Grassroots DH Racing at Tidworth

May 8, 2018 at 9:08
by BigMacPhotography  
Root1 series 2018
Swinley Bike Hub rider Josh Williams on his way to fastest time of the day

The first grassroots downhill race of the year in the south of England brought with it one thing sadly lacking so far in 2018: Sunshine and dust. And it was blooming wonderful.

What a cracking event it was and if the raw talent and speed shown here this weekend is anything to go by then the future of British downhill racing is very bright.

Tidworth Freeride is situated on the edge of the British Army training grounds of Salisbury Plain in Hampshire and has undergone a resurgence in trail building over the last few years. Under the umbrella of the B1KE group, it is now one of the premier DH venues in the country. The team have created multiple tracks in the chalky soil over the years and it now caters for everyone from beginners through to the most experienced and bravest riders and everything in between.

They have held very successful races for the last 2 years called the Root 1 race series with fun and fast tracks that are relatively easy to ride but still a challenge for the fast boys and girls.

Root 1 series 2018
Tidworth has become a riders favourite over the past few years

With 200 riders signed on, ranging from 5 to 56 years old including 30 under 12 rippers and 20 ladies, it was always going to be a busy day and as riders began their practice runs the talk was of the slippy dust that covered the track and that made for some sketchy moments during the day.

Root 1 series 2018
Nervous smiles for the riders eager to get underway

Last minute helmet and goggle adjustments on the huge wooden start ramp before the riders launch themselves off onto the course.

The calm before the storm

Root 1 series 2018
Riding buddies Scott and Nathan deciding who goes first in morning practice

Root 1 series 2018
New DC Cycles rider Hannah Crossley pins it off the ramp

The riders sped down the start ramp and straight into a completely redesigned top section for 2018, the culmination of a ton of work for race organiser Neal West and Barry Lee with the help of the guys from Dirtkraft who have been in with their machines over the winter. These guys always manage to surprise us with new features every spring and never cease to amaze. A fast slalom through the trees with the odd small table gets the riders' blood flowing.

Root 1 series 2018
Dame Cycling rider Kayleigh Freidl-Gallichan on the start of her winning race run.

The track then turned into the first of many root sections that littered the course. Many riders would be cursing these roots later on with a lot of riders dropping chains as the bikes bucked around underneath them.

Root 1 series 2018
The roots proved no match for these fast little rippers

Root 1 series 2018
Concentrate..........

Roots gave way to fast smooth berms now and even with a fine covering of chalk dust, the riders were really starting to pick up speed here.

Root 1 series 2018
Peeking out of the trees as Barry gale blasts past

Tyres turned white with chalk dust during the day. Makes a change from mud...

Root 1 series 2018
QECP/O'Neal rider Scott Mcfarlane flowing through the S bends with style

The track carried out into the blazing sunshine and onto another fast section that favoured the brave keeping off the brakes before diving back into the woods and more roots.

Even the pro photographers were making the most of the shade during the day. Dusty Shots, sorry Muddy Shots David Cudberson here keeping cool

Root 1 series 2018
Ben Barnett blitzed the course to finish second in his category

Ollie Adams finished a superb second in under 12 boys

Root 1 series 2018
Pro rider Ben Deakin making short work of those roots

The middle section of the track is arguably the hardest section to get right and not lose any time. The tight corners were like a dustbowl and the roots were ready to grab your wheel in the blink of an eye.

The dusty berms proved a riders favourite

Root 1 series 2018
One of the famous Tidworth gnomes look on as the dust swirls around his head

Root 1 series 2018
Imogen Rabani finished a fantastic 2nd place in under 12 girls.

Root 1 series 2018
One of the youngest riders of the day, Samuel Leach looking composed in the dust here

Root 1 series 2018
Great to see so many kids out racing their bikes.Ty Simpson on his tiny Propain full sus.

The last root lined section saw the fastest riders take the high line to avoid braking and turning on those treacherous roots.

Root 1 series 2018
Will Savery trying to avoid most of the roots

Root 1 series 2018
Sunshine and bright kit. A photographers dream!

Out of the woods now and this is where the track really opens up and a series of catch berms leads down to the finish with only a few small jumps to keep the riders on their toes.

Root 1 series 2018
Max Gerrard just missing out on a podium here

Root 1 series 2018
Rigid? Under 12? Seth Percival looking fast as he pinned through one of the lower berms

Root 1 series 2018
Riding for Tidworth bike park, Macauley Cook kicking up the dust

Root 1 series 2018
A dropped chain on run 1 meant Nathan Thompson had to make up time on his second run and he just missed out on his first ever podium.

The finish line was there all too quick for some riders but now it was time to kick back and check out their times and see how everyone got on.

Third overall in 19-29 women was a great result for Queenie Waterman.

Root 1 series 2018
A small table signalled the end of the days fun

With the days racing over it was time to reflect on future of downhill racing in the UK and with races like this up and down the country the pool of talent for the future looks very promising indeed.

The Root 1 series is supported by some very generous sponsors

Root 1 series 2018
With young riders like Josh Williams beating some very experienced competition the UK will surely have more world beaters very soon.

Click here for the full results.

Thanks to everyone at B1KE, Tidworth bike park, all the medics, sponsors and marshals for putting on what was one of the best weekends of the year so far.


9 Comments

  • 3 0
 "Hardtail? Under 12? Seth Percival looking fast as he pinned through one of the lower berms" upgrade that comment to RIGID! commitment for a youngster!
  • 1 0
 Oh yeah! What a lad. He was flying all day!
  • 2 0
 Great race report and photos @BigMacPhotography Smile
  • 1 0
 Cheers buddy.
  • 2 0
 Some great photos there. Rippers will love seeing themselves.
  • 2 0
 Great write up @Bigmacphotography looks a lot of fun in the sun ????
  • 1 0
 Thanks Karl, great weekend.
  • 1 0
 It was a great race, looking forward to the next round Smile
  • 1 0
 Awesome day as always at Tidworth. Bring on the next one!

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