The Identiti team were up for it though, with 4x regulars Dylan Grell-Delsol, Jordan Lunn and Matt Hillyard all in action. Chris Smith was a last minute addition to the race line up, after filming some action on his Identiti Mogul freeride bike, he stepped up and entered the tough Masters class on the day!
The South Wales venue was bathed in warm sunshine which was welcomed by the racers, who all had the demanding track on their minds. The first turn was going to be crucial, a tight left hander that would favour the brave and sharp elbowed! With a bridge and corkscrew corner underneath it all leading up to the rock garden and a pro/expert section choice after that, there was plenty to think about.
Dylan had taken a few goes on Saturday to get over the massive second jump on the pro line, but nailed it and it gave him confidence to go flat out in racing. His Youth class had 14 riders, with some experience in there despite their young age, so the racing was tight. Dylan looked in fine form as he made the final and 2nd place is a great start to the season.
Chris was another one who played on the pro section on Saturday, pleasing the crowd with some big air, and testing the limits of his Mogul (and his undercarriage) with a huge case of the 2nd jump. Both emerged unscathed and in racing on Sunday he showed that full suspension can be fully fast by making the final in Masters and taking a brilliant 2nd.
Matt’s Senior class is always tough, there isn’t room for error when everyone is capable of a good result. He looked strong in motos, and took the win in his quarter, but the semi is always where the racing goes to the line. This is what happened to Matt, challenging for second but beaten by mere inches on the line. The B Final was no less intense, leading to the last turn, Matt was involved in a crash with another rider that ended his challenge. An 8th is still a strong start to the year.
Jordan stepped up to Elite this year, having proved he was ready with an excellent 2012 season. With 19 riders the class was the second largest on the day, with quarters adding to the pressure to get the track right. No such worries for the young rider, as he skilfully piloted his Krisis SL to the semi with some gutsy riding. The main was just beyond his reach, and in a fast B Final he ended his day in 3rd place. First Elite race and 7th overall is a great result.
The next round is at Falmouth on April 21st.
Catching up with: Matt Hillyard
My weekend of opening Schwalbe British 4x Series was a mixed start to the year.
After racing Afan for the last round of 2012 series I was excited to get back and catch up with all the other riders and see if my winter training had paid off. The track was loose and really pushed you to the limited with a big rock garden and big pro line section. The first corners tested your set up and skill as there were large rocks to try and navigate round. I felt good on my Identiti Krisis SL and after a few runs I felt fast sending the pro line section really settling into the track.