Will Warner Sack it off?The debacle over the timing at the National Championships, which left Rob Warner convinced his time had been 'made up', is still eating the big man. Anyone who thought Rob was just making a self-publicising fuss and would soon be over it doesn't realise how seriously he takes what he does. What's more the riders are generally convinced he, and others who thought they were robbed, have a point.
"Of course you can't prove it, but everyone who saw it is sure Rob was way faster on his second run."says Steve Peat.
Rob, who was first told he'd beaten Steve by 10 seconds was later told his second run was slower than his first and he wasn't even in the top ten.
"It spoiled everything," says Steve. "I won the damn race, I'm National Champion, but I took no pleasure from it. First there was the uncertainty, being told I was behind Rob when we both knew that was bollocks. Then the changes and a lot of riders whom I respect certain they'd been robbed. By the time it was sorted it was late, everyone had gone home and there wasn't even a podium. Not good."
The immense effort, both physical and mental, which goes into racing downhill depends entirely on confidence in the timing. So you can see that the suspicion that times can be lost, massaged or simply made up destroys the whole point of what, for a lot of riders, is their life. This is what's getting to Rob.
"People keep saying they're gutted, especially me, but I didn't know what it meant until now. I got a chest infection for the last NPS but I wouldn't have let that stop me riding in the ordinary way. I didn't ride because I didn't have the heart for it. I was just too disgusted. Honestly Tym I felt like sacking the whole thing off."
Rob is recuperating on the private estate of a wealthy fan in the Alps, relying on hard physical exercise to put his racing head together.
"I've climbed the mountain, ridden round the lake and now my legs won't even get me upstairs so I'm going sailing."
No doubt it's been a bad season for Rob who broke his leg in March and hasn't had the results to qualify for the British teams. And you can bet his various run ins with blazerdom make it unlikely that exceptions will be made for Warner.
In fact a snowball has more chance of surviving midsummer in the Sahara.
Main picture: Friends fear Rob might take an overdose of plastic Elvises
Pic 1: The Alpine Hideaway where Rob prepares for his comeback