The fourth round of the 2011 BDS series was held at the steep and technical Llangollen track in North Wales, and with a great turn out of fans and racers alike, it didn’t disappoint with another great weekend of domestic racing. With a less than favourable start to the week end, the weather was on top form come race day making for a week end to remember, not to mention the action on the mens Elite podium, where Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland stormed the course to take his first career Elite win!
Standing next to Sam Dale in second, Danny Hart in third, Joe Smith in fourth and Matti Leihikoinen in fifth (who was also the only guy on the Elite podium who doesn’t have a Factory Jackson blog), the podium was filled with the UK’s finest up and coming talent. Photographers Callum Biggin and Sam Davies were there to capture and share the action….
Callum T – Maxxis/ Rocky Mountain rider, Mark Scott rails one of the tracks many off camber, steep corners on a track many refer to as a “little Schladming” and one of the reasons this track is a real favourite with the racers.
Callum T – Man of the moment, Danny Hart was a real favourite to take the win here and was pinned all week end, which was no surprise as this is the kind of track where Danny shines. Saturday’s practice was a muddy affair with spikes, tear-offs and plenty of roost being kicked around.
Sam Davies - Josh making the most of the drying course and getting wild in the process. Hungry for his first win in the Elites, Josh was busy putting the pieces together from day one of practice and rolled it through to Sunday afternoon.
Callum T - The ‘Mac-Lad’ Sam Dale was on it too and seemed like he had a point to prove all week end. Sam’s speed this year has been right there and a good result was on the horizon and the steep and technical track at Llangollen had Sam’s name all over it.
Callum T - Brendan Fairclough can ride this kind of terrain blind folded and excels on tracks like this and with three consecutive wins at Llangollen, all eyes were on the Monster Energy/ Specialized rider to once again take the top spot, but with an injury sustained earlier in the year resulting in a missing ACL, Brendan had his work cut out chasing the fresh blood dominating in British and international downhill.
Sam Davies – The UK offers a variety of landscapes and many of the best lie in the Welsh mountains where tracks like this call home. Danny Hart on track.
Callum T – The “Flying Fin”, CRC’s Matti Lehikoinen on course and smashing through Saturday’s mud and on his way to fifth place with a solid 1:46.863.
Callum T – “Baltic” Ben Reid getting his 2012 TLD kit dirty in the mud and slaying the course; a firm favourite with the Irish speed merchant and taking a solid 9th place on Sunday with an impressive 1:48.597. Ben was surely hoping for a better result here and we are yet to see Ben do what we all know he can – win!
Sam Davies – The “Ginger Ninja” as Rob Warner like to refer to him, fast as hell and as sound as a pound as we refer to him here. Joe Smith was pinned all week end and only narrowly missing out on a top 3 spot, coming in fourth with a pretty mint 1:45.777. The speed is there and big things are coming for this one.
Callum T – Not the best week end for Harry Heath with a DNS in finals, but looked comfortable and pinned all week end and with a point to prove in Mont Saint Anne – smash it Bazra!
Callum T – The one and only Adam Brayton and loving the steepness and tech of Llangollen. With a less than favourable 20th, Adam will be back come National Champs with a point to prove.
Callum T – Rat Attack! Relaxed and having fun on course seems to be what Josh needs to do, to get the job done.
Callum T – Another solid result for Jack Reading, crossing the line in 11th.
Callum T – Too fast for the paps! Rich Thomas shredding the mud and taking 28th on Sunday. He’ll be hungry for more come the National Champs here in July.
Callum T – Nice scenery from the course, but just a blur to the racers. 2011 has got off to a good start for Emily Horridge with a great podium finish in second place.
Callum T – The ever photogenic Brendan Fairclough on course – focussed and loose! Check the new Renthal grips and stem!
Callum T – Sam Dale in his element and on his way to his first podium of 2011, crossing the line in second with a 1:45.362.
Callum T – Although considered a 4X specialist these days, Katy Curd can still hang it with the DH crowd taking third in the Elite womens.
Callum T – Rich Thomas in a blur!
Callum T – Danny Hart pushing the limits of traction over the rocks.
Callum T – Josh Bryceland looking fast and in control and on route to his career first (of many!) Elite podium. With so many top World Cup pro’s attending the BDS series, this is a good indicator that Josh has what it takes to get his first international podium this year.
Sam Davies – This marked Steve Peat’s first time to Llangollen and took to the track in no time, schooling the kids on how its done.
Sam Davies – Danny Hart on course to a solid third place finish with a 1:45.77 just behind Sam Dale and Josh Bryceland. Danny’s racking up podiums like there going out of fashion in 2011!
Callum T - Manon Carpenter pushing her Saracen to a win and the top step of the podium.
Callum T – Neil Donoghue – “Don’t call this a comeback” Neil said earlier this year, but 22nd in Elites against this lot? After a few years away from the races, the ‘Don’ still has the magic.
Callum T – Matt Simmonds back on the bike after a horrible early season crash, which smashed his knee cap! Fast and hungry to get back up to speed and taking a solid 11th in such a packed field is a good indication that Matt’s on his way back!
Callum T – Sheffield Steel! Steve had an ‘off the track’ moment in his finals, which pushed him back to 17th, but with Mont Saint Anne only days away, Peaty is hungry for the podium and were sure he’s gonna get it.
Sam Davies – It wasn’t to be for Brendog this time with a 7th place finish and off the podium. Brendan’s crash in Pietermaritzburg at the start of the season resulted in him having the damaged ACL in his knee removed and surgery postponed till after the race season is done and dusted. This bares testament to Brendan’s steadfast attitude and commitment to his sponsors and fans, who all know domination is on the cards and time will heal more than just wounds to the body.