South West Champs – Curtis Saunders

I came into this round full of confidence from winning southern champs, even though I couldn’t take the south west champ title I still wanted do win. This track that was used for this race was the newest track at Gawton “proper Job” which took 2 years to build. This take was wide and fast meaning very little line choice as railing the main line was by far the fastest option for most of the track.

Walking the track saturday morning was a challenge due to the last few days of rain the track was super greasy. The track started with some really run short switch backs which you had to really pump to carry as much speed as you could into the next faster section where there was an inside line which was slightly off camber but easy to get on and off and I thought a lot quicker then railing the outside burms The rock garden was the only part of the track that I had to really think about as there was a low line which had no rocks in which you could hop into which was the line I chose on race day. The rest of the track was some massive mellow corners which were hard to lay off the brake because of the greasy conditions. All the way down was tables and doubles which were made difficult due the size and steep landings, because they were small and the speed you were carrying into them if meant you really had to squash the jump because if you over clear them you will end up scrubbing off all of your speed.

Saturday practise went really well and because there wasn’t much to learn it meant you could ride the track faster and faster from the start. Nearer the end of practice I became really confident knowing I could go into race day knowing the track and the speed I needed to get a good result.

Coming into sunday first race run the nerves kicked in however all I needed was a clean run. As soon as my first started, it ended with a crash on the rock garden however I decided to get back on the bike and finish my run as I carried on to the next section I when to put the brake on and there was nothing there so I ended up doing start off the track and having another big crash, what happened was in the first crash it must of slide my back brake up which meant that I couldn’t reach it causing my second crash. Luckily for one of the team member Keith Saunders had a great run putting him in second behind English Champ Jon Cobb by only 1.5 seconds which keith was well happy with.

Coming into the section run the pressure was on and having to wait a further 20 mins for my run didn’t help as I got on the start ramp I tried to blank everything and concentrate on my run and soon as they said go I put in the cranks and I got off to a great start making few mistakes, the further I got down the track the more comfortable I was with the run however coming into a tricky section my back wheel slipped out of the main rut and slid round stopping me dead on the side of the track however I was still on the bike and managed to get back on quickly however because of this mistake it meant I had no speed to clear the next double and all of my momentum was lost. As I crossed the line I was disappointed with my run but then I guess that how it is with racing you win some you lose some. Keith’s second run was similar to his first having a clean run and as he got to the bottom he though he was quicker as did most however when a second slower luckily he still held onto 2nd with his first run.

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