James reports in from the South West XC Series Round 1, Redruth.

An up and down weekend for James taking 1st in Saturday evenings ‘Hotlaps’ race and 2nd in the main race Sunday. Down to some more bad luck, he lost his shifter and had to race in his granny ring. Pretty damn good to still get 2nd! Read on for the whole story… With the sun shining brightly on Saturday we set off down to Wheal Maid in deepest darkest Kernow for some afternoon practice laps for Sunday’s race. The weather had been dry all week so a dry and dusty fast race was on the cards!
The track was fully taped by the time we arrived, sometime after 2:00pm, so I headed out on a reccie lap to check it out. Jay and Maddie @ Fully Sussed had promised a challenging track for this event and boy did they deliver! A proper, fast riding track with some gnarly downhill and fun switchback lushness where technical skill as well as rider fitness would be a definite advantage 🙂
Did another faster lap and sessioned some sections to get the lines dialled and then headed over to The Track at Portreath for the evening Hotlaps.
Great fun at the Hotlaps – another mint course! Everyone was on track to start with which made avoiding holdups and getting a quick lap pretty difficult so I waited until it got a bit quieter and then smashed out a 61 second lap to take the lead. Even though I could probably have gone faster I thought that this was a pretty good lap so avoided the natural temptation to keep going and called it a day to save my legs for Sunday’s race. By the end of the evening Dexter Hurlock had produced a 60 second lap which was the quickest of the day so well done to him and well done to fellow Junior rider Fin Clay who equaled my 61 second lap to take the joint junior win – but only after spending the whole evening on the track!
Sunday morning and the weather had changed dramatically. Yesterday’s sunshine was a distant memory and it was now cold, overcast and very windy….but, most importantly, still dry 🙂
I did a quick warm up on the turbo and then headed down to the line. The Elite and Expert categories set off first and then it was Juniors and Seniors together. I got a great start sprinting across the field and leading into the technical section and the main descent.
My first lap went really with myself and Joe Griffiths pulling out over a minute lead on the rest of the field and then it all went wrong when my chain dropped and I nearly went over the bars as I entered the final field section at the end of the first lap. I couldn’t get the chain back on for almost a minute which meant the gap I had pulled was almost gone and I had lost touch with Joe. To cap it all my front mech shifter was now knackered leaving me stuck in the granny ring for the rest of the race…
Being stuck in the granny ring on a rocky track meant the chain kept coming off and as a result of this I was passed by the most of the Juniors during the second lap. But I dug deep and kept riding strong and began to claw my way back through the Juniors.
I settled back into some sort of the rhythm, getting stronger towards the end of the race and ended up taking second place on the podium which meant, having won the Hotlaps, that I’m now leading the series in Junior – Stoked!
Big thanks to Jay and Maddie for delivering a brilliant weekends racing, Hot Pursuit for prepping my bike before the race and Snapper Chick and Rob Barker for the photos. See you all at the next one 🙂