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Joe Beale's First Race

Joe Beale's First Race

Race Report - MIJ FoD Downhill Round 3

After my recent addition to the TMC team as their resident trials rider, a brief chat with team manager Dave the day before race day convinced me I should go and have a bash at a proper race - something I had never actually taken part in before.

I'd like to say I turned up cool as a cucumber, however I've been told that I was a little quiet as we pulled into the F.O.D carpark, watching on as all of the DH rigs emerged from the back of peoples vans. I had brought along my trusty Orange Five 26er which I had utmost faith in since it had happily handled everything I had thrown at it thus far, and had been a lot of fun in the process.

I headed out early for my practice runs with fellow team rider Martin Daniells, scouting out the track and trying to pick the most suitable lines. I'd been to FoD a fair few times, but had somehow never done this trail, Corkscrew, so I took it easy to try and learn the layout before trying to push in my next few practice runs. I felt comfortable and the nerves went away completely once I realised that all I have to do is ride my bike from top to bottom (albeit quite fast), something that I was happily capable of.

Once my first race run came around, I was happy with how I felt on the bike, even if it maybe wasn't the ideal tool for the job. Then again, I knew this was my first time out and committed myself to just having fun - and boy did I. The bike was a riot on the way down, taking all of the jumps and drops in its stride and getting quite loose in the roots. It was so rowdy in fact that after cranking it across the finish gate all I could do was chuckle to myself. Unfortunately after a little miscommunication with race numbers, I was left unsure on my time and thought instead of stressing I'd go and cool off by flowing down launchpad.

Second race run was next and I headed up for my time slot. There was a slight hiccup with radios that was handled well and promptly sorted, then a couple of riders elsewhere in the trail centre had some offs which the race medics were obliged to go and attend to which delayed proceedings a fair bit through nobody's fault. When my turn came, again I was committed to just having a blast, and again I did. The cheers from the crowd were a real experience, especially when things got loose.

At the end of it I was more than happy with how I rode and had even managed to stay in the same ballpark as the lads on their DH rigs, only losing out by fractions of a second. The main thing I took away from it however was the atmosphere and the opportunity to better yourself. Without a doubt I learned a thing or two that day and will definitely be racing again.

Another big thanks to Martin for giving up his time in order to help me out (as well as lending me his goggles), as well as Dave and Andy for giving me the opportunity to represent TMC and all of their support. Finally a big shout out to my dad for always encouraging me to go harder and being as supportive as he is.

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