Stop #4 on the Gravity East Series will be heading to the Allegany Foothills of Western New York at Swain Resort. The quaint town of Swain has been developing and expanding it's resort every year. Swain began hosting lift-accessed mountain biking just a few years ago and last year developed a WNYMA sanctioned motocross track right on the hillside. On the weekend of August 25-26th, Gravity East riders will tackle a rocky, rooty, steep, fast, off-cambered race course called Sledgehammer.
What does this course look like? Take a look below with a photo course walk and helmet cam track preview...
Rider Dave Marshall sets out to take some test runs on the new 2012 Swain GES race course: Sledgehammer.
Little Gwinny - Trail dog in training!
The start gate will be at the very top of the mountain which will consist of a flat run in that has been freshly cut. The original entrance to the trail is down the hill further which consisted of an uphill start with some tight corners... so a flat start isn't bad!
Right after entering the woods, you'll hit this little dirt scrub bump almost immediately into a tight left hand corner.
After your legs are warmed up from the short, flat, twisty pedal across the top, you'll feel like you are fading off the face of the Earth slowly as you can pick two lines into a short steep roller below.
Come flying out of the woods onto the fire road below for a left hand drift-tastic turn. Don't let the photos deceive you... a little too much pop off the top could send you right to the bottom.
Come out the steep chute and then down a fire road. Depending on where they tape the course... perhaps a sneaky inside line?
Come off the fire road and drop right back into the woods for yet another steep chute and then into an off-cambered right hand corner with a short ladder bridge right after. The ladder behind Dave in the right picture will not be there for the race weekend.
Once you come over the bridge out of the corner, you'll be headed down an off-cambered section with some good speed. This sections will take you right into two natural rollers... there is potential to get enough pop and double them, which will allow you to carry more speed.
Everybody keeps saying that this race is going to be won in the corners. Swain has several tight and off-cambered corners that will likely test the skills of many riders and the rubber of many tires.
Decisions decisions... The trail splits yet again into two separate lines, a high line (right) and a low line (left). Which one will set you up better for the next corner?
And again! This is the third spilt in the trail that allows riders to choose either the high line (left) or the low line (right). The low line has also had several trees removed to allow for more flow.
After you come out of the upper part of the trail, you enter a super fast and flowy middle section where it's no brakes and quick turns.
The course will then proceed to enter onto the Swain motocross track where there will be a short sprint into two rollers followed by a high speed downhill double which will send you towards the bottom of the hill. You'll then hit a decent size double with the option to stay low or send it with style! A short sprint to the finish is all that's left to finish off a run. There was a motocross race the day we were there and unfortunately were not allowed to rider the lower section.