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James Windley Race Report

James Windley Race Report

Season End,

So I decided to dust off the V10 and take the downhill bike out to play for the first time since National Champs back in July for a final race of 2015. The 661 Mini DH races are always good fun at Forest of Dean, and predictably tight times with such short tracks. This event was no exception and the infamous 'Ski Run' track was chosen for the race.

The weekend began with my TMC teammate and riding coach James Gould dropping by Mitchell Cycles to see team mechanic Dave Webb, to pick up our freshly-tuned Santa Cruz V10's for the weekend. Dave had managed to get both brakes sharper than a Chinese acupuncture set and swap out my cracked mech hanger to get the bike running smooth at last.

We arrived at the forest to check out the track and throw down a few practice runs, although the most technical part of the track was the first 30 seconds which included a ditch hop, braking zone littered with wet roots, a technical off camber to monster-huck-to-G-out combo. BANGING. Both myself and Gouldy weren't 'feeling it' this weekend and bailed early to throw down some whips on the GBU track to get a feel for the bikes.

Sunday was a simple affair; two morning practice runs, which felt good on the bike although hadn't completed a full run without feeling like I'd run a marathon. "Race could be interesting" I thought. My first race run was pretty good and with the overnight rain and damp roots and rocks just seemed to make the bike faster and skip around a bit more than Saturday practice. I came down in 5th place in seniors but with around 40 riders left to run. I ended up in 9th spot 4 seconds back off the lead.

Second race runs started at 3:15pm. This is mid-winter in the UK and I couldn't see a damn thing. So dark! Anyway I knew I needed to make up as much time as possible as quite often at F.O.D 3 riders can be separated by less than half a second! I couldn't see the roots in the first section of the course so I rode it as I'd remembered and hoped for the best. The run felt a little better and managed to get some hard cranks in throughout the rest of the course and let off the brakes just a fraction longer - the bike kept on accelerating! I crossed the line 0.6 seconds faster than my first run and eventually slotted into 8th place in Seniors - out of 84 riders in category.

Considering I didn't feel stoked for the whole weekend I'm pretty pleased with the result. At this point I'd like to say a huge thanks to the sponsor's for all their work supporting the team this year - Schwalbe Tyres, Smith Optics, WD-40 BIKE, TORQ Performance Products, Reborn Clothing and the Mitchell Cycles Shop - it's been an incredible opening season with TMC and finishing in the top ten in every downhill race this year certainly wouldn't have been possible without their support!

Now it's time to knuckle down with the Winter training ready for the B.D.S season next year. Bring it on.

Team Mitchell Cycles | Limits. Exceeded.