With the summer all of a sudden seeming like a distant memory it was time to start the National Trophy Series, which always marks the start of autumn and time to get dirty (normally dusty for the first month or two) and dirty it was! Round 1 was in Derby and Moorways Stadium, on the very popular course that has it all, with lots of switchbacks, off camber, hurdles, steps and two bridges for good measure. We had a decent turnout at Team Orange, with riders taking to start line in both Saturday and Sunday’s races. Day one saw the Vet’s ‘do battle’ on what was a bone dry and fast course and then day two was a world away with torrential downpours to make things rather interesting.
Tomo kicked of the weekend for Team Orange in the Veteran Men’s race on Saturday morning. A packed grid of the best Vets in the country on a fast and flowing course, it was going to be a tough outing! But our man managed to bring home a solid performance inside the top 20, with a 16th!
Next up, the Veteran Women’s races and both Sally and Tracey aiming to be at the pointy end of their respective races… They both did JUST that with Tracey in the Vet 50-55 race and Sally in the Vet 60 race. Both in race long battles battling for the podiums and they came away with cracking results, Tracey in 3rd (a decent start to her National Trophy title defense) and Sally narrowly missing out on the win, coming home in 2nd.
The sun went down on the Saturday, after a day that temperatures reached the mid 20’s… The riders woke on Sunday to rain…and lots of it! By the time the chaps got to the circuit, the rain had stopped, but the course was slick! A warm up session first thing that Henry, Sam, Scotty, Blighty and Scot all got some time in on the fantastic course! Time to get tyre selection and pressures sorted for the later races!
Up first was Henry in the Junior race and against a massive grid of young chaps RARING to go! Henry wasn’t on top form, but using these early races to build into the season, keeping in mind that its a long season! A mid pack result, may not be what he was hoping for, but the positives were taken and then views soon looked forward to the next one!
Another practice session for the boys and the conditions had completely changed, the course was now dry, grippy and fast! A few laps to get lines dialled in and tyre choices and pressures sorted. The forecast was for rain again though, so the boys were in limbo as to what to do, set up wise. Five mins before the start, just as the riders were lining up, the heavens opened…BIG TIME! Crowded under trees, trying to stay dry before the start, the rain continued and it was time…for battle to commence! A massive grid of riders, elite and U23, the countries best ‘crossers along with a big handful of Belgain pros for good measure! Using the UCI spec start lights, wait for all the red lights to come on, then they go out and wait for the green, then GO! Full pelt into turn one and then a lap of madness as the rain is coming down and plenty of crashes and inevitable bottle necking as the riders hit the narrower sections for the first time. A decent start by our boys, but soon getting caught behind crashes, notably Scotty and Nick getting pushed wide and having to stop but our young gun, Smithy managed to see this happening from further behind and soon jumped off his steed and then ran past the messy pile of bikes and men…picking up at least 15 places in one fell swoop, cracking stuff – he learning well! A lap in and things started to sort themselves out and all our riders were in race long battles with plenty of crashes along the way – Scotty coming down three times which wasn’t ideal after starting the race still beaten up from his recent ‘get off’, but he wasn’t alone! Smithy put in a cracking a ride to come home 18th U23, such a good start for him, one that will give him confidence for round 2! Scotty and Nick coming in with 20th and 26th in the Elite race and Scot not too far behind, but suffering from a common problem that occurs a week after a specific race, they call it ‘3 peaks legs’ in the trade and our man was feeling it from his efforts the previous week!
A brilliant weekend for the team with some great results and plenty of stories to tell after. A great support team as usual, this time in the form of pit man Stu, Nibbs, Tiff, Phoebe and Sabi…great work team! Onto the next one, see you somewhere in a muddy field!