Why does the urge to take urinate overcome all other needs when you’re nervous?
The MBUK forum team were all waiting anxiously at the bottom of the start ramp, I leg it for another piss just as Adam rips out of the start gate.
We were at the Penshurst Off Road Club bank holiday weekender. A perfect place for the MBUK forum team to get their collective racing cherries popped. Over the next two days, three courses would confront us, and nobody wanted to do poorly. All the “official” team members were riding hard tail downhill, with the exception of Mike Skinner and Lewis Blake who were piloting their FSusers in the senior category. None of us had entered 4X, and I’m glad I didn’t, I hadn’t even raced yet and I was knackered, the consequences of last nights hedonism had caught up with us all.
The courses were dusty, and most people were struggling to find grip, we were the last class to go, so everyone was watching. Our self appointed team manager, Mrs Doubtfire, was still mumbling about tyre pressures, those of us left on the ramp sighed and told him to shut up.
The courses at PORC are short and for the majority flowing, the odd rock garden here, a jump there, all really good stuff for people of all abilities.
After our run the team regroups at the finish line and we discuss how we think we did, the general consensus being inside the top 15 would be good, inside the top ten a bonus.
The results are printed out for Round 1 everyone seems pretty happy, half a second between Brit on his Tazer and Mrs Doubtfire on her Norco. Someone tells me I came in 7th, gob smacked doesn’t describe it, the team’s looking good.
The 4X kicks off and it gives everyone time to relax before some afternoon practice. There’s some excellent riding in all the 4X races, the big table and double are proving entertaining, and the first corner is proving to be a bottle neck as the Elites found out.
Oggy comes out as the eventual Elite winner, a well deserved win.
Practise makes perfect so they reckon, so practise till dark we did, after all, no one wants to come last no matter what they say.
The final day ticks around and everyone gets up to practise some more. I eat as many bananas as I can find and swear never to drink go to the pub before a race again – I don’t care if there is Ghostbusters in the van, it’s not a good idea.
After more last minute trips into the nearest bush, we all hammer off the start ramp at mach 3 into a big loose berm, this is perhaps the most technical of the three tracks, with a tight section of switchbacks going down the hill and a log jump that insists it wants the throw me into the crowd. I cross the line swearing, knowing full well I’ve had a terrible run, taking the low line into the switchbacks caused me to dab twice and lose lots of speed. The rest of the team are pretty happy, one round to go – thank god.
Were all pretty knackered by this time, this is the final round, Brit and Mrs Doubtfire aka Robin Williams are still only half a second apart – Brit thinks he’s been fast and this can’t be right, Robin insists he’s not even trying. Hmm.. Skinner’s riding well, he must be smooth; he didn’t even notice he’d blown his shock. Mister M had cleaned the switchbacks nicely, but Tim couldn’t say the same thing as the log jump had claimed him as a victim, chewing him up and spitting him out a good 15 feet down the track – nasty.
Sitting around spinning up in readiness for the final round Brit is determined not to be second fiddle to a single speeder, and I’m determined not to crash out and screw up my 5th place. Tim’s gone for a spin on the 4X track to try and loosen up after his stack. He comes back looking worse than when he left. He’s stacked on the 4X course badly, game over for Tim.
Brit’s down the ramp at top speed, pumping through the tree roots and easily keeping enough speed to nail the first double, he’s on a mission.
This is the fastest track of the three and there’s a tasty 25 foot road gap that hardly any of the HT boys had been hitting as the chicken run only lost you a second or so.
Start gate, double, berm, berm, bridge, step, gap, stump, road gap, small kicker, sweeping left, tunnel, avoid the stump, sweeping right hander, finish. The course is still engrained into my head.
The team were sitting at the finish line waiting for everyone so we could walk back to the top together.
“‘Ave it” I shout as I cross the line and toss the bike down. The sensation of crossing the line after a storming run is amazing; on the one hand your heart is trying to burst from your chest and your lungs are on fire; on the other the adrenalin’s pumping and you’re buzzing.
I’d nailed the road gap and people had cheered, it was an amazing feeling.
All riders were accounted for with the exception of Mister M, no one knew where he was, so we pushed to the top to see if we could spot him. DNF went on his sheet, bummer, it turned out he’d hooked up on the first double and ended his run before it had started, commiserations Ad.
It takes what seems like an age for the results to come out, so I scoot down to the tap and for a quick nosey down the quarry to see what’s going on. Ricky and Pete are playing about on the jumps, and Mister M is swearing at his chain device. Ricky appears from the dust at the end of the set, and even though I’m about dead, I distinctly remember him saying he’d never jumped doubles before, and yet here he is pushing back up from the end of the pack. So in one day, he’s gone from not jumping doubles before, to clearing a decent sized 8 pack, impressed I am.
We wander up to the Animal wagon for the awards, everyone wants to know where they came.
I could tell you everyone’s individual standings at this point, but I’m not going to, we were a team, and at the end of the weekend we were a much faster team than at the beginning, crashes aside, I think we all finished much better in round 3 than we did in round 1. We had one hell of a good time along the way, converted Bambi back to 26″ wheels, broke some bones, laughed about it later, set fire to our sleeping bags, called the Ghostbusters and swore we’d do it all again.
Someone wiser than myself once said “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s the taking part that counts” how very true.
So tune in next year, same PORC time, same PORC channel, we’ll be there, I recommend you should be too/Jamie Carter
Main Pic: Mike Skinner on the DH
Opening Pic & Pic 2: Simon tables the pack.
Pic 1: Tim does an X-up something or another