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Portugal Cup 2, Pampilhosa, 18/19 March 2017


Photo: Moonhead Media

We started our 2017 race season down on the Portuguese Algarve at the first round of their national series near Faro, after spending a week training and testing on our new Nicolai Geometron G19s with Ride Portugal DH holidays. After being home for 2 weeks it was time to pack up again and head to round two of their series at Pampilhosa Da Serra in the middle of Portugal. Only Jack and Myles were heading down for this one, and both were super excited to get racing with a brilliant weather forecast for the weekend!

Myles wasn’t able to race the first round after spraining his ankle badly two days before the race while training. Luckily in the two weeks at home he was treated by the team’s Soft Tissue Therapist, Paul Jeffrey of 3 Point Therapy, and this got him back in a position to be able to ride and race his bike. We weren’t sure how fast he was going to be able to go, but we did know he’d try his best and race as hard as he could. Jack finished 3rd at the first round, and after finishing 2nd at Pampilhosa in 2014, and 3rd in 2015, he was really fired up to try and take the top spot this time!

The racetrack at Pampilhosa is very fast and follows the fall of the mountain most of the way down. It starts with some tricky switch back corners for about 25 seconds, but its then full gas, off the brakes racing to the bottom. With the conditions being so dry and sunny, the track was super dusty and quickly blew apart in places making riding conditions super wild! Jack got on well on Saturday and was feeling confident going into racing on Sunday! Myles struggled at the start despite his ankle being taped, as any unexpected movement of the bike twisted his foot on the pedal and caused him a lot of pain. After 3 runs he switched out his Crank Brothers Mallet clipless pedals for the Stamp flat pedals and this really helped him, as his foot was able to move independently of the bike and stop his ankle from twisting. Here is a helmet camera run of the track on board with Jack. This isn’t far off race pace as he only went 2 seconds faster in finals!

Jack takes you down the Pampilhosa race track on a full practice run. Spot the idiot in the car slowly pulling across the race track inches in front of Jack's bike.

Sunday started well for the lads with a good morning practice session and both Jack and Myles were excited to get racing. Myles’ confidence had grown throughout the weekend and by the end of practice he was actually feeling fast and enjoying riding! The Pampilhosa track is a real thrill being such a high-speed course, and it had made for a great weekend of riding, despite what the racing would bring.


Photo: Moonhead media

Myles was up first in seeding and with a solid run he clocked a time of 2.37. With his injury anything better than a 2.40 was very respectable, so he was really happy and was aiming for a 2.35 in his race run. Jack went down in a cloud of Portuguese dust in his seeding run, washing out the front tyre in a right hand corner and finishing upside down with his bike on top of him. He was only 10 seconds off the pace despite this with a 2.32, so he knew he was in the mix for the win if he had the right run.


Photo: Moonhead Media

Myles exceeded his expectations in his race run and clocked a time of 2.34 for 37th place. He was really happy with his performance over the weekend and the team is absolutely amazed by how he handled himself despite the injury throughout the weekend. We’re really excited to watch him progress throughout the year once he’s back to full fitness. Jack managed to stay on the bike this time, and felt that he’d had a really good run, so when he crossed the line and took the lead he was happy. However when they announced he’d done a 2.25, he knew that he’d not done enough for the win. Looking back at his run he remembered saying to himself, ‘careful’, in a number of places to make sure he didn’t crash and come away with nothing, and at that level you can’t ride like that and expect to get the result you want. The crash in seeding had taken away that confidence you need to be able to ride at your very limit, and not be worried about it not working out. So Jack settled for 7th place, which was still a good result, finishing ahead of all of the other British riders, and some fast locals!

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Photo: Moonhead Media

The team has had another great weekend racing, and the 2017 season is well underway! We’d also like to give a shout out to our Scottish rider George Gannicott, who finished in 4th place at the Ae Forest SDA in terrible weather! Big thanks as ever to all of our amazing and valued sponsors who make the One Vision program a reality:
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 and Gusset Components