The Stevens Supercross Cup. Alwyas good racing. Always a deep field at the front end. Always hard. Always fast. Always excellent. This year we are back in Leinster for the 4 round series. Back and bigger than ever. With 34-40 people turning up at training and this the first race in the South all year it was going to be a big one. 50 people presigned. 15 more signed on at the startline. This was going to be epic.
The course designed by Dave O'Neil was a definite Dave course. Fast corners, fast straights, no uber tech, but forced running that paid well for cross riders, and corners that you could only just maintain grip at high speed on. A crew from Team-WORC arrived to help set the course and clean as much of the grass and cans off as we could.
Starting grid was stacked in the front two rows. Robin, Giller, Dave O, Evan, Gormo, Aiden, Peter, Myles, Niall...i knew everyone on the front two rows by name and new this was going to be a very fast start. Some random roadies tried to slot in at the front and were promptly run through when the whitle went. 10 laps flat out. Bring it on.
Straight line it from the gun into the first corner, 3 wide with Stu on the right and Niall on the left, pull away from Niall but he's all over me on the next corner. Avoid the corner we all assumed would cause a crash and hit the speed dip to bypass the river. Up onto the dirt corner like a supermoto course and Niall is trying to undertake, quick flick into his line and he's forced to go high, i go low and make the run up before him.
Massive attack out of the run up and try to gap him Latch onto Stu and Noel from WORC and we work like hounds to gap the group. Hit the ride up fast and have got 5-10m's on the Rocky Mtn boys. Down the straight, first time over the boards (385mm of UCI goodness). Down the grassy edge of the GAA pitch and into the funnel to the 'drop'.
Ride the drop and realise this is a great spot to attack. Pull ahead of Stu and Noel as they are suffering a bit and spot Myles in his Bikepure kit ahead. Target sighted. Attack. Cross the finish line and 200m later I'm on the back of the group with Myles, Colm and Sean. Sit in for half a lap until I decide to make my presence known. Track riding taught me to control from the front like a good kirin rider so i move past them on the boards and get to the front. Also allows for blocking if its needed.
3rd lap and I'm getting pissed off with the guy from Tiernans on my wheel. I made an attempt to bridge to the next group and you are wheel sucking. Shouted 'Either work, or i will drop your sorry ass'. He didn't so i went harder. Myles was smarter than that and half a lap later he is all over me again. Ease off. This guy can ride and we still have 6 laps to go.
And so it went until lap 8. I'd attack, drop Myles, he'd work his balls off to get back onto me and drag the Tiernans rider up to us. Colm had punctured somewhere around lap 7 so was gone, and Sean was off the back and suffering....i hoped. Start of lap 9 and i had to go. As i was winding up to go the lad from Tiernans goes. Let him go, hop on his wheel and get ready to spring board after the run up. This has to be hard as i can no sticking around to see if they chase.
Big right hander. Fast. To fast for my confort. Tub goes off the rim. Rim catches. I highside and end up on the ground, the same place i rolled in warmup. Curse as Myles and co ride past. Throw a massive Millar time and then cop on. Roll the tub back on. Get running kid. Run the section to the corners as Stu comes back to me. Tell him to ride on as i cant corner. Eventually get to the pit, change the front wheel and start again. This is going to be hard. I'd gone from 10th to 21st in a matter of seconds. Chase as hard as i can, corner way to ragged, hold it, get a place. Get another one at the boards and bridge to Asa and another lad.
Holding on as Asa leads into the drop. I know he is going to attack, and he does, just manage to get to his wheel again. 100m to go and a series of 90' corners and a big 180' corner. Skills need to work. Think of it as a match sprint. Hold my line behind Asa sitting on his wheel. Final corner, he jumps the Newry rider, 50m to go and I'm already in the drops while Asa is still on the tops. Leverage will win. Drafting till 30m and i have to go. Out of the saddle. Full gas, head down, death or glory.
17th place. Two rolled tubs. Less points than i needed, but a good performance let down by a mechanical. Myles finished 10th. In my position. Tomorrow will be different.
Thanks to Waggers for the photos.