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The Final Beep - M. Collins Final Report

The Final Beep - M. Collins Final Report

The Final Beep?

Every year for the last four years Tidworth Freeride has put on its annual Hooper Hooner Championship. It?s an end of season get together held typically early November which ends the majority of peoples racing calendar for the year. The race is held on the well-known track Hooper Struve. It?s regarded as Tidworth?s most DH orientated track and offers a challenge even for the Elites when it comes to finding those precious seconds.
This year the event promised to be bigger and better than ever and it really should not come as a surprise to those that attended? it was just that. The guys and gals that help/aid/support/set-up and run this event embody mountain biking. The atmosphere is that of a mini World Cup. The track is renowned for a tricky section called ?Mini Morzine?. HOLY SH?BEEEEEEEEEP! I have never come into a section with that much noise from the spectators. Air horns/chain saws anything and everything that could make noise was having a work out. What an atmosphere! What a party! What an event!

This race for me was to be a little different however. It was to mark my final race and outing for Team Mitchell Cycles. Next year I will be moving on to pastures new, embracing change. My calendar will not be as serious but I still plan on doing a few races to keep my foot in the door. Back to the race: Hooper Hooner Championship! This year I had entered hardtail. It?s for me my most successful category and deep down the one I like to ride the most. It does just make everything that little more difficult and thus keeps you on your toes. With all that said I would love to have had a trail bike to race on this year and try and challenge the Elite guys times. Being somewhat of a local I am confident the track can be rode quicker on a trail bike. For me it just offers that bit more grip. Cards on the table though, I now wanted to win hardtail and just see how close I could get to winning the event overall.

Sunday morning early November... yeh that was cold. I woke up to a frost and started to load my bike and kit in the van somewhere around 6.45am. Once packed and morning fuel consumed I set off and arrived at Tidworth for 07.30am. I got myself signed in and waited eagerly for Mitchell Cycles to arrive so I could help set up the pit. Once all that was done I was ready for practice. It was cool to have a few of the team racing this weekend so I made sure I got a few practice runs in with Rickman. Another joy of this event is they introduce a push up that runs in parallel to the track so a full track walk is not critical as you can get the idea of what lines to take on the way up.
In my head I had planned to only do 2 practice runs and straight into race runs however this changed as the hardtail category were not due to set off until midday. I therefore decided to get 3 practice runs in but spread them across the morning to try and keep warm. With only one ?off? in practice I was confident I could up the tempo and get a clean run in come race time. Racing as it always does came around quickly and before I knew it I was sat on the start ramp/hill waiting for the beeps. As always the guys at Mitchells gave my bike a quick once over so it was ready to kick ass even if I wasn?t. Cheers Martin? massively appreciated as always dude.
Beep Beep Beeeeeep The final beeeeeep for me in the lightning bolt jersey and it was on. I hammered out of the start and got into a rhythm early on. I got all of my lines and tried to stay as smooth as possible. The track had dried out loads but this came as a surprise as there were areas I was a little more reserved just in case the spice odometer reached new heights.

Before I knew it the run was done and I was hanging. The noise from the spectators was on another level of crazy. Tidworth Freeride you make these events what they should be? simply epic.
Due to timing troubles with regards to displaying live results I had to wait for my time. Mike at Mikrotime did get this sorted though and happily for me I was sitting in 1st with 4 seconds to spare.
I was happy with my run other than a small mistake in the middle of the track where I got a little out of shape. So onto the 2nd run and let?s see what I can do with that?. Unfortunately I made the same wobble in the same place but pushed harder towards the finish to come home marginally quicker with a 54.30. Some 2.5 Seconds off the fastest elite but enough to win the hardtail category.
All in a great result but me being forever competitive I would love to have taken it to the elites on the hardtail. Maybe next year?.

Well? what a whirlwind of a time I have had at Mitchell Cycles/TMC. I will miss it all. The family vibe is fantastic and it really has been a pleasure. Andy, Jan, Steve, Dave, Martin, Windog, Gouldy, The Crellins, Finley and some midget called Rickman? THANK YOU for everything and hopefully see you between the tapes next year.
A massive thank you must also go to the team sponsors! Team Mitchell Cycles/TMC, Smith Optics, Reborn Clothing and Schwalbe Tyres.

I?m sorry if I have missed anyone out! You?re no less important!
Thanks for the Ride all!
Matt Collins