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wideopen Issue 10 October 2009

wideopen 10 october 2009

dirt bike magazine 1 available free online at www.wideopenmag.co.uk


Intro Issue 10 October 2009

3. 4. 7. 17. 20. 23. 28. 34. 38. 44. 52. 60. 63. 67. 70. 75. 78. 82. 88. 94. 101. 105. 109. 113. 116. 119. 123. 125. 135. 143. 146. 150. 152. 156.

Comment News

Emulsion Team

Like a Rolling Stone Mis-spent Summer

Flashgun: Scott Cartwright Living The Dream

Who Won? Who Cares?

Industry: Tea Boy Turned Good World Cup DH Fort William

The Jess Stone Interview

The James McKnight Interview

TeamSperm do the Mega

The FliDistribution Interview

Kielder Avalanche Enduro NPS DH Llangollen SDH DH Pitfichie

SDH DH Fort William MIJ DH Taff Buggy

National Champs DH Innerleithen NPS 4X Bridgenorth

UK DH Hardtail Champs

Welsh Champs DH Caersws KOD The Track KOD Redhill KOD Wisley

Bike Check: Tom McKnight Smallscreen: Threshold

Smallscreen: Dirtschool

Smallscreen: The Tipping Point

The Chris Ball Interview

Longtermer Gear

Trailscene: Pumpy Pump Pump

Trailscene: Postcard from Whistler

Llandegla’s new Pump Track

Bike Check: Brett Tippie Freeride

Contributors

COVER Sam Dale photo: Andy Dunwoody (www.andydunwoody.com) HERE photo: Oli Ward wideopen 10 october 2009

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comment Wideopen Magazine

Welcome one and all to Wideopen mag Issue number 10.

13 Ullswater Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 7YN www.wideopenmag.co.uk

Yep – it’s hard to believe that we’ve actually managed to get 10 issues of this thing dragged together and online. Especially hard considering how bloody slowly this very issue has taken to force, kicking and screaming to life.

Details

Whilst I’m not exactly going to liken our small time production to the mighty Steve ‘Sheffield Steel’ Peat, the World Champs did get me thinking. Steve’s spent 16 years chasing the dream of crossing the finish line .05 of a second faster than the next man. He’s crashed, he’s hurt, he’s got punctures, he’s taken shit lines, he’s gotten tired, changed gear at the wrong spot, braked too hard, not trained enough and god knows he’s probably even bottled the occasional jump. But on every run he’s stood up and stomped the pedals like not a fucking thing else in the world matters. Sometimes he stomped hard enough and sometimes he didn’t – as luck would have in Canberra this year he out stomped Minnaar and everything came together. He stomped, he didn’t give up and it paid off for the guy. In fact whether he won or lost whenever he was up and stomping he was smashing the crap out of the track and giving it every bit of Sheffield Steel he had in the tank.

This online magazine has been produced using a 2GHz MacBook running OS X (10.5.8) and Adobe InDesign CS. Each issue there are a different list of contributors (check the contributors section for more info). Anyone can write or contribute, if you’d like to then email us at: info@wideopenmag.co.uk. This magazine is intended for free distribution and is only available through the Wideopen web portal. Check it out at www.wideopenmag.co.uk.

I think it works the same for all of us whether it’s riding a bike, taking a photo, digging a trail or even putting together a shady web magazine. It doesn’t matter if you’re out with an injury, if you slept in and missed the uplift, swapped riding for a day out with the wife, you’re too hung over to get out of bed, missed your race entry or any of the other bullshit stuff that life throws at you. As long as when you’re actually up then you’re stomping hard then you’ll get something that what you want out of it. Shit – I’m not saying you’ll be World Champ any time soon – but you will reach the finish line and you’ll at least feel like a winner. Anyone – to cut a long and vomit inducingly sweet story short - we’ve had plenty of shit knocking us all down since the last issue, but for now at least here at Wideopen we’re standing up and stomping hard. What the hell are you doing? Thanks to all of you for your patience in dragging this one together! Jamie and James

HERE World Champion Steve Peat photo: Jacob Gibbins (www.jacobgibbins.co.uk) wideopen 10 october 2009

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news

You can log on to our website for daily news, updates, mini articles and all sorts of other bullshit. Here’s a round up of what’s been going down on in the last couple of months…. World Champion Steve Peat We couldn’t start this section without the single most important piece of news I’ve ever reported in MTB. Steve Peat is the 2009 UCI Downhill World Champion!! A fantastic result and finally the rainbow jersey belongs to Steve. www.stevepeat.com

Jimbo Phillips & Bell Bell have let legendary designer Jimbo Phillips loose on their range of helmets and the results are amazing. The designs might be a bit of a Marmite thing, splitting the Wideopen office down the middle. Check them out on the Bell website. http://www.bellsports.com/

Fastlane Issue 4 The World’s finest BMX race mag FASTLANE has just launched it’s 4th issue - which you can now buy online from their website. As ever it’s full of stunning photography, inspiring interviews, expert product reviews and life changing editorial. There’s no better way to spend £3. www.fastlanebmx.com

BDC: See NPS. Last issue we reported that the NPS 09 would be Parr and Paton’s last in charge, however we can now report that Si Paton is taking the helm for another year with the renamed British Downhill Championships. Dates are as follows but may change! Rd 1 - 24th & 25th April - Rheola Rd 2 - 8th & 9th May - Fort William Rd 3 - 26th & 27th June - Llangollen Rd 4 - 7th & 8th August - Moelfre - NPS 4x Saturday Night! Rd 5 - 25th & 26th September – Caersws www.npsdh.co.uk New TLD lids! Seems this is the time for new designs and TLD have followed quickly on the heels of Bell and launched their 2010 range. Some funky designs, some plain and thankfully they’ve brought back good ol’ matte black. Dialled Alpine MK2 out Early Oct The bombproof Dialled Alpine is about to Something for everyone. www.troyleedesigns.com get a second incarnation and will be due out Coed Llandegla early October. Wideopen team rider Steve One of our favourite trail centres, Coed Juice Lubes sign WO issue 9 coverstar has been absolutely hammering his Mk1 Llandegla near Wrexham has just opened Our mates over at Juicelubes have signed Alpine this season at the SDA and we can’t its skills loops and at the time of reading the Adam Price - Wideopen Issue 9’s covershot wait to get our hands on the new version. It’ll pump track should be almost open! superstar. Adam’s from down Gawton way be available in Translucent Red or Kawasaki http://www.coedllandegla.com/ and was spotted by WO snapper Milky who green at £330 if you preorder now. featured him in one of his vids and snapped http://www.dialledbikes.com some shots of him for our Gawton article and front cover. He’ll be repping for Juice Lubes from now on - well done fella! www.juicelubes.co.uk New World Disorder NWD10 is out soon and it’s looking like another cracking flick from the Freeride Entertainment boyos. The UK premiere is at the Little Theatre in Bath on October 15th. http://www.freeride-entertainment.com/

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ADVERTISEMENT FiveFiveNine Magazine It looks like we aint the only ones making PDF mags these days, with Five Five Nine diving in with a gorgeous and free mtb photography mag. Issue 1 just landed and is packed with awesome photos from the world’s top snappers. There’s already a buzz around it from the UK togs so keep an eye on ‘em for some good things. http://www.559mag.com

Welsh DH Mountainbike Association WDMBA celebrated their first official uplift days this month and pulled off a great track at Rheola for the NPS final. They’re still working hard to keep the Forestry Commission happy but are looking good to go for a 2010 race series and loads of uplifts Astrix Havoc R This one deserves a bit of a special mention over the winter. having been in production for well over a http://www.wdmba.co.uk/ year. The Astrix Europe DH bike should be out any minute and is already getting a British downhill championships photos good thrashing at the races from Baker and From 2010 all NPS racers will get a race the Morgans. Rumour has it we’re looking at photo as part of their entry fee. David Francoisy has earned himself the thankless sub £2g for the frame kit with BOS shock. task of making the UK’s fastest racers look www.ridinghighuk.com pretty and will publish all shots after the races onto www.britishdownhillchampion Foot Out Flat Out 2 Paul, Tim and Mono are holed up in the shipsphotos.co.uk. Check the site out for Valleys as I type furiously capturing and photos from Rheola now. editing for their next UK race masterpiece. Aside from having to recapture 45 miniDV tapes after a Mac to PC cockup things are going pretty well. They’ve got about 4 shoots left then it’s off to the printers, with the DVD due out late November. No doubt they’ll have another piss up launch party! http://www.footoutflatout.co.uk

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Rick Davy photography Our good mate Rick is the face behind Pump Urban Wear, a UK clothing company that has supported Wideopen since day 1. The sad news is that Pump is no more. The good news is that Rick has taken a new direction and is focusing on his photography. http://www.rickdavy.co.uk

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ADVERTISEMENT

wideopen 10 october 2009

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Distributed by Riding High Tel: 01458 850274 www.ridinghighuk.com


T

emulsion

Curtis’s constant communication between air traffic control inspired me to take this shot. I crouched over the mound ready to freeze the motion of Curtis, after pumping through the compression resulting in him popping out, then banking ready to pin the berm. Curtis is always quick and never likes to keep his wheels on the ground which is evident in the snap. Top riding! Settings: ISO= 640, Aperture= F/3.2, Exposure Time= 1/160

Tom Rickhuss

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emulsion

In all the fuss of Sam, Gee, Steve and Greg’s battle for gold it’s easy to forget about our very own homegrown UK superstar Danny Hart. Danny smashed the 2009 World Cup series with a heap of podiums and walking off with the overall junior series winners jersey on his 18th birthday. Alongside that he stomped out some podiums at the Avalanche Trophy, Maxxis Cup, National Champs and New Zealand South Island series. The kid is unstoppable. We just squeezed this shot into the mag at the last minute at we’re bloody pleased to have it in. Cheers Danny boy! The Shot is of Danny on his way to a Junior series win at the Schladming World Cup final. It was taken by Wideopen snapper Jacob ‘Milki’ Gibbins at his first World Cup photo shoot. Look out for big things from both of ‘em! 50mm / f2 / ISO400 / 1/320th / No flash

Jacob Gibbins

www.jacobgibbins.co.uk wideopen 10 october 2009

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emulsion

Neil Sharp

sharpy.weebly.com wideopen 10 october 2009

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emulsion

Neil Sharp

sharpy.weebly.com wideopen 10 october 2009

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emulsion

The Welsh DH MTB Association has been working flat out to get Rheola ready for the NPSDH final. When the Dragon series shut shop it left a big gap in the South Wales race scene. The WDMBA stepped up to the plate to plug the gap and have been digging trails, sorting uplifts, bartering with the Forestry Commission and doing what they can to get racing back into the Valleys. It’s not been an easy ride and there’s a mountain of work still to do but things are finally looking good. What you’ve got here in this photo aint just Rich Thomas ragging shit out of the top section at Rheola – it’s the end result of all of the WDMBA’s hard work and their first official practice day ready for the NPS. They put on the uplift day so we could check out their hard work, get a bit of practice in before the race and of course – just get together and enjoy the trails. Good times. It’s great seeing a mountain bike scene coming together. Canon EOS 450D F/5 1/1600 sec ISO 800

Tim Joyce wideopen 10 october 2009

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emulsion

Neil Sharp

sharpy.weebly.com Rider - Liam Saint; Location - Steyning, West Sussex; Shot info - f5.6 @ 1/200 sec, 50mm wideopen 10 october 2009

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emulsion

Oli Ward

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emulsion

Photographer Rick Davy is the face behind clothing brand Pump Urban Wear. He’s supported Wideopen since day 1 and has always been a super positive and encouraging force behind the magazine. As one of the first guys to send us product for a competition and one of our very first advertisers he gave us a big boost to push the magazine forward. As little fish in a dirty great big pond he made us feel like the mag was being noticed and was actually worth all the effort! As you may have spotted in the news section, Pump clothing is sadly no more. The good news is however, that Rick has now graduated to full time photography and will be earning his crust shooting across the UK. Here’s a shot from one of his first gigs, taken at the White Air festival in Brighton a few weeks back. We wanted to include it as a way of thanks for all the support and to wish him well with the new mission. Cheers Rick!

Rick Davy

www.rickdavy.co.uk

Oli Ward

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emulsion

Jacob Gibbins

www.jacobgibbins.co.uk Rowan Sorrell, Tavi Woodlands, FOFO2 filming.

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e u s s i m a e t

team

We’ve got two team riders here at Wideopen – Steve Larking and Chris Mucklow. We love racing so it makes a lot of sense to help a couple of riders out and support UK racing along the way. Big thanks to both of ‘em for all their hard work this season. Look out for ‘em smashing up some races in 2010!

Racekit

You’ve no doubt seen the Wideopen race tops out on the track . They were designed by WO’s producer James and printed up by Brian over at TheCycleJersey.com. He sends you a template, you design what you want and he makes it happen. Simple. Hit up http://www. thecyclejersey.com/

Ride for Wideopen?

We’ve got 1 Dialled Holeshot frame and a medium race top that need a good home and we’d love to add another rider to the line up. We’re looking for a young gun that will be out racing over the winter and in 2010 and can send us a few race reports along the way. Someone riding the Pearce series, UK Bike Park or similar would be ideal but we’re not too fussy. It’s not a free ride but it is a great way to get your name about and get your hands on a frame and discount kit. CV’s or enquiries to jamie@Wideopenmag.co.uk.

Massive thanks to all of the following that have supported the Wideopen team in 2009...

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Photo: Andy Dunwoody (www.andydunwoody.com)

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team

Steve Larking

Age: 21 Hometown: Edinburgh Race bike: Dialled Alpine Racing: Scottish XC, NPSXC, Enduro DH, Student Champs, SDA DH, Hardtail champs, 4X Champs 2009 results: Student champs - 52nd overall + fastest hardtail SDA Rd1 - 27th overall + fastest hardtail SDA Rd2 Fort William - 74th overall + fastest hardtail 10 Under the Ben 10 Hour endurance race - 84th (out of 176) in Solo, covering 60 miles. SDA Rd3 Dunkeld 42nd in Senior + fastest hardtail UK Hardtail Champs - 5th 10 At Kirroughtree - 3rd (Mixed pairs with Emma Bean) SDA Rd4 Killin - Cancelled SDA Rd5 Innerleithen - 53rd + fastest hardtail SDA Overall - 29th in Senior racing 100% of races on a hardtail. Highlight of the season? Either the kick ass start to the SDA series with 27th at a dry and dusty Pitfichie, or seeing Weeman’s face as I crossed the finish line at Inner’s to destroy his time once again. Lowest point of the season? Has to be breaking myself at 10 Under the Ben. First and last time I enter and endurance race in the solo category! Favourite track? Not just one track but the whole network of trails at Inner’s Plans for the winter? Being a bit deviant on the road bike with some panniers and touring gear in Italy. Then coming home and doing some training on the XC bike, while thinking about saving my pennies for a proper DH bike at the start of next season.

Photo: Jacob Gibbins (www.jacobgibbins.co.uk) wideopen 10 october 2009

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team

Photo: Andy Dunwoody (www.andydunwoody.com)

Chris Mucklow

Age: 24 Hometown: Leamington Spa Race bike: Dialled Holeshot Racing: NPS4X, RLS4X 2009 results: RLS4X RD1 – Silver in senior NPS4X RD1 - 13th in senior NPS4X RD2&3 - TBC! RLS4X Rd2 - 6th in Elite NPS4X RD4 - 7th in senior NPS4X RD7 - 21st in senior NPS4X 2009 - 13th overall with 70 points, raced 5 of 7 rounds. Highlight of the season? NPS4X Rnd4 at SWExtreme. Awesome track, cracking weather and making the B final definitely has to be a season highlight for me. Lowest point of the season? NPS4X at Redhill. I love the track but my race was pretty much over out of the gate. Shame cos its a cracking track. Favourite track? SWExtreme. It’s fast, rough and it’s got multiple berms and a variety of jumps. You can’t ask for much more. Plans for the winter? The plan is to stay on the bike as much as possible. I’ll hit up some indoor skateparks and hopefully get to Chicksands a lot as it’s pretty rideable in almost any weather.

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interview and photos by Scott Cartwright (www. eggraphy.com)

like a e n o t s g n i roll 2Stage’s Jess Stone talks to Wideopen

What the hell can you say about Jess Stone? She moved onto the 2Stage factory team for 2009and has got stuck straight into winning a whole load of races. With great results at home in the UK and abroad at the Maxxis Cup it seemed pretty rude not to track her down for a few questions.

Name: Jess ‘The Rolling Stone’ Stone How old are you?: 18 And how long have you been riding: It will be 2 years in September. How did you get into the sport then? : Blame Kerry Bason! She taught me PE when I was at school and told our class stories about her riding and the races etc. I thought she was awesome and I was inspired by her, so I decided to give it a try! I’ve always ridden a bike but only to get me to places and I had no true idea what downhill biking actually involved and I had never even seen a downhill track. I started going riding down the Longmynd on a cheap Halfords bike while I saved for my first downhill bike. I got it on my 17th birthday in September ’07 and immediately went to Bringewood. What a great day; I was hooked from then. Goals for next year: Well, I will know exactly what my goals will be once I’m over this season first and I know what races I will be attending!! However, I reckon I want to consistently be in the top 15 at the World Cups and try to break into that top 10 in the finals. Podium at the National Points Series. Podium at National Champs and rise to the challenge on whatever is thrown in my direction! It’s going to be difficult for me next year as I’m going to be at Uni, so I’m going to be working hard!

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like a e n o t s g n i roll 2Stage’s Jess Stone talks to Wideopen

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Fave Riders? : Sam Hill for his style. Tracy Moseley for her smoothness, strength and professionalism. Helen Gaskell for her riding style and Greg Minnar for his strength and control. Bike Setup? : I like my bike to feel quite plush. I’m not sure what I like but my 2Stage bike seems to be set up just right for me right now so I’m happy.

like a e n o t s g n i l rol 2Stage’s Jess Stone talks to Wideopen

Any special pre race traditions to get you in the zone? : I play some football, have a 15 minute power nap and I’m ready to go! Since moving from the Trek-Extreme Medics team to 2Stage Factory, how’s life been in mixing it up with the celebs of the world cup circuit? I hear you’re a bit of a karaoke machine!: It’s awesome! To me now, they don’t feel like ‘celebs’ as they are all just really fun, ordinary people. But, when I first got into it, I used to get mega star struck! I remember meeting Helen Gaskell for the first time; I actually struggled to speak haha! How times have changed. Gaskell and I were rocking it up on the karaoke in Fort Bill after the World Cup for sure! I don’t think we will ever win X-factor though haha!! Any downsides to being an upcoming world cup rider? : There are no real obvious downsides to me. At 18 years of age, I’m travelling all over the world competing with the best mountain bike riders in the world. Last year I honestly dreamt of being in this position and to actually be here is amazing. I guess the only downsides could be all the travelling and time away from home and I had to work really, really hard to do all my college coursework after practice and races, but the experience and opportunities that I am getting are so worth it. And finally, one random fact about yourself: I eat the whole kiwi… fur included… Any thanks? I’d like to say a massive thank you to the team at 2Stage Factory for all their support this season!! It’s been awesome. Also a massive thank you to Dan Jarvis, my sisters Nicky and Paula and to anyone else who has helped me this season. You know who you are!! Thanks also to all my sponsors - 2Stage Factory, Loeka, Five.Ten, Adidas Eyewear, Extreme Medics, SmartWool, Eggraphy and Ludlow College. Thanks to Jess for taking a minute out from winning everything to answer a few questions. Check out the latest from her and the 2Stage factory team at http://www.2stagebikes.com. wideopen 10 october 2009

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mis-spent summers The James ‘Europikey’ McKnight interview

wideopen 10 october 2009

interview by Jamie Edwards race photos by Jacob Gibbins (www.jacobgibbins.co.uk) other photos by James Bowden (www.jamesbowden.net)

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We interview all the big players here at Wideopen. The top racers, the industry bigwigs, the ‘faces behind the bikes’ – and now international man of mystery, alpine guide, Europikey, soon to be author and NPSDH seniors leader James McKnight. James has pretty much dedicated his entire life to ‘living the dream’ by riding bikes and road tripping around Europe – with a top result on the way for him in the NPSDH and a few other projects up his sleeve we thought it’d be a great time to see what makes the Europikey tick… James – welcome back to Wideopen. How’s life? Where are you and what’s going on in your life at the moment? Life’s not too bad thanks! I’m in the Alps getting in a bit of mud riding on the last few days of the lifts being open. Been working pretty hard on a few things this year so it’s been a busy one but that’s cool. It’s better than sitting on your arse. For the kids out there that might not know you give us an idea of who James McKnight is and what he’s up to right now… Errrm James Mcknight is a travelling bike rider. I grew up travelling around quite a bit and got into racing DH at 13 and just absolutely loved it from the outset. In between travelling I’ve been living in Spain for a few years now working as an XC and DH guide for Switch-Backs which has been amazing. I love Spain; its culture, warmth, friendly people and incredible diversity. In the village we live in, Bubion, you can ride snowboards in the morning, drift some dusty turns in the afternoon, and finish the day riding trails by the sea. Talk to us about your riding. What sort of stuff do you really love riding? What’s getting you fired up at the moment? I ride loads of stuff, I just like being out on the bike it don’t matter if it’s DH or BMX, it’s just being out there. Actually even if I’m guiding and just cruising up a hill checking out the scenery that does it for me too. Saying that, probably the best days this year have been out with a big group of mates, pinning it about in the Portes du Soleil and messing around like kids - that’s just pure fun in my mind. You’re currently say in pole position in the NPS seniors cat, how you feeling about that? If my maths is right you’re guaranteed the overall now I think? Oooo I didn’t know that - I thought I’d have dropped back a bit but yeah that’s cool! I have been riding my hardtail and BMX loads this year and DH has been sidelined a bit, also I missed all last year with after I tore my little finger off, so it’s cool to be doing ok now. I don’t know if I’m guaranteed to win it and to be honest I think Ollie Burton deserves to more as he’s been lit all year and seems well keen. wideopen 10 october 2009

mis-spent summers 24 James ‘Europikey’ dirt bike magazine McKnight interview


mis-spent summers James ‘Europikey’ McKnight interview

So you’re out in Morzine – How’s the riding been this season? What’s your set up like out there? Yeah I’ve lived here in the summers ever since I finished GCSE’s and it’s just been getting better and better all the time for loads of reasons. This year there has been loads of good new stuff built everywhere which is promising, but with my mates we’ve been riding some well good stuff out of the way all summer. We’ve had big missions into the arse-end of the riding area here and stuff that we have never done and probably noone else has either. I’ve been living most the summer with my mate and business partner, Chris Jackson. We had a chalet 10km’s out of town which was wicked staying up on the side of the hill away from the tourists. Right now I’m back in the centre of town staying with all my usual pikey crew which is cool too, there’s quite a bunch of us now who live for this shit.

Might as well ask, what was your impression of the infamous Llangollen then? It seems to be stirring up a lot of debate… Looks like you did ok there from your points – 3rd was it? I was really impressed that they had the balls to include that track and it was definately a good move, what a race! I think that is the first UK race I have ever seen an amped up crowd at! I love steep tech stuff but I was a bit off it that weekend and was being a pussy so I hope they use it again.

True or false – you’ve got a savage training regime and even a personal trainer?! Errr well I was helping someone set up a DH training program at the start of the year, basically being a guinea pig. I’ve never been in a gym before so it was a bit wierd - I prefer just going out in the hills riding, skiing or running or whatever, but it was something interesting to do. The savage part was passing out a few times. It’s pretty good What have been your big high points of really to see just how much you can push the season so far? Racing, non racing, your body - I know now where my physical off the bike… whatever. limits are. I’ll probably stick to the mountains This year my high point has been seeing in the future mind you… my 1 year old nephew and how stoked he is every time you put him on his little bike. In True or false again – you do DH coaching my pikey life there have been so many highs on the site for a posh school somewhere I couldn’t tell you just one, but it probably in Wiltshire?! Did I hear that you’re would involve a mountain, bikes and being starting your own business? in good company. Yeah I’ve got my own guiding and coaching business called McSkills. I’m doing stuff in Obviously you’re doing pretty well in the Spain, France and yeah now in Britain too NPS – how have you liked the series and with this school near where my folks live. the mix of tracks this year? It’s pretty amazing that they include downhill Man I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been mountain biking in their timetable! They also racing the NPS, I’ve been pretty happy have a pump track and trails on the school with all the tracks and it just seems super site. relaxed.. Maybe thats just me..? Got any free coaching tips then? What sort of things can I do to get better on my bike then?! Diversify - ride all disciplines and throw in some other forms of racing to keep you sharp. And man up! I probably wouldn’t tell a customer to do that though.

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mis-spent summers James ‘Europikey’ McKnight interview

Let’s talk about your sponsorship deal with K9 bikes – how did that come about? What does it involve? I’ve been working with them for a couple of years helping with the development of the bike by doing their test riding and trying suspension set-ups so they know how stuff feels from the riders point of view. They provide the theory and I back it up with my findings. The deal for me is that they help me out at the races and have leant me a bike for the NPS this year which is real good as I couldn’t have afforded to do any races otherwise. Can you tell us a bit about the bike and working with K9? It’s pretty special! Very different to most other bikes in the way that they have thought through every little detail and haven’t been rushed in throwing the bike on the market as a profit making exercise - they just want perfection. I like doing the development side of things and this winter I’ll be working on a new hardtail with another company too.

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You MUST have some decent stories from the road – got anything that you can share? Don’t worry – we have very low standards here at WO. You say that, but most of the stories that come to mind are definitely not legal enough to be repeated. Setting off on our travels one summer with an already fooked engine in my van was pretty funny - we used 45 litres of oil to get from Calais to the Alps. Not very eco I know, looking back I’m not too proud of that… Washing in fountains is always good. Driving down a footpath for 20 minutes with car park attendant in pursuit was well funny and worth it for the money we saved. And this year drifting at 100MPH round Lisbon with some local boy racers was pretty rad. I love meeting loose Euros. True or False again - You’re a dedicated athlete and don’t like to let dirty booze get in the way of training. Also my mate Adam says I should ask you about ‘beer tankards’ at The Lamb in Malborough’?! I don’t touch a drop. Well maybe the odd beer, or two. Did you know that the whole tapping your beer Now – most people will know you as Descent-World’s glasses when saying cheers comes from the old days EuroPikey – a sort of travelling gypsy vagabond that tours and you were supposed to spill a little beer into the mountain resorts of Europe riding bikes and living the dream. other person’s cup to check you weren’t poisoned...? It’s not exactly the ‘normal’ get a job, go to work, settle down, It’s quite hard to hit the glasses together hard enough race at the weekends lifestyle – how did you get started with to do the beer spilling you know… all of that? Ha no it isn’t the ‘normal’ path through life, I like that. Like I said, I heard you’re also putting a guide book together… I moved out to Morzine just after my 16th birthday and through What’s that all about then? the job I was doing in a hotel, I met a lot of amazing and inspiring Ahem, well yeah I decided it would be a good time people from the world over, that’s what got me started on the mega to do a book about Morzine and its inhabitants, so I tour. My parents too I guess have their passions and don’t let work thought it through a bit, came up with a plan and then rule their lives too much; we all need money to live but greed and send out some emails. My business partner Chris is piles of money won’t enhance your life. a designer by trade and pretty bloody amazing at it so he’ll do the layout of the book, and fortunately for Tell us about some of the places you’ve been to on your me, the two photographers I emailed were well keen travels – where’s your best and worst? to get involved. So yeah it is ‘An Inspirational Guide Poland and the Czech Republic are amazing, beautiful women to Becoming a Pikey Bum’ - sort of a guide book for galore. The place I love the most though is Bubion which is in Morzine, but more looking at some of the characters the mountains above Granada - that wierd ass inbred little village and their lifestyles, combined with some pretty feels like home to me now and I miss it when I’m away. special photography. I want to give over the feel of Morzine more than just plonking in some shitty maps Torremolinos is up there on the worst scale. Some smart ass and rushed photos like all the current guides to the thought it would be funny to point us in the direction of, shall I say area. I don’t see the point in putting that shit in when ‘the alternative district’ - it took us about a second to realise the you can find it on the internet in 2 seconds. bird in high heels and a thong, um, wasn’t a bird...Yuck. dirt bike magazine 26


Ok so - to wrap it up what’s the plan for the winter? I’ll be based in Britain for a few months working and saving up so next year I can branch out and go to Canada etc. I really want to go riding in some real interesting places too, India or Chile - somewhere out of the way a bit. Also I’ll be away in Spain some of the time working there and going to Spanish school as I want to get that language down. I want to get the book finished by January and printed by March so I’ve got my work cut out there too. And at weekends I want to be racing, whether it’s on a DH bike, a BMX or anything at all I just want to be competing all the time as I’ve really missed that side of things recently. So basically more busy times ahead which is all good! Any thanks? Ta reet much to my folks and family for putting up with me never, ever being around for family stuff. Thanks to all my friends for being such legends. Then thanks to Sean from Bertie Maffoons bike shop in Marlborough for forever helping me out and giving me sound advice. Thanks to Shinny and to K9 for sorting my life out this year. And to the other people that help me out - Riders Refuge, Howies, Tomi and Pau @ Guak, The Search, Mike from Switch-Backs and most importantly Chris Jackson for being an absolute legend. McSkills.com K9industries.com ridersrefuge.co.uk thesearchmtb.com (BLOG - http://thesearchmtb.wordpress.com/) howies.co.uk guak.com

Thanks a million to Milky, James McKnight and Howies photographer James Bowden for taking the time to get this sorted between ‘em! Cheers boys!

mis-spent summers James ‘Europikey’ McKnight interview

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ISO:800 F/:2.5 Shutter:1/500th Aaron Gwin pushing hard during qualification at Mont Saint Anne, if you check the wheel out you’ll see just how harsh this track is on bikes, He got a little twisted up in the big breaking bumps up top and somehow managed to get down the rest of the track at some speed.

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scott t h g i r cartw Photography interview

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Name, age, hometown, favourite colour? Scott Cartwright, 21, Shrewsbury, Blue What was your first bike? What is your current bike? First bike I remember was a bright orange Raleigh Scorpion with chrome rims, I remember sneaking to the top of the stairs to see mum and dad wrapping it up when I was a kid. Currently I am riding a Santa Cruz Jackal and a Giant Reign When did you first get interested in photography and why? According to mum and dad I’ve always been snapping (they have holiday photos to prove it!). But for me it came the summer before the GCSE’s, everyone was panicking about getting the revision in, but me and my best friend figured if you haven’t learnt what you need in 5 years of high school, 5 weeks stress isn’t going to help. We rode all summer taking pics of little jumps and tricks as we went. I think what keeps me inspired is that every photo isn’t just a button push, its a recording of emotion, time and life, when you look at a shot it creates a feeling for example a shot of a rider hitting a berm flat out looks really aggressive or a rider making his way down a line of trails on a summers day that make you think about the good old days. What is it about bikes? For me bikes is about connection. If I am wandering around town I couldn’t just walk up to some random stranger and ask how they found the home-ware section of M&S, but out on the bike at a trail centre, jump spot, etc. you can ask a total stranger how they found the last section, where else they’ve ridden, questions about their bike and before you know it you’ve added another riding buddy to your list. Every rider from XC to DH is bound by that connection of both freedom and community that riding gives you. What equipment do you use - and what’s the one piece of kit you couldn’t do without? Canon 50D 28-300mm f3.5-5.6L IS USM 50mm f1.8 Prime

scott t h g i r w t r a c ISO:500 F/:4.5 Shutter:1/800th Unknown rider during the La Bresse world cup, No special story, just like the colours and has a good “pop” feel about it.

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18-55mm f3.5 IS USM Cactus Triggers with a few mods Canon 430ex with a random old school backup flash Various Filters Gorilla Pods Samsung NC10 Netbook when on the road As for what bit of kit I couldn’t do with out it would have to be my prime lens, it may only be the kit lens but now I’ve got my head round how to get the best from it I find it coming out of the kit bag a lot more often but one thing I am never with out is a good supply of snacks! dirt bike magazine 29


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ISO:400 F/:5.0 Shutter:1/250th Dan “Affy” Atherton boosting so high over the last double on the Bromont 4x track I couldn’t even keep the lip in frame. Nicely back lit in the evening sun.

ISO:400 F/:5.6 Shutter:1/1250th Jess Stone giving it everything during her race run in Andorra, looking more like a desert than a snow covered mountain. I like the “clean” look to this shot.

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You seem to have stepped up your game a bit this season and got yourself out to a heap of world Cups - what made you make the decision to go for it like that? I’ve spent years watching Earthed, Sprung, all the Dirt coverage to the point I could tell you what was on screen with my eyes closed, but the one thing that you don’t get is the atmosphere as hundreds of fans bang away with cow bells and horns, or the “off screen” action that goes on along side the racing. I had just come out of one job so instead of picking up another 9-5 I decided to go for it and make the step from hobby to job.

ISO:1200 F/:5.0 Shutter:1/640th Caersws, surprise surprise in the mud, not sure why I like this shot just has a “Feel” to it!

scott cartwright

You’ve been shooting a lot of NPSDH stuff this season what’s your impression of the current NPS? Do you think there are any particular success or things that you’d like to see improved? The NPS as it stands at the moment is doing a superb job of providing a great race weekend for everyone involved. The courses this year have been fantastic Llangollen being the highlight, some people took a firm dislike to the track, a few even left, but the way I see it national level races are the breeding ground for our world cup riders so need to be pushing everyone’s limits. Improvements? hard to say as everyone wants different things but over all I would say the NPS is pretty well sorted and I hope next year we have a few more challenging tracks like Llangollen Do you think there are any improvements that could be made to make like easier for the snappers at the NPS and World Cups? At World Cup level I can’t grumble, we are fed watered and well looked after. NPS is a slightly different deal. Me and a few other photographers have been in a bit of bother this year due to marshals not fully understanding the do’s and donts, at Fort William my self and another photographer where told to move on numerous occasions for being “distracting to riders”, how ever this didn’t seem to apply to the hundreds of point and shoot or camera phone wielding kids popping out from every bush or jump with the flash on and arms outstretched into the track. Maybe a double taped area, or photo bib to ensure that it is clear to the marshals who the press are would help.

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ISO:800 F/:5.6 Shutter:1/200th If you can’t guess where this is, then... Caersws, typically Welsh I’m not sure who had it worse the riders or me?

ISO:800 F/:5.0 Shutter:1/1000th Classic Mont Saint Anne, “that hip” but with out knowing it became the perfect race report shot as Sam stormed down to win, the guy on the left mid celebration as Sam launches off the hip with his 1000yrd stare on.

scott cartwright

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ISO:800 F/:4.5 Shutter:1/1000th Jared Graves during the 4x finals in Andorra. This shot gives you some sense of the scale of the track, crowd and surrounding scenery.

Where has mountain biking taken you in the world? Up and down the length of our little isle, France, Andorra, Canada, Austria many spectacular places. Tell us some funny stories from your travels... There are a fair few but I think the La Bresse WC was a good one. The idea was to catch a flight to Basel airport and get the train to a place called Kruth, how ever the entire place seemed to have forgotten English was a language, but with the help of a friendly local I managed to get my ticket and jump on the train ready to be picked up by the 2stage team for the journey to La Bresse. No sooner had a got to Kruth, Jess Stone rings and says they have had to go through a mountain pass and due to the size of the motor home and trailer wouldn’t be there for around 4-5hours! I popped the laptop out and put some music on to kill time, next thing I know I wake up to the sound of Dont Stop Me Now by Queen with 2 local children looking at me, I’d been asleep blasting out tunes on a bench in the middle of nowhere!! They must have thought I was some high tech tramp. Where do you get your inspiration from? Hard question really, my race stuff is about capturing the moment and emotion in the rider, but shoots I have time to come up with often are tailored to the rider. I like the shot to compliment who they are both on and off the bike so will shoot in a way that hopefully shows this. Are you influenced by the other mountain bike photographers, or other media (BMX, skate etc)? This year I’ve had the chance to work with people I’ve spent years looking up to and instead of just holding the Dirt front cover in your hands going wow you can be there to see the entire process so I guess seeing the other photographers working has had an influence. In your opinion what makes a perfect photograph? It’s not all about the best lens or knowing what f stop you should be at, it’s about creating something people enjoy looking at, some shots I have were taken on a little AA battery powered 2mp Digital Camera and they stir up some fantastic memories, I enjoy looking at them so that’s what I try to put through into my images. What next for Scott Cartwright? More of the same hopefully, keep trying to step up my work and make sure that I don’t loose track of what it means to me. Any thank yous?

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scott t h g i r w t r a c

My family for supporting me and learning the lingo (mum can spot a bit of noise a mile off now!) and friends for making every race a laugh. Southern Downhill, 2stage Bikes, Pinkbike and Wideopen Mag. dirt bike magazine 33


e h t g livin dream

Grabbing life by the balls and giving them a good old twist is something mountain bikers specialise in. words and photos by Alex Evans

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living the dream

Grabbing life by the balls and giving them a good old twist is something mountain bikers specialise in.

Grabbing life by the balls and giving them a good old twist is Looking back on today’s adventure I can safely say that I am glad I decided to end up at the top of that mountain with 4 good friends, downhill bikes, a something mountain bikers specialise in. We try our hardest to live life to the max finding the ultimate thrill from hucking off a massive drop or rushing in and out of the trees at breakneck speeds. It’s something we have in common with each other - it forges bonds and turns riding friends best mates.We live a lifestyle that not many people understand – danger and thrill are some of our biggest motives.

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Our desire to go that little further, harder and higher is what differentiates us from the Normans in the world. There’s always a chance they’d regret never reaching the top of that path, but why bother risking the chance of regret when you can keen going? At the end of the day it’ll be us at the top of a mountain in deep snow covered in shit soaking wet just before we ride virgin trails that are steep, gnarly, rooty and rocky, loamy and drifty covered in leaves. I call it Living the Dream.

few cuts and the odd missed heartbeat. Epic adventures with your mates on bikes of any kind offer more of a reward no matter how many teeth are lost or bones broken. The views were incredible and we saw mountains at their absolute best and most dramatic; blues, blacks and contrasting against skies that wouldn’t look out of place in Lord Of The Rings.

Bikes can take you there and back again in one evening leaving you yearning for more despite obvious problems like being 20KM away from anything with a puncture or scaling a mountain path that is too narrow to walk along. With adrenaline flowing freely in our veins we pushed on, not letting life threatening cliff edges or avalanches get in the way of the ultimate descent. We choose to put ourselves in these situations just so we can come out the other side grinning from ear to ear. Riding a bike gives such a massive sense of achievement. dirt bike magazine 35


e h t g n i v i l dream

Grabbing life by the balls and giving them a good old twist is something mountain bikers specialise in.

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e h t g n i v i l dream

Grabbing life by the balls and giving them a good old twist is something mountain bikers specialise in.

It’s not all plain sailing though. You work and graft for those months of elation. It doesn’t just happen; it takes effort, planning, blagging, begging and luck. Most of all it takes a will to do it. I worked on a dairy farm for 3 months in the UK after Schladming 08 to earn some dosh before coming to Morzine to do a winter season working for a ski transfer company. I do these shitty dead end jobs because I know that something will happen like today, every day for the better half of the year. What more motivation could you ever need? Having fun with your mates riding your bikes all over Europe meeting new people in new countries. It really is a dream.

I’m going to write a few articles for Wideopen to explain some of the exploits my friends and I get up to over the summer months in Morzine and Europe racing, riding and generally being idiots. Live the dream! wideopen 10 october 2009

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who w who on? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

The Mega Avalanche Summer Road Trip 2009

words and photos by Andy Nelson wideopen 10 october 2009

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who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans , 2 races and a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat that covered the Mega Avalanche races and then a second week of travelling idiot circustry, pulling in some of the less ridden DH tracks in the southern French Alps, as well as a few of the classics. This is how it went down... wideopen 10 october 2009

By the time we arrived in Grenoble, 23 hours after we set off, the White Knight was showing the tell tale signs of a classic binge drinking session. Last night’s curry had been applied as intriguing ‘go faster’ stripes down both sides from the passenger windows. God only knows what had happened during the previous evening, we must have been on a ferry at some point because everyone was sounding French and you can’t take LDV minibuses with 10 people and 13 bikes on a plane.

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The first stop was to stock up on the cheap supermarket food and ready ourselves for the Tour De France’s infamous 21 switchback climb to Alp D’Huez, the last remaining question for the overloaded old buses. 500m before the first corner and Red Leader was in troubleas we rolled up in the other bus, she had her bonnet up and 9 concerned faces were making the classic tight lipped whistling sound that says “Its a sealed unit love, have to have it all out.” Fortunately there were 20 of us on hand to bump start it and the 1st gear, walking pace grind up the famous climb began. 40 minutes later and we were celebrating the arrival of Team S.P.E.R.M.’s summer road trip crew at the base of the ‘Huez lift station. By the end of the day the rest of the group had arrived, and the Tent City population was busy establishing what they’d left, forgotten or lost in a drunken haze in the past 24 hours.

The riding? Well, simply put, some of the fastest flatout tracks the Alps has to offer. Nothing too tech, just beautiful linking berms and steep sections of dusty snaking corners. There’s a little ‘Slopestyle’ park here too, but frankly, why would you come all this way to ride your bike around a dog obedience course? Its the Alps for f*cks sake. Mid session, a thunder storm added to the hilarity as all those flat-out corners acquired the friction coefficient of buttered glass. Grins all round and time for 28 man Death Cross down the Venosc track...

Our plan was to race the Mega Cup and MegaAvalanche events and then tour some of DH tracks in the surrounding area the following week. Logistically this takes some organisation, but if you’re tired of Morrzine’s over-ridden tracks and fancy some adventure on your next Alpine trip start by getting some mates together to chip in for some wheels, do your research well, get a Sat Nav and get on it. Meanwhile...

A ghetto shower in the bike wash and its Tesco Value Gin and tonic time, everybody buzzing from a great start to the trip. A short drive back, talking the talk of who did who on which corner, what mech work was planned for the evening and whose turn it would be to cook for their 4 man ‘Food Group’.

Alp D’Huez and Les Deux Alps

who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

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Next morning, all but the drivers kitted up, not for conventional DH, but for a race back down the 21 Switch Backs. Although the mighty LDVs can crawl up them, nobody in their right mind would risk the brakes taking them back down fully loaded. 40mph manuals, elbow to wing mirror car racing and at least one set of road tested knee pads later and they were all down waiting in the shade for the buses to show up. 20 minutes after and the smell of burning brakes filled the air. ‘Load up’ came the call and, once again, the 3D jigsaw of bikes and bags was completed. By the time we were ascending the Venosc lift in Les Deux Alps, the excitement was palpable. For some this was their 8th Alps trip, for others, like young Alex it was their first, but every time we come here that first lift winds up the adrenaline. And the best thing about Les Deux Alps is that straight off that first lift you simply get on another to head further up. Tractor/trailor uplifts in the UK just can’t prepare you for the scale.

As a bit of a warm up for the mass start Mega, we all line up across the carpark at the entrance to the track. A rolling start... and it’s super-inside lines for everybody, T-boning your man off the track wins extra points as you pass. Run after run, faster and faster, the lift closes late, and we’re on the last one.

The Mega Cup & Mega Avalanche Race

For the rest of the week a daily routine soon developed. By 7am the tents had reached Gas Mark 6 and we’d crawl out to escape the heat. Water and breakfast cereals, a coffee if someone in your food group was prepared to make it. A deep breath and an appreciative sigh for the city livers, taking in the stunning, early morning Alpine view and crisp fresh air. Bread and cheese in the bag for lunch, suit up, bike check and on the lift. A full day’s DH with all of your mates, with fingers crossed you’d survive the mechanical lottery that day. With so many of us on the hill, evenings became a roll-call of smashed mechs, torn spokes, snapped fork internals and spent brakes. Each day ended in a last race down ‘The Bitch Track’, a wide-open perfectly-smooth series of turns from the lift’s mid station returning us, via a hut drop in the so called free-ride park, to Tent City. Showers in the local swimming pool complex, a fight for some time on one of the two cook stoves, and as much TPS (Tuna Pasta Slop) as you could stomach. A quiet beer, some bullshit chat and an early bed, ready for the next day. Could it get any better? dirt bike magazine 40


who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

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The riding, well the Mega Cup is a 5 minute track (OK, it’s 4:05 if you are Chris Kovarik) and it is awesome. Steep and technical rock slab sections at the top and tight loose turns towards the bottom. Out into the open for two off camber sweeping corners in the finish area with the obligatory jump for crowd pleasing duties. By the time race day came, those of us who were keen had done their practice laps over the past couple of days. Those of us who were too keen had come off with a broken bone and an expensive hospital bill (remember your insurance, kids X-rays are pricey out here). By now the injury list was well underway but this was the first holiday stopper, unfortunately it wasn’t to be the last.

Qualifier and Mega Avalanche

who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

The first time you ride on snow is a total giggle. All those plans for feet-up speed literally fall flat on their ass, along with you, everyone around you and any sense of pride you may have had prior to that fall. We’d gone up the lifts and cable cars to arrive on the glacier at about 11am. By this time, it was mainly a slush covered collection of ruts making it practically unridable. Soaking wet but smiling we press on, wanting to ride the whole Mega course, to get a feel for its length, pacing and terrain. The previous day we’d all spent time pretending to learn lines on the 30 minute qualifying track, perfectly aware of the fact that come race day the line to take would always be the one that was open. 200 other idiots on your course means you wouldn’t get the choice. Chin scratch...knowing nod...”Yeah, super inside over this rock section and straightline the next two corners, defo the fastest line” Bollocks, on the day its more like “shout a warning and do him on the outside.” The qualifier track is perhaps one of the greatest race tracks ever. Wide open lunar landscapes at the top, moving into technical, natural mountainside corners, a dose of screaming singletrack across the alpine meadows with deep drifting corners and a finish across the roots in through tight woods. A test of all-round riding ability on its own, chasing down each place to earn your Mega start position adds an edge that isn’t available in any other event.

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Five minutes, one minute, thirty seconds, ‘did I leave the iron on?’ Fuck it, “time to take out the trash”. Tape up, go go go! Its the qualifier that counts. Each man taken is a place closer to making the ‘A’ final, the big boy’s race, or a line nearer the front in the ‘B’ final. Every snide inside line on someone’s blind side, every extra pedal stroke you put past the next man on the climbs, every hero huck round a wobbling XC rider, it all counts! As expected, a wide spread of outcomes for our lot, people as chuffed with a 74th as a 10th place. And so the Mega itself. No doubt there are plenty of forum posts recounting various versions of the same thing, so I won’t waste time on it here (though check out http://www.pinkbike.com/ video/88360/ for a sampler).

who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

Who won? I did. Or at least it certainly felt like I did an hour and twenty minutes of total effort after setting off. The highlights; well, those final few moments at the top, in the fierce Alpine sunlight, helicopters circling, music pumping, everyone around you looking manic with excitement and your heart rate already high hundreds, or perhaps pulling in behind someone slightly faster than you and hanging on through the dark woods at the bottom, dancing through root sections you were previously cautious over and surprising yourself on the exit of each corner that you made it (thank you, number 200 who ever you were); or maybe hitting the town that night in a flowery blue dress, full of 70% Chartreuse, 60cent a litre wine and half a crate of beer, happy in the knowledge that you rode your ears off.

Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse

Post Mega, the ‘one weekers’ set off on their mammoth drive back to the UK, leaving 21 to head to a quiet little gem of a spot. After LDV racing at 12 and 12.5 mph up the hills north of Grenoble, we rock up to an abandoned looking lift station, the first stop on our hit list for the road trip. Hidden half way up a valley and surrounded by trees we roll the mats out and sleep under bright pin-sharp stars, after wasting a part of our lives trying to ‘paint with light’ using an SLR, torches and a misguided sense of optimism. wideopen 10 october 2009

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Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse is a sleepy little village – town green with church and bakery, stereotypical old man with amazing moustache doffing a beret to young lady clattering past in heels carrying onions and a baguette. You know the sort of place I mean. We’re there for a Cafe au Lait and a slice of flan, we’re ‘on our holidays’ now and relaxing into it. At 11am the stoner lifties turn up, back at the station, and crank up the reggae. We each give ‘em six Euros and off we go, the place entirely to ourselves, it feels like a private venue. The tracks are simply amazing, a super tech top, through the woods, out for a flat-out-hold-on-tight open section, rock garden, back into the woods for highspeed off camber roots and finally a few jumps/drops back to the lift. There’s a tiny shed selling tubes and cans of Coke, it’s as if you couldn’t make up a better day’s riding. Despite all this the highlight of the day was seeing a skipping dwarf carrying a tuba through the streets of Grenoble, and yes other people saw it too, not some acid flashback issue. Of course someone always has to ruin things and we add an open fracture to the injury list and another early flyer is taken to Grenoble, shitter Ali, hope it mends soon.

Fortunately a nearby driving range, 13 bottles of cheap red booze and a ride in the golf cart helped the rest of us get over it and by the time we set off for Vars we were already well oiled.

Vars

Since luck favours the bold we’d arrived and pitched Tent City in the free-ride park at the base of lift, which also, we found out later on, was the launch site for the Bastille Day fireworks. ‘Too late now,’ we thought. The fireworks were lighting the crowds faces, the booze had flowed, it was party time and so once again the ‘man in a dress’ made an appearance. Despite being asked ‘not to dance near the children’ the rest of the resort was loving it. I must have spun fifteen old women in circles on that dance floor before deciding to call it quits.

Cafe au Lait, croissants, suit up, ride, an almost mechanical process. Place to ourselves again, no queues, no hassle and this course is just fast. No two ways about it, there’s not a technical section in the whole damn thing, its just a matter of laying off the chicken sticks. And by god is it fun, corner after corner, road gap, step down all just perfect. A massive meat fest BBQ rounded off the day, and a dozen bottles of pink boozes Montgenevre The White Knight crew set in for a serious party started the party for the trip to PraLoup. on the three hour trip, via Italy, to Montgenevre. Whilst details remain blurred, naked raving on the front seats and upsidedown wine bag drinkage featured highly. Tesco Value Gin absolutely will not stop until you’re pissed. The tent effort that night looked like it was put up by 28 riders, blind amputees and before we’re done we’d 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. found and conquered a climbing wall, steriThis year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training stripped someone’s face back together ‘cause Camp was an epic logistical feat. they’d fallen on it looking for a sleeping bag, and finished off the secret Grappa.

who who won? cares ?

Fortunately the track the following day wasn’t up to much and some of us took our 20Euro(!) lift pass back. Those that couldn’t, made the most if what was there anyway, a road gap got sessioned, and a bit of a cornering school went down. wideopen 10 october 2009

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who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

PraLoup

Masters World Cup track this one, and understandably rad. The 07 track is slightly more technical at the top but the 08 is just as fun, with huge sections of off camber. Take your pick, find people faster than you and let them pull you through it, learning each run how to go faster than the previous one. Sixteen laps was the record for the day, not bad for just over a tenner. Arriving utterly shitfaced the night before, half the crew had literally slept on the floor / gutter in a car park. Minutes after coming to, the local Gendarmerie rolled in and gave us five minutes to gather our shit and move. Fair play, given the sight of a gypsy camp of alcoholics in vomit stained vans sprawling across your resort town floor.

Les Orres

What. A. Place. The best ‘til last, as it happened. I know this sounds daft, but this is what Alpine riding is all about for me. Taking the second rotisserie (chairlift) to the very top, gives you 1100m of vertical drop. The open section on the Black run is full of sharp, head sized rocks, hard corners and is bonkers steep in places. And all the while you’re wanting to stop to take in the view down the valley. Amazing. This place is well developed, with 4X, some NotShore stunts, a range of blue, green and red tracks and at least 4 black rated runs, including everyone’s favourite, a French Cup course. Man, these guys know how to tape off a track. Bus stop sections that fire you up onto off camber roots, full speed compressions across flat corners and everywhere a thousand lines to try to piece together. Definite plans to spend longer here on next year’s trip. wideopen 10 october 2009

By the time it came to pack up the weather was closing in. As the door closed with the last of sixty wheels wedged in, the tarmac was spattered in dark spots. 8 hours of torrential downpour, flooding areas down the valley followed, making us realise that for two solid weeks the weather had been perfect. A final van party took us to Grenoble, where we ruined the carpet at a friends house and crashed in various states of disrepair prior to the Big Drive home. The chat all about the highs and highs of the past two weeks, next year’s route and promises of returning borrowed parts and kit.

Back to the UK

Looking back at that final 24 hours is hard. Sleep deprived and exhausted with the logistics of distributing people all over the UK, sorting out the bikes and kit of people who had flown home early and the cumulative effects of self abuse during the van parties, everything is sort of mashed into one long continuous motorway stare. In conclusion I’d only want to say that the shits and giggles that went with a road trip on this scale are going to be remembered for a very long time and to seriously recommend this approach to anyone thinking about next summer’s plans. It takes a bit of organising, but we’ve done it and I wouldn’t normally trust anyone in Team S.P.E.R.M. to open a can of beans. Make it happen, you’ll be glad you did. dirt bike magazine 45


who who won? cares ? 28 riders, 17 days, 7 lift stations, 3 vans, 2 races & a lot of laughs. This year’s Team S.P.E.R.M. Alpine Training Camp was an epic logistical feat.

wideopen 10 october 2009

Thanks in no particular order:

A & J Motors in Todmorden (01706 816965) (for two amazing vehicles). Mtb-direct.co.uk and fli-distribution (for help with generally everything). Burgtec (for shoes, stems and pedals to various people). O’Neal (helmets and clothes). Electric (goggles, apparel and especially for the sunnies). Solid Bikes. Alex, his Mum and her carpet. Trig for being the driving force behind ATC for many years. The drivers for keeping us tire-side down during the party carnage.

dirt bike magazine 46


industry

y o b a e t out d e d n r o u o t g

From working in a big brand bike outlet, running race teams to now owning his own business, we speak to Fli distributions’s Col Williams...

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wideopen 10 july 2009

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Hi mes

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industry

So, who is Col Williams? Age, hometown, first bike, last bike? I was born and bred in Cheltenham but I think I’ve lived up north longer than I lived there so I suppose Glossop counts now! Age wise, I’ve been in Masters for a couple of years now but as I’m only 28 I don’t see how thats possible ;) First bike is an easy one, in terms of mountain bike it was a Shogun Prairie Breaker Expert, but I was hooked pretty quickly so saved up for ages to upgrade the frame to an Orange Prestige, and I’ve not had a spare penny since. Last bike was a Solid Mission 7, with Hammerschmidt and Totems, but I’ll have given that back by the time this comes out! I change my bikes more often than I change my socks so I’ll probably have a new custom sprayed Mission 9 before the annual pilgrimage to France, hopefully with some Dorados or Bos RaRe forks, whichever lands first! Have you always been into bikes? When did you first get into riding? I’ve pretty much been into moutain bikes since they first came into the UK when I was 14 or 15, a friend of mine got one for training for his school boy MX. I used to play football at a reasonable level, but once I got to 15 the biking took over. What is it about racing that keeps you interested? When did you first start? Can you remember that first race? My first cross country race was in the Mendips as part of a local series. Back then there was only XC and I was in youth. I finished somewhere like 30th out of the 60 entrants. I keep coming back because of the people I’ve met and the places riding has got me, everything that is good in my life has happened through mountain biking; without it I wouldn’t work where I do, live where I do, have the friends I do, or have met my wonderful girlfriend! So yes I suppose I feel I owe the sport a lot... and once you’ve started racing, you are always realising you can do better and after every weekend there is either the buzz of success, or the desire to improve which means that either way the next weekend can’t come quick enough.

wideopen 10 october 2009

Where abouts are you based? What’s the local riding like? Being based in Glossop, pretty much on the edge of the Peak District National Park, we have some awesome hills... however it’s a National Park so DH is pretty limited. However there is some pretty special XC, and some sneaky DH if you know where to look! We’re also less than 3 hours from most of the Midlands venues and also places like Inners and Ae, and with Shefflield just a short hop east, and North Wales to the west, I’m happy with the range of riding on the door step and an easy drive away. Where do you prefer to ride, the UK or abroad? I like the UK, but for me the highlights of pretty much every season are the international races. I’ve been on some unbelievable trips over the years, and it’s these that I look forward to every year. So when did you decide to try and make a career out of the bike industry? I pretty much decided the week after I came back from the summer racing World Cups in about 2003. It then took a few years of hard work to get everything in place. I’d worked in a few bike shops over the years before that but I knew that I wanted to work in the industry and not have to work weekends, so for me distribution was always the way to go!

y o b a te out d e d n r o tu go

From working in a big brand bike outlet, running race teams to now owning his own business, we speak to Fli distribution’s Col Williams...

dirt bike magazine 47


industry

y o b tea out d e d n r o u o t g

From working in a big brand bike outlet, running race teams to now owning his own business, we speak to Fli distribution’s Col Williams...

Is MTB-direct your first venture? How and when did it start? I worked for Leisure Lakes and ran their Northern Race Team for a bit, then once I left I didn’t want to have to go back to paying full RRP so I persuaded them to let me run a team with them as the main sponsors. A year later we got approached by Yeti to run their European race team, and I set up FLi Race Team Management to allow us to get accounts with all the suppliers and also make things more professional. Two seasons of worlds cups later and the team was pretty much established, so the next step was also going to be getting our own brands to promote rather than busting a gut promoting someone elses! www.mtb-direct.co.uk was really just a necessary step to allow us to have an outlet for the new brands whilst we were starting to build brand image and convince other shops to take them on. It’s now taking off in its on right and we’re getting more and more brands and a bigger customer base, so everything is looking good there! We just need to make sure that as the business grows we don’t loose some of the things that have gained us a good reputation so far! What’s it all about? There are three aspects to the business... FLi Race Team management has been wound down this year as we concentrate on the other two aspects, but over the past couple of years we’ve run very successful race teams for some top UK suppliers and helped many top riders make their first steps on the World Cup circut, through our UCI trade team. FLi Distribution Ltd is our main business. This is the distribution company that currently handles Electric Visual, O’Neal, Solid Bikes, Reverse Components, Twenty6 Products, Imperial Components and DMC moto timers. The full list can be found on the newly set up www.flidistribution.co.uk. It’s in its early stages but should be updated on a fairly regular basis. Then we’ve got www.mtb-direct.co.uk which is an on-line retail outlet, operating out of our warehouse in Glossop.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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industry

y o b a te out d e d n r o tu go

From working in a big brand bike outlet, running race teams to now owning his own business, we speak to Fli distribution’s Col Williams...

Who else is involved? At the moment there are 4 of us. Darren is pretty much brand manager for Electric Visual and key dealer contact for our O’Neal Dealers, Liam handles the mtb-direct side of things, whilst I have more of an overview of things and deal with all the bills and stuff. Kerry works with us when she’s not in Uni and generally supports all three of us doing all the things we should be doing, but never seem to have time to! We all take it in turns to put the kettle on, but this only occasionally results in anyone actually making a brew. How do you decide which brands to work with? Do you approach them or vice versa? It’s pretty much down to if we would be prepared to use the product. If we wouldn’t then I don’t see how we can persuade someone else to... The brands we work with have been a mix, some we’ve hunted down, and a couple approched us, based on experiences they’d heard from the other brands we work with. We are always on the look out for new stuff that we feel the UK market is missing. Do you have any plans for moving into your own parts? Yes, it’s something we’re working on with a few companies, the Lickysplit pedals that have sold well are our brand and we should have some more products coming out over the summer, so watch this space! How do you support the race scene? Why is this important to you? We support the race scene in a number of ways; sponsoring events and riders, attending events to support riders with spares and advice. To me racing is the thing that everything else feeds off. Generally if a product can gain a strong reputation on the race circuit, then this will feed into a demand from riders generally, which leads to growing brand awareness, and then shops come to us wanting to stock the items. However it’s really important to me because it’s my hobby, it’s something I’ve spent years doing and a fortune being part of!

wideopen 10 october 2009

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What is your favourite product that you sell and why? What’s the most popular item you sell? My current favourite products are probably the Twenty6 F1 Direct mount stem, I just think it’s a beautiful item that’s functional, light and a definite must have for my race bike. I’m also loving the new O’Neal Monster race kit, I’m sure the black and green combo is faster than anything else I’ve worn. Most popular items are probably the new Reverse Style 76 handlebars. They are based on the massively successful Reverse FLi XXL, but in some new 50 / 50 split colour ways. They sell faster than we can supply! So far we’ve not done any advertising of them or pushed them in anyway, we just can’t get enough of them! If someone wanted to follow in your footsteps what advice would you give them? Do it! It’s a massive stress and every day I learn from mistakes I’ve made but the days when things go well are awesome, and I’ve not looked at a clock wishing it was hometime for years. It definately beats any other job I’ve done. The key is not to try and run before you can walk, you don’t need to invest massive amounts of money or take on massive risk, start small and grow things in a steady manner, that way things don’t get our of hand. It’s a small industry and relationships are important, always try to be professional and remember why you got into it so take an afternoon off everynow and then and go ride your bike. What are your future plans? What next? Plans for the next 12 months are really concentrating on the brands we have so expect to see a big push on Electric Visual across the board as the new sunglasses, soft goods and goggles are so cool! We’ve also got big plans for O’Neal moving into 2010 as it’s a brand that has massive potential and a very exciting range.

wideopen 10 october 2009

Who would you like to thank? I’ve met some great people over the years and some people have been a great help to me, but special thanks have to go to the guys currently working with me, Darren, Liam and Kerry all have to cope with me on a daily basis and I know I’ve got too much going on in my head and they have to try to make it work in the real world. The success of the business over the past 12 months is down to their hard work and I will always be grateful for it. We’ve also had massive support from Kris who does all our webwork and Taylor who’s doing some great work with our company image. All the guys who’ve ridden for us over the years have helped get us to where we are, but I’ve got to mention, Hughes, Sion, Marples, DC, Phil and Nev, because that’s where it all started back when we first sat down on some long drive somewhere and came up with the FLi idea. My parents have also been a big support over the years, they’ve always been there with words of wisdom or just being a ear for me to rant to! Finally thanks has to go to everyone who has supported us over the years by spending money on any of our products. Everytime we get an order we are grateful and we’ll do everything we can to make sure our service exceeds your expections, whether you are a shop spending £10,000 or an individual ording a carbon headset spacer, we will always do our best for you.

industry

y o b tea out d e d n r o u o t g

From working in a big brand bike outlet, running race teams to now owning his own business, we speak to Fli distribution’s Col Williams...

www.electricvisual.com www.oneal-26.com www.solidbikes.de www.twenty6products.com

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ADVERTISEMENT

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wideopen 10 october 2009

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reports photo: Ben Bouzon

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t d n a l t o sc ! e c n a r f a l e viv

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination. Fort William, World Cup 2009 words by Jamie Edwards photos by Jamie Edwards, Jim Smith and Ben Bouzon.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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reports

photos: Ben Bouzon

As you probably know we really, really love UK mountain bike racing here at Wideopen and as they go races don’t get much better than the World Cup. It goes without saying that it’s the pinnacle of competition if you’re a mountain biker and seeing the spectacle of the World Cup circus on home soil is a hell of a good way to spend a couple of days. The atmosphere on Sunday afternoon when the 5 fastest riders leave the hut and battle it out down the mountain is bloody unforgettable. If you’ve not been to the World Cup then I’d say grab your mates, book a week off work, do a bit of riding and take in the World Cup to top it off. You aren’t going to get many road trips that’ll get you more fired up to ride and race mountain bikes. It’s that buzz of seeing the World’s best racers duking it out that kicked my ass out of the West Country and 10 hours north on the annual pilgrimage to the Fort. The Wednesday before the race I had no idea how I was getting there or even if I’d make it. But that’s all part of the fun of the World Cup I think. By Thursday I was roaring up the motorway with Paul and Tim who are 2/3rds of the team making the Footout Flatout2 DVD (alongside the infamous Aaron “Mono” Bartlett). They were shooting the race for their video and taking in a few other exclusive shoots after that. Stop these two and take the piss if you see them filming at the NPS this season, they’re funny bastards with the thickest valleys accents you’ll ever hear and a genuine love of getting drunk, smoking fags and talking shite. We spent the journey reciting Goldie Lookin Chain lyrics and listening to how Tim is actually a Brummy but his mum wanted him to “sound like a c*nt so she moved to South Wales”. First bit of World Cup road-trip advice then. Honestly, don’t be scared of the drive up to the Fort. It’s a hell of a long way but if you get a few folks in the car, buy plenty of crap food, bash a few albums on the iPod and maybe buy a grotty mag from the service station then it’s a right good laugh. Burger King and ‘Driving Anthems 7’ are your friend on the long drive north. wideopen 10 october 2009

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t scotland la france! vive

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

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reports photo: Ben Bouzon

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t scotland la france! vive 54

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

wideopen 10 october 2009

dirt bike magazine


reports

The atmosphere on Friday morning when we hit the race venue was pretty mellow and low-key as usual. It’s the usual story. Everyone struts around pretending that their not worrying about the racing and tries not to look like they’re smashing out practice runs like their life depends on it. We shot up the hill and instantly spotted the living legend that is Warner doing his bit for Freecaster. It might look like an effortless operation to roll up and chat crap to the camera but it’s apparently bloody hard work. It’s great seeing the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff having seen it on the computer screen for every other race. Was I Starstruck? Yeah maybe a bit. After admiring him fluffing his lines for 5 takes we rolled on. So other than eyeing up the media types we did actually check out some racing and the FoFo boyos (now reunited up with Mono who’d driving the entire trip solo from Southampton in his 1.3 litre Rascal van) shot some time lapses and got started on practice footage. Practice is always a good time to spectate as all the riders tend to take it a bit mellow, get their lines dialled in and show off over the jumps. With everyone being such a massive media whore in mountain biking nowadays the real top pros know to look out for the photographers and throw some shapes for the cameras. Minnaar and Brendawg are bad asses for that. Keep an eye out for those whips, they’re f-kin rad. Brendawg especially, the boy won a whopping £100 quid at Llangollen for his whips if you need any more proof! No whip compo here sadly. Second bit of World Cup road-trip advice, beware the Monster. After a hard day photoing on the mountain it was back to the media tent to drink a brain melting amount of Monster energy and to try not to looking like a bloody amateur in front of mountain biking’s media hipsters. At the Fort, Monster flows like water. When your skint it’s easy to drink that and eat free Custard Creams instead of maintaining a proper diet. Beware of this because it’ll turn you into a zombie. Except rather than eating brains you’ll shake, wee and chat shit a lot.

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t scotland la france! vive

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

photo: Ben Bouzon

wideopen 10 october 2009

Anyway, the UCI very kindly put on a special media tent to make sure the journos keep the world updated and it’s a pretty wicked little perk after a cold, wet day on the hill. Free tea and coffee, biscuits, Monster and broadband? What more could a journo want? The only slight flop was that the Freecaster cameras were transmitting on the same frequency as the wireless internet which completely shitted everything up and forced poor Rob from SDH to take the gondola up the mountain to the top café to get his updates online. Luckily, the lovely media tent girls sorted it out in the end, Rob was able to return to ground level and the world got it’s up to the minute live media updates. Phew.

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photo: Jim Smith

4X

photos: Jamie Edwards

Downhill

4X qualification kicked off in the pissing rain on Friday night followed by finals on Saturday. It was a bit up and down for the UK kiddies and ended up with Jared Graves and Gill Kintner taking the gold medals. Everyone’s eyes were on Dan Atherton to wrap up in front of the home crowd but sadly it wasn’t to be. Still recovering from a busted shoulder he managed to quali in 4th place and slog his way through to the 3rd round before getting the boot. 14th place overall for the man from Llangynog. In the end it was Jared Graves on top of the box followed by Roman Saladini, Lukas Mechura and Jurg Meijer. It was also great to see Scotty Beaumont taking the top spot for the UK fellas, ending up in a very respectable 10th place, followed straight after by Will Evans in 11th and Lewis Lacey in 12th. I’m also going to give South West local Duncan Ferris a shout for absolutely smashing the new rock garden/road gap and Cunny for taking on his first ever race (world cup or otherwise) on clips. Rock n’ roll.

I do love 4X and it was great fun giving Lane and the Duck some shit across the track but to be completely honest it’s the downhill that I drag my arse to the Fort for. You just can’t beat sitting at the finish line of the Fort Bill World Cup track watching the top 10 racers on the planet blast through the Nissan arch and charge to the finish line. Dan Jarvis is always on the mic getting everyone pumped up, the crowd (and most likely you) is a screaming energy drink fuelled mess, Minnaar’s ‘one life’ fan club are out-drunking everyone and best of all you’re right up close and personal to the World’s best downhill racers as they cross the line. If you don’t get shivers when Dan announces “Peaty is on THE MOUNTAIN!” then you are actually dead inside. As someone who grew up watching the downhill on Eurosport commentated by Mark Beisiegel, then moved onto Sprung video, Earthed and now Freecaster it’s so rad to be there in the flesh and see it all go off.

In the end it was Ffionn Griffiths that did the home crowd proud taking the 3rd step of the podium. Not quite up to par with her gold medal at Vall Nord earlier in the season but a great result. Gill Kintner took the gold overall, followed by Aussy lass Caroline Buchanan, Ffion, then the USA’s Melissa Buhl.

On to who went fastest and what not. Obviously with a gigantic home crowd all eyes were on the Brits to show up Johnny Foreigner on the longest and most physically demanding track of the season. Sadly it didn’t quite go to plan.

Good work to Ffion for bringing home the bacon and good work to Fast Lane’s Dave Lane and British Cycling’s snapper Andy Dunwoody for putting up with us heckling the shit out of them for the entire race whilst they tried to earn a living. They’re both very welcome to come and abuse me in my office any time they like. Beer and banter is what watching 4X racing is all about though right?! wideopen 10 october 2009

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t scotland la france! vive

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

dirt bike magazine 56


reports photo: Ben Bouzon

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t scotland la france! vive

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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reports

You’ll have no doubt seen the results long ago and no doubt seen that Minnaar stomped a clean 1.45 seconds into Hill to take the win, followed down by Blenki, Gee, Mick Hannah then Peaty who just can’t seem to get the luck at Ft Bill. Sam’s run was astonishing and put him 6 seconds up on Bryceland who was enjoying a spell in the hot seat when the Aussie left the gate. “Faster and looser than Linford Christie’s Lunchbox!!!” were Warner’s words as I’m pretty sure you’ll remember. Greg followed Sam down, smashed his nuts somewhere up top and in his usual understated way cranked to first place pulling back a heap of time on the final straight. Gee was last man down but couldn’t put the time into the broken nutted Minnaar and landed in fourth place. Gee was gutted, Minnaar’s fan club shotgunned some tinnies and rushed the finish line. Madness in the Fort as ever. Ok so the podium didn’t feature any Brit faces but there were some strong results for the home crowd. 6th for Peaty, a solid 7th place for Bryceland, 10th for Marc Beaumont and an awesome 20th for Danny Hart.

photo: Jim Smith photos: Jamie Edwards

photo: Jamie Edwards

The ladies event was most definitely a white wash for Frenchie with every one of the top 5 riders hailing from across the channel. Sabrina had obviously picked up some skills at the NPSDH at Llangollen a couple of weeks before and took the top spot, followed down by Emmeline Ragot, Celine Gros, Floriane Pugin and then the boy’s favourite Myriam Nicole. Tracy Moseley was looking good at the top split but hit a spot of bother on the way down and landed in 7th which she was pretty gutted with. The only other UK girls to quali were Ffion in 12th and Jess Stone in 20th. Good work to all of them.

9 0 0 2 y l l i b t for , e v a r b e h scotland tla france! vive 58

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

wideopen 10 october 2009

dirt bike magazine


reports photo: Ben Bouzon

wideopen 10 october 2009

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h scotland tla france! vive

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

dirt bike magazine 59


reports

photo: Jamie Edwards

photo: Jamie Edwards

photo: Jim Smith

photo: Ben Bouzon

photo: Ben Bouzon

With the podiums out of the way and another media cock fight done and dusted the only thing left to do was what we’d really all travelled hundreds of miles for. Yep – get drunk – the one thing Fort William does really bloody well. We started out in the amazingly named Grog and Gruel before heading onto some shady pub to see the World’s fastest racers throw down some highland jigs. Needless to say it took the police to shut the party down and after a bit of mayhem on the streets we bid Ft Bill good night. That’s it. Take my advice and book a week off for the 2010 Ft Bill World Cup, great riding, unforgettable racing and a right old knees up to finish it all off. You’d love it. Huge thanks to Foot out Flat out’s Paul and Tim for getting me up there and for Fastlanebmx. com’s Paul and SDH’s Rob for getting me home. You guys saved my ass! See you next year!

Thanks for reading. Save yourself the bother next year and get yourself to the Fort. 5th and 6th June 2010. Be there! wideopen 10 october 2009

9 0 0 2 y l l i b fort , e v a r b e h t scotland la france! vive 60

A mash up World Cup race report come travel piece come energy drink induced hallucination.

dirt bike magazine


reports

Kielder forest: the definition of the middle of nowhere. Here you’ll find no mobile reception but some superb trails with amazing views.

if car l s b did d erg ownhill... HERE Danny Hart

Saab Salamon enduro; Kielder forest 25 & 26th April 2009

words and photos by Oliver Coats

wideopen 10 october 2009

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Kielder forest: the definition of the middle of nowhere. Here you’ll find no mobile reception but some superb trails with amazing views.

if car l s did d berg ownhill...

LEFT David Vasquez Lopez SMALL L-R Junior, Ladies and Mens podium

Much has been done to develop Kielder as a MTB hotspot and, being the largest forest in Britain/Europe/The world (whichever they are using at the moment) you can see why. The enduro format is a brilliant one: test riders’ skills and fitness on various gnarly singletrack sections which are mostly downhill. Riders have to make it to the next start point by an allotted time but don’t have to bust a gut to get there. Few can argue that the 7 stages tested most riders; there were plenty of hanging heads and weary legs by the end of the weekend as riders did battle with rock gardens, blown-out berms and tight, loose-and-loamy rooty sections that were new additions for this race. The French seem to have a stranglehold on these events and Gregory Doucende was looking mad-fast as he took a cheeky shortcut on SS 7. Pint-sized rocket David Vasquez-Lopez won, holding hot-tips Karim ‘the love’ Amour and Remy Absalon to second and third and proving his all-round bike skills and fitness: £25k in the Dirt fantasy DH league? Come on! Local Danny Hart won the juniors to much applause and Tracey Moseley predictably cleaned up in the women’s. No midges, great riding and a truly laid-back atmosphere make this event unmissable. However, the ‘laid-back’ approach to accurate timing spoilt many people’s enjoyment of the weekend; Thomas Misser was clearly not happy with his 6th place. If they can just sort out this aspect I think we have a near perfect race format: all day riding, cheap, great tracks, friendly atmosphere, no uplift queues and a real test of all-round riding skills.

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Organising race venues must be a bastard tough game. On one hand the UK wants brand new, hard as nails tracks. On the other, they don’t half get the hump when a new venue cocks up.

shitt i n that’ g hell s ste ep!

wideopen 10 october 2009

NPSDH Round 2 - Llangollen, North Wales - May 31st 2009 words by Jamie Edwards photos by Andy Dunwoody, Jamie Edwards and Jim Smith

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ALL Andy Dunwoody

Organising race venues must be a bastard tough game. On one hand the UK wants brand new, hard as nails tracks. On the other, they don’t half get the hump when a new venue cocks up. Rugog, Carlton Bank, Cwm Carn all spring to mind if you think back over the last few seasons. As an organiser do you just play it safe and stick to the tried and tested? Or do you throw caution to the wind, cut a fresh trail and leave the doubters to battle it out on the forums? The 2009 NPS kicked off at a wet, cold, boggy, rutted up Ae forest with Gee taking the win and Kovarik promising he’d never race there ever, ever again. He should have popped down for round 2. Just over a month later the NPS circus moved down to the brand spanking new track at Llangollen in North Wales and the bogging conditions were replaced with blazing sun and some of the dustiest, driftiest, steepest, gnarliest trails you’ll ever see on a UK race track. If you’re a bit of a forum fiend then you’ll know that Llangollen officially generated more e-banter than any other DH track ever before. There were people getting banned all over the place for riding it, no one was sure if it was even doable from all the hype on how steep it was and I’m pretty sure a lot of people were convinced it would rain so much the whole hill actually would explode on race day. There’s nothing like a new venue to get people talking and fingers typing.

Organising race venues must be a bastard tough game. On one hand the UK wants brand new, hard as nails tracks. On the other, they don’t half get the hump when a new venue cocks up.

shitt i that’ ng hell s ste ep! wideopen 10 october 2009

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Organising race venues must be a bastard tough game. On one hand the UK wants brand new, hard as nails tracks. On the other, they don’t half get the hump when a new venue cocks up.

Andy Dunwoody wideopen 10 october 2009

shitt i that’ ng hell s ste ep!

Jamie Edwards

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I hope that whatever the forums say, people will remember two things from Llan. Thing number one, the track. It didn’t rain, the sun blazed all weekend and North Wales produced probably the toughest, gnarliest, steepest track the NPS has seen in a long time. I mean seriously – it really was bloomin steep and gave everyone on the hill a right kick up the arse to step up their game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Cooper shut up till I saw him sat nervously on the start line ready to go. Sure, there were a few grumbles about it being a ‘practice track’ rather than a race track and there were a lot of bloody nervous looking faces in the start hut but I’ve never seen so many satisfied looking riders at the bottom of a race hill. There’s something to be said for seeing riders that can eat World Cup tracks for breakfast skidding down a hill brakes locked on with their assess over the back wheel. It was new track, Steve and Si took a risk running it and it payed off. And thing number two? Aside from a World Cup I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a race in the UK and been so blown away by the atmosphere. When Brendawg dropped into the crazy steep, off camber, rocky switch backs and roosted into the bottom turns the woods went absolutely bezerk – it was like Peaty coming down bloody Ft Bill at World Cup finals. Everyone went absolutely mental. There’s something about a bit of sunshine, a lot of free Monster drink and the UK’s best riders getting loose that gets the crowds screaming. To add to the excitement we were treated to a swanky international pro line up to heckle including Sabrina Jonnier, Mia Sumasa, Luke Strobel and Cam Cole who all turned up and put a time in. Interestingly enough – aside from a second place from Sabrina they all took a bit of a beating from the UK crowd. Organising race venues must be a bastard tough game. On one hand the UK wants brand new, hard as nails tracks. On the other, they don’t half get the hump when a new venue cocks up.

shitt i that’ ng hell s ste ep!

ALL Jamie Edwards

Anyway I’ll cut the dewy eyed nostalgia and stop creaming over an event that happened the best part of 6 months ago. The event went down a storm, Brendawg was fastest on the day and also won 200 bucks for the ‘sickest whip’, someone even found an African Parrot in the woods. Good times. Elite men: 1. Brendan Fairclough 2. Joe Smith 3. Rich Thomas Elite women: 1. Helen Gaskell 2. Katy Curd 3. Sabrina Jonnier

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reports Scottish Downhill Association Round 1, Pitfichie words by Wideopen hardtrail pinner Steve Larking photos by Craig Allison (www.craigallison.co.uk)

g n i h s u p e t i m r a m

There is no hope in hell of getting a coach up the uplift road, so the SDA committee made the descision to hold a push-up race...

The Scottish racing season opened this year with a trip Pitfichie just outside of Aberdeen. We missed out on Pitfichie last year and thanks to new Forestry regulations we’d have to use coaches for the uplift if we wanted to return. Now there is no hope in hell of getting a coach up the uplift road, so the SDA committee made the descision to hold a push-up race. Some saw this as a bad choice but for the rest of us it led to cheaper entry fees and the first race of the season having a much more laid back atmosphere. Pitfichie is a bit of a Marmite track. If you’ve only raced there in the mud and rain it’s easy not to get on with it. It’s rough and rocky meaning wrong line choice and failure to carry speed are your two worst enemies on this track. With a couple of weeks of dry weather before the race the track had transformed into something much more fun than I remembered it. Practice ran smoothly and there was a really good vibe on the hill as riders pushed up outside the tape, watching and commenting on their rival’s lines. Saturday night’s entertainment came in the form of the infamous camping field slalom race with plenty of racing for anyone not knackered from pushing all day. I woke on Sunday morning to a picture perfect scene of a hot air balloon rising into the blue skies above Aberdeenshire. Enough time for a couple more practice runs in the cool morning sun before pushing up in the midday heat for my race run.

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wideopen 10 october 2009

g n i h s u p e t i m r a m

There is no hope in hell of getting a coach up the uplift road, so the SDA committee made the descision to hold a push-up race...

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Kicking off proceedings was this year’s fresh batch of Juveniles and the I-cycles boys took the podium by storm with a 1-2-3. The Wilcox pair, Ross and Stuart, took second and third while George Gannicott took the win by little more than half a second. In the youth cat just over a second separated the top three but is was Sam Flockhart that took the win with a very respectable 2:29.9, ahead of Fraser McGlone and Lewis Buchanan. In the Junior ranks, not to be outdone by his brother Arran Gannicott took his first win of the year, with quite a gap between himself and second place Ronan Taylor, and slightly further back again, Alastair Wilson in third. Masters saw Tim Wilcox in third place after falling just short of Mark Weightmans’ second run time. Top step of the podium however went to John Young riding for Ticket2Ride BC. Vets saw a familiar face in third spot in the shape of Kem Avis, which left Neil Wilson and Paul French to battle it out for the top spot. Neil had it in his sights after run one but Paul managed to squeeze out a couple more seconds in his second run to take the win. The Senior category had some ninety riders on the start list, but best of the bunch was Perth City Cycles rider Tony Tsoumalis. Hot on his heels was Daniel Millard in second and Chris Ross in third. Bex Reilly took the top of the Women’s podium with a time of 3:05, leaving Emma Atkinson in second and Angela Coates in third. There was a healthy turn out in the Expert cat and it was close at the top as Ben Hall held onto his first run lead by just a third of a second to second place rider David Duggan. Rounding off the podium was local man Tom Lamb.

g n i h s u p e t i m r ma wideopen 10 october 2009

There is no hope in hell of getting a coach up the uplift road, so the SDA committee made the descision to hold a push-up race...

So which Elites have been putting in the winter training this year? Well in second and third spot were MTBCut. tv riders Ben Cathro and Joe Barnes, but taking home the top prize and the fastest time of the day was Alpine Bikes rider Fergus Lamb, with a blisteringly quick run at 2:25.

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love spreads

Scottish Downhill Association Round 2, Fort William

words by Wideopen hardtrail pinner Steve Larking photos by Ian Linton (www.ianlinton.com)

“What tyres for snow?” That was the question I heard being thrown around in the run up to the second instalment of the SDA series. However morbid the forecast though the snow line had receded above the track by race day and left us with a track that had taken a bit of a beating from the resulting melt water. The guys up at Aonach Mor do some sterling work in keeping the trails in tip top condition and they did a bloody good job in getting things up to standard given the weather in the run up to the event. For those that have been living under a rock for the past decade, the track at Fort William has featured on the world racing circuit every year since 2002 and will be again in June this year. Why so? Because this lift accessed track offers some of the most challenging riding to be found on our fair shores. At nearly 3km long and with a 550m drop, the worlds best can get down in less that 5 minutes but most mere mortals should aim for less than 6 for a respectable overall position.

“What tyres for snow?” That was the question I heard being thrown around in the run up to the second instalment of the SDA series.

The tape remained standard until the woods, where some extra branches had been cleared to allow a brand new link between the original track and the World Cup ladder drop to be ridden in. This got particularly cut up over the course of the weekend and was slick with mud by the time race runs came around. The final sprint down the motorway was preceded by the rock garden rather than the new jump over the bridleway. Watching riders coming over the Tissot jump and dropping into the finish area made great viewing as always, with the final tipple on the 4X track being responsible for several large moto whips and some even larger crashes.

As usual the track claimed its share of bikes, I’d hate to think what that track costs riders in mechs, rims, rotors, spokes, forks, (even a frame I won’t go on about the track too much as I’m sure you’ve seen most of this weekend,) etc each year. Unfortunately it claims riders too. Speedy it in the World Cup press (if not check out Wideopen for this years WC recovery to all those injured this weekend, and props to those who pushed coverage). The top section was riding well, but high winds caused more themselves beyond breaking point and managed to man up to another run than a few riders problems with staying on track over some of the jumps and after crashing hard. boardwalk sections. Down to the deer fence the track had held up well with this years melt with only a few repairs being needed, but after that a couple of potholes developed over the weekend waiting to catch you out. wideopen 10 october 2009

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After a rather uncomfortable sleep across the front of the van I woke on Sunday morning to the sight of a deceptively sunny sky. The rain showers thankfully never came but the wind did pick up from time to time during the race runs.The juvenile podium was awash with blue and black pinstripe as the I-cycles boys took another 1-2-3 with George Gannicott taking the win followed by Ross and Stuart Wilcox in second and third respectively, all of whom managed to come down in under six minutes. The top three times in youth were equally impressive!Fraser McGolne took third with a 5:15 while second place Sam Flockhart was a mere seven hundredths of a second behind first place rider Lewis Buchanans’ 5:12.45. Outstanding performances from the young guns, putting them in the top ten overall and showing they could probably hold their own in the World Cup next month!

Emma Atkinson with a time of 6:34 and the weekend’s largest winning margin. Seniors saw a massive turn out with over a hundred riders on the start list. There was some close racing down the category but Paul Webster pulled out the stops on his second run to take the win ahead of Matthew Roberts in second and Stuart Ferguson in third. A reasonably sized expert field also lead to some heated racing with the hot seat seaming to change hands with every rider that crossed the line. At the end of the day Alasdair MacLennan took third spot behind Ian Cookson but all the praise went to Ben Hall who must have done something right on his second run as he not only took the expert win but the fastest time of the day. 5:02!

This weekend’s elite field was slightly diminished due to a lot of riders being out in Europe for rounds 2 & 3 of the World Cup but that should by no means take away anything from Chris Hutchens’ win for team MTBcut/ The Cycle Jersey. Missing out on the top step by hundredths of a second was Peter Williams Onto the masters and leading the pack was while third place was taken by Gary Forrest. Ticket2Ride man John Young coming down in 5:32. Michael Cowan took second place So that rounds up another race in the SDA despite his best efforts to improve on his calendar. Next month sees riders heading first run, leaving Zac Hubery to round off the to the mighty Dunkeld to tackle more rock gardens and chutes than anyone is podium. comfortable with. Those that got in that is, In vets local guy Alastair MacLennan showed once again the race sold out within just a them how it’s done taking the lead after few minutes of online entries going live. his first run and then proceeding to knock Testament to the fact that the SDA is the another four seconds off just to make sure. best run series in the UK, fact! Not too far behind him was Neil Wilson in second followed by Seb Ramsay in third. Thanks to the SDA team for another The junior riders were by no means much slower with first place going to James Scott with a solid second run time of 5:17. Hot on his heals was Alastair Wilson in second with Ronan Taylor taking third.

love spreads

“What tyres for snow?” That was the question I heard being thrown around in the run up to the second instalment of the SDA series.

wideopen 10 october 2009

excellent race and to Ian Linton for

The women’s cat saw just four entries the images - we make no apologies this time round. Angela Coats took home another third place medal while Bex Reilly for the gratuitous full page shots that had to settle for second place this time. follow! Top spot on the podium therefore went to dirt bike magazine 71


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love spreads

“What tyres for snow?� That was the question I heard being thrown around in the run up to the second instalment of the SDA series.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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love spreads

“What tyres for snow?� That was the question I heard being thrown around in the run up to the second instalment of the SDA series.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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wideopen 10 october 2009

love spreads

“What tyres for snow?� That was the question I heard being thrown around in the run up to the second instalment of the SDA series.

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reports

t i e m bla gy g u b e h t on

The weather forecast at the start of the week promised different conditions, depending on where you looked, but we had already booked the sun well in advance and the big man in the sky delivered it in abundance. The MIJ Round 3 ‘Series finale’ at Taff Buggy wideopen 10 october 2009

words by MIJ’s Jon Davies photos by Jon Ashelford (www.jonashelford.co.uk)

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The weather forecast at the start of the week promised different conditions, depending on where you looked, but we had already booked the sun well in advance and the big man in the sky delivered it in abundance.

reports

The new course layout, which was kept a close secret, proved to be the missing link in the 3 round series, round 1 used as many as the steep sections available at the Taff Buggy venue, round 2 was a rollercoaster of a ride and round 3 was a bit of everything. The new and gnarly root section proved tricky and this according to most was where the race was won or lost. The race was a sell out, the venue can comfortably manage 200 but we decided that by reducing the numbers to 150 and putting on enough tractors and trailers, the the reputation we have built on smooth and efficient uplifts wouldn’t be jeopardised.

t i e m bla gy g u b e on th

The weather forecast at the start of the week promised different conditions, depending on where you looked, but we had already booked the sun well in advance and the big man in the sky delivered it in abundance.

Practice day ran from 9am ‘til just after 4pm, then in the evening a fun dual slalom race was held with about 20 people entering the knockouts. This raised a few pounds for the Wales Air Ambulance and proved to be a bit of fun. Race day went super smooth, the few that only decided to enter race day probably wished they hadn’t, when the clock was running down to race start times and they were still scratching their heads and staring at the new course layout as their competition had been doing 24hrs earlier. 12.30 and races started, timing was spot on again from Jason Carpenter who won the veteran category alongside his daughter Manon who took her third win in the women’s. Fastest time of the day went to Rowan Sorrell with a 1:51. Podiums proved to be as interesting as the race itself, with prizes again to the top 5 for the race day, prizes donated by Don Skene Cycles of Cardiff, THANK YOU! MMA Sports and Mynath Attair. RockStar Energy Drinks provided fuel for riders and spectators alike as well as few caps that were thrown out to the spectators. The bubbly was provided by Wideopen magazine and suitably used to drench each other on a sunny sunny afternoon!

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For the overall series winners there were marble trophies for 1st, 2nd & 3rd. dirt bike magazine 76


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Martin, Ian & I would like to thank everyone involved in making the series a resounding success. That includes the riders, their families, all the sponsors, the marshalls, Jason Carpenter, his Mum, Colin Jones, Don Skene Cycles, MMA Sports, Mynath, Rockstar, the medics and the farmers at Taffs for their hard work. The Welsh Open Champs at Caersws on August 29/30 (Bank Holiday weekend) looks like being another great race too, so get yourself booked in at www.mijdownhillevents.co.uk. The BC points run from 60 for 1st place!!

t i e m bla gy g u b e on th

The weather forecast at the start of the week promised different conditions, depending on where you looked, but we had already booked the sun well in advance and the big man in the sky delivered it in abundance.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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nation al pride

The biggest race on the UK DH calendar is always going to be the National Champs.

UK National Champs 2009 – Innerleithen, Scotland. words by Tom Deacon photos by Andy Dunwoody (www.andydunwoody.co.uk)

wideopen 10 october 2009

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The biggest race on the UK DH calendar is always going to be the National Champs. It here that the UK’s top racers get their one-off chance to be crowned champion, prove their number 1 in the country and (of course) get to wear that prestigious National Champs jersey! Big names were in town with the likes of Peaty, Gee and Dan Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Chain Reaction/Intense, 2 Stage Factory and Mojo/Orange to name just a few. The weekend was set for some exciting racing! We weren’t given the typical Innerleithen tree slalom style track this year though. Instead, there was a super fast start which led into the quarry and all the way through the tunnel before getting into the tight trees. The link ups between different sections flowed perfectly keeping the track fast and not giving the riders any let up before being sent into the freshly dug turns at the bottom which was probably the best part of the track and where all the action happened. It certainly attracted a big crowd which was great to see. The crowd were great all weekend and made a lot of noise for the top boys! From the first run of practice it was easy to see who the locals were and who had been putting in the sneaky practice before hand but with the track being mainly one line everyone soon caught up. The constant weather changes made tyre choice a bit of a lottery – there were dries, intermediates, spikes, cut downs every combo going I think. Most importantly though the track stayed fast and everybody was having a good time. Riders to watch were the usual Peat, Athertons, Cathro. Local youngster Lewis Buchanan was also looking great. Danny Hart and Bernie Kerr were going to be close both keeping it pinned and smooth through the trees as well. After a hard day of practice we enjoyed a bit of local hospitality and with the Highland games also going on in town we were pretty spoilt for choice. It brought a good vibe to the town and I’m sure timing the race around the Games brought a few more spectators to the race as well. The all night rave was going hard just a couple of fields over but most racers stayed professional and kept their big fish, little fish card board box under wraps for next time! The big day soon came round. The track was a little wetter than the previous day after a heavy bit of rain Saturday evening but it didn’t change much. After a short practice session everyone got on with seeding and results were all pretty much as you would expect. Except that is for the youngsters were right up there with the big names. Junior Danny Hart got 5th fastest overall and Youth rider Lewis Buchanan 13th overall. But right at the top was Steve Peat with a time of 2.46.91and a commanding lead of almost 4 seconds over Gee Atherton. This was some lead considering the track was practically one line the whole way!! But that was just seeding so was Gee holding back or would one of the local boys cause an upset? We’d soon see. wideopen 10 october 2009

nation al pride

The biggest race on the UK DH calendar is always going to be the National Champs.

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nation al pride

The biggest race on the UK DH calendar is always going to be the National Champs.

On to the Finals! This seemed a lot more serious now, the spare wheels were out with an alternate tyre choice ready to go at the last minute and the turbo trainers were even being set up at the top. The young guns kicked it off with George Gannicott being crowned Juvenile champ. The highly competitive Youths were down next with Mark Scott pushing local kid Lewis Buchanan all the way but it was Buchanan who came out on top with a super fast time of 2.56 which would have placed him 4th in the juniors. Watch out boys! With the World Champs selection being made after this weekend the Juniors were fired up and hungry for that trip to Canberra later in the year. Danny won seeding quite comfortably, everyone expected the finals to follow suit but freshly crowned European Champion Bernie Kerr had other ideas. The newly signed Norco rider put in a flier with a time of 2.50.6 narrowly beating Danny by 0.3 of a second. Now that’s National DH champ, National 4x champ and European champ just this year… World champ next?? wideopen 10 october 2009

Tracey Moseley stormed to 1st place as you’d expect with no Rach Atherton but the silver and bronze were open for the taking. Gaskell took home 2nd with Jess Stone (last year’s Junior Champ) in 3rd. Next up was Senior men. Peat, Atherton and Beaumont were the fastest 3 qualifiers and all have won a world cup before, but let’s not forget the likes of Cathro, Stanny and Bryceland amongst others all wanting to get in the mix. Cathro was down relatively early after seeding 13th and soon took the hot seat with a 2.48. Here he got comfortable and sat for some time watching the riders’ times tick past until Simmonds came down on a stormer putting in a 2.48 as well but not quite good enough to remove Cathro. Stanny couldn’t beat it, neither could Beaumont so Cathro had got at least 3rd place with just Gee and Peaty on the hill.

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Everyone’s eyes were on the track waiting for Gee to appear and the crowd in the last turns were going wild. Gee was on it and flying the World Champ colours he crossed the line with a 2.46 not only taking the lead but beating Peaty’s seeding run time. What could Steve do? There wasn’t long to wait until the crowd got feral and Paton was going crazy on the mic. Peat was up on Gee by a mile with just a few turns left. He was smooth and completely pinned but out of nowhere he was off the bike and sliding down the off camber on his arse! He was down with the finish in sight just as Gee did last year at Bala where he handed it to Peaty. As a true racer should he got back up and sprinted to the line to come in just 3 seconds down on Gee and into 5th place overall. The final top 3 was Gee, Cathro and Simmonds respectively. That rounded off an exciting days racing with some upsets and disasters thrown in for good measure. The British scene is on fire right now! 2009 National Champions Juvenile: George Gannicott Youth: Lewis Buchanan Junior: Bernie Kerr Master: David List Senior Men: Gee Atherton Senior Women: Tracy Moseley Thanks to Tom for the report. He rides for 2 Stage Bikes, TGG-Customs, FUNN, Adidas Eyewear, Royal, 661, Maxxis and Fenwicks. wideopen 10 october 2009

nation al pride

The biggest race on the UK DH calendar is always going to be the National Champs. dirt bike magazine 81


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ROUND 2 - Saturday

I knew the track was good for overtaking and pretty straight forward. Also few riders from senior (my cat), such as Nick Geoghegan and Oli Jones had made the transition to the elite category making me think that maybe it would be a little easier in senior than last year. How wrong I was! Turning up Saturday morning I was pleased to see the place bustling with riders, blue skies and the forecast saying 20 degrees. Surprising seeing as there was talk of calling off the weekend due to heavy rain! I hadn’t been here for nearly 2 years, but nothing had really changed other than a inside berm on the 1st corner, which was there last year. This turned out to be the riders’ choice of line. Riders were coming out of the inside a good 2 bike lengths ahead of anyone taking the outside line setting them up a lot better for the tables, pumps and step-up along the 2nd straight. Me and the Flow brothers, Dave and Scott, practiced taking the different lines and always found that the inside was the quickest.

g n i h t e m o s k e e w e h t for ? r i s d en wideopen 10 october 2009

words by Flow Bikes Tom Gethin photos by Andy Dunwoody

I was feeling quite apprehensive about what was going to be my 1st NPS of the year and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Bridgnorth NPS 4X Rounds 2 and 3

Racing started with the ‘fun’ and ‘big fun’ amateur categories and it was surprising just how fast some of these riders were! MC Cooper was on top form with his usual hilarious comments and I think I speak for everyone when I say it wouldn’t be the same without him on the mic! As predicted the 1st corner seemed to have all the action with riders making interesting moves to get into the inside berm. A few nasty crashes also happened on the last table-stepdown, where people nose dived or came up short and bounced over the bars. Isaac Mundy was looking fast all day, with the odd tweak or whip thrown in and took the win in the Youth category. Second and third spots were taken by Alex Metcalfe and Matthew Jones respectively. Tom Knight was knocked off top spot by Rhys Willemse, a rider from Australia I think who had come with another rider and taken part. He was fast in all his motos and took the win. Max Lenthal was a very close 2nd, making moves all the way down and Tom knight had to settle for 3rd place, as there just wasn’t enough room to pass.

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The ladies category had a few more riders this year, with Katy Curd dominating all day. Suzanne Lacey was doing really well in her motos and made it to the A-Final alongside Katy, Kim Bent and Nevan Steinmetz. Katy was out in front all the way, with Suzanne on her tail, but couldn’t catch up. Katy took the win, Suzanne 2nd, Kim 3rd and Nevan 4th. Senior Final lined up as Phil Evans, myself, Chris Cummings and James Wilson. We all got a good snap, but Phil and Chris managed to get into the inside corner, with me following into it in 3rd. Phil managed to take it tighter and push Chris into the outside. James took the ouside line and caught up with everyone battling with me for 3rd place. It ended up as Phil, Chris, Me then James. The elite category was amazing to watch all day with more moves than Jet Li going down! A few nasty crashes happened in the motos with Martin Ogden crashing hard on the inside 1st corner. He was up in a few minutes and took a trip to Telford hospital. Bernard Kerr also took a beating, hurting his wrist pretty bad. FlowBikes rider Dave Richardson came a cropper when his stem twisted off centre and put Dave into the ground carrying full force of the fall. He got up bravely and later announced he was pissing blood. Not something anyone wants that. The worst of the day though was between Tom Dowie and Steve Taylor. Both battled to get a good line through the inside 1st corner and somehow Steve landed pretty hard on his head and neck. Dowie was thrown over the top of the burm, landing on the outside line, banging his head and shoulder. Both were down for a while, but got up and walked away luckily. I haven’t mentioned Scott Beaumont yet, maybe because everyone can predict the outcome? But he was on top form all day, not missing a 1st place. He also got some super sweet low scrub/whips on the tables along the last straight. The big final included Scott, Kieron Mcavoy, Will Evans and Duncan Ferris. Kieron moving up from senior from the 1st round kept his cool and powered his way to 2nd place just behind Beaumont. Will and Duncan were also very close all the way, making sure there wasn’t any line that couldn’t be taken to get ahead. Will came home 3rd with Duncan a close 4th.

wideopen 10 october 2009

g n i h t e m so k e e w e h t for end sir?

I was feeling quite apprehensive about what was going to be my 1st NPS of the year and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

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g n i h t e m so k e e w e h t for end sir? wideopen 10 october 2009

I was feeling quite apprehensive about what was going to be my 1st NPS of the year and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

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ROUND 3 – Sunday

Much the same course as Saturday’s though the inside corner was taped off completely, making it a race to get the best line round the outside. This turned out pretty good with riders taking lower and lower lines to get underneath each other, then spinning out forming nice dust clouds! The end of the track was changed more dramatically, taking the last straight to the left of the original track, over the side of one of the dirt jump tables and a big right hand flat turn going round another of the dirt jump tables. There were some awesome lines through this, people taking low inside and far outside lines, making for some good practice runs. There was a battle in the Youth category between Saturday’s top 3 guys, Isaac Mundy, Alex Metcalfe and Matthew Jones. Alex looked smooth and super fast all day and come the final there was some elbow action between him and Isaac. Alex nosed it out in front to take the win, Isaac 2nd and Matt following super close in 3rd. Snapping out of the gate, it looked like a race between Max Lenthal and Tom Knight, for first place in the junior final. Max kept in front through the first corner, while Pete Warner and Tom fought for second. There was no catching the Lenthal and Pete managed to gain a lead in front of Tom, and from the last corner it was impossible for Tom to pass on the open grass. Max 1st, Pete 2nd and Tom 3rd. I am dreading next year when some of these juniors head up to senior; it’s already a tough category!

g n i h t e m so k e e w e h t for end sir?

I was feeling quite apprehensive about what was going to be my 1st NPS of the year and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Right then, into the Senior category. What can I say, Liam Munn made a huge comeback, with all firsts in his motos, quarters and semi! He stood out for me, but a lot of other riders were spot on all day. AJ Boardman, Dave Roberts, Phil Evans and Jason Egan to name a few. wideopen 10 october 2009

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g n i h t e m so k e e w e h t for end sir? wideopen 10 october 2009

I was feeling quite apprehensive about what was going to be my 1st NPS of the year and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

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They were all flying, super low and never missing a pedal stroke. Come final runs it was down to Dave Roberts, Jason Egan, Phil Evans and Liam Munn. Jason got the gate but was out pedalled over the small triple by the Munn. Dave was on flats so didn’t have quite as good a gate and was playing catch up. Liam kept in front with Jason trying to pass constantly. Phil wasn’t far behind either and made all the moves but just couldn’t get through. Dave followed behind keeping it smooth hoping for a mistake from one of the other guys, but it never happened. Liam took his first win of the season, followed by Jason, Phil then Dave. Masters number one man Dominic Bent was also taking the wins in this category, he hasn’t really missed a first place this season from what I can remember. My elbow action mate Hatcher was on top form too throwing some whips and style in for good luck. Dominic got a awesome snap in the final with Hatch following close, but it was Shane Trotter who squeezed in front of Hatch into second. Dominic kept in front all the way down, with Hatch trying to gain his 2nd place back, but to no avail. Dom took the win, Shane 2nd and Hatch 3rd. How many more 3rd Hatch!? In the Ladies, Katy Curd was looking strong all day and maybe didn’t even break a sweat? Suzanne was doing really well, winning motos and keeping Katy on her toes. The main final saw Suzanne fighting for 1st from Katy and the same with Kim Bent and Nevan Stienmetz for 3rd position. Katy took the win with Suzanne following close behind in 2nd followed by Nevan and Kim. After some nasty crashes on Saturday in the Elite category, it was slightly quieter today, with some really tight racing. Will Evans looked on it and thanks to some super smooth riding took a few wins throughout the day. Duncan Ferris was also flying on his chrome steed. He picked his line for the bottom corner early on in practice, taking the inner most line over the corner of the take off of the dirt jump! Steve Simms and Lee White looked loose all day, making the most of the flat corner at the bottom. Scott Beaumont was on it as usual, but the gap he created between him and 2nd place was incredible. He was unbeatable all day and sat in the gate with him in the Final were Tom Dowie, Duncan Ferris and Will Evans. Scott got the gate with Dowie following close, both going into the 1st corner. Will went down the inside to take 2nd place from Dowie. Duncan was following Will but Dowie was just too far round the corner. They followed Scott down in the respective positions to finish. Scott 1st then Will, Dowie and Duncan. Thanks to Chris and his team for the great weekend. Next round is at South West Extreme on 14th June!

Special Wideopen thanks to Tom for writing this report whilst layed up in bed with a busted foot. Swift recovery mate!

wideopen 10 october 2009

g n i h t e m so k e e w e h t for end sir?

I was feeling quite apprehensive about what was going to be my 1st NPS of the year and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

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HERE Ace

Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events...

k o o l l i a t y m s e o d ? s i h t n i d r ha wideopen 10 october 2009

The Unofficial UK Hardtail Championships words by Steve Larking photos by Jacob Gibbins (www.jacobgibbins.co.uk) dirt bike magazine 88


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Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events. So imagine my surprise when I see 30 other guys (and one girl) heading down a track with nothing more than the air in their tyres to act as rear suspension. For whatever reason, can’t afford a DH bike, first time racing, complete nutcase or just for the challenge, all these riders were here for this year’s Unofficial Hardtail Champs. Unofficial because British Cycling doesn’t recognise hardtail as a racing category. Which means for the last few years now Ian ‘Ace’ Woodley has put on the HT champs by hi-jacking some other event. This year our kind host event was the fourth round of the UK Bike Park series down in deepest darkest Dorset. So, thirty riders, Ace had done well in hyping up the event this year. In attendance we had past podium finishers, seasoned hardtail riders from Cotic and Astrix/RHUK and rumour had it the boys from MBUK and Dirt would be coming down but I heard they all backed out when they found out Wideopen would be representing!

Practice was a very laid back affair on Saturday with most folk choosing to spend the day at home and just practice on the Sunday morning instead. To be honest though this is one of the places you can get away with it because the tracks are quite short and there isn’t a great deal of stuff that’s going to cause you major problems. The top section of the track was pretty straight forward, nice and flowing through the trees and then a small drop off of the fire road into a big right hander. Traversing back over the hill you headed toward the steepest part of the track with three particularly awkward corners coming up. The second of these corners was completely blown out and down to the ice like chalk under the dirt which lead to probably 99.9% of folk binning it at least once over the course of the weekend. The last third of the track started with a very cheeky off camber hop over some roots and was then flat out from there to the finish line with a nice big road gap to sort the men from the boys. Some practice times around the 1:20 mark had been set by the full-sus brigade so sub 1:30 was the goal for the fast HT riders. But who was going to be the fastest? As I sat trackside nursing a hangover with Milky on Sunday morning there was nothing in it as far as I could tell with maybe five or six riders capable of a podium if things went their way.

HERE Wideopen team rider Steve represents Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events...

wideopen 10 october 2009

k o o l l i a t does my is? hard in th

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So run 1 and everyone is dying to see the print out of times back at the top of the hill. We already know Ben Deakin and Andy Payne managed a 1:22 but would that be enough to hold off Ben Baker who didn’t come down the hill ‘til later? “It better have been” was the cry from Ace as Baker was just back from injury after having raced at World Cup level and the unofficial rules state that World Cup riders cannot take the title.

Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events...

k o o l l i a t y does m is? hard in th

The times go up and it turns out Baker done it in a 1:22 as well but was a mere 0.04s quicker than Andy Payne in second and then another 0.4s down was Deakin. I managed to sneak my way into fourth with a 1:25 with a lot of work to do if I wanted a podium. Second runs and the categories were all mixed up as everyone was seeded on their first run time. As I finished my run I found a group of HT riders at the bottom swapping stories of how their runs went but no-one could say who won until we got the final results sheet. So back at the top the results get printed and there’s a mad rush to find out who the winner is. Knocked down into third was local ripper Andy Payne (Torico) who, like Ben Baker (Astrix Axo) in second, failed to better their first run times. The winner though, possibly fuelled on the anger of bending his DH bike during his senior category run, was Ben Deakin with a time of 1:20. Also failing to go any faster on my second run I got pushed out into fifth by Andrew Wright (Astrix/ RHUK) by a few hundredths of a second.

HERE Steve Larking ‘on it’ wideopen 10 october 2009

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Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events...

HERE Cotic’s Robbie Rickman wideopen 10 october 2009

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Some top prizes were given away to the podium boys, including the infamous HT Champs jacket, as well as loads of other goodies including Spank grips, bars, stems, Wideopen tees and Foot Out Flat Out DVDs. Clair Lloyd got a special mention and a few prizes for being the fastest lady on a hardtail, while the biggest winner was probably Kenny Dyer. His bike had been self destructing all weekend until his mech finally jumped in his rear wheel on his first race run. Coming in last place in only his second race, he walked home with a new stem, bars and grips and promised he’d be back with less leaky forks.

wideopen 10 october 2009

Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events...

k o o l l i a t y does m is? hard in th

So that’s it for this year. Ace was making noises on the way home about giving the HT Champs a year off next year but I know for a fact he’s already thinking about bigger badder venues for next year. A massive thanks goes his way for making the race happen as well as for going out of his way to get me back to Bristol on Sunday night. In the mean time, you should pull the old hardtail out of the shed and get down your local trails and maybe you could take a shot at the title next year!

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Most of you might be used to seeing half a dozen hardtail riders at a race, and it’s not uncommon for me to be the only hardtail rider at the Scottish events...

HERE Winner Deakin vs WO Team Rider Larking wideopen 10 october 2009

k o o l l i a t does my is? h t n i d r a h

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The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

Pencampwriaeth Cymraeg

wideopen 10 october 2009

words by Brendan Brown photos by Scott Cartwright (www.eggraphy.com)

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Riders from all over the country can now looking forward to racing somewhere different this weekend as Caersws has finaly finished its monster three week marathon of races. First the NPS, then the Caersws Cup final, and last but definitely not least the Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events. Although riders of the last three races will now be thoroughly familiar with the venue, if you haven’t been there in recent months you will be in for a shock. Extensive logging and harvesting of the trees has all but destroyed the longest standing tracks on the hill, the dark and dense pine forests you may remember have now been replaced with wide open stump fields and soft loamy soil. For this reason a largely brand new track had been constructed for last weekend and although it benefited from open skies, bright light and sunshine (where there was some!) the wind made an unwelcome appearance and caught a fair few riders off guard. Using the start mound for the original NPS track, riders pedalled down and through the first bombhole. Luckily we were blessed with the weather, a few short showers being the worst so this didn’t turn into Llyn Caersws as it sometimes does in heavy rain. Out of the bombhole, the track immediately veered left into a high speed berm bringing you onto the old Dragon course. The wind again made its presence felt here with a hefty road gap that was some 10 foot across. Although plenty were getting to grips with it and turning on the style after a few runs, a sudden gust was all it took to unsettle you for the landing with potentially painful results, as demonstrated by not-so Expert rider Rob Scullion on his first race run. Best wishes for a speedy recovery mate! If you didn’t follow Bobby’s line of stamping the landing and popping your pen-glin out, the huge bowled berm acted as the landing then spat you out alongside the top of the uplift, and round a tight left hander into the next section of the course.

The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

wideopen 10 october 2009

Pencampwriaeth Cymraeg

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The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

Pencampwriaeth Cymraeg wideopen 10 october 2009

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The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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There were plenty of different line choices over the next few bends, stay low and fast, but tighten up the switchbacks? Slow down a bit to get on the high line for an easier turn? All sorts were seen during practice, however I remembered my first girlfriend’s advice of ‘slow in, fast out’ and opted for the latter through the steep, loose turns. High above the stumps and turning in early to straighten up the tight switchbacks as much as possible seemed the popular choice, before straightening up, over a small kicker down the hillside and joining the M54. The motorway section was simply a case of off the brakes and let the hill do the work. Riders hit the first loose gravely bus stop at Mach 5, plenty of air under your wheels if you got it right, and bracken and branches in them if you didn’t. Desperately trying to put the rubber back down and turn for the drop back onto the road, the rev counter hits the limiter again and a second bus stop is dispensed with, before dropping into the small step down that flung you towards a loose 180° berm. There were some concerns about using this corner during the weekend, as there had been alleged sightings of the endangered White Tufted Dai Jones hanging from the cliff top some twenty feet above the fire road during the week before. However he obviously decided it wasn’t a suitable nesting site and had moved on before the race, leaving riders to continue round the next slippery berm and down into the tunnel. Crossing under the rumbling tractors brought you out onto the next open section, two short straights linked with loose corners had you picking your line carefully through the stumps, then opening the beans round the big berm and flat turn. After getting a bit of a drift on, popping off the step down brought you back onto the old bottom section, a fast right hand berm and slow left hander dropped you into the hardest section on the track.

The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

Pencampwriaeth Cymraeg wideopen 10 october 2009

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wideopen 10 october 2009

The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

Pencampwriaeth Cymraeg

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The Welsh Championships hosted by the valley boys of MIJ Events.

Pencampwriaeth Cymraeg

A steep rutted chute offered no grip for braking, which you desperately needed for the off camber right hand turn at the bottom. Made of nothing more than loose dust and stones, it saw many riders having a quick sit down before dropping off the fallen tree and onto the next off camber straight. Railing round the next berm and down onto the fire road crossing saw plenty of riders going big into the finishing field. The dreaded metal ramps had been brought back into service for the third weekend running and proved to be a challenge to land smoothly. Squashing them low or going absolutely huge both resulted in bottomed out suspension and a trip through the tapes for a few riders that couldn’t handle the pressure. Remember guys, if you venture out of the tapes you’ve gotta return at the exact same point, otherwise you’re liable to be DQ’d which I’m sure nobody wants.

Elite rider Joe Smith set the fastest time of the day with a 1:47, going on to win the Elite category just in front of James Hughes and Ralph Jones. Expert was just pipped by Alex Bond, closely followed by Emyr Davies and his S4C camera crew down the hill. Still on a roll from his awesome Garbanzo result in Whistler Joe Taylor took the win for Senior and Ticket2Ride, with Junior and Youth won by Skene’s Joel Moore and Billy Matthews riding for Peaty’s Syndicate respectively. The ladies cat was won of course by Manon Carpenter (also fresh back from a trick to Whistler) followed by Aimee Dix and then Angela Proctor. Full results and category listings are available on www. dragondownhill.co.uk courtesy of none other than Veteran Male champ Jason Carpenter.

Big props are due to Mr Carpenter for the timing and to all the marshals, medics and to Ian Jones and his crew. If you managed to negotiate the second ramp into the finish Another brilliant weekend and a rapid race run by MIJ arena you were rewarded with abuse on the mic, your race events. We look forward to seeing you next year! time and a free can of Rockstar if you asked early enough. wideopen 10 october 2009

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The Track’s first ‘Annual Invitational’ and King of Dirt Round 1 The Track, Portreath

words and photos by Tom Grundy (tomgrundy.blogspot.com)

wideopen 10 october 2009

by invita tion onl y

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We arrived early to a hive of activity. The track was teeming with riders sessioning the jumps, flying down the 4X or dialling in their latest tricks on the resi ramp. Heavy beats resonate from the Monster Energy truck and the smell of burgers and doughnuts was wafting through the air. Round 1 of the King of Dirt was going down and some of the best riders in the country had gathered at The Track in Cornwall to show what they had been working on over the cold winter months. The Jumps where as perfect as usual and the sun was out. At first many found it hard to get string a good run together, getting lost in the maze of jumps or getting picked up by the wind, one jump in-particular proved tricky for the riders and claimed a few victims, including Jim Davage who was knocked out! The Comp was set to be at 5pm after some 4X racing, burger eating and frisbee throwing was done! The Open category started with some solid riders showing off what they had with 360’s, flips and the odd tail whip. Special shouts go to Craig Potter for throwing down some strong runs as always but unfortunately ending up with a broken collar bone for trying one of the biggest tail whips I’ve ever seen! The eventual winner was Marcel Hunt who went away with a brand new DMR Transition frame!

The Track’s first ‘Annual Invitational’ and King of Dirt Round 1

wideopen 10 october 2009

by invita tion onl y

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The Track’s first ‘Annual Invitational’ and King of Dirt Round 1

wideopen 10 october 2009

by invita tion onl y

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reports With the Open cat finished, the Elite King of Dirt was on, the crowds gathered on the hills surrounding the last four jumps as the sun set and the clouds rolled in. The Judges gathered pens and paper in hand and a sarcastic Olly Wilkins took the mic. A 30 minute jam format was to start, picking out five riders to battle it out in the Final. Some massive tricks went down; typically huge tail whips from Blake Samson and a run from Sam Reynolds that was sure to get him in the Final, back flip to 360 to tail whip. The Ram/Huckmonkey Team did themselves proud for their first competition, with a huge corkflip from Ryan Nangle, flips from Rory Hackett and a back breaker of a superman seat grab from Tim Peckham! The final 5 where picked then, Sam Reynolds, Ray and Blake Sampson, Clinton Jones and Daryl Brown. Huge tricks went down with flips and twists, tuck no’s and massive super whips. Sam Reynolds was sure to have the last laugh though and after slipping a pedal in his second run he pleaded the organisers for a third, its was only fair to see what he had. Hearts where in mouths and the crowd went silent as he hit the top section still throwing twists and tuck no’s. He cornered round, pumping with everything he had and hit the second of the big line with maximum speed. He shot up into the air and tucked in to throw a huge front flip, perfectly landed! The crowd went wild as he hit the next jump and approached the last which he 720’ed like a man possessed, just slipping out on the landing where he was mobbed by his fans. Sam took away the win, with Blake Samson in second and Clinton Jones in third

A big thanks to The Track and the organisers of KOD for an amazing contest and with four rounds to go, can anyone stop Sam Reynolds?

The Track’s first ‘Annual Invitational’ and King of Dirt Round 1

wideopen 10 october 2009

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h t o o m s s r o t a r ope

This year’s King of Dirt series is fast turning out to be the best one yet. The level of riding in both Pro and Amateur has shot up, with tricks becoming commonplace that just a few years ago would have been un-thought of! wideopen 10 october 2009

Redhill King of Dirt

words and photos by Gareth Howell

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This years King of Dirt series is fast turning out to be the best one yet. The level of riding in both Pro and Amateur has shot up, with tricks becoming commonplace that just a few years ago would have been un-thought of! Not only that, but it seems that these days there is less of the ‘huck and hope’ attitude of old and more control and style thrown into the mix. Although unfortunately my cynical side leads me to believe that this has more to do with the foampits at Corby and The Track than a sudden uptake in building and riding trails from the generally lazy dirt jump community. Anyway before I get too salty lets move on to the matter in hand, Redhill KOD. Too save on petrol costs I’d agreed to give Sam Reynolds and his mate Ben a lift. Obviously I was late picking them up, then we got lost on the way because I wasn’t looking at the SatNav and missed a turning, not a great start to the day really. We got there eventually though. This was all of our first visit to Redhill and on turning up it looked pretty sweet, snaking down the hill there’s one of the best looking 4x tracks I’ve ever seen, with jumps, rollers and berms all over the place. Unfortunately the jumps for the competition weren’t quite as impressive. A set of rollers into 2 wooden lipped sets with an all-dirt set at the end just isn’t up to standard really. Not only that but the landings were real flat and on watching people ride they all looked horrendously overshooty. Things were not looking great for the competition.

h t o o sm rs o t a r e p o

HERE Sam Ren

This year’s King of Dirt series is fast turning out to be the best one yet. The level of riding in both Pro and Amateur has shot up, with tricks becoming commonplace that just a few years ago would have been un-thought of!

wideopen 10 october 2009

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Luckily things are not always as they seem when it comes to these to comps. It seems that the riders desire to win or at least get themselves recognized overcame the shoddy jumps. Being super easy meant that you could get away with pretty much whatever and still make the next set, which proved perfect for the comp ferrets, with most riders stunting all the sets, something you don’t often see. The level of riding in the amateurs has definitely stepped up a notch these days, flips, 3’s and tailwips were fairly common, although I did see a turndown, in there somewhere, which should never be done on big wheels and in my eyes should have resulted in a slap round the face with a moist kipper closely followed by ejection from the site. The format has definitely been improved upon from previous rounds, whereas before it was just a free for all jam, now there is a jam too start, from which the top 5 go through to a round where they have a few runs to impress the judges. It makes everything much more exciting for the spectators. The Elite group was the main show and turned out to be closely fought battle between Sam Ren and Danny Pace. The big Welshman has obviously been putting in the training time and was really going for it, pulling dialled frontflips, xup barrel rolls and came within hair breadth of pulling a flipwip. Ren on the other hand seemed to be a chilling a little bit. Maybe after his five grand win at Bike Radar not long ago made it hard for him to get motivated over the £150 on offer for the win at this round. Nonetheless he pulled his classic table 3’s, whips, a 720 and a 3 whip to take a possibly somewhat controversial win from Danny. Daryl Brown took third with some of the nicest no handers I’ve seen, smooth 3’s and a few whips.

h t o o sm rs o t a r e p o

HERE Daryl Brown, no foot cancan

This year’s King of Dirt series is fast turning out to be the best one yet. The level of riding in both Pro and Amateur has shot up, with tricks becoming commonplace that just a few years ago would have been un-thought of!

wideopen 10 october 2009

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Speaking to the judges when it was all over it became apparent that the top 3 were only separated by a few points when the score sheets were added up. It seems that the style and smoothness points had a big part to play in the results, just as it should be.

wideopen 10 october 2009

h t o o sm rs o t a r e p o

This year’s King of Dirt series is fast turning out to be the best one yet. The level of riding in both Pro and Amateur has shot up, with tricks becoming commonplace that just a few years ago would have been un-thought of!

ABOVE Sam Ren drift. RIGHT Danny Cork, flip.

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LEFT Blake flip no hand

I always have mixed feelings about the Wisley round of the King of Dirt series.

Wisley King of Dirt

words and photos by Gareth Howell

s t e r r e f p com s t i p m a o f and

wideopen 10 october 2009

I always have mixed feelings about the Wisley round of the King of Dirt. After spending all year working hard on the trails, in the shittiest weather and with only the dedicated few for company it’s a little gutting when all the comp ferrets turn up and go for glory. Most of which will have spent all winter in foampits and never touched a spade. They’ll have little regard for the countless ours that have gone into the carefully crafted mud lumps they’re hucking themselves over. On the other hand though, it’s always a good to watch people sending themselves and the heckling opportunities are limitless. Of course there’s also the matter of the money we get for putting on the event, which is desperately needed to pay the license fee on the land and keep the trails running. dirt bike magazine 109


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We always seem to get the best turnout of the year for the Wisley round and this year was no different. In fact I think this year was the biggest crowd yet and there must have been 200 odd people in the woods that day. The open comp ran first, and I must say that the level of riding has shot up this year, with some am’ riders making some of the pros look pretty shit. Craig Potter was impressive, despite being a bit of an odd fellow, pulling mid pack 3’s and some sweet tailwhips. Dave Pearce Martin took the win though, with some wild looking nosedive 3’s (next person I hear calling them dump 3’s is getting punched in the face..) that looked on the very edge of control. The Pro (or Elite, whatever) comp was noticeably lacking a certain Mr Sam Reynolds, which is a shame as he’d been the one to beat at previous rounds. Unfortunately he’d taken himself out at some big European comp a week or two beforehand and wasn’t back on the bike yet. This left the door wideopen for the other lads. Danny Pace looked to be on a mission all day, pulling front flips over the big sets and some crazy off axis flippery. It was not to be his day though, he went down hard on a frontie over the biggest set which probably put him out of the running for a top 3 spot. Daryl Brown is someone I’d never heard of before this year, however I suspect that we may hear a lot from him in the future. He has his 3’s nailed down like plywood over windows in Midwest America during twister season. Add in some of the most extended no foot cans I’ve ever seen and the odd tailwhip and you have enough to take 3rd place. Blake Samson is a machine. I had him tipped to take the win here and he looked to be proving me right with some massive shutdown maneuvers, most notably no handed flips and 3’s, as well as his signature wildly hungout tailwhips. Unfortunately he uncharacteristically faltered a little when the comp moved to the bigger line which I think is all that kept him from top spot.

I always have mixed feelings about the Wisley round of the King of Dirt series.

HERE Craig whip wideopen 10 october 2009

s t e r r e f p com s t i p m a o f and

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RIGHT Jim nuts whip BELOW LEFT Amatuer winner, nose 360

I always have mixed feelings about the Wisley round of the King of Dirt series.

wideopen 10 october 2009

s t e r r e f p com s t i p m a o f and

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I always have mixed feelings about the Wisley round of the King of Dirt series.

s t e r r e f p com s t i p m a and fo

Which brings us to the winner, Grant Fielder, aka Chopper. I wasn’t expecting him to show to be honest, the KOD series must seem a little small time after all the highly paid international comps he does. To be honest with you, at first I didn’t think he really deserved to take the win. The pro comp was split into two sections, on two different lines at the trails. On the first I wasn’t very impressed, he went noticeably lower than most people and just didn’t look comfortable, although his trademark superman seatgrab did make an appearance. However it was when the comp moved to the bigger line that he shone through. While he still wasn’t looking very impressive just riding through alongside the likes of Jimmy Pratt and Luke Cullis, it was his consistency that gave him the win.

While all the others fell or had sketchy moments, Chopper just did what he knows he can do every time and took top spot and the £150 pound novelty oversize cheque that goes with it.

wideopen 10 october 2009

MAIN Danny cork flip SMALL LEFT Chopper

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bikecheck

Anyone who knows anything about UK 4X or DH knows the name Tom Knight

m a e T o t n e Mem

wideopen 10 october 2009

Tom Knight’s Team Memento Mori Idenditi Krisis dirt bike magazine 113


bikecheck

Anyone who knows anything about UK 4X or DH knows the name Tom Knight... He’s still very much a young gun but has bagged more top spots, podiums and trophies than heaps of riders twice his age. That includes 3 years 4X Nat Champ, National DH Champ and Midlands DH Champ. Here’s a quick look at the bike he’s currently cruising to victory on in the NPS4X Junior cat.

Anyone who knows anything about UK 4X or DH knows the name Tom Knight

Team o t n e m e M

wideopen 10 october 2009

Team memento Frame: Rims: Front Hub: Rear Hub: Brakes: Forks: Cranks: Pedals: Chain device: Chainring: Rear Mech: Cassette: Shifter: Bars: Stem: Headset: Grips: Saddle: Seatpost/ Memento Clamp:

Identity Krisis Halo Freedom 26” 32H Black Halo Spin Doctor 32H Black Halo Supadrive 32H Black Avid Juicy Elixir R 160/140mm Rockshox Reba Teams 100mm Travel Shimano SLX 170mm Crank Brothers Mallet MRP G2 ISCG Black 38T Alloy Single Ring. SRAM X9 Short Cage SRAM PG950 9Spd 12-23 SRAM X9 9Sp Trigger Sunline V-One OS 711mm wide, 19mm rise Sunline V-One All Mtn 50mm Black Crank Brothers Opium SL ODI Ruffian Black Sunline V-One Black Identiti (Included with frame)

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bikecheck

Anyone who knows anything about UK 4X or DH knows the name Tom Knight

Team o t n e m Me

wideopen 10 october 2009

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Ronan from VTT media contacted us about his film documenting the Scottish race scene with some other local antics so we got our hands on a copy for review, and got him (and sister Alice) to answer a few questions. Name, age, hometown, first bike, current bike... Ronan Taylor, 16, Black-Isle in the Highlands of Scotland. My first bike was an Emmelle I think, it’s long gone and now I race on a 2Stage for downhill, which is sweet! Alice Taylor,14, My first bike was a 24” Scott, but I’ve just got my first full sus – a Lapierre Spicy which is fab. Describe the film in just one sentence... Threshold features the most exciting Scottish riding from 2008, including dirt jumping and the NPS and SDA downhill races. That sounds pretty packed, what does it cover? The film travels all over Scotland from the northerly Fort William and Glencoe to Innerleithen and Ae forest in the south. What made you decide to make a film? We decided to make a film because we fancied the challenge and wanted to share the footage with other riders so that they could have fun looking back on the 2008 Scottish races and enjoy the non-race sections as well.

: s t o o r s s gra d l o h s e r th

Wideopen is all about grass roots UK racing so when we hear about people with the same wideopen 10 october 2009 outlook we get excited...

How long has it taken to make? how much of the time was filming? did you edit as you went? Alice did most of the filming and I did all the editing. I helped out a bit with filming when I was injured but it was mostly my sister with the camera at the SDA and NPS races. It took a lot of time once the races were over to edit the footage as I had only done a wee bit of editing during the summer and autumn. I don’t have a clue how many hours it was!

I am doing more editing during the season this year so we can release the next DVD much sooner and I am also busy editing short videos of the SDA series for Dirt TV. What is your favourite section? why? My favourite section of the film is Glencoe because the track is like nowhere else as it is super technical and is on an open hillside, which makes for some great filming. Alice: I enjoyed filming at Aberfeldy best, because the weather was good and the track was new and exciting. What help have you had in the filming and production of the film? Mum and Dad took us to the races, and the Herds let me stay at there’s whilst I was filming. Mum helps out with the website and financial stuff. Film making on a budget these days is actually quite easy, what equipment and software have you used? Being able to film on a budget is a lot easier than it used to be as you can get much better kit for your money. It is difficult to make a full length film whatever kit you have as it takes a fair bit of time and effort. Alice: For Threshold we used a simple JVC mini DV camcorder and iMovie for editing. This year for the next film we are using a Sony HDR-SR11 and a newer version of iMovie for editing. Where do you look for inspiration? other mountainbike films or photography? BMX? skate? snow? I really enjoyed “Home” and “Downhill Race Guide” by Mark Huskisson as they are original. I admire the Parkin Brothers (who film and edit for Dirt TV at the world cups) as they make great films for the internet super quickly. Alex Rankin’s Sprung and Earthed films were also an inspiration as they were the first downhill race dvd’s I saw and I felt they captured the fun of the events. dirt bike magazine 116


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: s t o o r s gras d l o h s e r th

Wideopen is all about grass roots UK racing so when we hear about people with the same outlook we get excited...

wideopen 10 october 2009

What are you plans for a follow up? A follow up is in the making and we are planning to release it as soon as possible once the race season is over. It should be even better than the last one as the equipment has improved and hopefully our filming and editing will be even better. Where can we get it from? You can buy the DVD direct from our website: www.vttmedia.com or you can pop in to the bike shops; I-cycles in Innerleithen, Bothy Bikes in Aviemore or Perth City Cycles in Perth. We are also trying to distribute the DVD to even more bike shops across Scotland. To see our videos of the Scottish downhill series for Dirt TV check out the dirtmag website. Thankyous? Thanks very much to Mum and Dad for the all their support, The Herds, Billy at Dirt Mag for putting our videos up on the site, and Peter at 2Stage and Wideopen for giving us a chance to tell people about Threshold.

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So first impressions? Some great music choices, decent content, perfect length and shows you don’t need stacks of the latest equipment to produce a great film. Things kick off with SDA Round 1 at Ae (even capturing Mono interviewing Gee after the race!!) and the structure of footage into categories is a welcome change to usual race videos. Then follows a twisting and turning DVD covering some local talent, bonkers Barbie bike action and plenty of racing (including Ste crashing at Aberfeldy on his Holeshot!). After taking in the World Cup at Fort Bill we end with RoboFest, a great chilled out homegrown end to a homegrown film. You can’t get away from the fact that this is a lo-fi DVD - limited angles hi-light the fact that it is mostly filmed by just Alice and the result is some repetition in each section. The home editing hasn’t made the most of the post-production editing features in iMovie adjusting contrast and colour so some sections are a little washed out. However the ‘film for everyone’ feel, great local coverage (with a feeling of the DH race guide Alice mentions - also a Scottish production funnily enough) combined with some great fun non-racing sections (I’ve got to mention the Barbie bike again - it just messes with your head!), plus some local trails and downhill give Threshold a real charm. We look forward to seeing Ronan and Alice’s follow up - and if you raced in the SDA in 2008 it’s worth a punt.

threshold

THRESHOLD

Main feature: 43mins Extras approx: 11mins

threshold

ing Scottish res the most excit Threshold featu jumping and , including dirt riding from 2008 The film downhill races. the NPS and SDA northerly Scotland from the travels all over leithen and Ae Glencoe to Inner Fort William and . forest in the south

performance, radio ,lending,public Unauthorised copying of this recording is prohibited or TV broadcasting

a film by Ronan and Alice Taylor VT T ME DIA

wideopen 10 october 2009

Win a copy of Threshold. Check out our Facebook group the week of Issue 10 release for details of how to enter!

: s t o o r s gras d l o h s e r h t

Wideopen is all about grass roots UK racing so when we hear about people with the same outlook we get excited...

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it’s a dirty business

We speak to DirtSchool’s Chris Ball

Most of you will have heard of DirtSchool. They’ve been involved with Wideopen since the early days and in recent history Chris Ball has made quite a name for himself with his coaching of the Scottish DH Juniors. With the release of the DirtSchool DVD, and the forthcoming DirtSchool DH DVD we catch up with Chris to get the lowdown on DirtSchool, the making of this DVD and his future plans…

Hi Chris, welcome to Wideopen. First up the usual introductions, name, age, hometown, first bike: Hey WideOpen. Here’s the low down... Chris Ball, 27 and rising, Edinburgh, Raleigh 12” wheeled bad boy. It was red and had knobbly tyres. Tell us a little about your history on 2 wheels? Not too different to most probably. In the mid nineties as mountain biking was starting to grow I got a copy of MBUK and at the same time a local bike shop opened. I started riding XC with the shop group and it went from there. I started racing seriously as a senior (before the days of the Expert catergory) and went on to Elite two seasons later. Got into my first World Cup in that first Elite year and raced almost every round after that until Maribor in 2007. wideopen 10 october 2009

interview and review by James Hilton

So how did Dirt School come about? What is the ethos behind the company? I remember thinking about it in my fourth year at Uni. I was just finishing up my honours year in Sports Science and looking for what to do next. I was still racing and received a lot of help and mentoring from my physiology lecturer, Dr G. It was frustrating for me to see downhillers and other mountain bikers continue on with inadequate or inaccurate information and training. At the time there was no real investment from governing bodies in the UK so understandably, professionals would always have to look at other cycling disciplines to make a career. There’s a few good companies out there for beginners but no one really dealing and progressing at the sharp end of the sport. Of course, the more we learn at that end, the more filters down to the beginners meaning that at every level, riders are getting accurate and professional advice. With the view to developing my own style and content, using my experience, I was motivated to get things going, and going properly and professionaly. dirt bike magazine 119


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You’ve been working with the Scottish DH Juniors, who’ve had some amazing results. How serious is the work you do with them, how hard do you get them working? What does the training involve? It’s the youths too! Did you see the NPS, Maxxis and SDA results we’ve been getting? 1,2,3,4! Damn, I can’t keep up anymore. I work with my lads on a daily basis. Their progress is closely monitored and what I give them to do reflects that. Just the same as with performance coaching in any other sport. They all work pretty hard to do what they do and their results are down to their dedication and hard effort. Exactly what they do isn’t something I’ll be telling you guys though….. Nice try!

it’s a dirty business

We speak to DirtSchool’s Chris Ball

You base yourself out of the 7stane trail centres, how important do you think they’ve been to the growth of mountainbiking in Scotland? Glentress has been central to the growth of the sport and it’s now at the point where the local communities are taking notice of the importance of our sport at an economic level. Scotland and Wales have developed a good network of centres that make the sport accessable and approachable to more and more people which is great. I just hope this development continues in the future. We are now at the point where we need to maintain the momentum and continue to keep our country at the forefront of the sport globally. Whether the people in the important seats see this is another matter. What’s your favourite downhill venue? That’s a tough one. In this country it would be Fort William for the speed and brutality. Abroad I would say Schaldming or Mont St Anne for shear scale and speed. In comparison, what’s your favourite 7stane and why? For the 7 stanes it has to be the Tweed Valley by miles. There’s just so much variety. Out with the 7stanes though, Laggan and Golspey are right up there.

wideopen 10 october 2009

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it’s a dirty business

We speak to DirtSchool’s Chris Ball

How did the Dirt School DVD come about? Who else was involved? It was always a plan of mine although I didn’t think it was going to happen so soon. I was working with Mark from Reset Films on his Home Film (one of the best mountainbike movies in my view). We were sitting in my living room and started chatting. Next thing we knew we were filming and within 6 months we had the Dirt School DVD. Mark’s talents are incredible and his skills at editing and filming, learnt form years in TV, made the whole project come together really well. We work really great together and have quite a few more ideas in the pipeline. Is there anything about it you’d like to change or would do differently? As it was our first film there’s always some things I’d like to change but I think we captured the atmosphere I wanted to portray. Everytime you watch a how-to it’s always someone talking you through it with images of pros doing things that are so far out of most peoples reach the whole thing is unattainable and a little off putting. We wanted to make it far more mellow and actually cater for what the viewer needed, to see how things are wideopen 10 october 2009

done and more importantly, why they’re done at a pace that is digestable. It’s a tough balance to strike but the feedback we’ve had from riders who’ve watched it has shown us that our approach is appreciated. How did you rope in the real stars, the guys having lessons? Those guys were great! I’m not sure they knew what they were letting themselves in for to be honest! The riders had all been invlovled with Dirt School before and knew our approach so it wasn’t too hard. Mark also hung around filming some lessons too, hiding behind trees and being as unintrusive as a ‘Geordie’ can be… It meant that one 5 minute section took the best part of a day to film but the results can be seen on the DVD. Any plans for a follow up? Oh yes. The Dirt School DVD is for trail riders and covers all the fundamentals. We’ll have the downhill sequel out this year, in fact we started filming yesterday. If you were about at the Fort William World Cup you might have seen a special treat… I’m also just putting my finishing touches

to a new book I’ve written over the winter, it’s got some great content and will be on the shelves later in the summer… Check out the website for updates.

Where can people find out more about Dirt School and what you offer? The best place is to head to the website, www. dirtschool.co.uk. We’ve got all the info up there and you can buy the film too. You could also go into an Alpine Bikes store who look after us pretty well. We run joint classes for them and you can now book in with us through them. Any special thankyous? The biggie has to be Kate my lady. She’s pretty patient allowing me to be away so much. Ruaridh and the younger guys too. Their enthusiasm and dedication keep me on my game. They contribute huge amounts so thank you guys, Finally, Dr Geraint Florida James from Napier University is also a big inspiration - he still keeps me scientific and thinking straight when he can…

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it’s a dirty business

We speak to DirtSchool’s Chris Ball

The Dirtschool DVD is a breath of fresh air. Unlike other instructional films produced in the past the Dirtschool DVD takes a novel approach; In the place of big name riders performing skills us meer mortals can only play at, Chris takes real riders through some basics in a calm, relaxed and really engaging way. Covering cornering, drops, hops, rocks, roots plus a couple of other useful sections it gives us all a refresher in the stuff we’ve often learnt through trial and error. It provides a science which explodes the myths of good riding and ‘natural ability’. Chris has a gentle supporting manner, coupled with the real riders giving this film a nice cosy feeling. Some chilled out music and a flow to the sections and editing make it really easy to watch – and navigate on second viewing to the key sections. As for the techniques? Well I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how being aware of some of these basic concepts has pushed my riding. We’re not talking gap jumps and downhill skills in this video – but the very basics of riding that, let’s be honest, most wideopen 10 october 2009

of us don’t put much thought into – remember the saying ‘look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves’, well in this case I think polishing up the basic skills pays dividends with the more complex and difficult riding we all find ourselves doing. Good news is that Chris is planning a follow up – the Dirtschool Downhill DVD – keep your eyes peeled on the website for information.

Thanks to Chris for talking with us, we enjoyed the DVD and look forward to a follow up article later in the year when we hope to visit Chris for a taster session and report back on the Dirt School courses themselves - as well as looking forward to seeing the book and DH film appear in the Wideopen office for review! http://www.dirtschool.co.uk/ http://www.resetfilms.co.uk/ dirt bike magazine 122


smallscreen Clay Porter’s ‘The Tipping Point’ review by Aaron ‘Mono’ Bartlett

Mono takes a break from editing his own DVD to get A lot of people are quick to criticise the music in mountain bike DVD’s but Clay has managed to stick to a budget but still bring some inspiration from Clay Porters latest epic. I’m writing this after watching The Tipping Point for probably the 5th time. The 1st time was at Bike Radar Live where Clay screened it in the big marquee after the dual slalom event. Back then I was stunned and although I’ve watched it enough now to have picked out a few things I don’t think quite work my overall impression is still pretty much the same as the first time. If you don’t know already, The Tipping Point, is Clay’s 3rd big race DVD, following on from Between the Tape and First. It tells the story of the 2008 World Cup DH season, with footage from every round, individual rider sections and commentary from all the big players like Minnaar, Peaty, Gee and Sam Hill. After the criticisms of his other 2 films Clay has managed to fine tune his very individual style of filmmaking to come up with an epic movie that really represents the sport in a professional and exciting way. He manages to intertwine race sections and rider sections, linking them up like a jigsaw and making it seem like you are watching one big story rather than the usual method of one chapter after the other. There’s definitely a skill to doing this and there’s a reason Clay doesn’t bring his films out until mid way into the next season, he must spend months perfecting his final edit, shooting the interviews with the top riders after the season has finished and finally shooting the very last section with Sam Hill in Australia on his new bike and race kit. There are so many great touches in this film but not enough room to write everything down here so I’ll try to keep it short. This film is probably the closest anyone has got to the perfect balance between artistic cinematography whilst still showcasing amazing riding. What I mean by this is that a lot of audiences are only really interested in seeing the top guys pinning it as fast as they can. Not everyone is interested in seeing a beautifully set up crane shot of Greg Minnaar railing down a smooth path, which is what we have seen a lot in the past (awesome cinematography but not the best or most inspiring riding). Clay manages to get a good blend of both of these that will satisfy the die-hard DH fans and movie geeks alike.

wideopen 10 october 2009

in some quality tracks which you’ll recognise. As a DVD producer myself I can say with confidence that issues surrounding music can be the biggest headache and it’s awesome to see a mixture of indie tracks and more recognisable chart hits with a bit of electronically produced stuff to fill in the gaps.

It’s fair to say that after the 5th time watching this film I started to lose interest in the race sections a little as the whole thing is very much focused on the standings and results rather than the individual rider. You get the impression that telling the story is more important here, which is a shame as sometimes I get the feeling that Clay has kept some awesome footage back, especially when you watch the Schladming and Bromont sections. I still think that the incredible rider sections and the production level of this DVD is plenty enough to make up for it though. When I got this through the post I sat down and somehow by the end nearly my whole family was watching it with me, almost as glued to the screen as I was, my Mum getting me to clarify which rider was which in the race sections and my brother sat on the sofa with his girlfriend. All that’s left to say is that The Tipping Point really is worth anyone’s cash. If you’re into mountain biking you’ll certainly be into this DVD and it definitely inspires me to get out onto my bike every time I watch it. Clay - if you are reading this - cheers for setting the rest of us all a benchmark, now all we have to do is try our best to equal (or better?!!) it and at the same time everyone is getting a better DVD and the sport will continue to grow. PS. Anyone reading this, please please please support us producers, we don’t make millions doing this so if you want to continue seeing this kind of quality in a mountain bike DVD do everyone a favour and get down to the shop or log on and purchase it legally, it means the difference between a DVD for 2010 and no DVD for 2010!!!!

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longtermer

It seems everyone’s jumping on the ‘credit crunch’ bandwagon nowadays and inventing all sorts of magnificent deals that’ll make your life better and save you cash.

banging f o r your buc k?

The Diamondback XTS

words by Jamie Edwards photos by Jamie, Chris Mundell and Adam ‘Danger’ Hicks wideopen 10 october 2009

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It seems everyone’s jumping on the ‘credit crunch’ bandwagon nowadays and inventing all sorts of magnificent deals that’ll make your life better and save you cash. My favourite one so far is the ‘massage’ club down the road which does a “credit crunch £60 special – all inclusive”. Seems like a pretty good deal. I might give ‘em a ring next time I’m feeling a bit tense. Anyway, my point is that people have less cash nowadays and there are companies all over the place trying to fool them into spending it with so called ‘bargains’. No denying though, we’re all a bit skinter than we used to be and bikes are getting pricier. We all want to ride the best bikes but also have to leave some digits on the bank balance for food, rent, race entries, massages, whatever. Chances are that you can’t afford to bash £2,000 on a downhill frame but do still want something that can keep up with your rich mates. Can it be done? Well, quite possibly I reckon. Bikes aren’t ever going to be cheap but there are some less expensive and great value options out there. It’s the hunt for something a bit more affordable that that popped the Diamondback XTS onto my radar. It’s a 7” travel DH frameset with a hydro-formed frame, bolt-through back end, Fox Van R rear shock, adjustable geometry, ISCG tabs, 1.5 headtube. The XTS is built around a simple, reliable, proven and low maintenance single pivot design. Look at it in through squinty eyes and you might even confuse it for another, very well known and highly respected bike from Halifax. Even the paint job is pretty good if you’re into the polo-mint look. On paper it stacks up as a pretty sorted privateer bike.

It seems everyone’s jumping on the ‘credit crunch’ bandwagon nowadays and inventing all sorts of magnificent deals that’ll make your life better and save you cash.

wideopen 10 october 2009

banging f your buc or k?

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longtermer

wideopen 10 october 2009

It seems everyone’s jumping on the ‘credit crunch’ bandwagon nowadays and inventing all sorts of magnificent deals that’ll make your life better and save you cash.

banging your buc for k?

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longtermer

If you’re precious about your bikes having a bit of ‘soul’ and knowing who, when, why and where they came from then you might be a bit sceptical about Diamondback. But rest assured they’re a vintage brand with pedigree race history. All of the modern Diamondback MTB and BMX’s are designed in the UK by Mike “Madeye” Sanderson at DB and tested by their grassroots team including Kurt Brain who’s currently doing bloody well at the NPSDH series. Mike’s a rider himself and lives, breathes and shits bikes. If you want it any more homegrown than that you better get out a welding torch and do it yourself. The complete bike as you see it here will set you back the same as about 30 credit crunch special massages (£1,749.99). Sure it’s not exactly cheap but it’s pretty good value for money in my book. You’ve got solid, reliable (if not particularly light) Quad wheels and brakes which will compliment the low-maintenance frame. The fork is a Marzocchi 66 which isn’t particularly inspiring and was absolutely ragged on our test bike – but is a decent bit of kit regardless. Less glamorous but still doing the job fine enough is a Deore rear mech, single-ply High Rollers, Gravity Stem, Truvative dual ring crankset and Diamondback’s own seatpost, saddle, bars, grips and pedals all of which come in a nice white colour. I got rid of the bars straight away in preference of my own wider, lower rise set but that’s no biggy. I also swapped the High-Rollers for Conti Der Kaisers which was purely because I had to get them tested and I know my way round the Rollers already. I would like to have got shot of the dual chain ring/bash guard crankset which was a bit odd for a bike aimed at jumps, downhill and thrashing. It kept dropping the chain and I certainly wasn’t going to be pedalling the bike anywhere that needed a granny ring. The Moto isn’t overly heavy but it’s definitely no trail bike. I guess dual ring cranksets are cheaper to source than a single ring and a respectable chain device? Again, nothing that would cost you a fortune to sort out if you bought the bike. Obviously none of this means a thing if the bike is a crappy ride so I took a break from cheap massages and got the bike out for a ride down our local steep, rocky DH trails. Straight away it was pretty obvious that the bike rewarded a bit of laying off the brakes and felt much better when you just let it do its thing over the rough stuff. As with any single pivot you really feel what’s going on under your back wheel and compared to a linkeage bike there certainly feels like there’s a lot going on underneath your arse. No problem really though and it’s something I found I got used to pretty quickly and in a lot of ways really enjoyed. Over the real rough stuff I couldn’t quite keep up with some of my mates’ slacker, longer travel DH bikes but a racier build and a trip to TF/Mojo would go a long way to sorting that out. Don’t be fooled by the Fox Vanilla R – it might be a lower spec model but a couple of years back Tim Flooks recommended it as his top rear shock for upgrade and tuning. It’s a decent bit of kit. It seems everyone’s jumping on the ‘credit crunch’ bandwagon nowadays and inventing all sorts of magnificent deals that’ll make your life better and save you cash.

wideopen 10 october 2009

banging your buc for k?

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longtermer The frame comes with adjustable wheel base and head angle thanks to a very Orange-esque sliding shock mount on the downtube. I left the linkeage in the middle setting which gave it a pretty neutral and fairly compact feel which made it pretty easy to pedal and really chuckable. I like shorter bikes so that suited but for a racier set up you’d probably want to pop it into the longer, slacker mode. Whatever – it’s easy to adjust and you’ve got plenty of options to suit your size, style and trails.

It seems everyone’s jumping on the ‘credit crunch’ bandwagon nowadays and inventing all sorts of magnificent deals that’ll make your life better and save you cash.

banging your buc for k?

Our next test venue was up at the Forest of Dean where it’s all a bit loamy, rooty and fast with loads of jumps massaged into the mix. Again no problems here and the bike was loads of fun to throw around into corners, great over the jumps and really easy to pop into manuals and chuck about. Obviously on the flatter stuff it won’t quite pedal as well as a more complicated bike but that’s made up for by how fun a ride it is on all the other stuff. I rode this bike a lot during our test period and did my best to really mix up the terrain, everywhere we went I had a hell of a good time on it. So would I buy one? Yeah I reckon maybe I would. The complete build spec is solid enough and compared to what else is out there for a similar price you’re getting a decent all round DH and play bike. It’s not a top spec race bike – but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper has got great upgrade potential. If you’ve got a bit more cash and want a slightly higher spec then you can spend an extra £250 and get the ‘XTS Moto’ which comes equipped with an 888RCV fork, E13 chain device and a few better spec bits. If you’ve got the money I’d give this a serious look. If you’re in the market for a new frame then I reckon the XTS Moto frameset is what’ll get you the best value deal from Diamondback. You could stump up £899 for the frame, head set and seat post – give your favourite suspension service centre another hundred quid or so to get the shock Push tuned and you’ve got a hell of a good frame that’s still well below the thousand pound mark. Not cheap I know, but great value and considerably less than you could pay for some of the other bikes out there that are winning NPSDH races. Still not convinced? Pop down to the NPS and check out Kurt Brain beasting his pro build Moto – 1st place in senior at the monstrous Llangollen track aint a bad sales pitch!

Check out www.diamondback.co.uk for more info. Thanks to Mike Sanderson at DB for all is help with this one. wideopen 10 october 2009

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Orange Alpine 160 - Custom Build review by Jim Smith

wideopen 10 october 2009

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Most bike companies these days develop their products with the concept of more. More pivots, more travel, more fancy material. More is progress. More of something means that we’re moving forwards and it therefore must be better. Or perhaps not. Orange Bikes have stuck with the simple single pivot (the Blood & 225 are simply linkage actuated single pivots) and through tweaking the pivot point, perfecting the geometry and changing the tube profiles Orange have created some true classic bikes, the Five being a modern day trail centre legend.

Due to the long stroke shock and high pivot the swingarm cross brace is necessary to maintain stiffness, it also makes a neat space to wrap an inner tube!

wideopen 10 october 2009

they call me mellow yellow

The Alpine is a breath of fresh air, a true all round frame. A bike that’ll pedal uphill and descend like a mini downhill bike – sounds perfect really? Or even – the ideal retired downhiller’s bike. All the thrills without the old, creaking bones, perfect for the rider who has hung up the race plates but still wants to go downhill fast. Don’t get confused though – this isn’t a replacement for the Patriot. Think of it as a new bike altogether to avoid getting wires crossed. The Alpine has had a long childhood, going through various prototypes including the sought after Alpine Five until eventually ending up in its current form as the Alpine 160 – a mini 224 with the ability to pedal uphill. Sounds ideal for the UK, where let’s be honest, unless you’re on the podium at your local races, you really don’t need a big 10” travel bike – and for events like the Megavalanche a full on downhill rig is just too much travel and weight.

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But does it live up to all this hype? In the last few months I’ve been putting it through its paces on cross country tracks and short downhill runs. Set up with a more heavy hitting build of Fox 36 Van R forks, DT Swiss 440 hubs laced to 5.1D rims, Fox DHX Coil shock, twin ring SLX cranks up front and Avid Juicy Carbon stoppers means that it’ll shrug off nearly any downhill track in the UK as well as whipping around the usual Welsh trail centres with ease. Not to mention its namesake, the Alps, where the mix of relatively low bottom bracket (13.5”) and the low standover height compliment the downhill bike feel and would be right at home on flat out Alpine trails.

Using a mix of Reynolds and 6061 tubing the Alpine has great lines and super strength for a minimal weight penalty Manufacturers take note: Cable guides thought about as part of the design, not an after thought!

Let’s be honest though, this is a 6” travel frame and it’s never going to climb like a hardtail, however with a steeper angled seat tube and a long seatpost you can crank the seat right up (I’m using a 400mm USE post) and get spinning. Pedal bob is limited by the high pivot point and the suspension remains active over bumps. You can get the frame with a Fox RP23 air shock but coming from a downhill bike background I feel the coil offers the best performance on the trail. The frame is not available with a QR option, but rather uses the rear Maxle setup which is very useful if you’re putting your bike in and out of a car like me and is set firmly in the big dropouts for maximum stiffness. With 160mm front and back this bike is very well balanced and feels confident in the air with the right geometry to make going at speed downhill so much fun. Compared to other bikes in the ‘all mountain’ stable such as the Lapierre Spicy or Commencal Meta 5.5 it does have a slightly longer wheelbase making it more stable on the downs and a much slacker head angle (65.5 degrees compared to 69 on a Meta 6) means this bike descends like no other enduro rig around. Combined with a set of wide bars and a 50mm stem the steering is nice and direct. You can have the bike in a number of options, I chose frame only, but the frame is the same in all of them – only the build kits differ.

they call me mellow yellow

Altogether a true mini downhill bike with the ability to climb hills, this bike rails corners, jumps confidently and ploughs through tough terrain with reliable, predictable suspension. This isn’t the best all round bike because it suffers a little on the ascents, but if you’re in the market for an hard hitting enduro bike then look no further – Orange have got the design perfected with the Alpine 160. wideopen 10 october 2009

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longtermer Orange Five - Custom build review by Kayleigh Holden

The Five has been very popular for a while now and is rapidly becoming a mountain bike classic frame and for 09 Orange made a few changes, the most eye catching being the new tubing profiles with more aggressive lines, the geometry remains mostly unchanged after all – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I’ve been riding cross country for a couple of years now on a Specialized hardtail and felt that now was the time to upgrade to something a bit more comfortable, faster and with the potential to do a bit of basic introductory riding on downhill tracks with a view to doing more in the future. The bike has been built up fairly lightweight, with Rockshox Pike 454 forks, Hope Pro II hubs with DT Swiss 5.1d rims, Fox air shock and Shimano XT dealing with the cranks, brakes and shifting. This is a 14” frame, hence the tiny front triangle which suits my 5ft 7” frame well. So far riding has been mostly incident free and I settled into it very quickly, although making the most of the 5 inches of travel available will take some getting used to over the hardtail. Despite the frame not being in the ‘Diva’ range for girls, the smaller frame size coupled with not-too-wide bars, a short stem and plenty of standover room makes it very easy to ride. The only casualty so far has been the rear Shimano XT Shadow mech which got a good whack from a rock at Nant Yr Arian and bent it beyond all recognition, however I have just taken delivery of a nice new Shimano XT mech, this time in medium cage (with two rings up front and a bashguard) should mean that any more expensive crashes can be avoided!

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O’Neal Skad helmet review by James Hilton

What do you want from a helmet? First up I guess, safety – and a certified full face is only second to a MotoX helmet when it comes to riding pedal bikes. Secondly, comfort? Well the O’Neal has a decent range of sizes, light weight, well placed vents for keeping you cool, removable pads (perfect after a sweaty weekender) and a good fit (but as with all helmets, some designs suit your head more than others so worth trying a few on). Thirdly, it’s got to be style, and the Skad has that by the bucket load. Great shape, details and finish – a real quality item. This model in black/green is a great match for the Wideopen race gear. Finally keeping it safe from scratches you get a great lightweight helmet soft bag. RRP £129.99 http://www.oneal-26.com/ Fli Distribution 0161 304 0114 http://www.flidistribution.co.uk/

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longtermer Madison Trail jacket review by James Hilton

For 2010 Madison have launched a range of riding clothing with technical fabrics and great design ideals. The Trail jacket is their mid range riding jacket. A soft shell that is breathable yet waterproof, a nice snug fit (yet still enough space for pads underneath) and great looking meaning you can even wear it to the pub afterwards. I’ve been putting it through it’s paces for the past few months; riding in the showers in July and it was comfortable, not too hot and once dry, the mud spots just brushed off! It’s also been my casual jacket this summer and I’ve worn it to work, out at weekends with the family and in the evenings in the pub. Several people have commented on ‘that’s a nice coat’ despite it not being one of the ‘big’ brands (North Face, SuperDry etc ) that people are drawn towards and it’s subtle finish give it a real quality feel. No quality complaints, it’s well finished and still looks clean and fresh after nearly 8 weeks. Top marks for a good value, stylish and functional jacket. For once I’m looking forward to winter riding! RRP £79.99 http://www.madison.co.uk/

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gear

Shimano MP66W

The stiff plastic sole gives great power transfer but has enough give to make walking in them comfortable, though the dotty pattern on the sole provides little review by Wideopen team rider Steve Larkin grip off the bike. The sole does however do a good job of gripping pedals when Having kept the MP66W SPD shoe pretty much the same for the best part of used with platform SPD’s such as the DX pedal or the Crank Bro’s Mallet, and 5 years Mr Shimano has finally decided to give it a little face lift. The new and the recess around the cleat helps to make clipping in a little easier. pretty distinctive white upper isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste but they’re So far they’re holding out well. They’ve kept my feet pretty warm and dry over still probably one of the best and most hard wearing SPD shoes out there. the winter months and not too hot on the few sunny days we’ve had so far this Unlike a lot of SPD shoes they are styled more like a trainer which allows year. The crank side leather panels of the shoe are a bit scuffed and black from them to be well cushioned and more protective than most. The raised inner my cranks but a quick scrub will have them looking new again. ankle support looks odd at first but does a good job of saving you from knocks against your cranks and chain stays, as well as obviously providing a little They’re competitively priced against similar offerings from the likes of 661, which to be honest I’ve not had much luck with, and there are some bargains more ankle support. to be had if you shop around a bit. A great shoe that should easily outlast your The leather upper makes for a very hard wearing and weather proof shoe, pedal bearings and an ideal choice for those wanting to clip in on their downhill which will keep your feet warm and dry in all but the filthiest conditions, and bikes. when your shoes do get covered in mud, the Velcro lace cover will make taking RRP £59.99 them off again a piece of cake. www.shimano.com www.ultimatepursuits.co.uk

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gear

Sarruma Tees

review by Jamie Edwards Sarruma is a brand new Leicester based company that’s looking to design some good clothes, show off the talents of local designers, campaign to improve their local trails and not nuke the environment along the way. Started up by 3 riders in early ‘09 they’ve already got a range of tees, hoodies and caps available on their site as well as a team rider on board to show ‘em off. If that’s not enough they’re also doing custom helmet and have got a range of their own lids on the way. Keep an eye on these guys for some cool stuff over the next few months. Roll on over to their site at http://www.kingofthemountain.co.uk wideopen 10 october 2009

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gear

iXS Protection

review by Jamie Edwards iXS are a German brand that are only just appearing over here in the UK after a successful run over in their motherland. They’ve got a heap of products in their line up including base layers, jackets, gloves, sunnies, brake pads, body armour... all sorts of stuff. They’re also now kitting out the MTBcut team so keep an eye out for Cathro and friends to see iXS in action. iXS Assualt Knee Guard Bit of a mixed bag these ones and after a bit of testing we’ve found a few definite ‘thumbs ups’ and a few ‘could do betters’. Despite getting accused of looking a bit “storm troopery” I reckon that these look great and they’ve done a decent job of keep my legs safe. The shape and fit is spot on and thanks to three well placed straps and a ‘squeezebox’ articulated knee joint thingy they stay exactly where they should from the minute you strap ‘em on. Protection is covered by a combination of moulded hard plastic bits and softer, but still tough padding all of which have sucked up plenty of hard knocks. They don’t quite have as much hard plastic coverage as other pads but you’ve got plenty of cover where it matters over the shin bone and knee and the result is a light, tough and impressively unsweaty set of pads. And what about the ‘could do betters’? Having enjoyed using them for 3 or 4 rides I was a bit gutted to see the rubber squeezebox thing that attaches the shin to the knee pad tear from a fairly light crash. It’s no biggy and I’ve seen similar damage on other brand’s pads but if you splash the cash on protective kit you want to know it’s going to stay in reasonable shape – particularly as the squeezebox thing is a ‘headline’ feature on these and contributes to the great fit. The guys at iXS explained that this sort of damage is very rare and not something they’ve come across often – including in their grass roots race testing at the ixs cup (http://www.ixsdownhillcup.com/). We’ll be testing another pair for the next few months and we’ll give you an update on how they perform. Stay tuned. RRP £44.99 Available in black, brown and white Mallet elbow guard and Roger Rinderknecht Signature elbow and forearm guard. I’ve never particularly bothered with elbow pads but since these have turned up I’ve really got into them. There’s times when you might want a bit of added protection but don’t want the fuss of full body armour… 4X racing or a bit of light DH riding for example. Both of the iXS models are pretty straight forward and you’ve got the choice of elbow only with the ‘Mallet’ or elbow and forearm from the ‘Signature’ version. Both are pretty light, pretty cool, stay put nicely and are comfy enough if you make sure you get the straps right and the Velcro doesn’t scratch your bingo wings. As with any kit, give ‘em a try in your local shop if you can to make sure the fit is good for you. No particular stress from either of these and they’re doing a really good job of keeping my elbows safe. My advice would be to grab a set of the ‘Signatures’ if you’re more ‘DH orientated’ for the added forearm protection and a set of the Mallets if you’re more into your trail centres/XC as they’re a bit lighter and cooler. Mallet – RRP £29.99 Signature – RRP £39.99 Hotlines http://www.hotlines-europe.com/

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gear

Fork Juice – Forking good suspension lubricant review by Jamie Edwards

Every now and again we get some goodies through the door that just make sense. They aren’t super posh or high tech, they just add up to a nice little product that’ll make your riding or your bike a wee bit better. Juice Lubes ‘Incredible Fork Juice’ might just be one of ‘em! It’s the love child of 2 riders Will and Chaz, who came across this stuff following Chaz’s 20 years as a bike mechanic and his time in the double glazing game. First of all, I should point out that I’m so happy with the complete smuttyness of writing about LUBES in WIDEOPEN but fortunately it’s nothing grotty and is actually a neat little solution to the problems we all face in trying to keep our bloody expensive forks running nicely. They get gunked up with dirt, the stanctions get scratched, the seals get worn away, the seals feel tight out of the box. Lots of things that you don’t want when you spaffed a grand on a set of forks and certainly won’t help you win any races. Fork Juice is simply a quick drying, fork friendly lube that you spray on your stanctions and seals. The guys at Juice reckon that with regular squirting you’ll keep your forks running sweeter for longer, protect the seals, protect the stanctions and beat off the dreaded stiction. Another neat point is that it dries with a non-sticky finish meaning you can squirt it on your frame and forks to add as a frame polish and mud-repelent. Might shave off a few grams mid-run you never know! I’ve been using Fork Juice for a few months now and it whilst it’s no substitute for a decent service it definitely makes sense. Forks are expensive. Fork servicing is expensive. Anything you can do to save yourself some dosh and keep them running sweet has got to be a bonus right? If you need any more persuasion – how about that Juice Lubes are a rider run company with a grass roots race team? How about that the Syndicate have been spotted using this stuff? How about that they’ll give you your dosh back if you aint satisfied? Sounds all good to me… Check out http://www.juicelubes.co.uk/ and go get yourselves lubed up today!

Dirt Juice ‘Super Gnarl’ and ‘Less Gnarl’ First look by Jamie Edwards

We’ve also just got our grubby hands on Juice Lubes brand new bike cleaner, which they’re selling as full strength ‘Super Gnarl’ and watered down ‘Less Gnarl’. The Super is a concentrated bike cleaner and degreaser that you can splash on neat to shift tough stains or clean your greased up drive train. The Less Gnarl is a diluted version of the Super and is a spray on, leave for 2 minutes and rinse off bike cleaner. We’ve still to give it a spin but they reckon it’s kind to paint work, safe on your brakes and is biodegradeable and doesn’t contain any solvents. Stay tuned for a full test once we’ve slopped it around a bit. Get a litre of each for £16.99! wideopen 10 october 2009

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gear Continental Rubber review by Jamie Edwards

Der Kaiser – The DH all rounder And winning the award for the campest named mtb tyre of ’09 is…..Conti’s Der Kaiser! But underneath the crazy name is actually a really solid and versatile DH tyre that’s currently gracing the wheels of the Atherton clan. The Kaiser’s mix of super soft ‘Black Chilli’ compound rubber knobbles, stiff side walls and confidence inspiring wide profile make it a decent job that’ll cope with pretty much anything you can throw at it. My pair have been coping really well with rocks, roots and loose, loamy off camber and seem comfortable until the trails start to get really loose and sloppy. Weight weenies might also be impressed that the Kaiser isn’t a big fat, German and clocks in at a respectable 1000g’s. Not exactly light, but not bad for a tyre this wide and solid. Downsides then? Not many really. They’re only available in one size and they aint cheap at £54.95 each. Saying that though, top price means top performance and these are doing very well so far. Look out for a long term repo in issue 11 to see how they hold up. RRP: £54.99 / Weight: 1000g’s / 26 x 2.5 only Rain King – The DH wet weather tyre The Rain King is Conti’s new wet weather tyre and sits alongside something like a Maxxis Swamp Thing. Rather than a full on spiked tyre it offers widely spaced, soft compound nobbles that’ll dig into loose, wet mud whilst shedding muck to keep ‘em grippy. Like the Kaiser they’ve got Conti’s nice and soft compound ‘Black Chilli’ rubber and they’re nice and wide to give them a nice stable feel. Thanks to some weirdly decent weather over the last few months we’ve not had much of a chance to try these out so we’ll need to leave a proper verdict for next issue. Stayed tuned. RRP: £54.99 / Weight: 950g’s / 26 x 2.5 only Vertical – The classic trail tyre I’ve been running these Conti classics on my hardtail for a few months and have had a lot of fun seeing what they can handle through everything from our local dirt jumps, to DH tracks, to the Brechfa black route to the mighty Glentress. They’re aimed at light freeride, Enduro and XC use but seem more than happy riding outside of their marketing schpeel. Generally I’m really pleased with how fast and light they are whilst still offering tonnes of grip over a variety of terrain. I was dubious about the ‘Endless Edge’ claim but the 5 sided cornering nobbles offer a heap of grip and you can really lean ‘em over through the turns. I’m always a bit stuck as to whether I should fit a light, skinny tyre on my hardtail or a fatter, heavier one and these seem to offer a decent compromise between the two. My only gripe is that I’ve suffered from a fair few pinch flats whilst running them so take care with your tyre pressures and work out their limits if you want to get a bit agro on the rocky trails! All things considered the Veritcal offers awesome performance at an awesome price. RRP: £14.95 / Weight: 730g’s / 26 x 2.3 only / Also available in UST wideopen 10 october 2009

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gear

High5 Energy Munchies review by Jamie Edwards

Surprised to see energy food here in a DH/4X focused magazine like Wideopen? Well – we were at first – but with trails centre riding and Enduro racing getting more and more popular it makes sense to think about how you fuel your body. I mean why bother tuning your bike and training hard if your body is going to let you down mid-ride because you’re running short of energy? With just a little bit of thought about what you eat or drink you can keep your self riding harder for longer and make sure you enjoy your ride all the way to the finish. It just makes good sense! The guys over at High-5 distributor Raleigh sent us these goodies to try out on the trail…

High5 – Zero sport hydration salt tablets

Most drinks powders provide you with the carbs you need for exercise and add a carefully balanced selection of the various salts (called electrolytes) needed to keep you ticking over- especially when it’s hot and you’re sweating like a racehorse. Most people will have had cramp at some point which is most commonly caused by a lack of electrolytes. While a bag off crisps will give you more salt than licking a sailor, it’s only one type of the many different salts you need (and crisps are kind of high in fat). Introducing these salt tablets. They are easy to dissolve and make up into a sports drink which provides a sporty dose of electrolytes that you sip before and throughout your ride. The drinks have a fairly subtle and palatable taste (unlike some other drinks that really make you want to gag). They’re great if you want the electrolytes without the carbs and especially handy for exercising when it’s really hot. By WO’s singlespeed whippet Noveau

High5 Caramel Sports Bars

We took these up to Scotland with us for a bit of fuel round the trails centres at Ae and Glentress and found they worked a treat when you needed a bit of a pick up without wanting to stop for some serious grub. I’d shove a couple in my bag for an all day ride with a banana and something else like a flap jack and find that more than kept me going all day. It sucks riding at trails centres and feeling too weak to really stomp the trails and these helped to keep me riding and ultimately enjoying myself. They contain a blend of ‘simple and complex carbohydrates’ which means that you’ll get a quick boost that you’ll feel straight away and then a longer, ‘slow release’ boost throughout the rest of your ride. What’s the benefit over just taking a snickers? Well… normal chocobars are full of fat and stuff that’s no good for exercising. There’s probably a lot of science going on with these but to cut it short I reckon they are a tasty and no fuss way to keep you going all day long. They come in Banana, Caramel and Berry and are also ok for Veggies, contain natural ingredients and are GMO free. If that aint enough – they come with a ‘race faster or your money back guarantee’. Give ‘em a try and see if they work for you. By WO’s lard ass editor Jamie RRP £0.99 each of £24.79 for a box of 25. High5: www.high5-online.com Distributed by Raleigh: www.raleigh.co.uk wideopen 10 october 2009

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gear

Bell Drop

First Look by Jamie Edwards We’ve just got our hands on this Bell Drop helmet to test and straight out of the box it looks like it’s going to a real winner. Ok so it might not be as light weight or sexy as some of the more expensive lids but for £100 it’s a great way to protect your nut. You’ve got 8 vents to keep your head cool, removal padding to keep everything smelling fresh and most importantly it’s been designed by the same team that did the Bell MX lid and is certified to CE bicycle and ASTM downhill standards so you know it’ll be tough enough to take a kicking. If you do manage to smash it up in a crash, Bell will take it back and do you a replacement for cheap which definitely adds a lot of value for money to what’s already a great price. Graphics on our lid aren’t your thing then? Don’t panic – Bell have been going mad this year on the colour schemes and have got everything from low-key matt black to the insane Jimbo Phillips ‘screaming hand’ designs (check it out here if you’ve not seen it). Keep an eye on Wideopen issue 11 and the website for updates on how we get on with the Bell. We’re expecting good things… RRP £99.99 Distributed by Madison http://www.madison.co.uk Bell Helmets http://www.bellbikehelmets.com/

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gear Persist Components Triumph Direct Mount Stem review by Jamie Edwards

Persist Components are a pretty new UK company and are based up in Derby. They’re just getting started but have already brought out a couple of top quality downhill components including this ‘Triumph’ direct mount Boxxer stem which is aimed at riders that want a stiff, light and low-rise direct mount stem. Out of the box the quality and finish are spot on and teamed up with an Element Nickel Wide flat bar feels great. As you can see from the snaps there are loads of bits drilled out and machined away to keep everything light and looking (I reckon) really good. Even the bolts are top quality with 4 x gold ti bolts for the faceplate and 4 x zinc plated bolts to clamp everything onto your crown. Top quality throughout. My only bit of feedback would be that the machining of the stem is a bit tight to fit standard headset spacers, so make sure you buy some splined spacers like these when you order your stem. Ok – so this aint cheap by any means – but if you’ve got the cash and want to treat yourself this will be a top quality way to strap a set of bars to a bike. 180g with bolts. RRP £70 http://www.persistcomponents.com/

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trailscene

y p pum p m u p p m pu

Llandegla build an all new work of art pump track style trail right next to the visitor centre...

interview and photos by Jamie Edwards

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trailscene

The scene up at Coed Llandegla is going hell for leather at the moment with heaps of guided rides, parties, training days, BBQ’s and all sorts of other good stuff going on. Great news is that they’ve enlisted trail builder supremo Rowan Sorrell to help build an all new work of art pump track style trail right next to the visitor centre. I popped up for a look one evening mid-way through construction and it really is gorgeous. There’s step downs, tables, doubles, rollers, pumps and berms that will have you wetting yourself just to look at ‘em. Here’s what Rowan had to say about it all:

y p m u p pump pump

It looks like a pretty unique feature - sort of a mix of xc and dirt jump. What did you set out to design/build? Well the brief came from the guys at One-Planet in the Visitor Centre, they were looking for a trail that everyone could ride, especially their main client base who are relatively unskilled trail riders, often on suspension bikes and with high seatposts! They had also marked out where the they wanted the trail on the ground and the idea of the double loop. We then set about creating a trail that can be ridden by everyone but that has a good flow and shape for expert riders. Llandegla build an all new work of art pump track style trail right next to the visitor centre...

When will it be ready? It will be open in the next month, so I expect by the time you are reading this it will already have been well and truly shredded by many riders! How did you actually build it? Well I can’t give it all away, but there is over 500 tonnes of stone building up the base and the features so rest assured it ainít going nowhere!!

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y p m pu p pum pump

trailscene

What challenges did you face in designing/ building it? The main problem we faced was with the surface material. It was so dry when the boys put it down that it wouldn’t compact and bind, so we spent a few weeks thinking it would all have to be pulled up and replaced as it was sooo loooose! Fortunately it was just down to the lack of moisture in the dust, and when it dampened down it soon took shape and formed a good running surface. The other issues are trying to protect the trail from the 1000’s of riders it is going to have to support. With Tarmac ruled out by the client we resorted to adding a whole load of cement to the berms to try and add some structure to them. wideopen 10 october 2009

Are there any things you are particularly proud of on it? I’m proud of the boys Nikki and Shaun or ‘Yanto’ and ‘Kev’ as they’re known in the company’s work! Due to other work commitments with the business and later my shoulder injury, I left this one down to them after some initial design discussions and I was so pleased to see the final product. Back-on-Track have a great team of designers and builders.

Llandegla build an all new work of art pump track style trail right next to the visitor centre...

When can we come and get a look at it in action?! Your welcome to come and see it whenever you want, I’m sure Shaun and Nikki will be more than happy to show you how it’s done! In fact when I last visited there were already three world cup racers sessioning it. So I’m sure it will be a big hit and full credit to Llandegla for being the first trail centre to get out there and build one.

Thanks again to Rowan and the Backon-Track team. Check out their website at www.back-on-track.org Also check out the Coed Llandegla website at www.coedllandegla.com dirt bike magazine 145


trailscene words and photos by Joe Bowman (www.dhpengland.com)

d r a c t s po r e l t s i h w m o r f

So much hype, so many stories for such a small place.

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trailscene

Whistler is nestled just three hours North of Vancouver and is home to some of the world’s best terrain, whether it’s chairlift assisted or not! How such a small, luxurious, artificial, Disneyland rose can exist between two towns that resemble a night out in Mansfield (Squamish and Pemberton) we’ll never know... Eight of us came out here and four of us are still trapped in the bubble after nearly eleven months now. Winter was hard... No jobs, shit snow, or lack of it, meant the bike park felt further away than ever. We all caught the winter bug eventually, religiously waking up at 6am so you could get dibs on the white stuff hitting you in the face off the back of Blackcomb. After some crappy job making beavertails through the cold months, yes beavertails. A Canadian speciality apparently, even Obama eats them?! Well then... Things began to pick up.... Instead of living on top of another 6 people, in a house which would be cosy for a couple, I sit typing this in our ‘office’ which is part of our luxury town house perched high on the slopes above the Bike Park. Housing in summer is no problem, landlords will accept even the scruffiest, dirtiest looking of us into the most luxurious properties! It’s always a bit backwards here, you live and eat like a hobo, saving every penny, yet you go home to a microwave which pretty much prepares, cooks then serves your dinner for you whilst updating your facebook status! Anyway, enough home life news, this Summer looks set to be a scorcher. Unlike last years opening few weeks it has barely rained, hardly a drop! There are grey skies but they only seem to circle around the village, taunting you. Maybe it’s a sign of the weather to come? Either that or Intrawest have paid Mother Nature off.

postcard r e l t s i h w from

So much hype, so many stories for such a small place.

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trailscene

The economic crisis everyone seems to love talking about lately has hit home here too leaving jobs scarce and wallets empty. Everyone seems to be hit hard.Many places are keeping their winter prices, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere either. Still, with the drops in sight, the GLC patio is the number one place to get your yearly doseage of Bender style crashes. I counted 3 medic rescues in half an hour last Saturday. Then it was shut... Nuts. There’s still deals to be had though... Crystal lounge $11.75 jugs? Deal of the week! Grocery market rocky road cookies, I swear they put crack in those things! Toonie and Phat Wednesdays races are still the best 2 bucks you’ve ever spent. For a beer, food, a sick race and après with the rest of Whistler - you can’t beat it! The Toonie this week hit up classics on Westside trails at the base of Rainbow and Sproatt mountains. One big climb at the off to split the men from the boys and into a fast sweep down ‘bobs re-bob’ into a new fresh section of trail funded by Bear Back Biking. Super tech’ uphill with some unreal woodwork. Our very own Aussie, Dylan Wolsky, sent it to second place and didn’t put a foot down the whole way? ‘Fackin ey bru’. B-line was the first Phat Wednesday race this year... Most went chainless, especially the top boys. Curtis Keene came down with the winning time late in the afternoon. Last year’s winner and Whistler bike park local Adam Billinghurst got a flat on run one, so a re-run was called. He took 0.3 off Keene’s time but racing’s racing so an arm wrestle to decide saw Keene take it home for the U.S. Phast Wednesdays are a new addition to the riding schedule this year. Double black trails only! Will we see some races on Garbo? Who knows! First round was ‘Schleyer’ into ‘Detroit rock city’... Carnage all evening, with punctures, bikes snapping, huge crashes and Tyler Morland taking the win.

postcard r e l t s i h w from

So much hype, so many stories for such a small place.

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trailscene

So park wise, it’s been loose for a while now. It’s like marbles out there... We cracked the camera out a few times, until I ended up literally cracking the camera (terrible pun), so a new shiny SLR is in the pipeline. Yes they’re all berm shots, but keep an eye out for some sweet footage in the next few months. We’ve made good friends with Jamie down at www.whistleractioncams.com which is based under GLC next to the Kona rentals... He’s looked after us this week, providing us with tiny go-pro cams to put anywhere... literally. You might have seen some of the footage on the front page of PinkBike a few months ago. We’ve had shock mounts, fork mounts, helmet cams, on poles, and we’re working on a reverse pole view now... Good stuff going on from these guys. More riding tales and news next time….. Work’s been tough and with hours being scarce you’ve gotta take what you can get, even if it means leaving the bike in the shed for a while...

postcard r e l t s i h w from

So much hype, so many stories for such a small place.

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freeride

first rockstar Bike Check Brett Tippie

words by Elbry Sandland photos by Brett Tippie

Brett Tippie was one of the first rockstars of mountainbike freeriding and opened the doors for the likes of Josh Bender and SuperT thanks to his ‘go big’ style. A member of the first freeride team (The Rocky Mountain Fro team) Tippie showed that riders could huck over 20 foot and put down some sick movie sections.

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After going off the radar for a few dark years he’s back for 2009 and is clean, sober and living in North Vancouver with his girlfriend and 10 month old daughter. He’s doing carpentry by day, riding the shore after work and Whistler (or Sun Peaks etc.) on the weekends. He’s also doing some testing for Rocky Mountain and Raceface alongside a little bit of announcing at events like Crankworx. We thought it be cool to run some shots of one of the sports old guard and check out his bike spec.

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freeride Frame- 2009 Rocky Mountain Flatline Pro (medium) Forks- Marzocchi 888 WC ATA Shock- Marzocchi Roco TST R Brakes- Hayes Stroker Ace (8”) Stem- Raceface D2 (50mm/0 degree rise) Bars- Raceface Atlas Freeride (31”) Grips- Raceface Cranks- Raceface Atlas Freeride (165mm) BB- Raceface Chainguide- Raceface Ring- Raceface (36 tooth) Seatpost- Raceface Diabolus Seatpost clamp- Rocky Mountain Shifter- Shimano Saint Derailleur- Shimano Saint Rims- Sun Ringle A.D.D. Lite Hubs- Sun Ringle A.D.D. Lite Tires- Maxxis Minion DH 3C (front 30 lbs/rear 34 lbs or softer in the snow or really sloppy wet) Tubes- Syncros Headset- FSA (1.5”) Pedals- Rocky Mountain Frorider’s Mudguard- Rapid Racing Products Neoguard Extras- Giro and CCN stickers

first rockstar Bike Check Brett Tippie

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first rockstar Bike Check Brett Tippie

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freeride The latest and greatest from the UK freeride scene by Elbry Sandland It’s all been going on since the last issue! Scott/Monster energy rider Lance McDermott bust his leg just as the slopestyle year kicked off, he will not be back for 6 months and so takes himself out of this years events. Thomas Vanderham aka TV not only landed on Evil Bikes (check his one-off neon yellow rig in his segment of “Follow Me” by the Anthhill later this year) but has parted ways with long time sponsor Fox clothing and also made the switch from Marzocchi to Fox.

UK and is worth looking at in a bit of detail. It’s got four north shore trails, two black runs which include drops, wall rides, step up/down platform, dirt 1/4 and dirt jumps. The red run has smaller features which include see saws (including a see saw on a seesaw!), skinnys and tables. The blue run is totally rollable and has some very low level skinnys to practice and a bit of NS ladder as well as some dirt berms and tables. There’s also a KOD line of trails and a pure bmx trail park area. SWE have also added some small beginner tables to the freestyle area as well as a smaller set of doubles and changed one of the previous lines which now includes a trickable dirt spine and much bigger jumps, Plus don’t forget the NPS 4x track . There is some thing for everyone of any ability on site now and the park is going to get filled with more stunts, pump tracks and jumps over the coming year. Ride now for just £10 a day, £30 a week or £50 for a season pass. It’s worth checking the local club (TTfreeriders) forum for any further info http://www.freeforum101.com/ttfreeride/

Want some more random goodness?

Marzocchi look to have worked things out after a hard couple of years and will have a very new looking range for 2010 that will put them back on top. Think less air, more oil and Ti springs!

I keep seeing a lot of GOPRO edits on the net and the new Wide GoPro seems to be the #1 choice right now. But look out! 2010 GoPro will bring the Wide HD version! No price yet.

Helly Hansen looks to have called it a day with its MTB program, Matt Hunter is their last pro rider and his deal ends at the end of 09.

Giant’s new freeride Faith features an all new and lighter weight Kurt Sorge designed freeride frame and looks to be the hot tip for a great value top of the range complete for 2010. Haro are also bringing out the Porter Team Replica Slope Style frame with 4.5” for 2010.

As ever Crankworx went off and you can read about that on the net. It was Sam Pilgrim’s first time and armed with only a hardtail Sam’s chances were nill! Monster Energy sponsored this year’s Esher Jam (this event always has a cool vibe, make a date for it next year!). This year only 40 riders showed but 60 spectators turned up and checked out the action!

Snowboard glove brand Grenade run by Danny Kass will be moving in to the dirt bike market. Take it from me - these will be the king of style...

There have been more changes to the Esher Shore Park this summer and it’s not just skinny shore lines these days. The slope style area at the top of the park is gone and it’s now a pump area. Pump tracks are the future! Check it out for a range of pump tracks for all levels. It’s great to see how Esher keeps evolving with the ever changing freeride scene. Other good news is the price. A day pass can be yours for just £10 which lets you ride all day (10am-6pm Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm Sun and Bank Holidays).It’s also half price for full membership so hopefully it will encourage more riders to come and session the bike park! More info on www.eshershore.com Since the last issue, South West Extreme (down in sunny Devon) has run its first freeride and 4X NPS events. SWE is a big deal for the wideopen 10 october 2009

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MDE bikes have a new slopestyle frame called the Player on the way that looks hot!

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Before the end of the summer Black Market’s new 24� Contraband frame will be out.

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staff Aaron Bartlett VIDEO EDITOR aaron@wideopenmag.co.uk

Jamie Edwards EDITOR jamie@wideopenmag.co.uk

Jacob Gibbins STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER jacob@wideopenmag.co.uk

Tessa Glover PRODUCTIONASSISTANT James Hilton PRODUCER james@wideopenmag.co.uk

Jim Smith WEB EDITOR jim@wideopenmag.co.uk

contributors

Craig Allison www.craigallison.co.uk Jon Ashelford www.johnashelford.co.uk Joe Bowman www.dhpengland.com Ben Bouzon www.benbouzon.com Brendan Brown James Bowden www.jamesbowden.net Scott Cartwright www.eggraphy.com Oliver Coats www.olivercoats.co.uk Jon Davies Rich Davy www.richdavy.co.uk Tom Deacon Andy Dunwoody www.andydunwoody.co.uk Alex Evans Tom Gethin Tom Grundy tomgrundy.blogspot.com Kayleigh Holden Gareth Howell www.digitalbmx.co.uk Tim Joyce Ste Larking Ian Linton www.ianlinton.com Andy Nelson Tom Rickhuss Elbry Sandland elbry.blogspot.com Neil Sharp sharpy.weebly.com Oli Ward www.thetrickfactory.com/oli

wideopen 10 october 2009

? h s u r a In waste time heading Don’t r u o y r o f s p o down the sh mag fix!

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wideopen 10 october 2009 available free online at www.wideopenmag.co.uk dirt bike magazine 1 Issue 10 October 2009

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