Forest of Dean 661 Mini DH – Round 1

I usually try to race all the 661 mini downhill events that are held throughout the winter when racing is quiet. They are real good fun, the tracks are short but sweet and there’s always a great field of competition. Sunday was no exception, with the race sold out at nearly 300 riders and with 77 of them in my category alone it was going to be a busy one.

It was a tad frosty come Sunday morning!

Because of the shear volume of the event practice only lasts a couple of hours as they really have to crack on with the racing to beat the darkness of winter. I raced the track last year (Ski-Run) so was familiar with it but still needed to get a feel for it. As you can imagine 300 riders all trying to practice a 1min 5-20sec course is utter carnage, I had bad luck with all my practice runs and didn’t get a single clean shot. So I used the time cruising behind slower riders to learn the lines and also spot lines I may have missed.

Greg shot by Chris Davison

Racing started at 11am with the rippers and being a senior I was one of the last riders to leave the top of the hill, so I had a 2 hour wait until my first run this provided time to try and keep warm as well watch some of the racing. My first run was fairly solid, no real sketchy moments but I knew there were a couple of areas where I should hold it open a bit more and bring my time down. First run placed me in 20th/77 and only 1 second separated me from 13th. This I new I could make up and I was eager to go faster on my 2nd run. Things did not go to plan though, as I charged off the start line and headed towards the now dark first section (and the most technical) I hit a compression that caught me by surprise and I was sent offline towards a tree. Instead of hitting the tree I run off course and my day was done. Luckily no rider behind me went faster so I remained in 20th, which I am fairly content with but slightly disappointed as I new I had a shot at getting into the top 15.

Tom shot by Chris Davison

Tom also came up to race and finished up in 42nd in seniors which is a good results considering how new he is to downhill and still finding a grasp for the sport. Riding on his Specialized Status which we have now fully kitted out with 2013 RockShox suspension and is running sweet for him. The next race for us will be the first round of the Woodland Riders winter series down at Tavistock on the 19th January.

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