With the race season over and winter on its way, we spent a late October weekend with Jake Hancock at his local track making the most of the unseasonably dry Autumn weather. Nestled just inside of the Welsh border the barren Gyrn Moelfre reaches 523m at is peak. A downhill track has been a feature of this hillside for many years and has played host to a large array of events from national level British Downhill Series Races right down to grassroots charity riding weekends.
The National track is fast and thin singletrack ribbon that weaves down this treeless hillside.The top section of the course usually takes the most concise line through the start field and over a large quarry gap. Then flat out into a series of bermed corners and jumps. From here the track shifts up a gear into the rocky knife edge through a series of fast loose turns, down a steep shoot and across the uplift road, the flat-out nature of the track continues along the next ridge.
The hill being completely open can be a blessing on calm day but is most certainly a curse when the worst of the welsh weather rolls in and you are left totally exposed. The Rider - Jake Hancock
We had the chance to ask Jake a few questions about his season and why he chose Moelfre for filming. Question: What is it about Moelfre that keeps you coming back for more? Jake:
I think Moelfre is unique. I love how fast it is, I really like going flat out. There's something about racing there, when you have the view in front of you and you're about to drop into your race run it just feels great. The start of a run is awesome because you have about 10 seconds before you're maxed out at about 40mph... it just feels boss!Q: How long have you been riding here? J:
I've been riding at Moelfre since I got my first downhill bike in 2008. I got invited up there by the Athertons around 2003 but I only had a DMR Rhythm with slick tyres and a rear v-brake, I soon discovered I couldn't hang onto the Atherton's on that thing lol... oh and it had rigid forks! It was wild!Q: Does the love of your local hill translate into race results? J:
I think my win was my favorite result there. I've only won one race there but it was great to finally get it done. I've come 3rd a fair few times so it was great to win.Q: How has your race season been and what are your plans going forward into 2016? J:
This year's race season has been a surprise. My riding style is usually too loose for racing so I am super inconsistent. This year I've finally managed to find a smoother style which has helped hugely with consistency. For 2016 I plan to continue this form with some added fitness. Dial in my bike a bit more with some trick bits and get stoked for some racing. I want to be in the Elite category, that's my main goal.
I don't like to race with a serious face. I like to have a laugh and if I do well it's usually because I'm having a good time.Q: Whats your bike set up at the moment? J:
I ride a 2015 Mondraker Summum Carbon Pro. Equipped with SRAM components and Marzocchi 380 forks, Fox Shock and Stans wheels. Smooth and fast. Does the job very well.The Venue - Moelfre - What the future holds
Moelfre will host the British Downhill Series again on the 25/26th of June 2016, Si Paton has told us they hope to hold the 4X National Champs and a dirt jump jam on the same weekend to make it into a bigger festival of riding, there is also talk of some more local level racing that might be in the pipeline.
John Brignal and his MTBuplifts.co.uk
team have been doing some extensive work at the venue and they have now have a second track up and running with plans for 2 more to go in over the next 12 months as well as a plans for maintenance and improvements that will take place throughout the year.
If you want to get involved or ride the tracks, you can get in touch with them via their website or Facebook and keep an eye out for the dig and ride weekends.