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Race Report – 2019 National Downhill Championships – Emily Turner

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Photo: JWDT Photography

I didn’t get to race national champs last year because I couldn’t get the time off work for another Scotland trip, so when I heard it was going to be at Revolution Bikepark in 2019 I was mega excited and it was my biggest motivation for racing this year.

I absolutely love Revs, the race track was the top of Ffar side which has a couple of fast jumps, then in to the steeper more technical ginger bobcat with its tight switchbacks and drops, then back on to the bottom of mainline, flat out straight through a few stumps and rocks section then back out in to the open to finish off on a few free ride style wide open jumps and in to the finish. Riding the track a few weeks before the race I loved it and I was buzzing for race weekend.

On the journey up on Friday night it looked like the weather might make things pretty interesting. I arrived too late to track walk Friday night, but catching up with teammate Becca when I arrived made me wonder what I’d let myself in for. I got up early Saturday morning and headed up for track walk. It was wet and muddy… really muddy. Let’s just say it was a challenge to stay on your feet and there were a few bits on the track that looked like they were going to get a bit wild after a few hundred riders came down. The drop in to the steep shoot and tight right hander one of the sketchiest looking bits of the track.

We headed up for practice and we weren’t wrong, it was wild. Most riders having to put feet down and red flag after red flag as riders slid their way down. Somehow I made it down without crashing, apparently I wasn’t the only one surprised at that, as me and teammate Becca got on the uplift for our second run, Jack Reading said he was surprised to see us again so soon because he thought we would still be stuck somewhere half way down the track (cheers pal!). I guess you’ve got to take those backhanded compliments when you get them.

I actually really enjoyed practice and felt like I was getting in to the flow of things and managing to stay “relaxed” and let the bike do the work, I normally panic in muddy conditions so this was a big achievement for me. The track dried up over the day but we called it pretty early while we were still injury free.

Saturday night was the 50to01 “bowl jam” at the bike park and a viewing of Veronique Sandler’s Vision Movie. I love a big jump line and a trick or two, so for me this movie ticks a lot of boxes. And sure, the fact it features a tonne of bad ass ladies just makes it even better. Now I’m super pumped to start getting a bit more daring in the air, eeek!

Sunday morning practice, I didn’t get on quite so well as I had on Saturday, I probably got a bit carried away trying to hit pace on the first run and struggled to keep it clean. Second practice run was better so I figured seeding would be good. Unfortunately, seeding was all round a bit of a disaster, I could see the rider in front almost as soon as I dropped in to ginger bobcat, just over a minute into my run. I had been dreading this happening, I had learned from practice that you can’t hit your breaks on that slippy clay mud and you can’t really safely stop, and you definitely can’t over take. What do you do? I figured it was only seeding, so I just held back and waited until the end of gingerbob cat to yell rider, the rider pulled over but I’d lost my flow and a few seconds later I crashed, cleats full of mud, couldn’t clip back in for the whole of main line and finished in 5th after seeding.

The commissionaires assured me that the girls should have been running fastest to slowest and it was a printing error that this wasn’t the case on the sheet and advised me to correct the order at the top for race runs, but an objection from one of the other girls meant that we ran slowest to fastest again on race runs, so I set off in the same place as I had for seeding. I tried to get an extra gap so I wasn’t setting off as close, but that wasn’t allowed.

So I went into my race run in a pretty rubbish mental state, frustrated and worrying about catching up with the rider in front. Luckily the girl in front had a much better run than seeding and I didn’t catch her until I came in to main line and followed her to the finish.

I finished in 3rd, my first podium of the season and super happy to share it with Ami our well-deserved masters national champ! I hope we see some more races at Revolution bike park soon because I love the tracks and it was an all round good weekend!

Emily Turner, Flow MTB rider
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Thanks to our 2019 sponsors DHaRCO clothing100% UKGlower ClothingFINDRA, MTB Instruction, Corley Cycles.