Posted Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Sam Dale, Shambhala Cup, Dirt Masters Festival

With some great events popping up on the continent between the first and second round World Cup and with some time to race, I decided a Euro road trip was in order and first port of call was Bulgaria. I persuaded my good friend James Stock to come along too as I had previously hyped the track up as it is real long, fast, rocky and pretty much pedal free, which in all honesty, it is. I’d been there before and was keen to get back and James decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. The race track is pretty big by anyone’s standards at over 4 minutes long plus there’s a 3 minute track to get you to the start. I got myself over there early for a bit of training on the longer track as my local ones are about 1 minute 30! It was over 30ºc some days, so the riding in the heat was a shock to the system. Practice went well and I was loving the track, you can check a helmet can run of it here:

My last practice run before finals didn’t go too well; I came into a left hander at race speed, and my front wheel hit a cricket ball sized rock that had rolled into the track resulting in me hitting the deck hard. My bike was a bit of a mess too and I only had an hour to get it all sorted before my race run. I got it all done and had a pretty clean run, but I should of pushed harder even though I was feeling a tad sore after the crash. I finished in 2nd place, missing out on the top spot by 0.7!

I got home for a few days and then headed out to Germany for the Dirt Masters festival. As well as the DH, they also had a slopestyle comp and a European 4x round – mental! The event itself had over 40,000 visitors and it certainly felt like there was that many people on track alone. Come race day, I had a good run and got almost all my lines despite the weather going from wet to hot sun with the track changing all the time. I came down into the hot seat and stayed there until Mick Hannah took the win. I was very happy with my result and even though it was only 2 minutes long, it was one of the most physical races I’ve done. I wasn’t the only one as Sik Mik agreed and when he says it’s tough, well…

Now I’m hanging out in Germany and getting a few pages sorted with the guys from Mountain Bike Rider Magazine for a few days before heading to Leogang for another race.
Thanks again to all my sponsors,
Transition Bikes
Fox Europe
S.i.Sealy
www.wdbathrooms.co.uk
www.mindforsport.co.uk
Riders Refuge Morzine
Renthal
Burgtec
Five Ten
Schwalbe
Fox Shox
Shimano
Gamut
American Classic

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