Adult DeVo – Sunday 28th July – 9.30am – 1pm

The Firecrest Mountain Bikxing Adult Rider Development Programme (RDP) based at Rushmere Country Park is your chance to join a Group Skills Course for riders aged 18 years old and over, focussed on Skills Development through a range of terrain.

Adult DeVo – 18yrs+
Rushmere Country Park
Sunday 28th July – 9.30am – 1pm
Book Your Place Here>>>

Firecrest Mountain Biking’s Skills Training is underpinned by ‘The System’ our proven Skills Training methods which supports our ‘holistic approach’ to MTB Skills Development. ‘The System’ enables us to work with you and  give you an insight into ‘why to do’ things over ‘how to do’ them. This in turn gives you a unique perspective on developing your Skills and how to improve your performance when you’re riding trails.

This Group Course will enable you to access Firecrest MTB Skills Training at a significantly reduced rate. It is a chance to join a focussed Training Group aimed at enabling you to achieve your skills goals.

The Course is ideal for Downhill and Enduro Riders new to the Firecrest MTB Skills Courses and riders that have previously had MTB Skills Training from Firecrest Mountain Biking. The Course will cover an introduction to the ‘The System’ and then a range of ‘Technical Trail Features’, Including but not limited to; Jumps, Drops Corners and Technical Downhill Sections showing how you can use ‘The System’ to optimise your Skills, Mindset, and Performance.

‘The System’ will enable you to understand how to optimise your riding and easily identify areas that you need to focus on as you develop your skills. Tapping into our experience will give you the knowledge and confidence needed to ‘fast track’ the improvements to make those gains that will have you riding faster with more confidence.

Adult DeVo – 18yrs+
Rushmere Country Park
Sunday 28th July – 9.30am – 1pm
Book Your Place Here>>>


Young Rider Development Programme – Level2 – Spring/Summer Saturday Morning Courses – 2018

Firecrest Mountain Biking’s Young Rider Development Programme’s (DeVo) popular Saturday Morning MTB Skills Training Courses (Level2) will be running at Aston Hill Bike Park from Saturday 6th January. The Courses are for Mountain Bikers aged from 12 years to 18 years old looking to develop their Mountain Bike Skills.

The Winter/Spring Saturday Morning Mountain Bike Skills Courses at Aston Hill Bikepark will get you riding your Mountain Bike with more confidence and speed. They are a great opportunity to meet likeminded young riders and progress your riding. From getting faster on the trails on Aston Hill through to racing at Local, Regional and National Competitions.

For young mountain bikers coming through our programme of Mountain Bike Skills Courses they build on the skills taught on the Level1 Courses. All the Training Courses Firecrest run provide an insight into the Mountain Bike Skills Essentials that enable you to get the most from your Mountain Bike.

Firecrest MTB’s DeVo Level2 Mountain Bike Skills Courses will be using all the trails on Aston Hill from the Pumptrack to the tight and technical Black Run through to the big jumps and drops on Surface to Air!

All the training is given under the watchful eye of Firecrest MTB’s highly experienced staff providing expert tuition. If you’re looking to develop your Mountain Bike Skills these are the courses for you!

All of Firecrest’s Mountain Bike Skills Courses are structured to provide a progressive programme of Mountain Bike Skills Training so you can come on them all or just come along on the days you can make to suit.

Courses Dates:

Saturday 24th March 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 7th April 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 21st April 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 5th May 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 19th May 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 2nd June 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 23rd June 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 7th July 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available
Saturday 21st July 2018 – 10am – 1pm – Spaces Available

British Downhill Round 2 – Fort William – 9th, 10th and 11th May 2014

With the advance forecast showing heavy rain for the Scottish Highlands I packed all the wet weather gear I could and prepared for what I thought could be a tough weekend trackside at Fort William. As British Downhill Rounds go this is always the toughest, the track is just legendary and has been long considered one of the toughest on the World Cup Circuit. The drive up is epic both in terms of the time spent in the car and the scenery for the last 3hrs of the journey and pressure on me as a coach as the athlete despite your best efforts flicks up a notch as it’s a long way to go not to come home with a result.

So with all that to consider over the 12hrs it takes to get to Fort William it was a good job I was travelling up with Blockhead Team Rider Josh Lowe and Ghost Factory Team Rider Harry Molloy. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Josh for the past 4 seasons and I worked with Harry for a number of years too so I know the guys well and the hours flew past on the long journey north.

Josh Lowe Road Tripping

My main focus over a race weekend is the Blockhead Downhill Team and in Fort William I was looking after Josh (Lowe) and Fergus (Ryan). Fergus is in his first year on the team and with our first skills coaching session behind us I was looking forward to working him with trackside. After waiting for the rain to stop Josh, Harry and I took a trip to the top of the mountain to check out what was install. We’d all been and raced at the Nevis Range a lot over the years and although we knew the track well it was interesting to see the changes in line that a hard winter of weather and training opened up. From carry more speed in terns to some interesting tape options it was going to be more than straight forward to get the most from the track.Fort William - Track Walk

It’s easy to break the Fort William Track down into sectors with the top being made up of the fast open and tight corners and the board walk, then it’s into some big hits in the rocks, before another fast open section takes you down onto the slab. From there it’s full speed ahead to the dear gate and then flat out to the first small section of woods. The starter if you like for the main wood section that had everyone scratching their heads when it came to line choice. In all my years of racing and trail building I’d never seen a section evolve like this one did it was incredible to watch the riders come in on their previous line only to find it had been eroded and gone. This was where the true genius in the riders shone through for sure. Whilst this section wasn’t going to win you the race you could certainly loose it here.

Back up to warp speed for the Silverline Tools hip jump and then down into the woods for the Hazzard Booter complete with evil case marks! The more woods before being fired out into the motor way section. With a super fast run into the first hip it’s then full gas to the finish with the table tops and step downs tempting those that can into throwing in some style as they fly down to the finish line.

Silverline Tools - Hip/Wall Ride

Anyone of the sectors would make a great track on it’s own putting them all together is the art and with 8 of the Cairns top 10 on track there were plenty of speed merchants on hand to show everyone how it should be done.

The rain overnight was biblical and I awoke early in the hope that for once it had rained so much it had run out of the wet stuff. I crazy thought I know but as we headed down to the venue the sun started to break through the clouds and the rain stopped. I had everything crossed that we were going to be in for a dry days practice.

Saturday practice is where I’m busiest checking out the various line options and making sure the riders I work with are on their optimum line. It’s great to have some of the fastest riders on track to compare and contrast and learn from. Full focus as you don’t want to miss anything that could give you an edge. Utilising the system to analyse everything from bike set up to body position there’s a lot to monitor and the I-pad and Coaches Eye gets a good work out when it comes to analysing the essentials of a good run.


From the guys first run thought to getting back to the pits I spent 6hrs hills side. Analysing each of the sectors and watching rider after rider. As they say time flies when your having fun but I must remember to pack some lunch as it’s hungry work! Then it’s time to feed that all back to the riders, giving them the essentials that I’ve picked up track side before they head up for another run to make sure they’ve maximised the opportunities to squeeze all the time they can from this monster of a track.

More overnight rain meant that we awoke to clouds clinging to the sides of the mountain. Again the forecast wasn’t good but ever the optimist I hoped that again it had run out of rain overnight and that the weather for finals day would stay fine as it had for practice.

It’s an early start on race day with final practice runs to ensure that the overnight debrief and line tweaks are dialled in and everyone’s up to speed. I headed up to the woods section which was changing rapidly to gather some intel on lines and the guys put in their final practice runs to ensure they were up to speed. The woods were still proving their worth as a pivotal point on the track with some of the big names getting into all sorts of trouble on lines that had literally vanished between runs.

With the racing starting it was time to ensure that Josh and Ferg were ready for their seeding run and get into the pits to ensure the other riders that I work with where ready to go too. Youth rider Thomas Davies (Crank Cycles) was up first and put down a solid run to slot into second place. Al Warrell (Team Aston Hill) was next in Junior’s. Al made a big mistake up top as the heavens opened and the heavy rain reduced the grip levels to near zero so he lost a ton of time on his way down meaning that he would be first off in the finals and I had some work to do. In the seniors Fergus put together a solid run but was unhappy seeding just outside the top 10 in 11th. Confident that he had a couple of sections where he could pick up the time he needed to crack the top 10.

Darren Evans (Team Aston Hill) put in a storming run to take 3rd in the Experts closely followed by Nick Geoghegan (Rockstar Energy Team) in 6th. In the Elites Harry set the pace with Josh coming home in a solid 36th place and Jack Geoghegan (Saracen Development Team) coming home with a flat leaving it all to do in the final.

Delays between the seeding and finals gave me plenty of time to get the set up on Josh’s bike dialled and it back to showroom finish with Ducksmart and BGi Cleaner (worth at least a couple of seconds on his run). With the racing on Thomas came home in a 9th place cracking the top 10 for the first time and putting in a solid performance throughout the weekend. I made sure Al got his head together for his final run putting in a stormer that saw him keeping the hot seat warm until the top 10 came down eventually finishing in a respectable 9th place.



In seniors Fergus punctured high above the deer gate and rolled down to finish the course in 38th place. Chris Cockrill put together one of the best national runs so far to take 12th. Into the Expert Men and Darren had his eye on the top step. He wasn’t far off with just 3seconds between him and the winner. Nick laid all of his Fort William demon’s to rest with a great ride into 6th palace just a second off the podium.


In the Elites whilst all eyes where on the battle for the podium I was focussed on ensuring that Jack, Josh and Harry could put together their best runs of the weekend.

Josh Lowe - Fort William - Start

Jack was one of the first Elites on course after his puncture and that saw him keep the hot seat warm for a while. He was eventually push down into 29th place a very respectable finish against a field of this caliber.

With confusion over start times I sent Josh off to keep warm thinking we had three minutes to go rather than 3 riders. It was all a bit of a panic to get him to the gate on time and as he sprinted out of the start he slipped both pedals. Riding the stem to the first corner I’m sure it wasn’t just my life flashing before my eyes. As his feet found the pedals and he took a second to compose himself and then gassed on into the top section. I had a feeling that what might have seemed like a nightmare start might have been just what Josh needed and it was! He flew down the course 6 seconds quicker than in seeding and finished in 35th place which in a field of this calibre is a result!

Harry was the last down and he lost a second on seeding but he’d done enough to secure 23rd again a fantastic result considering the calibre of the field and the perfect rehearsal for the World Cup here at the start of June.

The top five Elites were 1st Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing). 2nd Matt Simmonds (Madison Saracen Factory Team). 3rd Marc Beaumont (GT Factory Racing). 4th Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate). 5th Troy Brosnan (Specialized Racing DH).

So all in all it was a great weekend of racing. Lot’s learned and plenty to take away to work on back at home in preparation for the next few weeks of racing. For Josh, Harry and Fergus it’s the IXS Cup in Marribor this weekend and then back to the next BDS in Ae Forest.

Hopefully Josh will make the GB Team for the next two World Cups (selection announced this week) and we’ll be back up to Fort William to support him on track at the start of June. Till then I’m off to analyse the results and plenty of video. These marginal gains don’t find themselves!

If you’d like to take your skills to the next level Ian works with riders of all ages and abilities from complete beginners to World Cup racers. For more information click over to the courses page on





All Biked Up in the Bermuda Triangle

The All Biked Up Mountain Bike Skills Coaching Trip to Bermuda with the Fat Tyre Massive

It’s not every day that you get a call to ask if you’d like to do a week of mountain bike skills coaching in Bermuda, but that’s exactly what happened to me when my friend Richard Kelly from skills coaching company All Biked Up, based in the Surrey Hills, called me to ask if I wanted to join the team of instructors that he was putting together to run mountain bike skills training on the Island.

I’d be joining Richard along with All Biked Up’s regular instructors Glen, Josh and Si. The brief; go to Bermuda and teach the Mountain Bikers the essentials of mountain biking the All Biked Up and Firecrest MTB way!

It’s a seven hour flight from Gatwick to Bermuda and with BA taking care of business it seemed a lot shorter, although maybe that was down to the fact that I was talking mountain bikes with Si for the first two hours of the flight (who would have thought that?) We landed in Bermuda just as it was getting dark, breezed through customs and met our hosts for the week. Rich, Glen and I were staying on our own with our hosts, James, April and Mark respectively, Si and Josh (who was flying in the following day) were staying with Dennis.

We loaded up our bikes and gear and headed out to get some food. The time in Bermuda is four hours behind the UK, so it was dinner time there. We headed to a great little bar for a bite to eat and a chance to get to know our hosts better before heading back to their houses.

I was staying with Mark and Leanne in downtown Hamilton, they’ve got a really nice place with a great view out over the harbour and Admiralty House. Although it was late, my first job was to get my bike built up and when that was done I headed to bed ready for the following days early start. Bermuda time 10.30pm – UK time 2.30am!

Luckily I was tired enough to sleep through to around 6am (10am UK time) and then on and off till 7am. I couldn’t wait to get up and see the Island in daylight. We were heading to the east end of the Island to start our tour so we loaded up the bikes, stopped off to pick up Si and some dodgy breakfast from the Garage and met up with the others. A quick spin round one of the venues for the Islands race series sent my mind back to the UK courses of the late 90’s. It had forest roads, steep, short climbs and short sections of singletrack, the big difference being the ocean backdrop and palm trees rather than pine trees!

We took a spin along the coast to St Georges for a coffee and a chance to soak up sunshine before spinning back across the Island on the road to Hamilton. In town we paid our first visit to Winners Edge, one of two bike shops on the Island, for some spares for Glen’s bike and then we hooked up with the guys to check out the venue for Saturday’s skills coaching.  After a short climb up out of Hamilton we arrived at a great little park called Arboretum. It was perfect for what we needed for coaching with a mix of trails and plenty of rolling grass parkland to get the basics covered.

After a quick spin round the park we rolled back down into Hamilton to catch the ferry across to Dockyard for lunch. After a spot of lunch we were joined by more locals who’d escaped the office for an afternoon on the trails and we headed out to check out the trails on the west of the Island. The Zombie Trail was the first on our list, an awesome little area of single track trails running through some super spooky old naval buildings that wouldn’t look out of place in a horror movie (hence the name).

From there we linked up some singletrack to check out where they are planning on building the Islands first Pumptrack in Lagoon Park. A great spot in an old quarry, perfect for a pumptrack with plenty of natural options for features! Back on the bikes and we continued our ride down the coast to Scaur Hill Fort and Hog Bay. Hog Bay is home to one of the most popular races and there was some more great little singletrack trails that would be ideal for coaching on over the weekend.

Back on the road again and the weather started closing in bright blue skies had turned black and we were about to be treated to an Atlantic deluge! Soaked to the skin we split to drop Glen back at April’s and Mark gave me a great slipstream around the harbour as we headed home to dry out.

Despite there being no let-up in the rain, we headed round to James’s for a BBQ that evening. James did a great job of preparing us a feast under his umbrella in the garden while we recounted our day’s adventures.  Josh also joined us after flying out a day later due to his University commitments. Poor Josh must have been bored by our stories of the days adventures riding end-to-end across the island but excited to hear all about what was in store for day two.

I don’t know what it is but there’s nothing more motivating than opening the curtains to a bright blue sky and that was what greeted me early on Saturday morning. Today’s task was simple, we were heading up to the Arboretum to deliver the first day of training to the riders that James had organised for a two day MTB Skills camp. We were greeted by an excited group of islanders and after Rich had taken care of the introductions, Josh and I took an intermediate group, Glen and Si took the beginners and Rich headed off with the more experienced riders.

We spent the morning introducing the skills and running through the essentials whilst getting an idea of which areas we could help each rider improve on the most. By lunch time our group was already beginning to master the essentials and we were able to use the rolling terrain of The Park to work on developing more of their technical skills. When our stomachs told us it was time for lunch we all stopped to grab a quick sandwich and a drink. It was great listening to all the participants comparing their morning on the trail and all the new skills they’d learnt.

For the afternoon we were heading out to the double tracks and singletracks that criss-crossed The Park to take the participants’ skills to the next level. Again everyone in our group was having a lot of fun and picking up their skills, from cornering, to clearing obstacles in the trail, we had it all covered. We rounded out the afternoon in true 90’s style with a hill climb challenge, fortunately not based on speed but on how far up the climb you could get. With the perfect climbing technique on lock down everyone surpassed their previous record as go after go they headed just a little further up the climb before their legs and lungs gave way!

Wrapping up day one we gathered the group together to grab a drink and let everyone reflect on a great days training. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one already looking forward to day two!

Our trip coincided with the Bermuda Rugby Classic that takes place on the Island every year where rugby ex-pro’s come over to the Island to compete for their national side. Richard, Glen, Si and Josh were well up for a night at the England game, where as I opted for a trip out to a family party with my host Mark and his wife Leanne. It was great to get an insight into family life on the Island. Thanks to everyone for the laughs and for making me feel so welcome.

After a great day in the Arboretum we’d pretty much exhausted all the trails from a coaching perspective so for the day two sessions we headed west to Scaur Hill Fort. This was one of my favourite stops on Friday’s ride and I knew there would be plenty of sections for us to work through. We swapped the groups around a little so Simon and I took over Richard’s group and Richard mixed up Glen and Si’s group between himself and Josh.

For Si and me our morning started with Energy Management working the transitions across the park with plenty of video feedback to get everyone’s pump techniques dialled. We then had a quick look at climbing, working on the super steep short climbs that make their way up to the top of The Fort. Here technique counts as much as fitness and everyone made light work of the climbs in no time!

With going up sorted it was time to look at coming down. The circuit at Hog Bay boasts a short sharp technical decent with plenty of roots and rocks to challenge any rider. This technical descent featured Hirschi’s Rock named after the infamous Hirschi after he got taken out by it on a ride one day. We spent some time working with each of the riders on various elements of their riding to get them through the section with more confidence and speed. Even Hirschi was making light work of the section and manualling over his rock at the end of the session, although he still wanted to look at it every run!

Time for some lunch and another catch up with the rest of the group! More stories were exchanged and lessons learned discussed over lunch. The guys and girls on the course were a great bunch of riders to hang out with and it was great to see the spirit of mountain biking in full effect on Bermuda.

For the afternoon we had a ride planned – a short pedal down the road to another of the popular race courses. This was one of the very ‘90’s renaissance’ venues we’d ridden through on Friday’s ride just before the rain and another personal favourite. We sectioned one of the downhills, mastering a couple of tight shoots into open turns which shot riders out on a ledge right above the ocean. Tough to beat as a section of trail and a great section for mastering footwork, body position and looking through corners.

A little bit more work on technical climbing and line choice and we regrouped at the top of the hill. Group photo for the album and it was time to ride back to the Fort to meet up with everyone to round out another great days coaching. We hadn’t quite finished though as we were invited back to Jay’s house for some video feedback. Jay’s house was amazing, with the most amazing ocean views. It was also perfect for getting everyone in one room and reviewing some of the footage that we’d shot throughout the weekend. After two days of coaching everyone was spotting the things they should have been doing and it was great way to round out the weekend. Thanks to Jay and his family for letting their amazing house get overrun by a bunch of mountain bikers!

We headed down the road en mass to grab some food and chat more about our weekend’s adventures. Throughout the evening stories were exchanged and friendships cemented over dinner and a beer or three.

For Richard and I we had another early start on Monday. James had arranged for some of the youngsters who were too young to come on the courses over the weekend to make the most of a public holiday and join Rich and I for a mornings coaching in the Arboretum Park. We put the youngsters through their paces and they were flying off and over anything with a transition by the end of the session. With their new skills in the bag I headed back to Mark’s house for some lunch and to get ready for an easy afternoon.

We had a treat in store too. Dennis was taking us out on his boat for the afternoon! We met up at the harbour not really knowing what to expect. Dennis’s boat didn’t disappoint though. A 35ft twin engine beast (I really don’t know anything about boats) that we quickly had up to speed and were flying across the harbour and out into open water at top speed. We headed out to a purpose sunk wreck which is a nature sanctuary so there were plenty of fish to swim with. Glen doesn’t do water so the rest of us had lots of fun jumping and diving in off the boat (it took me a while but I did it) and being chased by schools of fish in the sunshine.

We headed back to port and freshened up for a night at Dennis’s house with Chinese food and fresh lobster on the menu and we ate like kings that evening.

On Tuesday morning Josh, Si and I headed out with James and Mark too do a spot of trail building. We were back at Hog Bay on the technical downhill, looking at fixing up the final turn and giving the trail a good tune up. It was also a great chance to give James and the guys some trail building technique pointers for the new trails they have planned. We spent the morning digging, cutting and clearing and knocked the trail into shape before sessioning the life out of it. We had the islanders pushing back up the trail so we must have got something right! I like to think we also helped to change the culture of the trails on Bermuda.

We headed into town for our last evening meal of the trip and met up with everyone at Harbour Front Restaurant. It was a celebration of our week and our chance to say thank you to our hosts for making it a week to remember.

The following morning we headed down to Hog Bay for our final ride of the trip. Rich, Glen, James, Dennis and a few of the locals were keen to check out the previous days trailbuilding as the rumours of the trail updates had spread across the Island. Whilst Josh and Si were keen to improve their Strava times from the day before, before heading home, we spent the morning sessioning the trail and getting some final videos shot. Just getting back to the car and packed up before the rain set in! On the way home Mark and I called into Bicycle Works, the Islands other Bike Shop. A great little shop with chilled out vibe and plenty of great kit in stock. Then we headed into town for a bit of souvenir shopping and a spot of lunch with the guys and it was back to pack everything up and head down to the airport.

What a trip.. I’ve had trouble convincing Michele it was work from the moment I got invited. I guess you can put it down as a perk of the job but it’s the first perk I’ve had like this in 15yrs of coaching.

I’d like to thank Rich for inviting me and Glen, Si and Josh for being such a great team of instructors to work with. I think we made a lasting impression on the skills of the mountain bikers of Bermuda!

Of course we’d have had nowhere to stay without our hosts! Thanks to Mark and Leanne my hosts for all of their hospitality,  Dennis for looking after Josh and Si, April for looking after Glen. I’d also really like to thank James for organising everything and being the driving force of MTB on Bermuda. He puts his heart and soul into the mountain bike scene on the island and it really shows. I had an amazing time and I look forward to getting back to Bermuda in the not too distant future.

For more information on the mountain biking on the Island go to:  or their Facebook page at

Aston Hill Junior Development Update – Junior DeVo Come of age! Go Phil!

Philt Atwill - Team Madison Saracen

Phil at full speed at the National Downhill Championship

Back in the year 2000 I started out on a mission to encourage more youngsters into mountain biking and set up a program know as Aston Hill Junior Development.  The program one of the first in the UK had a simple aim; Introducing young people to the sport of mountain biking in a fun and challenging environment.

Developed initially as a school holiday activity program DeVo as it became know for short gave hundreds of youngsters the chance to try mountain biking and introduced them to the trails on Aston Hill.

Over the years the program has produced some of the UK’s fastest riders and a number of National winners and National Champions but to date they have come close but none have represented the UK at the annual mountain bike World Championships.

That was until this year!  Back in 2005 Phil came along on one of the DeVo sessions and as with all champions was an immediate stand out as having the speed and skills essential to excel at downhill mountain biking. With a few of the DeVo sessions under his belt Phil was getting quicker and quicker and the lure of the race track saw him enter his first race. .

Phil has ridden for the Milton Keynes based Madison Saracen Downhill Race Team for the past two seasons and has added the Youth National Championship and a number of British Downhill Series wins to his CV to date.

This year he’s completed the full World Cup Series qualifying in Fort William, UK, Windham, USA, and at last weekends penultimate round in Val d’Isère, France Phil came home in a career best 34th place overall and second junior! A result that underlines his potential in the build up to the World Championships in Leogang Austria.

I’m immensely proud of Phil and it’s great to see that all the hard work and effort that he’s put into his career to date is paying off. I can’t wait to see how he goes at the World Championships and I’ll be following the championships closely. Look out for news on our Facebook page and up to the minute updates via our Twitter feed!


The British National Championships Weekend – Cross-Country and Downhill

Josh Lowe - National Champs

Josh Lowe flat out at the National Downhill Championships 2012

There’s one weekend on the UK’s domestic calendar that for most athletes everything pivots on. It’s the National Championships! It’s the big race of the year and the chance to put your name in the record books and a National Champions Jersey in your wardrobe.

From a skills development perspective the work never stops and although it’s hard to fit in sessions during the busy race season I’m always reviewing the races with riders and looking at new techniques for the riders to try. Mark’s also busy with the Fitness Training side of things, peaking at the right phase in the season is and art and at Firecrest we are fortunate that Mark seems to have the magic formula to ensure that riders are on form come the time of their targeted races.

From a coaches perspective you’re working on making sure that all the work is done and that the athlete is ready coming into the weekend. As Seb Coe used to say “the hay is in the barn” there’s nothing you can do in the week before your race what will be will be. It’s also a challenge to maintain a perspective and focus from an athletes. You can go into the Championship in the form of your life, you’ve worked hard but so has the competition all you can do is the best you can on the day.

Here at Firecrest we are committed to working hard to make sure athletes reach the championship in the best possible condition to the do the best they can do.

Cross-Country Nationals – Wasing Estate

Firecrest skills and fitness trained rider Maxine Filby went into the weekend after a strong showing to date. A third place finish at the last round of the National Series and World Cup in Canada and the States under her belt Maxine was in confident mood when I saw her last week for a skills session in the run up to the Champs weekend.

At one of the National XC Series races earlier in the year she’d struggled with her breathing and to her frustration the problem returned on lap one. To Maxine’s credit she doesn’t give up easy and after nearly a lap gasping for breath she found her rhythm and came home in a creditable 8th place. A little frustrated at the time having struggled with her breathing, but that soon passed when I reminded her of her goals at the beginning of the season. Ok she was a couple of places behind the top five placing she was targeting but it was still a great result and it give’s Mark Baines (Firecrest’s fitness expert) and I plenty to work on for the rest of the season and into 2013!

The season continues and Maxine heads out to France for the next round of the World Cup in Val d’Isère France to continue here international campaign.

Downhill Nationals – Moelfre

Firecrest works with a number of downhill riders on the UK and World Cup Downhill scene. From the skills on the bike to the mindset off there’s far more to getting things right on the downhill bike than people first think. Control of your bike and more importantly control of your emotions, particularly the fight, freeze or fight response are key to putting together the perfect run.

 Junior Men

Firecrest Skills Coaching

Ian from FirecrestMTB reviews Josh's practice runs in preparation for seeding.

Since the days of Junior Development Firecrest MTB has always worked with up and coming talent in the junior category. This FMTB Skills Trained Athlete’s Josh Lowe (Madison Saracen) and Mike O’Brien (Speedsport) racing have been working with Firecrest.

Unfortunately a combination of a shady transition and gust of wind too Mike over the bars, landing heavily in the 4X jump section of the track ending his day and his chances in practice.

So for Firecrest the focuss switched to Josh, coming in off the back of a strong performance at the last BDS race in Glencoe Josh was ready to give it his all. Seeding in 6th showed he was on the pace and in the finals he shaved 4 seconds off his seeding run to finish seventh on the day.

Phil Atwell (Madison Saracen)  just missed out on adding to his medal collection, second in seeding and fourth in the finals left Phil a little frustrated but as a first year junior he’ll be back for revenge in 2013. Phil got into mountain biking through Firecrest’s Junior Development program back in the day and it’s always good to see him putting in great performances and doing his selection for the 2012 Junior World Championship  Team no harm in the process.

National Championship Men

Harry Molloy - National Champs 2

Harry Molloy on his way to 9th place at the National Downhill Championships

Firecrest have been working with Harry Molloy (Madison Saracen) for the last three seasons. Harry comes to us for skills coaching and to work on his mental preparation. With a big team around him and lot’s of support we provide a little consultancy and insight from time to time. Polishing his skills and tuning up his mindset.

Harry’s had another stellar season both domestically and internationally as the 21 year old builds continues to build his experience and reputation. Fifth in seeding underlined his confidence on this track. Setting off just in front of Steve Peat in the finals Harry came home to take 9th place. Not quite what he wanted coming into the finals and based on his form in seeding but enough to put him inside the top 10 against some of the fastest riders in the World.

Olie Burton

Olie Burton on his way to 14th place on the day.

Olie Burton was on form too, coming home in 14th place to underline his form of late. Olie was another rider targeting a top 10 performance but with times as tight as they were he’s looking forward to the remaining international races and a strong finish to his season.

Dave Kynaston continued his come back after his arm surgery over the winter. As with all recovery’s it’s been a long road. But Dave starting to find the pace of a couple of seasons ago and we are working hard to get him back up to full speed for the remainder of the season and into 2013.

So that’s the 2012 Nationals rapped up for another year:

Here are your Cross-Country Champions:

Cross Country

Espoir Female: Annabel Simpson
Espoir Male: Kenta Gallagher
Grand Vet Female: Kim Long
Grand Vet Male: Pete Harris
Junior Female: Bethany Crumpton
Junior Male: Samuel Stean
Juvenile Female: Emily Wadsworth
Juvenile Male: William Gascoyne
Master Female: Fay Cripps
Master Male: Luke Smith
Senior Female: Nikki Harris
Senior Male: Liam Killeen
Super Vet Male: Victor Barnett
Vet Female:
Helen MacGregor
Male: Lewis King
Youth Female:
Lucy Grant
Youth Male:
Billy Harding

Here are your Downhill Champions:

Juvenile Men: James Purvis 2:54.061
Youth Men: Taylor Vernon 2:38.184
Grand Veteran Men: Howard Stuttard 3:06.178
Veteran Men 45-49: John Cobb 2:50.396
Veteran Men 40-44: Nigel Page 2:41.051
Master Men 35-39: Christopher Whitfield 2:39.785
Master Men 30-34: Richard Cunynghame 2:41.117
Senior Men Non-Championship: Jake Ward 2:35.040
Women Non-Championship: Kerry Wrigglesworth 3:14.295
Elite Women: Rachel Atherton 2:39.012
Junior Men: Joseph Connell 2:31.718
Championship Men: Gee Atherton 2:25.938

Download the full Downhill results here

Download the full XC results here

Thanks to for all the photo from the Sunday.


Firecrest MTB Athletes Dominate Central and Eastern Champs on Aston Hill

Firecrest Mountain Biking have always looked forward to races on Aston Hill after all it’s our home turf. Over the years success on ‘the hill’ has been seen as a given. Of course it’s easy to attribute the times recorded and success on the hill of Firecrest trained riders to the home advantage and yes that does play a part but when the hill is wet and the conditions are at there worst that’s when the skills we install into all the athletes we train really do play a part in the results they achieve.

As a training consultancy we set out to ensure our athletes win. Whilst we win (and loose) with them, when they win together we look to the next race the next opportunity for them to chase their dreams and add to their mountain bike racing CV’s.

Looking ahead, thinking ahead and planning ahead are at the heart of the Firecrest philosophy so much so that I have a habit of being in a state of perpetual forward motion. Rarely stopping to look back, if only to asses what worked, didn’t work and what we should change before moving forwards, onwards and upwards. However sometimes it’s nice to take a look back and see what you’ve achieved and I hope you’ll allow me that opportunity now.

If you looking at the results and thinking “How do they do that?!?” Firecrest MTB offer training for everyone from first time rider’s right through to regulars on the World Cup Circuit. Our years of experience mean that you’ll experience the best mountain bike skills coaching out there. With Mark (Baines) now onboard for Fitness and Performance Coaching we can tailor our packages to ensure you achieve the result you’re looking for. Be that mastering the trails or standing on top of the box come race day.

Check out the programs we offer on the site and if you have any questions or would like to book a session give us a call or drop us and e-mail from our Contact Page.

The racing!


The juveniles put in their runs just as it started raining and a special mention really should be made about Firecrest trained and Dees Cycles’ supported Alistair Warrell, who beat his nearest rivals Peter Hutchinson (Wreckage Clothing/MX Prints) and Connor Low by 12 seconds, and was just over six seconds off the fastest time of the day with a 1.15.84. Alistair’s had a great season and what a result to set him up for the next year in the Youth category. Keep and eye out for Al in 2012.


This year has been the break through year for Aston Hill local and Madison/Saracen Youth rider Phil Atwill he stamped his authority on the race, beating Matt Goode and Wiggle’s Finn Tennant by over five seconds, while also claiming the fastest time of the day with a rip-roaring time of 1.09.03.

Phil started on Aston Hill’s Junior DeVo Program way back in 2005 and has always been a stand out rider. Picking up the Youth National Title in 2011 was an awesome result for Phil and meant a lot to me. I’ve always believed that the DeVo Program was about making Champions and Phil is the first of the crop to have a Union Jack Flag (only worn by respective National Champions) on his sleeve as National Champ great ride Phil!


The Madison/Saracen clean sweep continued in the Junior category, with possibly the smiliest guy on the circuit getting the second fastest time of the day. Josh Lowe beat Chris Keeble-Smith and Slam Cycles’ James Aveil by over seven seconds, just as the heavens started to open.

It was great to see Josh round out his first year in Junior with a win. I’ll never forget seeing Josh ride the bottom corners on the 4-2-3 back in 2009. From there it’s been a phenomenal couple of seasons and it’s a case of roll on 2012 for the second year of Junior.

I can’t touch on the Junior Category without giving Sam Wakefield a mention. His ‘sh1t or bust’ approach to a damp track meant that his dream of winning on home turf ended up on his head about 20seconds into the track. Always 100% Sam’s had a mixed season but had pulled out some great results as the season has drawn to a close. Looking super strong in practice and ready for a busy winter full on training look out for him in 2012 as he steps it up to the Expert category.


Ride of the day must go to Firecrest MTB Trained senior Pete Robinson with an insanely wet second run that saw him only six seconds off superfast youth Phil Atwill’s dry time. He beat Chris Charles and Nick Cornwell by over five seconds, who still had times that would have placed them top five in the Expert/Elite category.

I’ve always know Pete had the skills to pull off a ride like this. In training he’s always on the pace and it was only a matter of time before it all came together in a run. This result is the confidence boost he needs going into the winter.


Firecrest MTB trained Madison/Saracen rider Harry Molloy has had a crazy season. Bizarre crashes and resulting injuries have really plagued him in 2011. However on his second run he managed to pip course builder and Firecrest MTB Coach John Holbrook by 0.23 of a second with an amazing second run. Firecrest made it three out of three with Ben Deakin of Muc-Off/Primera/Royal Marines taking the third step on the box. Ben’s been a fan of the system since a summer spent on the Firecrest Coaching Team back in 2004 it’s great to see him flying the flag and laying down some crazy moves on his way to the podium.

Check out the videos from Neil ChapmanVolker Pacher and Ben8633.

There’s also photos online from race sponsors‘s team, Vince Mo, BDS marketing man Dave Franciosy and last (but by no means least), BDS ‘tog Ian Cross.

Also, keep an eye on Aston Hill’s Flickr group and Roots and Rain.

Full results are on Mikrotime and Roots and Rain, official Eastern and Central Champion regional results to follow.

Keep eyes on for the next race!

Firecrest Mountain Biking – Fitness and Performance Coaching

Mark Baines caters for the fitness training program side of Firecrest training. Having graduated with a sports science undergraduate degree and recently completed a Master’s in sport and exercise nutrition at Oxford Brookes University, Mark has an excellent and in depth knowledge of how to establish a training program to match the needs of competitive cyclists. As a 1st category Road Racer and Expert category cross-country mountain biker, Mark understands the importance of a bespoke training plan and how this can help you progress towards your goals.

At Firecrest we do not use off the shelf plans, we understand that everyone’s training needs are different. Regardless of which training package you choose or whether you are a cross country, cyclo-cross, downhill or road athlete we guarantee that your training plan will be tailored to your requirements.

Contact us today to find out how we could help improve your riding….

Package 1 – £45

  • Planned weekly training tailored to your individual needs.
  • Individual goal setting.
  • Overview of training phases required to help meet your goals.
  • 4 weekly contact to discuss the next block of training.

 Package 2 – £80

  • Planned weekly training tailored to your individual needs.
  • Individual goal setting.
  • Overview of training phases required to help meet your goals.
  • Fortnightly phone contact and weekly email contact to discuss progress and required changes to the training program.
  • Regular monitoring of training completed.

Package 3 – £115

  • Planned weekly training tailored to your individual needs
  • Individual goal setting
  • Overview of training phases required to help meet your goals.
  • Weekly phone contact and unlimited email contact to discuss progress and required changes to the training program.
  • Regular monitoring of training completed
  • Sharing and review of power files and heart rate from individual sessions on a weekly basis
  • Nutrition advice for training and racing as required

Please Contact Us if you require further information on these packages or if you feel that they do not match your requirements.

FMTB Skills Trained Athlete Maxine Filby takes 74th in Dalby

The Cross Country Mountain Bike World Cup made it’s annual visit to Dalby Forest in Yorkshire and Firecrest Skills Trained Athlete Maxine Filby made the trip North to compete against the worlds best female XC racers.

Heading into the race on good form after a strong 3rd place finsih at the Southern Cross Country Championships the weekend before Maxine came home in 74th place and was the fourth UK finisher. Maxine now has an easy week in preparation for Offenburg and the next stop on the Mountain Bike XC World Cup.