Downhill racing returned to Caersws in mid-Wales after a few years off the circuit and delivered the steeps with some classic Caersws dust.
With the season drawing to a close, riders were closing to close their accounts early or stake their claim as the final rounds approached. Caersws left little margin for error being both very short and very steep. It made for some super tight racing.
Ian Lean reports from a dusty Welsh hillside.
Words & photos by Ian Lean.Event hosted by Gravity Events.
Caersws, Wales played host to the penultimate round of the HSBC National Downhill Series, hosted by Gravity Events, a venue we haven’t seen on the race calendar since 2011 I think? Having recently seen a complete revamp of an old track by former World Cup racer Matt Simmonds, it was a classic fast, steep and techy track straight out of the 90s.
Sprinkles of the wet stuff descended as most people arrived at the venue Saturday morning. Some riders would’ve been hoping it had rained a tad more as conditions were uncharacteristically dry (especially for Wales).
With areas of the track a foot deep in powder catching out a lot of riders throughout the weekend resulting in some lengthy stoppages and unfortunate trips to hospital for some, so a massive get well soon to all of those riders. Matt Rushton being one we know of.
Sunday started with bright blue skies and even though there had been some overnight rain you wouldn’t have noticed on track, but later in the day clouds rolled in and you could see that rain coming across the valley.
Just in time for most riders final runs but somehow we got away with a soaking and it went around us. The grassy corner as you come out of the woods would’ve been fun if it had.
270 riders turned out for a weekends racing which is the most this season I believe so that was good to see including recent double Snowshoe World Cup winner Jordan Williams.
As for the results, there were some mighty fast times especially in Elite men which saw Roger Vieira beat Adam Brayton by 0.35 seconds with a time of 1:31.801 resulting in Roger securing the overall title before the final round at Antur Stiniog in 2 weeks time, Jack Reading slotted into 3rd and Mike Jones 4th.
Preston Williams took home the Junior win from Jordan Williams with a pretty impressive time of 1:33.598 and had he been in Elite that time would have landed him in 6th in front of Taylor Vernon, that’s bloody good going for a first year Junior. Equally as impressive is Dom Platt’s win in Youth would have placed him 10th in the Elites.
Elite Women was won by Stacey Fisher who beat French racer Melanie Chappaz by 4 seconds. KJ Sharp came in 3rd which is pretty mad considering she’s riding with a separated shoulder and being at the hospital nursing Matt Rushton all night.
It means valuable points in the bag going into the last round where KJ is leading overall by 20 points. Aimi Kenyon smashed the Junior field by 9 seconds and sitting quite comfortable at the top of the overall going into the final round of 2021.
You can check out the full results from the Caersws British National Downhill Series here.