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BDS 1, Nant Gwrtheyrn, 1/2 April 2017

After Jack taking the win and Will finishing 5th at the final BDS round in 2016, the whole team was excited to kick off the 2017 series. Round one took us to Nant G on the north west coast of Wales where the track is a strange one. The top half is super technical with some very awkward sections leaving no room for error, on a very rocky surface that always seems to be wet no matter what the weather at the time. The bottom half is FLAT. Actually at points it goes uphill, and is a real test of rider fitness, as well as the rider’s ability to pump and time their pedal strokes because the surface is so uneven. The venue was going to be a tough one for the BDS crew to get right, with limited space for the pits, and a difficult road to make the uplift work on.

There was an uplift day on the Friday and the course was going to be taped out in preparation for this, so Jack and George took advantage of it and headed down Thursday evening to get an extra day on the track. Unfortunately the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday wasn’t great, but the sun was scheduled to come out on Sunday. This was the first time we had the chance to use our 2017 pit setup, with our new larger tents and bigger race van, as well as new tools and equipment. We were all excited, and minus a small issue with the wind Friday lunchtime, the pits came together perfectly and looked great.

On Friday Jack and George did a handful of runs and were enjoying the track despite the wet muddy conditions. The rest of the team arrived later in the evening at the team accommodation, which was a house for 8 that we were squeezing 10 into – cozy! After some banter and piss taking the excitement settled and we all got a good night’s sleep ready for the action in the morning.

Saturday was a wild day, but the track was changing every run due to the wet conditions and the volume of riders. By mid afternoon one section of track had got that bad the BDS crew sensibly decided to reroute the course. They gave us a new route round a section that had become that boggy we could barely get through it because of the slight incline after the corner. In timed practice Jack laid down a solid run to be in 2nd place behind the current world champ, so things were looking promising for racing. The other riders were all getting into their lines and feeling good on the track.

Sunday morning was tough one in practice. The track had some monstrous ruts in it and the mud along the pedaling section had become so sticky it was hard to even move the bike along the section never mind try to ride it fast or get any real flow. Myles took a big crash and did some damage to his knee, which wasn’t ideal considering he already had a sprained ankle that he hasn’t fully recovered from. Luckily the team’s Soft Tissue Therapist, Paul of ‘3 Point Therapy’ was with us for the weekend helping out with his amazing services. The body undergoes a lot of stress over the course of a downhill race weekend, so it’s really important to keep everything loose and working well. Jack was struggling with tension in his neck and forearms by the end of practice on Sunday morning, and Paul worked wonders on them ready for seeding and race runs!

Seeding was a mixed bag. The first corner had completely fallen apart and all of our the lads had trouble in it losing time, but most of the racers did the same so it was more or less a level playing field really. Jack was 8th with a 2.15, 4 seconds off the pace, but the rest of the guys weren’t happy with their runs and had some improvements to make come racing if they were to get what they wanted. In racing our Race Coaching development rider Tom Caffrey finished 5th in the senior category at his first ever BDS, despite a crash in the first corner!

James crashed and didn’t have a good run and finished unhappy. Myles managed to put a solid run together and finished in 25th place and considering his injuries this was a great achievement at his first elite BDS. George was 11th at the split which was only about 20 seconds from the finish, but unfortunately had a massive crash in one of the final turns which cost him the result he deserved. Will improved on his seeding time by 7 seconds to do a time of 2.15, and finish in 13th place, which was a really good result to start the season with! Jack went 4 seconds quicker than seeding and finished in 6th place one spot off the podium with what he described as a solid run and he was happy.

So that’s the BDS season underway for us! Considering the nature of the venue we think the BDS crew did a great job to get the event to work as well as it did so big thanks to them. Only 4 weeks and we get to kick off the world cup season!! Big thanks as ever to our amazing sponsors:
Nicolai Bikes, Mojo Suspension, ONeal, Schwalbe Tyres, Clif Bar, Hope Technology, MRP, Works Components, Crank Brothers, Dirt Factory, ESP, DNA Sports Performance, Rock Guardz, 3 Point Therapy, Monkey Fresh, Gusset Components

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