After being cancelled earlier in the year, The Irish National champs was held at the very end of the season in early October. The race was changed to Fairymount Farm, an amazing venue with a brilliant track, so it was lined up to be a great event. The weather was amazing all weekend making the track really dusty, a strange affair for a DH race in October!!
Below is a headcam run I did a week prior to the event.
The track was very short, with the winning time being 1.28 which made for insanely tight racing. First up was seeding runs. I ended up having a massive crash which I was lucky not to destroy myself on, so for race runs I stepped it back a notch to get a safe run in. With the track being so short and tight there really was no room for error, especially if you wanted to secure the amount of UCI points to race world cups.
I put in a safe and smooth run and finished 3rd, only 0.3 of a second off the win!! I believe the top 7 was split between 1.5 seconds, so I was happy to have put in a safe run to secure the UCI points I needed for the WCs next season. I know I could have won, but as I need the points I couldn’t risk any mistakes!
Huge thanks to all my amazing sponsors for the great support this season!
After less than 24 hours at home after Norway I was back on a
plane headed to Austria for the final WC of the year.
Thursday was spent prepping the bikes, registration and then track walk. As it turned out cycling Ireland forgot to enter me, so after a bit of panic I managed to get a late entry and with that race number 320!
Friday was practice which went well for me. I spent time checking out lines and felt I had most of the track dialled, even though I must admit it’s really not one of my favourite tracks – it’s too easy and bike parky. After a short break we were back on for timed practice, which got cancelled – nice one UCI!
Saturday was qualifying and with some rain in the morning the track was riding great. I got 2 runs in and was feeling good. The sun came out after practice and the track was drying out quick!
Without knowing how dry the track was I left my cut spikes on from the wet morning practice. After a nearly 5 hour wait I was back on track for my qualifying run. Due to cycling Ireland forgetting to enter me I was one of the last riders down, the track was destroyed! After nearly crashing a few times at the top due to the destroyed track and having the wrong tyres on I backed off and got down safely. Ended up missing the cut off time by 2 seconds which was pretty disappointing.
Not a great end to the season but ive certainly learned alot and improved my racing. Ive become a lot more consistent with far less crashes and with a bit more of an edge I think I will be right up there as I have showed at some races this season
Huge thanks to my amazing sponsors for making my racing possible!
The 5th round of the UCI DH World Cup was in Hafjell, Norway. After one of my best World Cup qualy results here last year (54th in Qualy) I was excited to get back and improve on this result.
Unfortunately the race didnt go well for me. I struggled to get into the flow of practice and just didnt feel great on track. With a very short practice session I only got 4 runs in on the first day of practice, which included 1 puncture and 2 big crashes. I was sore and not feeling great on track, but focused on getting my shit together during practice before qualifying.
Friday morning I was feeling sore but got up the hill to attack it. I finally got my lines sorted on my final practice run and was starting to feel good on track, just intime for qualy. I pushed really hard in qualifiying, possibly too hard as I was getting really loose and making lots of mistakes but felt fast. I put in a good top split but then at the last rock garden near the finish I went off line into some of the massive boulders and came to a stop. I had to run myself through the rocks and then keep going which gave me barely any speed along the last finish grass section. I ended up loosing 6 seconds in the bottom split due to that mistake and with that my chances of qualifiying went out the window, finishing 104th!
Annoyed to have made the mistakes which left me out for race day but was happy how I rode despite them, and think im finding a good pace to race at.
Big thanks to my sponsors:
After a good result at the Bringewood BDS I decided to try keep the ball rolling and race the IXS European cup in Chatel. I flew out on Thursday morning with 2 other Irish riders, Ewan Doherty & Joe ward and arrived to the pretty alpine village of Chatel.
Friday was track walk and practice. Track looked great and the weather was amazing, so practice was going to be fun. I had a great day and was really enjoying the relaxed racing atmosphere, with plenty of time for runs it was a chilled day.
Saturday was practice in the morning followed by a seeding run in the afternoon. Seeding went pretty well, my goal was to put in a smooth run to see how my pace was while aiming for a top 20 result. I finished in 19th, only 2 seconds from the top 10 and only 6 seconds from the win. I was pleased with this as I knew I could easly shave 5+ seconds off that time.
Just after seeding had ended the heavens opened and an alpine thunderstorm rolled in, and stayed in for the rest of the night and throughout Sunday. The track was destroyed come race runs, picture below shows how muddy it was!
Unfortunately I had a big crash in my race run, falling down a steep bank which took me a few minutes to get back on my bike! Race over, annoying to finish with a crash but due to the conditions it was going to be really tough to stay on!
The 5th and final round of the British DH Series took us to Bringewood, just outside Ludlow. I had a pretty hectic week leading into this round as I arrived home from Canada on Thursday, got half a nights sleep due to jet lag and then back on a plane Friday morning to fly to Liverpool where my dad picked me up! I was really looking forward to this round as I had raced the same track earlier in the season at a Pearce Cycles round and absolutely loved it! After some good results in Canada, I felt ready to put in a great result!
After some heavy rain on Friday night the track was wet and very slippy come Saturday morning. This soon changed as it dried out quickly and after lunch the track was perfect – with dust coming up in places!
I got 7 practice runs in on Saturday and was loving the track! The Nukeproof felt amazing and I really had the track dialled in – knowing exactly where and when to change gear/ brake/ pedal ect! I was really excited to for race day!
3 practice runs in on Sunday morning then straight into seeding. I put in a smooth and steady run for seeding and placed 20th, only a few seconds back so not too worried as the times were insanely tight! Confident for race run I headed back to the pits and got my stuff together.
A few hours later and I was back on the uplift for my race run. I put down a good warm up at the top on the turbo trainer with the music banging and I was ready to go! I had a pretty perfect run, certainly on the edge with plenty of loose moments! When I crossed the line I went into the hot seat with a 2.03 time, 4 seconds faster than my seeding run. Even being such a short track I was done at the bottom, really had given it 110%!
Photo credit: Paul Cram/Aspect Media
I finished in 13th position, only .04 off a top 10 and less than 3 seconds from the podium which is a great result for me considering the standard of the UK Elite scene! Very happy to finish the series with my best result to date, just wished I could have shaved off that tiny tiny .04 of a second to get into that top 10 I have been chasing! But that’s racing, you always want to do better no matter how good you finish!
Round 4 of the World Cup series took us to Mont Saint Anne, outside of Quebec, Canada. I flew out with team mate Chris on Monday morning and after nearly 24 hours of travelling we arrived at our apartment in MSA. Tuesday was spent building bikes while Wednesday was track walk. The track looked great, very similar to last year – fast and rough.
I woke for first day of practice on Thursday morning to the sound of a heavy thunderstorm. Tear offs, mud guards and spike tyres equipped I headed up to tackle the track. Due to a lot of mechanicals I only managed 3 practice runs, missing timed practice too. Not a great day but I put it behind me and focused on getting some solid runs in before qualifying the next day.
Friday was qualy day. I got 3 practice runs in and was feeling good on course. Before I knew it I was in the start gate and it was go time. I set of strong but struggled to get into a flow, making a lot of mistakes and then crashing in the lower woods. I kept charging and luckily made the cut in 74th position!
3 practice runs on Saturday morning to dial everything in for race day and I was feeling great.
Sunday, Race day. 2 practice runs in the morning and then up to the top early for a warm up. My race run was solid and steady. Nothing out of this world but a good run to build on for future races. I finished in 65th position which is actually my best finals result ever. So a good improvement!
Cheers to all the lads – Scott Mears, Fraser Mc Glone, Kipper and the media squids Tim Lake and Gee Milner for a good fun week!
Now im currently on a flight to Vancouver and then up to Whistler for the Crankworx festival!
Round 4 of the British DH series was held in Llangollen, one of my favourite race tracks due to its steep gradient and sick turns!
We got the pit set up, signed on and then walked the track on Friday evening. Got the bikes ready and then hit the bed ready for Saturday practice.
Practice went great on Saturday. The uplifts were great so I got about 7 runs in, having the most fun at a race all year! Track was so fun to ride, getting loose the whole way down trying to hang on!
Contour headcam run from Saturday:
3 practice runs in on Sunday morning then it was time for a steady seeding run. I got down safely and was ready to hang it out in the race run!
Photo by Dan Armishaw
I set off strong in my race run and was going for it as I knew I could do well. I came too hot into one of the top turns and the front wheel started washing, luckily I caught grip so I didnt go down but I got thrown through the tape off course. I got back going as soon as I could and put in a strong run after but on the super tight track there was no room for any mistakes! I still posted the fastest speed trap of the day on the pedally section which is always good to see! Despite the off track incident I still finished 20th in a tough elite field, and is actually my best BDS result to date!
Photo by Dan Armishaw
Now a few weeks off before the next World Cup in Andorra – Cant wait for it!
Well, Not much to say here…. I crashed on my second practice run on Thursday morning and injured my hand. After spending the day icing it in the freezing cold river with no relief it was evident I wouldn’t be able to ride for qualifying or the race. Weekend was put to a stop quickly! Gutted as after a great qualifying result in Fort William WC I was pumped up for this one! Luckily nothing major and ill be back for the next race!
The first round of the UCI DH World Cup series kicked off in Fort William this year, on one of my favourite tracks. After a few days in Scotland after the Innerleithen BDS we headed up to the venue on Thursday morning and set up pit ready for track walk.
The track was in great condition after alot of repairs, and with plenty of sun recently it was dry and dusty! After track walk on Thursday it was time to get ready for practice come Friday morning. I got the bike prepped with some fresh parts from the guys at SRAM and she was ready to go!
Friday practice went great. I got 3 runs in during the early practice session and was feeling fast on course. After a short break our timed session begun. I did 1 full timed run but took it easy to conserve energy for qualifiying and put in a respectable time.
2 runs on Saturday morning and it was time for qualifiying. I put in a mostly smooth and solid run in and qualified in a personal best of 53rd! I was really excited to have put down a good run and get well into the qualifiying time, as the goal is always to make the cut off time being with in the top 80 riders. So 53rd was great for me and confident I could knock a good bit of time off come race day!
Fast forward to 3 o clock on Sunday afternoon and I was sitting in the start gate looking over Fort William. Feeling strong, confident and fast I was ready to put in a great run. Everything was going great and I got into a good flow. Then half way down some bad luck struck when out of no where my front tyre ripped off the rim on a fast turn. Before I even had enough time to react, my tyre was off the wheel and I was face first into the ground! First puncture and crash all weekend – fair to say I was gutted as I was confident of a great result. I made my way down slowly with the front puncture and was cheered up by the crowd on the way, who still gave me a huge cheer and plenty of kind words! Thanks guys!
After the team arrived and set up their pits on Friday, everyone was pretty anxious to get riding the track after walking it. The track was pretty long, fast, tight and was bone dry which was a bonus.
Saturday practice went well for the team who were just getting to grips with the tight fast track. Unfortunately the uplifts were not up to scratch for a National standard race and the team only managed to get around four runs in. On to the race results and here is how the team got on:
Dan finished in 50th position in a huge Elite field with a very respectable time: “It took me most of Saturday practice to get to grips with the track but I had an enjoyable day despite some mechanicals. Seeding run didn’t go too well, I took it too steady and had a slight crash with a tree which put me down the field a bit.
“Race run didn’t go much better with a few problems on and off the track I didn’t make up many positions. Despite the run I was quite happy with my time so am looking forward to the first round of the WC in Fort William to show what I can do.”