The ChainReactionCycles.com/Nukeproof downhill team raced at the first round of the Irish National Points Series at Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, last weekend with mixed results. It was a super tough track where team rider Matti Lehikoinen took the win, but unfortunately 2 team riders ended up in hospital after heavy crashes.
Matti Lehikoinen on his race run
Team Manager Nigel Page explains:
Well the Irish NPS race didn't go amazingly well for the team.
I will start on the positives, with Matti Lehikoinen taking the win, and the fastest time of the day and Joe Smith placing third only one second down – so a big congratulations to those guys from the whole team. They are both looking strong early in the season leading up to the World Cup races.
On the downside, we had two team casualties from the weekend. The track at Rostrevor is really rocky, pretty slow and technical but very awkward in places, with unpredictable rock sections and to add to it the track was really greasy and slippery making it very difficult to have a clean run.
Lewis Buchanan had a nasty crash during Saturday morning’s practice when his front wheel slid out on a slippery rock drop and piled his right shoulder into the rocks, and dislocated it. So myself and Lewis went off to hospital to get him some morphine and have it put back in. Very painful for Lew but he is doing OK now.
Lewis and Pagey checking out the X-Ray
In Sunday’s race, Matt Simmonds – who was looking amazing on the track throughout practice – caught his pedal on a rocky straight and smashed into some rocks, banging his knee up pretty bad. Matt rode down the rest of the track but looked in a lot of pain and for a guy that never complains he didn't seem too good.
I suggested we go off to hospital to have it checked out, so it was back to Daisy Hill hospital in Newry for the second time in 24 hours. It turned out that Matt had broken his patella in two, so it was a huge disappointment again. Matt and Lewis have worked so hard on their preparation for this season, so we are all devastated for the pair of them. It looks like they might both have to miss out on round one of the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg next month, but only time will tell. They will be back on their bikes and racing stronger than ever as soon as possible.
Matt layed up in hospital with a broken kneecap
I could only manage a second place this week in the Masters losing out to local boy Andy Young by two hundredths of a second, but well done to him. Congrats also to Michael Cowan from Chain Reaction Cycles who placed third in the Masters with a great time.
The Team checking out the course
Joe Smith on the rocks of Rostrevor
Another positive from the week was that we got some great filming and photographs done earlier in the week with MTBCut and all picked up our amazing new Nukeproof Megas. It was also great to catch up with our 4X riders Lukas and Michael Mechura who came over for the week, and we had a great time hanging out with all the CRC guys who always look after us so well.
The Irish National was well run and well put together. The depth of talent is really good and it was a great atmosphere.
The Elite podium... left to right Joe Smith, Matti Lehikoinen, Dan Wolfe
Thanks very much to Michael and Tina for all their help this week, Carl and Brooks for their mechanical skills, and the guys from MTBCut.
Our next race is in two weeks time at Moelfre, North Wales for round two of the Halo BDS.