Intense Racing UK downhill rider Joe Breeden has won the 2019 National Downhill Series after a brilliant performance in Ae Forest, Scotland.
Here he gives us his rundown on the National Downhill Series Finale as it happened.
“Round 5 of the NDS was a great weekend of racing, despite our experiencing every weather front possible. It was the final race of the season and the last race for Intense Racing UK after an amazing three years.
Travel, Pit Setup and Track Walk
For me, the day started with loading the van and trucking up to Scotland from mid-Wales – five hours with Friday traffic. On arrival late afternoon I met up with the rest of the Intense Cycles UK team and we got the pits set up, then walked the track just before dark.
The track was short but looked good and was demanding from top to bottom – an intense couple of minutes for sure! After this it was time to head to the accommodation, enjoy a meal and a catch up with the team, followed by some good rest ready for practice the following morning.
The weather was glorious with a mild breeze and sun shining all day – a perfect day to be riding bikes. The track was mostly dry and running really fast, making it great fun to ride.
However, it was difficult to get many runs in as the uplift queue was usually about an hour wait, which really wasn’t great, especially with the scorching sun on Saturday and the torrential rainstorms come Sunday!
For me, it was a challenging day as I was still battling with some injuries from a crash at Red Bull Hardline the previous week. After getting Lundy, our team mechanic, to strap me up and give me a few pain killers, I managed to get through the day without too much pain, finding my lines and getting up to speed in time for race day.
All in all, it was a great day riding with the team and everyone seemed to be enjoying it.
This was an eventful day, starting with torrential rain that hit us during the morning’s practice session. Due to this, the track conditions had changed massively, and we only had two runs in the morning to figure out any new lines, grip levels etc. before it was time to go racing.
On my last practice run I turned into one of the fastest turns a little too early. Catching the inside of the turn and understeering around and out I went into a tree on the side of the track – hitting my already injured shoulder and wrist! I was a little shook up and could feel the pain setting in, but felt very thankful for all the training we do, which I am sure helped keep the injuries to a minimum.
After the end of practice, given the forecast of more torrential rain, there was talk of cutting down to a single race run, instead of a seeding run followed by a race run. However, further discussion and an updated weather forecast led to the decision to carry on as normal.
Thinking too much about the overall result, I rode over cautiously in seeding and ended up in fourth place. After I spoke with Olly Morris and our mechanic Andy Lund I realised that for the finals I had to just put all else out of my mind and focus on getting the fastest run I could.
This complete switch in mindset seemed to work and I landed myself a first-place finish in the finals – only 0.2 seconds in front of Trek Factory Racing’s Reece Wilson – great racing for us and the spectators. This final result meant that I won the overall British Championship title, which I am stoked with. It feels great to be rewarded with such a title after all that we put into it as a team. The hard work certainly paid off for us all.
This race marks the end of an era for Intense Racing UK, after an amazing three years together. There was definitely quite a bit of emotion around the pit after the race and we’re all sad that our time as a team is coming to an end."
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Also competing in the Elite Men's category at the event was Intense Racing UK rider Olly Morris who came in 6 seconds behind Breeden, resulting in a 7th place finish.
A huge congratulations to both riders from all of us here at Intense Cycles UK.