Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Champery World Cup 4 Race Report

So the past weekend saw the running of World Cup Round 4 at Champery, Switzerland. I had been looking forward to this one, as I had heard many good things and it certainly didn't disappoint.

When we arrived we got to check out the track and as soon as you get here you get a perspective for the steepness of the mountain, as the chairlift pretty much goes straight up. Its the first track where I was kinda nervous for the first day of practice, but as soon as you do a couple of run's you get used to it and I was loving it, there's got to be nothing better than doing 2 pedals out of the start and straight into a line of jumps then you're pinned for the rest of the run without even having to pedal.

My practice day went pretty well I only did 5 runs to stay pretty fresh, would have been real easy to to heaps but had to keep it at just a few. The track changed from bone dry to slightly wet midway through practice which made it a bit more interesting. Over night there was alot of rain so the next days practice was pretty loose to say the least, people were crashing left right and center, and there were lines of people lined up for the technical sections, as one after another crashed out. I was having fun in the conditions and getting loose but mostly staying on my bike.

About 5 minutes before our qualifying run it started pissing rain, normally I don't really enjoy conditions like this but I was kinda stoked for my run, I rode my run to stay on my bike and muzzered most of the top section having both feet off through a fair bit of it. I did ride some of it at the bottom pretty well staying feet up. I slid out before one of the jumps at the bottom and cased it so hard I broke my headset and bent my chainring so I had to half pedal my way to the line. I was surprised for sure when it said I was 5th!?! But I guess you just had to stay on your bike and that was what counted.

Finals day rolled round and the track was getting more sticky the mud was heavier to push through but it now had a good rut to ride in most of the corners. I felt awesome in the practice before finals just having fun the whole time loving the conditions and felt like I was riding really well staying feet up most of the time. After practice I had a big wait till finals, and probably got a bit psyched up as I had never had to do this before, I headed up the hill a bit early too I think, as I prefer to only have short time at the top before my start usually. I was up there probably over an hour as the course was closed for a bit due to riders having to get picked up with the helicopter. I set off pretty well out of the start but then felt like I couldn't relax and was riding stiff I got a bit down the first section and blew out a section off the track, by now I was stressing too much thinking rather than just riding but it's good to learn somehow. I rode the rest of the way but was pretty over it and rode far from how I rode the practice, I finished 33rd with a terrible run, and I was pretty angry with how it went but learnt a bit at the same time.
Blinky put together a pretty good run for 4th but I don't think thats what he was looking for, and Brook put in an amazing ride for 6th place his best result to date.

Now I have the 5th Round at Val Di Sole this weekend which is a good course for me also, so I am pretty excited for this one!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Italian Cup Round 3 Report

So the past weekend saw the third round of the Italian Cup series at Campo Felice near to L'Aquila the Italian city that was ravaged last year by a huge earthquake.

We arrived late on thursday evening after a seemly endless 9 hour drive down from Aosta, it was also probably one of scariest drives too, Im not known to use the "Oh shit handle" but the Italian drivers certainly had me gripping it! after the drive all that was on the cards was dinner and sleep. The next day we headed up the hill to check out the track and after walking it, I wasn't overly excited but riding it was different and after the first few runs I was into it ,some bits could of been better but it was really loose due to all the rocks which made it pretty fun. I spent the afternoon filming it for WynTV, I was lucky enough to have George Brannigan to be my cameraman as he is currently out for a couple of weeks with a broken finger.

The next day was another practice day but it was a easy track to learn so I was pretty much ready to race, so we didn't ride till after lunch and did a few runs got it dialed then went to session the air pillow jump that they had there, similar to a foam pit and it was good for a few laugh's and to kill sometime, I got the 360's down on my DH bike which was sick. That night we had a go carting session at the local track near Campo Felice which got cut a bit short as everyone just got too loose at one point there were people all over the grass and some going the wrong way on the track, I perfected the wall ride in the cart which was a good laugh.

Then it was race day we had to get up early for a change to get a couple of runs in before qualifying, I had a couple of good runs and felt good on the track. My qualifying run certainly didn't reflect that though I set off and got caught out on one of the loose gravelly berms up top, I lost the front then slid a fair way on my side, I got up and kept going and tried to make some back but that is near impossible on a short basic track like this, I ended up 8th and knew I had to keep it rubber side down for the finals and I could do alright.

So after a full italian pasta lunch and a bit of a chill out it was finals time, I did a bit of a warm up at the top to the sound of some full on lightening that was going on, at one point just before my start it looked like it was definitely going to rain but luckily somehow it held off. I set in to my run and was super cautious in the top turns to make sure I didn't blow them out and lay it down, I rode most of the track like that trying not to make any mistakes and felt that I wasn't really quick enough, but I finished on a 2.30 run and surprisingly took the win over fellow kiwi Matt Scoles in 2nd making it another kiwi dominated Italian Cup, bet it must be starting to get to them too when they can't win their own races..

That finished off a pretty awesome weekend, Im now chilling for a couple of days in Rome to check out the city and then head back to Aosta and get some riding in at Pila. I would like to thank everyone that makes it possible for me especially my mechanic Alan and to all my awesome sponsors, South Star Shuttles, Infamous Designs, T.H.E helmets and clothing, clothing, Rockstar Racing, Taranaki Elite Athletes Foundation, Leatt Brace, E*Thirteen, Kenda Playbiker Team, Lapierre Bikes, Burgtec, Fox Racing Shox and last but not least Mum and Dad.