Wight Mountain Rider James Windley at the Forest Of Dean Downhill Final Round
The final round of the Forest of Dean Downhill summer series was held last weekend, which provided an excellent spectacle and some great racing despite a short track around 1:20 long for the fastest racers. Dry and dusty conditions all day helped the riders excel on a narrow and rooty track, allowing the racing to stay extremely close throughout the age categories. Thankfully the rain stayed off but the punishing heat took its toll on most of the riders, with the 20 minute push-up not helping energy reserves where a flat top half of the track required the most pedalling.
This part of the track was relatively flat and packed with loose corners, so a good start and having confidence to attack the first turns off the brakes was key to carrying good speed on a track where 10 riders could be separated by as little as 2 seconds. Next, the track dropped away sharply to the first fire road, where a bus-stop style chicane wall-rider forced riders to wide onto a hip jump before getting back on the pedals for the remainder of the fire road. Another steep drop off the fire road launched riders down and into a tight off camber section albeit with a few catch berms, and this, combined with the dusty track surface meant riders were struggling to keep control without drifting off track or crashing.
A short pedal into a double step down set riders up fora very fast but tight 180 degree right hand berm, immediately followed by a small road gap before hitting a second big berm, this time sending riders left and down towards the final jump of the course.
Getting this section fast and flowy was key to keeping speed though out the gentle right hander littered with braking bumps and roots in order to clear the last gap (a 20ft table where a sharp crosswind caught several riders out during the course of the day), and a final pedal over rough braking bumps was the last chance for riders to make up time before crossing the line.
Team wight mountain riders James Windley and Adam McCrum attended the event, where Windley finished 23rd out of 44 riders in the Senior category with McCrum finishing last in the Youth category after some bad luck on the day.
Windley rode well in his first run until a missed line where he ended up riding off the course and down an embankment, losing vital seconds.
His second run was much better with fewer mistakes, but fatigue didn’t help make up time on the leaders on the pedally top section although still managed to make up 5 seconds on himself to set his fastest time of 1:32.
McCrum was less fortunate, however. An unpredictable start schedule meant he started his first race run in front of professional downhill racer William Nott (who eventually went on to win the race and set fastest time of the day).
As a result, Nott caught McCrum up on track before he could finish his first run, meaning Adam almost had to abort his attempt and pull to the side on the most difficult section of the track, again losing valuable seconds and finished in 2:00. Overall, the final round of the FOD DH Summer Series was a success for most riders, where excellent organising and fast medical help meant all injures were dealt with quickly so racing could continue as
soon as possible.Great weather and large crowds ensured riders tried that little bit harder to gain a good result, but a short track meant race times were always going to be extremely close, where small mistakes on course made big changes to the results at the end of the day.