The mud is here!

With heavy rain in the lead up to the weekend, it was the first time this season that our boys and girls got to experience in some muddy conditions (looks like Nick’s rain dances finally worked!) Team Orange were represented in the Notts and Derby League on Saturday by Phoebe and Tomo. Then on Sunday, Sam, Nick and Scotty raced in Round 3 of the National Trophy Series at the South Of England Showground in Ardingly.

First up on Saturday was Tomo (James) in the Vet 40 race at the Notts and Derby League. Taking to the grid on the second row, he went hard from the gun and soon took the lead and stayed out front for the first lap and half. The front group soon swelled to 10 and the pace picked up even more, James lost contact and with that around 25 seconds to the leaders… The heavens opened as our man came into his own, using his skill to catch the riders ahead one by one. Tomo clawed his way back up to 2nd… a very good result in such a strong field.

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Phoebe then lined up in the women’s race and after the downpour earlier, the course was now very slippery, making for some interesting racing. Phoebe made use of a good grid position by starting strong, and straight away it was wheel to wheel racing, which continued throughout the race. Our girl in orange put her bike handling skills to good use and battled right to the line, coming home 4th in the senior women’s category, yet another strong performance!!

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Meanwhile, over in Sussex, the rain poured and continued into the night, which meant the conditions at Sunday’s Trophy were rather different to anything in which any of the riders had ridden this season so far. 10am and it was time for our Junior, Sam Smith to take to the line and after two very strong opening rounds to the series, he lined up on the front row. After a little rain pre-race, the clouds had parted and the – muddy – stage was set for the first race of the day. The whistle blew and the country’s fastest juniors set off for 40 minutes of technical and fast-paced racing. Sam didn’t quite get the start he’d hoped for, not getting clipped in straight away, then his other foot coming unclipped! But he regained his composure and gave chase, putting in a strong first few laps to sit around the top 10. Then came a puncture, and Sam, bike on back ran back to the pits loosing time to his nearby racers. A bike change and then back out onto the course, Sam tried to make up for lost time. He then put in a strong performance to gain back some of the positions he’d lost due to the mechanical and our boy did a cracking job, coming home in 12th position. Sam now sits in 13th position in the overall Junior Men’s National Trophy standings.

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Our two senior racers for the day, Nick and Scotty headed out for practice at 12.30 and got a good few laps in and dialed in their lines on the now slippery, muddy course. Practicing with riders like (working-man’s hero) Lewis Craven is always a good thing to do… you can always learn from following, riding and racing with the best riders in the country. Practice laps done, it was back to the vans, to wash the bikes and eat, before final preparations for game time. The sun actually came out for the day’s final race and at 2.45, it was time to get muddy. A STRONG grid, with a load of Belgians pros chucked into the mix meant fast racing was a cert! Both Scotty and Nick had good starts and once the first lap madness was out of the way, it was time to settle into a rhythm and without riders all around, time to ride the exact lines that had been pre-planned (always so hard on lap 1). Both of our boys were in race-long battles, enjoying the muddy, slippery conditions and both came back with pretty handy results, Scotty in 25th and Nick in 39th (his best to date in a National Trophy). Long live the mud…

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