We turned up early enough to get some practice in as we’ve not been to the New Forest racing before.
Awesome little woods sections today with plenty for the lads to think about with Southern XC racing. We’ve been out practising gear selection as its tight, twisty and uphill in sections, lots of 90-180 degree hairpins, uphill which really makes them concentrate on looking ahead/round the corner to get it right. The Woods section is full of pine needles, so once offline, it can be quite slippery and means getting drive out of the corners hard as you lose traction. We spent the first 15 mins of practice time in here, trying 1st gear, then 3rd and finally settling on 2nd for the uphill twisty section.
The boys and girls we gridded/seeded for the race and James was on row 2, behind a couple of his main rivals in the series, Joe Carpenter and Leon Atkins
Off the start it was a bit of a semi-disaster, just didn’t quite get it right but ended up in about 9th going down into the woods.
8th over the line on lap 1, and a bit of ground to make up. But that improved to 6th on lap 2 coming over the line. Up to the line was a tough little climb for them, field based but that really suits James’s strengths as he can get a bit of power down and passed a few people.
Over the line the next time it was starting to get quite confusing, with the small fields you end up with riders sometimes 2-3 laps behind and you’re never quite sure who’s racing who…. James was working VERY hard, you could see in his face the efforts he was putting in lap times comparable with the leaders, but they had pulled away earlier as he was passing a few people. There was a battle going on with a rider from Wyndy Milla as they were swapping fast/slow laps.
Into the final lap, it was a bit chaotic, I was trying to shout encouragement but I wasn’t sure who he was now battling. I thought he was in 4th position but it seems now from the results he was just fractionally in 5th at the time… An epic last lap battle with both James and the Wyndy Milla rider putting in 2 very quick laps that would have seen them battling for the podium if they’d done them earlier… James powered up the hill again but lost our on 4th place by 0.5s ! Ouch….
He was happy, but dead on his feet…. Well… Like all kids, he’d recovered within about 2 minutes and was wanting to race again !
Like all parents of young budding racers, it’s really hard to not get carried away with it all, but we’re hoping to make the step back up to the podium this time.