The final round of the Pearce Downhill series for 2016 was at Hopton in Shropshire. For those that don’t know, the Pearce series is run by Pearce Cycle owners Dave and Lindsey Pearce. They hold all their races in and around Shropshire and the series normally sells out in a matter of minutes of going live online. They have a slick uplift service with Land Rovers and small 10 bike trailers which allow for damage-free, quick uplifts to the top of the hill. Average practice runs are normally 10 per rider but it has been heard of some riders getting as many as 20 runs in one day.
Four members of Team Aston Hill made the trip the trip up to Hopton. Al Warrell – Expert category, Meghan Harris –Junior woman, Josh Mead –Youth men and Joe Killner Veteran Category and Team manager.
Team Manager Joe's Sunday morning practice run:
The team was greeted with a wet and soggy track on Saturday morning and the forecast was for rain all day. The track being used was the middle track of the three at Hopton with some new tweaks added to liven things up. After allowing the eager riders an early start the team headed up for some practice and despite the rain the track was in mint condition with superb grip. Smiles everywhere as all riders crossed the finish line. The quiet start for the superbly run Pearce uplift was short lived and the team was keen to get up the hill and hone their lines.
Thick mud and grass coating on the Banshee Legend
Al pondering the muddy conditions
Race Day What a difference a day makes they say, the weather was a total contrast to practice day. Sunny, dry, and a little cold but no rain in the forecast. The team headed up for some practice and the track was pretty much unchanged from the day before apart from the shiny roots which were now a little greasier. The low-lying sun didn’t help with visibility so it was essential all goggles were clean for perfect vision. Pearce races consist of two timed runs with the best run counting overall.
New Kit Day - Joe,Josh and Meghan wearing the new 2017 ION kit for next season
Josh ready to race
First down was Josh, good steady run but just after the final doubles he came off, this left him in 11th position. He decided to change his tyres for the 2nd run as the track was drying fast. His 2nd run was much improved; he stayed on his bike and went 9 seconds faster to secure 9th place. Overall in the series, Josh also finished 9th.
Josh keeping the doubles low
Josh crossing the line in 9th
Joe Heading off for Sunday Practice
Veteran rider and Team manager Joe was up next and thankfully the low sun had risen enough not to cause so much glare at the top of the track. Joe’s run was pretty smooth, only one small drift off his lines to come home in 11th place.2nd run and Joe decided not to change tyres, a decision he would regret. The track had dried considerably but now had a greasy top surface. Early on at the top of the track Joe hit some roots and crashed off. He remounted but this pretty much set the tone for his run. He could not find any grip and was sliding everywhere. He crossed the line very disappointed ending up in 14th. Overall in the series he finished 15th which was pretty good considering the competition in the veterans category.
Joe Sending the first of the two race doubles
Meghan relaxed before her race run
It was now Meghan’s turn, she was in joint 1st overall in the series but she was up against a local and older rider who had a good knowledge of the track. Unfortunately, Meghan was not feeling 100% so it seemed the odds were stacking up against her.
Meghan was the only female rider doing the two race doubles
1st run was ok but Meghan did say she had a few moments, this left her in 2nd place with a big gap between her and 1st. With nothing to lose she gave it her all went 6 seconds faster in the 2nd run but still not enough. She ended up 2nd and this also pushed her back into 2nd in the overall series standings. This is still a brilliant result for Meghan seeing as it is her 1st full year racing big DH races against girls a year older than herself.
Meghan in full flight
This was Al's last race for Team Aston Hill
Last but no means least was Al. He arrived late on Sunday and missed practice. Straight into his race run, Al was feeling very relaxed which was surprising considering his lack of practice. Good solid run placing him in 11th position. 2nd run and Al let it rip, he fired himself through the speed trap at 29.68 MPH and crossed the line 2 seconds quicker to move up to 9th place. Overall Al finished 6th in the series standings, missing the series overall podium by just 2 points. Al was rewarded for his speed as he was the fastest overall rider through the speed trap with his impressive 29MPH. This was the last time we would see Al race for Team Aston Hill, he has been a constant member of the team bringing many podiums and success for the team.
Al will be missed by everyone in the team and we wish him the best of luck in the future
The Pearce race series this year has been as good as it always is albeit a few wet rounds. The atmosphere is relaxed,friendly and competitive. Team Aston Hill would like to Thank Dave,Lindsey and all the Pearce Cycles team for organising a first class series. We will be back next season for some more.
Cows were seen racing
Many thanks to all our sponsors who have made it possible for the team to race this season and get results with the awesome kit and components they supply.