Maximum press coverage on BBC Radio One's Edith Bowman show, two prime time evening news slots (2mins each) on local ITV Borders television, local radio and all the associated bike press meant spectators had to park on the roads outside of the venue to gain access on Sunday for the big race!
A cleverly revised course still means even now after the event the debate continues as to which of several line choices were fastest. Ae Forest is not Ae Forest without the large man sized daunting step down that fears many a rider, not Derek Laughland though who at 50 and our oldest rider flew it in his race run!
Another new feature was the 50ft super steep drop into the impressive finish arena, photos as always will not prove the steepness of this section, as steep as you can legally get before the vultures, sorry spectators waited below for you.
Saturday practice started on time and saw the riders dialling in a dry and dusty course before seeding started at 15:00. A short delay to scrape top Scottish rider Chris Coates off course gave the unpredictable British weather an opportunity to turn and shower us with marble sized hailstones followed by heavy rain meaning no chance for the riders all ready on their way up or at top to swap to the spikes. Torvil and Dean it was for them then, skating down whilst the other riders flicked a coin to decide tyre choice!
Saturday evening saw the Sombrio film festival kick off under the large marquee showing the likes of "Joe Kid on a Stingray" and other apt titles whilst us hungry riders tucked into the themed Asian food night British style: Curried chicken and chips, the choice of the World's fastest riders. Then a few beers around impromptu fires that were scattered around the field burned whilst stories and tales were told way too late into the night..
Sunday morning many awoke looking weary after an interrupted sleep due to the heavy rain than disrupted us throughout the night. Practise started at 08:58, early! Definitely an NPS 1st and those strong and willing enough were rewarded with five runs with the Expert and Elite getting their own exclusive practise for an hour without having to catch the slow boys up.
Racing started bang on 13:00 with the Juveniles on the mud tyres on a track that was quickly drying out due to the mild weather and brisk breeze. By 16:00 the top flight had descended on dry tyres, everyone topped up their tan whilst everyone else down South on this typical Bank Holiday weekend, got maximum use out of their brollys!
Nathan Rennie was seen running a rosette with "Birthday Boy" on it before he slammed his left shoulder into the tree just before the stream drop after the 1st set of woods. Dirt Magazines Ralph Jones will need a skin graft on his elbow after crashing out, now that's why you must wear body armour kids! James Dower also out with a badly broken wrist and Julien Camellini will be off to the doctor after his scrape in the woods Saturday night.
Dan Atherton crashed in his race run hence a spot of crowd pleasing with a super whip off the step down and a huge one hander into the finish arena down that 50ft drop pleased us all.Top 10 Times Overall:
Round 3: 22nd July Rugog
Round 4: 12th Aug Moelfre
Round 5: FINAL 1st Sept Caersws (Fri-Sat)