When god created Champery he must have been on the crack pipe! It is one hell of a gnarly place. The track was sooo steep it was near impossible to walk up and you were in for some blisters walking down. Steep was an understatement, the only section of track in the UK as steep as this place would be the last section of Ft. Bill after the Tissot jump or the end of Ae… Mental.
Riders like Peat, the Athertons, Nico, Needles, Minaar, Matti, Gracia all Un-clipped for this track, Peaty switched back to SPD’s for the final but was loving the flats in Practice. Brendog was truly looking at home on this track and was sure to be getting a place on the podium. Josh (The Gypsy) Bryceland was flowing with his loose calculated style that made most of the field look like beginners.
Rennie was still struggling with the injury he picked up at Ae but was still truckin. “It’s a tough track and you need to relax in practice but that is tough because it’s steep and you don’t know the track for the first few runs. It’s a good track and it challenges everybody. It’s good the guys clipped in can see the advantages of flat pedals.Yesterday a bunch of guys ran out and bought 5 Ten shoes and trained on flats,” said Nathan.
Qualifying was a tough one, you could have 2 stacks and still qualify, Sam took it home some 14 seconds in front of Pascal in 2nd spot. Damien Mermound was the only rider to have a faster time at the split than Sam and some 4 seconds quicker. Unreal.
The Final was a repeat of Vigo, dry as a nuns crutch for the first 40 then Thor the god of thunder put a twist in the mix. Rain from the gods is the only way I could describe it. Brayton had just scraped qualifying so was the 1st man down and put in a solid time that had him in the hot seat for quite some time until Steve, then Matti came into town. Then came the rain. The big screen at the finish showed all the riders coming off and sliding down the track. The only rider to get anywhere near the fastest time was Bren some 30 secs down. The rain got heavier and heavier, there was no way that Hill could even get near the podium on a track this nuts in the wet…? We were wrong, Sam is sick, plain sick he destroyed the track and the field with a ride that was only 1.6 seconds slower than Matti’s run in the dry… Oh and Sam had a crash too… This was the finest piece of riding ever witnessed on a bike.
Josh took 7th and the leaders jersey from Ruaridh who qualified well and got the rain along with Thibaut Ruffin. Bull stayed consistent with a 14th, and Rennie took 30th spot.
Brendan Fairclough 40th “I’m pretty gutted actually. I really felt great on this course and felt I had a shot at the podium; this is my kind of track. Then the rain just messed all that up. It’s good to be back though, I really feel good to beracing again after my small break, and I’ve got a new bike which feels incredible, it has made so much difference to my confidence. I know I have the form to do well in the next two races and can’t wait for a race without rain falling half way through.”What could have been if the weather stayed fair?”
01 : Matti Lehikoinen (Team G-Cross Honda) – 4:10.21
02 : Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) – 4:11.81
03 : Sam Hill – 4:11 84
04 : Fabien Barel – 4:4.91
05 : Mick Hannah – 4:21.52
06 : Adam Brayton – 4:22.15
07 : Josh Bryceland – 4:22.95
08 : Marcus Klausmann – 4:23.09
09 : Adam Vagner – 4:23.95
10 : Remi Thirion – 4:25.61
Everybody is going to Fort Bill this weekend for the Scottish SDA. No doubt getting in some much needed prctice for the World Champs that will be stage there in September. The Burgtec race truck will be up there with a load of FivTens and Flat pedals for you who have been converted after Switzerland!