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WC-RD 6 Mont Sainte Anne, Canada
After a long flight from Dublin, we pitched up in Montreal and immediately got lost trying to find our way to Quebec.
5 hours and a full tank later, we arrived at the accommodation 1st, ahead of some other Gamut riders who were going to be staying with us for the 2 weeks racing.
Practise started on wednesday and the track had a few changes from last year in the form of a flat pedally section near the bottom of the track. Baltic set to work getting to know the track and before long it was time for qualifying. This years schedule has allocated less practise time which means qualifying is usually a bit unpredictable.
Ben came across the line in 18th position after a steady run with few mistakes. He was confident he could scrub another 4-5 seconds off his time for finals, so after a few doughnuts in the rental/rally car, we headed back home to get everything ready for tommorrows final.
Saturday morning came around and we got set up in the new Gamut pit tent. After a couple of warm up practise runs to check the condition of the track after some rain fall, Ben headed up to the start line with a clean bike and some fresh tear offs.
His run was good, and fast to begin with, he entered the rock garden and must have clipped a rock, bending the cage on his rear derailleur. He popped out and continued on without noticing until the pedally section came up. His cranks were jammed up for a moment, then he was able to put in a few pedal strokes here and there. He pushed on to the bottom keeping speed wherever he could and crossed the line with a 4:55, placing him in 27th place at the end of the day.
He knew he was riding well and with a clean run could have been up with the big dogs so is looking forward to Bromont and hopefully a clean fast run to see what he can really do results wise.
We’re off to the go kart track now to lay the law down and make Juan from Gamut eat his words about the fastest lap times.
Sunday 19th july saw the Irish National Championships come to the wicklow mountains just south of Dublin and a massive turn out made for an awesome weekend. After being unable to attend the Championships last year, Ben was feeling bad about not holding the title and adding to his unbeaten record. This year he was on a mission!
The track was fast and fairly straight forward so it and after practising along side fellow irish legend, Glyn OBrien, Baltic was on for a good result and was planning on putting a few seconds into the competition.
There was a 2 run layout with the fastest time of the two, counting towards the final results. After 1st runs, Ben was sitting in 1st place with a 4 second lead ahead of last years winner Colin Ross. Ben – 2:09:614, Colin – 2:13:641
He knew he had a few more seconds in the tank and when second runs came round he knew what had to happen. Around the halfway point he pushed the front wheel out on a flat turn and laid the bike down on the dirt. After bouncing straight up again he pinned it for the rest of the run and came across with a slower time of 2:12:290
The rest of the pack were unable to better either of his times so he took the win and missed most of the awards ceremony as the anti-doping truck was further away than he thought.
Were flat out today now getting packed up and ready to hit the road tonight in order to catch out flight to Canada for next weeks world cup round in Mt St Anne.
Thanks again to John Lawlor for the video
After leaving the European Championships a few hours away, we arrived in Maribor and drove to the top of the hill during a heavy thunder storm. This wasn’t the sort of weather that we were used to in Slovenia and definitely wasn’t the sort of weather that we wanted to enjoy for the rest of the week.
Luckily the weather cleared up and turned into 34 degrees of blistering heat for the first day of practise which kept the track super dry and dusty, leaving the lake as a last resort for riders to cool off in.
Baltic Ben Reid got on well in practise at the start of the week and was getting very comfortable with his lines early on. Then on Saturday morning what was meant to be a day of practise and qualifying, was turned on its head as a severe storm rolled in and flooded the track. After a few riders had come down and scraped the sticky mud off the top of the track, it then became quite good fun with plenty of grip under the water. Qualifying was unfortunately cancelled on Saturday due to lightening putting the gondola at risk so we all got to clock off early and try to dry out enough clothes for an early start on Sunday morning.
The schedule had been altered and qualifying was now to be held on Sunday morning, and luckily the track had dried up a lot by the time it started. Ben put in a steady run but wasn’t happy with it as there were a few mistakes that he knew he could improve on. He qualified in 18th place and headed back to get ready for his race run in a few hours time.
Race runs came about very quickly but everyone was starting to get a bit tired by that stage due to the early start. Bens race run started off with a silly mistake at the first corner where he came to a stand still in the berm. Ben then decided it was all or nothing and felt he was riding like he did when he had his top ten finish in 2007. He had made up a lot of time in the technical sections and as he appeared on the big screen at the finish line coming into the rock section, it all started to go wrong.
He slipped his front wheel on the skinny rock take off near the bottom and this sent his weight onto the front wheel and he steered off towards the barriers.
After struggling with the bike for a few seconds, he got back on track and finished the rest of it at mach 10 to try and salvage what he could.
He finished up 58th place overall and was bitterly disappointed knowing that he was likely to finish top 10 with the run that he was on.
After taking what we could from the race, were ready for the 2 rounds in Canada and are eager to get practising and hopefully return to form to make all of the hard work worthwhile!
See you in Canada eh…
Its Sunday evening here and the sun hasn’t stopped shining all week! The same cant be said unfortunately for Baltic who is feeling a bit deflated this evening after getting his only puncture of the week only 60 seconds into his race run.
Here’s how the week went down…..
We left Fortwilliam and drove non stop for 1500 miles with fellow Ironhorse pilot Nathan Rankin on board. We arrived late on Tuesday night in the little village and didn’t take long to get straight to bed to catch up on some long awaited sleep. Wednesday arrived in no time and we met the rest of the Irish Team as they arrived in the evening, bringing with them a little care package of Tetley Tea bags to replenish the thunder truck stock levels which had dwindled to a scary level.
We were then able to carry out some testing on our new prototype scruff gang ‘initiator gun’. The old faithful ‘initiator block’ had been left at home so the latest weapon was picked up just before we left Scotland. A full test run write up will follow soon, but for now, we are pleased to report that the prototype seems to be working a treat and should be ready for action at the next possible initiation opportunity.
Baltic and Nathan headed up for practise on Thursday and began to get used to the track. They were finding some fast lines in no time which allowed them to spend a lot of time just getting run after run in, ready for seeding on Saturday.
After seeding in 12th place, Baltic knew he had a good few seconds left to unleash on race day, so it was back to the hotel room to get some washing on in the shower before getting that Chinese laundry look going on in the bedrooms. It turns out there just aren’t enough door handles and light fittings to hang 5 sets of race kit and some socks on!
Race day came and after a rather hasty start, most riders only managed 2 practise runs if even that before the track was closed for racing. Rankin being a non European, got to race first and after a “big old downsky”, he cart wheeled across with a time of 4:08. Baltic set off out of the start gate with plenty of confidence, but was soon to feel the back end getting a bit soft. He ragged on for a bit longer, but by the time he hit the steep rooty section, there was no air left in the rear tube.
He rolled down sideways and came across the line in what was pretty much, dead last place.
Big thanks to John ‘eyeball’ Lawlor for the video.