first round of the Y2K NAMBS series saw Ramsgill as the first venue. The
course ran a similar line as last year, although some work had evidently
been done and I feel the course had been much improved. The start was in
a similar position; on top of the moor high above Ramsgill and from the
start you descended across the moor into the boulder field. Last years course
forced you through a bombhole and over a rock the size of a small car in
a manner more like trials riding than downhilling. This year the rock was
optional. and should you try to cross it you had a more reasonable entry
run up. Having said this, picking the line through the boulder field was
a real black art, there were almost unlimited options as you went through,
and even more crashes (including myself). Exit from the boulder field was
an ‘up-and-over’ as you leapt the 45 degree slab at the end turning sharply
to avoid the rock face in front.
Out of the bombfield things got easier for a while as you snaked, on and
off camber, over the moors. The jump just before the 90 degree right hander
through the gate (all off-camber of course) still caught many people out,
and the tapes were broken many times as people made ungraceful exits. Through
the gate the lovely left then right the left hand S bend fired you into
the woods. Immediately into the woods things got muddy and sloppy with large
ruts appearing by the time the Seniors had done their bit for trail erosion.
The ruts were deep and caught many people out as they stalled on the regular
up and over lumps. Some serious switchbacks added to the fun, as did the
large drop-offs, as you descended through the woods. The step down just
before the exit of the woods was gone, giving way to a much smoother, faster
line which lead you out into the field. The first change to the field was
a berm on the mound, which meant you had to go off camber as you descended.
The first bomb hole now had an insane jump to fire you clean across it,
if you dare… Unfortunately one unwise soul toasted themselves on it so
it was closed off for the race. Still, you could have another attempt on
your life at the road jump just before the finish line. The road jump was
a large step down double that well, cleared the road. This was a popular
viewing spot, with many people ploughing the field with their chin, including
Karan Van Meerbeck, who went out with a broken collar bone.
The timing guns got a little battered, as did the timing car (well they
will leave it next to the track), so instant results were not available,
hence I can’t tell you who won Im afraid. Ill update later. There was a
reasonable size Elite field present, but with many riders feeling the corporate
thumb and being forced to go to Bike 2000, despite the fact that the next
NPS is on Ramsgill next weekend, this ideal practice was missed by many.
The duel was cancelled due to poor weather conditions, but I think this
was lucky really as the duel course definately looked like it needed some
work before next weekend. Overall the race was good but with such popularity
of the NAMBS, it may be time that Brian and the boys changed the format
to allow more practice time for all, particularly some seperate practice
time for the Elites. Something I’m sure Matt Farmer would like – I would
tell you what he said, but I’m trying to keep this clean.
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