Team CRC Mavic riders Mike Jones and Elliott Heap raced at the first round of the British Downhill Series in Nant Gwrtheyrn, North Wales, over the weekend with Mike finishing in an impressive fourth place and Elliott in seventh.
Mike takes us through the weekend’s racing:
I have put a lot of work in during the off-season and I felt ready to kick the season off, the track there was a good mixture of technical steep stuff at the top which then led into a pretty long flat pedal to finish off.
Going into the weekend we had some pretty bad weather and by half way through the first day of practice the track had to be changed because of the deep sticky mud which was making people come to a standstill.
Saturday practice started an hour later for the elite riders so by the time we got onto the track it was already in a mess. The top section of the track was running really good on Saturday – super technical and super fast in places. The bottom section on the other hand was getting chewed up and getting really sticky. It was energy sapping and took a lot out of you just getting through the last half of the track!
Practice runs went well for me, I had no issues all day; my bike was running super smooth thanks to the guys at Wideopen magazine! Traffic on track was pretty bad in the morning but that was expected on such a short tight track with not many places for people to pull over out of the way! I managed to get up to speed pretty quickly by the third or fourth run, so I only did six runs all day and decided to chill for the rest of the day and save myself for the Sunday race.
Sunday race day
Sunday morning the track had changed a lot, the sun had come out and the track had started to dry up, some of the turns on track had started to disappear and some holes had started to form. I had two solid runs in the morning and I was feeling confident going into seeding and finals.
Seeding came around and the track was drying up more and more, I was feeling good and ready, I put a solid run down, didn’t push too hard and kept it smooth and peddled hard at the bottom and slotted into fourth place, which I was happy with going into finals.
Finals came around but we had a big delay after seeding as there was a crash on track and part of the course netting had been damaged. The track had dried up a fair bit by now and was running a lot faster. Leading into finals I knew I was in a good place and knew I could get on the podium if I put down a run I knew I could.
I put a solid run down but made a mistake down the bottom which cost me a little bit of time but not too much and then crossed the line and finished fourth. All in all it was a good weekend racing and I’m feeling confident going into the first World Cup in a few weeks!