race a world cup. This meant he wouldn’t be travelling out with us to race. The rest of the team arrived in Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon to a beautiful mountain resort. Lenzerheide really is a beautiful place, with the bike park dropping down into a lake filled valley. With temperatures set to be in the 30s, it was set to be an awesome week!
On Wednesday when we got our pit space it was a real shock how far away from the finish arena and lift area we’d been placed. Most of the smaller UCI teams like us, had been put in a car park almost a kilometre up a steep hill, well away from the race finish. This simply wouldn’t work. What if you got a puncture or just needed to go back for a drink and some food? It was because the DH event had been paired with the XC again, and there simply isn’t enough space at the venue to have both take place at the same time. The two disciplines are so different I fail to see why they are held together anyway!! Thankfully the organisers were very understanding of the situation and came up with an alternative location a bit closer to the finish in a local farmers field, which was hugely appreciated.
Jack and Jamie were both really excited to walk the track that afternoon to see what it was like. They weren’t disappointed! As you can see from the helmet camera run, the fast sections with big jumps were mega loose because it was so dry, and the wooded sections were quite straight which meant the speed was always high. They couldn’t wait to get riding the next day!
Thursday practice and Jamie headed off for his junior practice session in the morning. He used his first 4 runs to get his confidence up and learn the track. He was joined by Jack at 11am and they did two runs together. Jack followed him for the first run to get a tow down through the lines, and then he gave Jamie a drag on his second run to help him find a bit more flow. That afternoon Jack did 5 more runs on his own and two of them in timed practice. His best time was this helmet camera run and it took him 3.12 to get down, 7 seconds back from Aron Gwin who set the fastest time. At the end of the first day both our guys were feeling good and excited for the qualifying round.
Jamie had a good practice session before qualifying. He did two steady practice runs, then put his helmet camera on and did a full timed run. He did a 3.28 with a few little mistakes and Jack assured him that would be fast enough to qualify in junior, so just to relax and keep it smooth in his run. Unfortunately that didn’t sink in, and again he went up and crashed. He came down outside the top 30 thanks to a big crash in the top section and was again left disappointed having not achieved what he’d shown he was capable of in practice. Some UK racing and a confidence boost is definitely needed!
Jack did three practice runs that morning and changed a few lines before qualifying. He wanted to challenge for the top 20 in qualifying and score some series points as they stop at 20th. He was feeling good on track and excited to get after it! His run was good, a little wild in places, but no major time losses. He came down into 24th place narrowly missing out on the top 20 with a time of 3.10. Exciting for finals the next day as it was evident the speed was there for a top 20 on this track. The team spent the evening at the lake relaxing after the stresses of qualifying day. The pressure of knowing one mistake means you’ll miss out on finals is exhausting!
Race day started nervously for Jack. He changed up a few lines in the morning to try and find a few seconds and that top 20 spot, and as a result had a couple of crashes in practice. However by the end of the session he was feeling positive and fast. Bring on racing.
Halfway through Jack’s warm up at the top there was a course delay for a helicopter evacuation because a rider was injured. He dealt with the delay well and kept his head in gear. He told the team afterwards that his initial plan for the run was to go wild and try to have that big run, and with that the big result, however when he realised how many people were crashing out with the track being so loose, he decided to keep it smooth and consistent and guarantee a good run and points.
He pulled a good run out of the bag and went over 2 seconds quicker than qualifying. This gave him 27th spot which is his best ever finish following his 28th at Fort William earlier this year. He is now ranked 32nd in the series and is feeling confident to finish the series in the top 30 with more good results at the last three rounds.

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