Wild in The Woods – Aston Hill Black Run Race – Sunday 27th April 2014

Aston Hill’s infamous Black Run is regarded as one of the South’s most technical descents. Hosting local and regional races since 1997, it celebrated it’s 17th year of racing in style. After weeks of dry weather left the trails dry and dusty the weekend before the rain in the week running up to the race and a day of cloud cover on Friday ensured that the dry conditions were a distant memory. For those practicing on Saturday there was plenty to perfect with a couple of variations to the trail throwing a curve ball for Aston Hill and Black Run race regulars alike. The track was busy all day with riders all working on those all important lines.

With the UCI Downhill World Cup racers travelling thousands of miles to race in Cairns, Australia expecting sunshine and finding one of the wettest races in years closer to home the wet and challenging track conditions on Aston Hill were very similar.

Sunday morning dawned overcast with a light drizzle ensuring those with fingers crossed that the track would dry out overnight were disappointed. It didn’t dampen the spirits of the riders already that had already entered on-line with many still opting to enter on the day too. Practice put 180 riders down the course and by the end of the session with the rain holding off a much dryer sticker line had a appeared and the riders were looking forward to race runs and throwing everything down to put in a quick time.

The conditions continued to improve throughout the day and then just after the second runs started a heavy shower hit the hill. Considering the forecast the racers had been pretty lucky that this was the first shower of the day and it didn’t last long but had it done enough to change the conditions? For some yes, but the remaining racers through themselves into their second runs with nothing to loose. In some cases it paid off but in others it left riders sliding down the hill after loosing traction on the chalk.


The young rippers never cease to amaze with their all out commitment. Making light work of conditions that had older riders scratching their heads it was Robert Thomas of the Gravity Project that came out on top stopping the clock on 1.54.57, with Charles Griffith in 2nd just 0.92secs off the pace and Josh Mead of Team Porc/Whisper Bikes rounding out the top three with a time of 1.59.29 just sneaking into the sub 2min club.

  Juvenille Men      


Robert Thomas Gravity Project 1:54:57  


Charles Griffiths   1:55:49 0.92s


Josh Mead Team Porc/Whisper Bikes 1:59:29 4.72s


The Youth men’s race came down to a battle between Alfie Kilner (Bashee Bikes/Team Aston Hill) and Tom Davies (Crank Cycles). The pair have been locked in a duel all season and after the first runs there was very little time between them. However Tom laid down an impressive second run to stop the clock on 1:37:62. Alfie held onto second and Jack Miller rounded out the top three on the day.

  Youth Men      


Tom Davies Crank Cycles 1:37:62  


Alfie Kilner Banshee Bikes/Team Aston Hill 1:42:97 5.32s


Jack Miller   1:44.26 6.64s

Junior Men

Few would have bet against Team Aston Hill rider Al Warrell taking the win on home soil. Al who was back on the bike after injuring his wrist on the team photo shoot the week before. The injury didn’t seem to be slowing him down though and his first run of 1:30:43 set the pace until the Expert/Elites hit the trail. Jack Klimowicz came home in second clocking 1:42:87 and Scott Robinson rounded out the top three on 1:44:29.

  Junior Men      


Alister Warrell Banshee Bikes/Team Aston Hill 1:30:43  


Jack Klimowicz   1:42:87 12.44s


Jack Miller   1:44:29 13.86s

Senior Men

One of the most hotly contested categories and with many of the fastest riders seeing their hopes of a fast time sliding out with them as the slippery chalk pushed them off line. It  Team Aston Hill’s Ross Hammond that used his local knowledge to put together a stormer of a run to take the win and stop the clock on 1:36:28. Second and third were hot on his heals though with Grant Martin just 0.72s behind on 1:37:00 and James Stapleton on a 1:37:17 another 0.89s back and Daniel Sibbick in forth another 0.94s back making it very tight at the top.

  Senior Men      


Ross Hammond Team Aston Hill 1:36:28  


Grant Martin Ipswich Bicycle Club 1:37:00 0.72s


Jack Miller   1:37:17 0.89s

Master Men

It’s always interesting to see who made the move from Senior to Master and the effect the young blood with have on the categories old guard. It was Dan Haines that set the pace on a 1:35:32. James Weames came home in second on 1:36:41 and another Aston Hill regular Chris Spooner rounded out the top three on 1:37:52

  Master Men      


Dan Haines   1:35:32  


James Weames   1:36:41 1.09s


Chris Spooner   1:37:52 2.20s

Veteran Men

The Vets have the advantage of experience and it was all needed to guide their bikes down to the bottom of the Black Run. Pete Little was the man to beat recovering from a rotator cuff injury the racer in him had got the better of him and he’d decided to race. It wasn’t a decision he regretted with a time of 1:44:84 he took the win from Firecrest MTB’s Ian Warby who’s time of 1:48:00 was 3.16s slower. Stuart Chittenden rounded out the top three just a few hundredths off Warby’s time with a time of 1:48:78.

  Veteran Men      


Pete Little   1:44:84  


Ian Warby   1:48:00 3.16s


Stuart Chittenden   1:48:75 3.94s


It’s hard to decide if they were the bravest or the dumbest group of riders on the day. Getting to the bottom of the hill on a full suspension bike was a challenge so making it down on a hardtail deserved a medal. After looking quick in practice it was no surprise to see Cliff Perkins (Beeline Bikes) take the win on a 1:53:10 with Ben Roberts pushing him all the way but eventually loosing out by just 0.37s in second and Scott Cordy in 3rd on 2:05:03 a further 11.93s back.

  Hardtail Men      


Clifford Perkins Beeline Bikes 1:53:10  


Ben Roberts   1:53:47 0.37s


Scott Cordy   2:05:03 11.93s

Elite/Expert Men

What the Elite Men’s category lacked in numbers it certainly made up for in talent with Aston Hill locals and World Cup DH racers Jack Geoghegan (Madison/Saracen) and Philip Atwill (RRP Ghost) both racing on their doorstep as opposed to the other side of the planet. That didn’t stop them laying down their world class skills though pushed all the way by the Team Aston Hill pairing of Glenroy Martin and Darren Evans. After the first run it was Glenroy that set the pace but Phil had given away valuable seconds into the finish after styling up the final jump for the waiting crowd.

With a frustrating first run that saw him off the pace of the leaders Jack Geoghegan was in a determined mood come run two. With the spectators lining the track ready for the fastest riders to do their thing Jack flew down the hill to stop the clock on 1:27:97 just edging out a much faster finishing Phil Atwill by just 0.12s with Glenroy leading home the Team Aston Hill Challenge in third on 1:28:50 with team mate Darren Evans in 4th and Ben Deakin (Primera Cycles) in fifth.

  Expert/Elite Men      


Jack Geoghegan Madison Saracen Development 1:27:97  


Philip Atwill RRP Ghost 1:28:09 0.12s


Glenroy Martin Team Aston Hill 1:28:50 0.53s

For the full results go too www.rootsandrain.com

So another great days racing goes down in the annuals of Aston Hill history racing returns to the slopes of Aston Hill in September when the riders will take on Root Canal.

Thanks to Pete Way and the Aston Hill Mountain Bike Club Race Committee with support from the Aston Hill Club Committee for all their hard work in putting the race on. Gravity Project for the timing the First Aid team and all the marshals. The caterers that kept everyone fed and watered and the fantastic sponsors that supported the event with a selection of amazing prizes across the categories. Grass roots racing just wouldn’t happen with out their support!



Blockhead Energy Gum Downhill Racing Team 2013 – Josh Lowe, Season Review

Josh Fort Bill StartStraight out of the blocks and Josh started the season as he meant to go on, with a win at the opening round of the British Downhill Series (BDS) in Combe Sydenham. It was a fantastic start to the race season considering the team was just an idea at the start of the year. It’s no mean feat to go from an idea to the top of the podium in the Expert Category in three months, phew! We are lucky that we are sponsored by and energy product!

From the south coast of England we headed north to the Scottish Highlands for the second round of the BDS in Fort William. With plenty of World Cup Downhill regulars in attendance it was a fast and furious weekend on the mountain. Unfortunately a front puncture in Josh’s race run, just over a minute into the track put paid to any chances he had of a podium repeat. Fortunately it’s four from five rounds that count t the overall, but it’s still a really long drive home after a disappointing result like that!

Round 3 was always going to be a tough one, falling right in the middle of Josh’s A-level final exams. Had he done well in Fort William the plan was to miss this round so he could focus on his exams. To be fair he managed to forget the pressure and focus on getting his championship challenge back on track. Josh finished in seventh place with the top 10 split by a matter of seconds; it was good to get some more points in the bag and get Josh home in one piece to finish off his exams so he could focus on his racing for the rest of the year.

With his A-level’s complete it was time to hit mainland Europe with a trip out to Leogang in Austria for the first round of the IXS European Cup Downhill. The IXS is a stepping stone between the BDS and the Downhill World Cup. With the opening round of the World Cup in Fort William also in the middle of his A-level Exams it was the first time this season that Josh would test himself against the best in European downhill racing.  Coming home in 37th place against such a talented field underlined Josh’s potential.

Then it was back to the UK for the fourth round of the BDS series which took place at Llangollen in North Wales.  Llangollen is a fast and twisty track that suited Josh from his first practice run and he was flying down the track in practice. Going into the race it was his to lose and for and for the second time in the season Josh crossed the line with the fastest Expert time to take another win and really ignite the race for the BDS Expert series title.

With Josh moving to from the junior category to expert in 2013 the aim of the year was to move straight through the category and get a converted place in the Elite category for 2014. With Josh leading the British Cycling rankings at the mid-point of the season and with two wins at the BDS series already in the bag there was a real possibility that this would be a very achievable goal.

With that in mind the British National Championships were the first chance to see how Josh would fair against the best riders in the UK. Whilst at the BDS there are categories based on age and ability for the National Championship only the rider’s age matters. With one senior Championship category Josh was up against the best. Not only the best in the UK but with Gee Atherton leading the World Cup Downhill Series and racing legend Steve Peat looking for a ninth British title the best racers in the World were in attendance too.

Blockhead Energy Gum Downhill Team Rider Josh Lowe on his way to 18th place at the 2013 National Championships at Bala

Blockhead Energy Gum Downhill Team Rider Josh Lowe on his way to 18th place at the 2013 National Championships at Bala

Practice went well and Josh qualified inside the top 20 achieving the first target for the weekend. In the finals he put together a near perfect race run to stop the clock on 3.35.16 good enough for 18th place and a sign of things to come in 2014.

With the World Cup heading back to Europe, Josh had done enough to earn a converted place on the Great Britain Mountain Bike Downhill Team and was eligible to race at round 3 in Vallnord, Andorra.  If it’s a step up racing in the IXS Series it’s a leap to racing the World Cups. The first target is qualifying and with only 80 places on offer for the men this isn’t easy. Unfortunately a puncture in qualifying put paid to Josh’s chances. It wasn’t the end of the world though, just the end of a frustrating weekend.

Off the back of the World Cup it was straight back into IXS action. With a point to prove Josh headed to Pila in Italy for round 3 of the IXS European DH Series. Pila has a monstrous downhill track that’s a favourite with the World Cup racers. Coming home in 46th place in a stacked field of over 200 riders Josh chalked up another great result. From Italy the team travelled to Switzerland to race round 4 of the IXS series on the popular Wiriehorn track. Again Josh pushed his Trek Session to its limit for the whole weekend and finished in 44th place, closing in on his target of a top 30.

Back in the UK it was business as usual at finals of the British Downhill Series in Bringewood.  Josh came home in 6th and secured second place overall in the series. Whilst he was so close to wrapping up the overall title, second was an amazing achievement in his first season as an Expert and would be enough to guarantee him a converted place in the Elite category for 2014! “Job done” as they say.

The season wasn’t over though and it was time to head out to Chatel, France and round 6 of the IXS European Downhill Series. Chatel is like a home from home for Josh and he had high hopes of showing just what he was capable off. However the weather had other ideas and it threw everything it had and more at Josh and the track in the form of a monstrous alpine thunder storm just before Josh’s run. The fact that he slipped and slid his way to a 52nd place finish just shows what could have been.

With the World Cup Series starting late in 2013 there was still two rounds to go! The first stop was at Hafjell Bike Park in Norway. It’s another monster of a track with some massive jumps up top and it was an instant favourite with Josh. He was again chasing that covered top 80 qualifying position and he came home in 88th just 2 seconds off of qualification, a move in the right direction, but so frustrating to miss out by such a small margin.

There was no time to think of what could have been though, as Josh travelled from Norway to Austria for the following weekend and the World Cup Finals in Leogang. All eyes were on the 2013 overall title chase, with it coming down to straight fight for the overall series honours between Gee Atherton and Stevie Smith.

For Josh having raced here earlier in the season he had high hopes of securing that covered top 80 qualifying slot. However so did many other racers and with 160 plus riders chasing 80 qualifying slots it was always going to be a tough weekend. Josh came home in 127th not the result he was hoping for, especially considering how close he’d come the weekend before. Never the less, it was another valuable weekend of racing experience in preparation for 2014.

At the sharp end it was Canadian Stevie Smith that edged out Gee Atherton in a thrilling finale to the series to take the win that wrapped up the men’s overall title. It wasn’t all bad news for the Brits/Atherton’s though, as Gee’s sister Rachel Atherton won the women’s 2013 World Cup Downhill Title. Dominating the series and adding the Downhill World Cup Series title to the World Championship title she’d won earlier in the year.

At the end of September as the domestic race season was fast becoming a memory, there was still the final of the IXS European Downhill Cup to come. Maribor in Slovenia is another legendary European track and one that has a reputation for being fast and furious. Yet again the weather had other ideas and a wild weekend of racing awaited all the competitors.  For the second IXS in a row Josh slipped and slid his way down the track, this time to a 51st place finish. Leaving him to wonder as to what might have been had the conditions not been so epic! Josh rounded out the IXS European Downhill Cup in 58th place and 6th British finisher.

Heading back to the UK after a long hard but very rewarding season Josh rounded out his year of racing where he’d started it back on top of the box at Penshurst with a win at the final round of the PORC downhill series.

What a season! 5 wins a stack of top 10 finishes, second overall in British Downhill Series and British Cycling’s Expert National Rankings. Along with promotion to the Elite Category for 2014! Thousands of miles travelled and hundreds of miles ridden in training and races. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a good job we are sponsored by an energy product!

Blockhead Energy Chewing Gum launched on the 1st May 2013 – made from a brand new gum technology, Blockhead energy gum increases concentration and performance and it’s digested 5 times quicker than an energy drink. One pack of 10 gums is comparative to 4 cans of energy drink! At £1.95 per pack they are great value for money. For more details see www.block-head.com

Firecrest Mountain Biking provides skills and fitness consultancy providing a range of mountain bike skills courses on Aston Hill for riders of all ages and abilities along with fitness and performance coaching for keeping fit through to racing professionally.

To find out more about Blockhead Energy Downhill Team and Firecrest’s range of MTB Skills courses click over to the website www.firecrestmtb.com

The Blockhead Downhill Team was sponsored and supported in 2013 by Blockhead Energy Chewing Gum, Firecrest Mountain Biking, IMB Magazine, Trek Bikes, Kali Protectives, Speedsport, Tesa Tape, Shoretrax Portable Mountain Bike Trails, Lezyne and Whackjob Clothing. We’d like to thank all of our sponsors for their support throughout the season.

For the Blockhead Energy Gum Downhill Racing Team the adventure continues! See you at the races in 2014!

We are currently seeking sponsors for our 2014 race program if you’d like to work with one of the most dynamic and exciting race teams on the circuit then please get in touch. E-mail danny@block-head.com

Downhill Thriller in Saalfelden Leogang: Steve Smith and Rachel Atherton take the overall world cup title, Emmeline Ragot and Steve Smith win Leogang’s World Cup

Downhill Thriller in Saalfelden Leogang in Salzburger Land, Austria, September 22nd 2013 – Today saw the final stop of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup and a piece of history in mountain biking. In probably one of the most thrilling Downhill World Cup finals of all times, Steve Smith could beat his hardest rival Gee Atherton. As champion of Saalfelden Leogang he ends his season also as overall world cup winner, followed by Gee Athertonwho finished fourth today. In the women’s competition French rider Emmeline Ragot came in first, but couldn’t avoid the overall world cup title for Rachel Atherton, who finished second in Bikepark Leogang.

It was a season showdown that will enter the annals of mountain bike chronicles. The last stop of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Saalfelden Leogang was really suspense-packed. In the men elite’s overall ranking British rider Gee Atherton was in the lead before Canadian Steve Smith with only 17 points. It seemed obvious that the form of the day and a bit of luck would be the decision maker about who will take home the overall world cup title. In the women’s competition things were a bit more clear, but the title was not yet determined: Action-Rachel_Atherton_by_Michael_MarteRachel Atherton was in the lead with 160 points before second-placed Emmeline Ragot. But a French triumph was still possible, since a world cup win scores 200 points.

And Ragot fought for the title. In best shape she threw down an almost perfect run on the 2.6 km long track, pushing French Manon Carpenter (in the end rank 3) from the hot seat by over 4 seconds. Now, the pressure was on Rachel Atherton, last female rider of the day. After the first time split she was 0.3 seconds in the lead and everybody was expecting another Atherton victory. In the end Rachel Atherton took second place and was 0.5 seconds slower than Ragot. But that didn’t diminish Rachel’s happiness about her overall world cup title: “That was definitively the best season of my career so far. After the World Championship title now the World Cup overall title, I still can’t believe it. For now I am just happy! But congrats also to Emmeline, who showed a brilliant performance today!”

Here are the Top 10 results Downhill Women Elite:






6. CHARRE Morgane (FRA), MS MONDRAKER TEAM, +10.592


8. HANNAH Tracey (AUS), HUTCHINSON UR, +13.078


10. GATTO Micayla (CAN), +15.348

The Top 3 World Cup overall ranking:

  1. Rachel Atherton (GBR), 1295 pointswomen_podium_Saalfelden_Leogang_by_Michael_Marte
  2. Emmeline Ragot (FRA), 1165 points
  3. Manon Carpenter (GBR), 1045 points

Subsequent to the women’s final it came to the final showdown of the male downhillers: the expected clash between Gee Atherton and Steve Smith. It couldn’t have been more exciting. Just before Atherton’s run it was French Loic Bruni who placed himself on the hot seat with an incredible aggressive performance on the track. He beat the so far leading time of Josh Bryceland (GBR) by 4 seconds. So it was up to Gee Atherton to safe his title. He found a quite flowy line, but in the end couldn’t beat Bruni’s run, so he ranked in second behind the French young gun. The pressure on Steve Smith now even got higher when Mick Hannah from Australia finished half a second faster than Gee Atherton. In the last run of the day, Smith went for the greatest triumph of his career. Precise and error-free he found his line and shredded down the top section of the track incredibly fast. After the first time split he was already in the lead and didn’t give it out of his hands.  Finishing as fastest rider, it was clear that he would also grab the overall world cup crown.

SSteve_Smith_by_Michael_Marteteve Smith’s comment on his win: “I really felt the pressure on me. At the start I was quite nervous, but then on the track I felt good, especially in the upper section. Then it got louder and louder around the track and I just kept going. When I heard people cheering behind the finish line, I knew I made it!”

Despite a great season performance Gee Atherton had to leave Saalfelden Leogang as second in the world cup overall and with a fourth place in Saalfelden Leogang’s world cup race. Not enough for his ambitions, but in half a year he will get the chance for revenge.

Also worthwhile to mention is the 9th place of downhill legend Steve Peat. In the age of 39 he proved that he is still able to compete with the absolute downhill world elite. In front of 10,000 cheering spectators he visibly celebrated his top 10 placing.

Here are the Top 10 results Downhill Men Elite:



3. HANNAH Michael (AUS), HUTCHINSON UR, +1.934







10. FEARON Connor (AUS), KONA, +6.620

The Top 3 World Cup overall ranking:Downhill Thriller - Saalfelden_Leogang_by_Michael_Marte

  1. Steve Smith (CAN), 1199 points
  2. Gee Atherton (GBR), 1121 points
  3. Greg Minnaar (RSA), 673 points

In the men junior’s competition Swiss rider Noel Niederberger, who already was fastest in the qualification runs, took the win before his all-season rivals Loris Vergier (FRA) and Michael Jones (GBR). All three were separated by less than 1.5 seconds, another prove for the extreme performance density in the junior men downhill division. However, second place was enough for French Vergier to maintain his overall lead and take home the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill Junior World Cup overall title.

All news about the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup and the UCI Four-Cross World Championships as well as about biking in Saalfelden Leogang can be found on the new bike channel: http://bike.saalfelden-leogang.com/

Further information about Bikepark Leogang: http://www.bikepark-leogang.com/en/ or via: http://www.facebook.com/Leogang.Bikepark?fref=ts

News and information about the Saalfelden Leogang region can be found on:

http://www.saalfelden-leogang.com/de/ or on: http://www.facebook.com/SaalfeldenLeogang


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We like to wish all of our clients old and new and those yet to join us a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It’s been an exciting year for all of us here at Firecrest Mountain Biking. As a pioneer of the Mountain Bike Skills Instruction (can you believe that 2013 is our 15th year) it’s great to see the growth in the mountain bike skills training sector and so many people getting out there and  looking to improve their skills through training and instruction rather than trial and error. However this brings with it a new set of challenges for us as here at Firecrest MTB. Not least how we make sure that we a) stay ahead of the competition, and b) let our customers know that we have the passion, knowledge and experience to ensure that they’ll have a great time on our courses and come away with the skills only ever dreamed about having.

For 2013 we’ll continue to innovate and take our programmes to the next level. We’ve been piloting a range of training aids including live video feedback on all courses and live timing (for our Race courses). I won’t begin to go into what we’ve learnt through the hours of training with video with our clients some of which race with the fastest racers on the planet. It’s been yet another road on an incredible journey to take mountain bike skills training and instruction to the next level.

What we do know regardless of whether your going mountain biking for the first time or looking to challenge at the highest level of competition across the disciplines we’ll share our years of knowledge, experience and passion and work as hard as we can with you to make those goals a reality.

So as 2012 draws to a close and our thoughts turn to 2013 we look forward to seeing you out on the trail soon. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like discuss your requirements for mountain bike skills training and/or Fitness and Performance.

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Ian and Mark – Firecrest Mountain Biking

Firecrest Fitness and Performance – 1-to-1 No Obligation Consultation Offer

Here at Firecrest Mountain Biking we have a depth of experience across the mountain bike disciplines of Downhill (DH), Cross-Country (XC), 4X and Enduro we know what it takes to take your performance to the next level combining the best in Skills Training and Instruction along with Fitness and Performance Coaching.

We’ve worked with riders of all ages and experience so we also know how important it is to have a training programme that’s aligned with your goals and ambitions. It’s also important to focus on making the most of the time you have to train. Balancing these factors is the key to getting the results you aspire too.

That’s where working with the right coach can make all the difference!

The good news is that having a coach might not be as expensive as you think and you’ll find that having someone to work with as you train towards your goals will make all the difference when it comes to achieving your ambitions.

We also know that spending hours browsing websites looking for the right training package can often leave you just as confused as when you started. That’s why Firecrest MTB are offing the opportunity to speak to our fitness guru Mark Baines for free with no obligation.

The best bit is that we’ll even call you at a time that’s convenient for you.

This enables us to do the following:

  1. Make sure that you’re going to benefit from our coaching and that we’ve identified your short, medium and long term goals and know they are achievable.
  2. Make sure that we are going to deliver the right programme for you to achieve those goals. We will talk you through the benefits of our core packages and tailored elements.
  3. Make sure that if you choose one our programmes you only pay for what you need, ensuring that you get maximum value from the training package we’ll create for you.
  4. There’s no cost to you. You only start paying when you sign up to one of our Fitness and Performance programmes!

If you’d like Mark to give you a call to discuss your Fitness and Performance requirements send an e-mail to Mark at baines_mark_@hotmail.com with, your name, contact telephone number, and the best time to call and Mark will be in touch.

Remember the seasons not as far away as you think! Make that first step to achieving your goals and drop us and e-mail.

Let’s take your performance to the next level in 2014!

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!


Mountain Bike Worlds Countdown

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships 2012 to come

Greg Minnaar

South Africa's Greg Minnaar in Downhill Action

Salzburger Land, Saalfelden Leogang Austria, August 2nd 2012 – The summer of sports 2012 has some big events in store. At the moment all eyes are on the London Olympic Games, but for the MTB community the actual highlight is still to come: The UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in Saalfelden Leogang. From August 29th to September 9th the two venues in the Salzburger Land will be the epicenter of the mountain bike universe. Alongside big names and top class bike action there will also be big celebrations, appropriate for such a Mega-event as the world championships. These 2 fantastic weeks will offer great athletes, competition premieres like the cross-country eliminator as well as a diversified side program packed full of action.

Of course Saalfelden Leogang is also excited about who will take home the medals from the Olympic Games. But there is another, obviously high contagious virus raging in the Salzburger Land: The worlds-fever and the pleasant anticipation for the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships are becoming more and more noticeable throughout the entire region. Stefan Pühringer, director of the Saalfelden Leogang Touristism GmbH describes the ambiance on site as follows:  “The worlds is the ultimate supreme in the discipline of Mountain biking and it is a great honor for us to organize it. We are all very proud to host such a prominent collection of events. What started over ten years ago with a small pioneering project – the Bikepark Leogang – has become one of our core touristic markets. We are especially happy, that Saalfelden can continue to branch out in to the endurance discipline of cross country and establish itself as a true sporting city.”

And endurance is what we will need to see this major event through. In order to help you plan in advance, here is the final schedule with a selection of the most important events at the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships 2012:

Friday, August 31st:

  • Men and Women 4X Qualifying Round (5:30pm)

 Saturday, September 1st:

  • Men and Women 4X World Championships (5:30pm)
Aaron Gwin

The USA's Aaron Gwin is hot favorite for the 2012 title.

Sunday, September 2nd:

  • Women Juniors and Men Juniors Downhill World Championships(10:30am)
  • Women Elite Downhill World Championships (1:00pm)
  • Men Elite Downhill World Championships (2:00pm)

Wednesday, September 5th:

  • Women Trials World Championships (10:00am – 2:00pm)

Thursday, September 6th:

  • Cross-country Team Relay World Championships (5:00pm)
  • Men Juniors Trials 20’’ World Championships (7:00pm  – 8.45pm)
  • Men Elite Trials 20’’ World Championships (9:00pm – 10:45pm)

Friday, September 7th:

  • Women Under 23 Cross-country World Championships (11:00am)
  • Men Under 23 Cross-country World Championships (2:00pm)
  • Women Juniors Cross-country World Championships (5:00pm)
  • Men Juniors Trials 26’’ World Championships (7:00pm – 8:45pm)
  • Men Elite Trials 26’’ World Championships (9:00pm – 10:45pm)
The top cross-country riders in the world in action

The Cross-Country riders will be looking to settle the score post Olympics

Saturday, September 8th:

  • Men Juniors Cross-country World Championships (9:00am)
  • Women Elite Cross-country World Championships (11:00am)
  • Men Elite Cross-country World Championships (2:00pm)

Sunday, September 9th:

  • Cross-country Eliminator World Championships (1:30pm)

Please find more detailed information about the world’s schedule on: http://www.saalfeldenleogang2012.at/en/

The opening ceremony for the World Championships takes place in the city center of Saalfelden on August 29th. We will see a parade of participating nations including all participants on the Rathausplatz starting at 7:00pm. Salzburger Land’s official delegate Mag. David Brenner, the mayors of Saalfelden and Leogang, as well as an official delegate of the UCI will begin the ceremony with some welcoming words. Afterwards, the region will present its finest performers offering a full hearted Austrian experience: traditional folk music and Jazz, as well as Schuhplattler (well-known from the Oktoberfest) and Goasslschnalzer (a “gaudy” specialty from the German-speaking Alps area) will underline the cultural heritage of the region.

The celebrations are expected to carry on throughout the 2 weeks with numerous parties and live music, for example the big Ö3-Party on Friday, August 31st with the Funk & Soul Combo „The Jackson Eleven“ (located at the Leoganger Bergbahnen event hall, entrance fee 8 Euro, 6 Euro in advance sale). On Saturday, the Leoganger Bergbahnen will be hosting the ‘Override Afterparty the Second’ (some of you might remember the ‘First Override Afterparty’ at the Out of Bounds Festival), featuring DJ Grandheight. The party starts at 9:00pm, guests must be over the age of 16.

The Trials Nights is an evening activity highlight at the worlds’: On Thursday September 6th and Friday 7th the Trials finals will take place at floodlight in the city center of Saalfelden, supported by hosts and DJ. Entrance is free! (from 7:00pm to 10:45pm)

To end the worlds in a spectacular fashion the closing party ‘BIKE Vibration’ will feature BUZZ CLUBBING on Saturday, September 8th in the „Congress“ of Saalfelden. This party will be open until the early morning. Since the big final is on Sunday, the Cross-Country Eliminator World Championships will start at 1:30pm so that everybody can get enough sleep after the closing party.

The organization committee, the UCI as well as all participating athletes are looking forward to the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships and hope to see a great turnout from the entire MTB community!

Become a fan of the worlds 2012 on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaalfeldenLeogang2012

Firecrest Mountain Biking on Facebook

It’s been a long time coming but Firecerst Mountain Biking have joined Facebook. Our Facebook page is the one stop shop for all the latest on all the Firecrest Athletes and news on our range of mountain bike skills courses, races and events that we are working on 2012.

We’ve been busy searching the archives too for some features from back in the day. With the old Firecrest/Aston Hill Website holding some real gems.  Facebook is perfect for showcasing the events from yester year. From the early races through to Mountain Bike World Champion Fabien Barel dropping into promote the Codemasters Computer Game Downhill Domination with Rob Warner.


FMTB Athletes @ UCI Mountain Bike World Cup – Windham, USA

With very little time for sightseeing the Mountain Bike World Cup Circus upped sticks and travel across to the East Coast stopping three hours south of New York in Windham for the second stop on the Trans Atlantic leg of this years competition.

Again three FMTB trained athletes were in action Olie Burton (Arbath/Speedsport) Harry Molloy (Madison Saracen) and Dave Kynaston (Team Lac Blanc/Solid/Massif Des Vosges) making the trip to one of the shortest and fastest stops on this years circuit.

With a mixture of fast open sections, tight rocky woods and massive jumps all three riders were in their element. With such a short track there wasn’t going to be any room for hesitation and they set to work dialling their lines for Friday’s qualifying.

Fresh from finishing 55th and 67th for Harry and Olie respectively both riders put in fast but safe runs to ensure they qualified. With Harry in 56th and Olie in 62nd they could relax with their places booked for Sunday’s finals. Dave was back on it on the shorter track and he continues to build his World Cup experience coming home in 111th.

Another fast dry track greeted the riders on Sunday morning and Olie was first on track knowing that with a track so short he had to leave everything on it he put in a good solid run. Clocking 2min 39secs enough to secure him 68th on the day and some more valuable UCI points.

Harry flew out of the start gate and was up with the fastest at the first split, a small mistake cost him a few seconds and by split two his time had slipped off the pace and he finished with a time of 3mins 42seconds putting him in 72nd place. With American Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) taking the win on home soil and mountain bike ledgend Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in second the whole of Windham went mental.

While Olie catches up with family in New York, Harry and Dave are heading home to prepare for the domestic race of the season the National Championships at Llangollen from the 22nd to 24th July. With a couple of weeks to prepare expect to see all three Firecrest Athletes and the rest of the FMTB Trained Athletes who’ve been on domestic duties chasing those National Jerseys on the steep slopes of Llangollen in North Wales.

Firecrest Trained Athletes do the business at UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill in Mt St Anne, Canada.

First stop on the Trans Atlantic leg of this year’s UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup was Mount St Anne in Canada. A course that’s been on the World Cup circuit longer than former World Cup DH rider and Freecaster TV commentator Rob Warner!

For all three FMTB trained athletes making the trip over the pond Olie Burton (Arbath/Speedsport) Harry Molloy (Madison Saracen) and Dave Kynaston (Team Lac Blanc/Solid/Massif Des Vosges) the legendary MT St Anne long course meant that they were in for a test of nerve, skill and stamina.

Olie’s preparation was hampered by feeling under the weather while Harry and Dave were having fun getting to grips with the 4min 30second plus course, massive jumps and rocky technical sections.

Having struggled to make the top 80 and the finals at the early rounds due to injury both Olie and Harry made it through to the final finishing in 67th and 78th respectively behind fastest qualifier Greg Minnaar (Santacruz Syndicate). However, the long course took its toll on Dave arms, who as a junior still has some stamina to build for these super long tracks.

With the World Cup Cross-Country on Saturday the riders had more time to dial in their lines before Sunday’s finals. The extra days practice also gave the track chance to dry out and from the first rider on track in the finals it was obvious that the pace was going to be insane.

Riding in reverse order from slowest to fastest Harry was one of the early starters. Clocking a time of 4.55 to put him in the hotseat, Harry’s time kept him in there until fellow Brit Harry Heath toppled it and then the big guns of downhill started firing and the times started to tumble.

Olie put in a good run but a mistake and a trip over the bars in the final rock garden cost him dearly. Clocking 5.01 and coming home in 66th position. Obviously frustrated at making a mistake so close to the finish but much happier with the overall position.

Harry’s time ended up quick enough to place him in 55th and with the top three riders on the same second over a 4min 30second track with American Aaron Gwin (Trek Racing) coming out on top it’s crazy how close things are on the World Cup Circuit. With Harry’s season back on track too he headed for Windham with an eye on getting back into the top 50.