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Round 4 of the 2005 Tantrum ATBA-UK championships - Out to grass

We arrived early Friday morning to the glorious sunshine and clear skies that looked to be with us for the whole weekend.

After unpacking and the usual crap that goes with arriving at events we got out to the track. The track was a jungle of features with very few areas of flat open track, a big contrast to the previous round at Scotland. The track started straight into a set of 4 rollers leading to a well crafted track consisting of rollers, step-ups, step-downs and tables instantly followed by a number of long sweeping berms and finishing after a huge sep-up step-down.

The slope-style course that would be used for the freestyle event lay just to the side of the BX track and led onto some north shore style features towards the bottom of the track.

After a good fast practice session that for some lasted way into the evening we decided to go back to camp.

The first evening went in the usual quiet manner as people arrived late into the night in anticipation of the next day’s event.

As people woke the next morning the sun was out again with a considerable amount of cloud but “nothing worth worrying about”.

As the women’s, U14’s and masters qualifying got underway the cloud began to thicken and as we moved into the Qualifying it started to rain. As the end of the Qualifying came the rain was well and truly set in for the day and by the time the U18’s and open came to Qualify the track was as wet as a *censored*.

After a long wait in the rain and couple of attempts to get down the track the qualifying and days racing were postponed to the following day and a riders meeting was soon called to decide when we would Qualify and race. The verdict was that the qualifying would consist of only two runs and would start at 8 the next morning.

After getting dried and de-mudded people headed over to the foam pit where the more brave (or is that insane) riders decided to tackle the huge monster of a wooden roll-in into a large Kicker.

By dinner (or tea, if your northern like me) the rain had just about stopped and the nights events started.

A couple of bands played in a large tent in the field opposite the camp and a roast was prepared for everyone to enjoy, soon followed by a fire maze, a maze created on the floor by flammable sawdust that when lit became a fire maze (hence the name). Camp fires sprung up all over the camp as riders tried to dry their clothes for the next day.

As the next morning arrived as blurry eyed riders got up and like zombies, crawled to the track to qualify. The qualifying got off to a bad start as the timing system battery went dead and so the decision to have 2 man timed runs using a stop watch was made. The qualifying from then on was done quickly and the racing was allowed to commence. Niki Forcast took first place in the ladies event, Seb Cox got first in the U14’s and Steve Birkbeck got first in the masters after the long wait from qualifying.

The U18’s and Open were raced with the usual enthusiasm even after the early start with Tom Reed getting the number one spot in the U18’s and Renny Myles grabbing 1st in the open.

After the racing and a short break it was time to get all the riders up the track for the freestyle. The slope-style course had the option of two roll-ins, leading to a mass of large table-tops, hips and rails with a row of picnic benches at the bottom just for fun.

Mick Kirkman took first in the U14, Joe Dixon got the top spot in the U18’s, Old man Steve Birkbeck came number 1 in the Masters and Renny Myles made it 2 wins in 1 day. Jos Kirkman got the win in the ladies denying Niki Forcast of a double in her own back yard.

After one of the most manic days of the season so far everyone was quickly packed up and off home just leaving a few to stop and watch the prize giving.

The weekend was over and although it had not gone quite to plan the weekend was a complete success but did leave a reminder that sun we had taken for granted was a precious thing.

Words by Muller
Pictures by Friday

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