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Round 5 - The Final

The concluding round of the 2005 Tantrum ATBA-UK National Championships had arrived, the weather was good, the track was fast, and the riding was sweet.

Just from the turnout we knew this was going to be a good one. The field adjacent to the campsite was full of tents and the hillside around the track littered with spectators.

The track had been totally transformed, while retaining some of the more notable features of the old layout. A fast roll in led up to a large double, then after a small gap another larger double stuck out to throw riders all over. Then the step up to triple step down into a sweeping left hander which saw riders tearing through at incredible speeds. Another step up into a steep drop sees the rider being drawn over to the right before being fired down the rest of the track. Then a small table top leading into a tight left, which caused many riders to leave the track early. Where the track used to finish a large berm had been constructed leading into a massive double.

Racing on Saturday was due to start in the afternoon with qualifying heats been held in the morning. Qualifying saw some insanely fast runs with JC and Tom Kirkman really battling it out to finish with times that were 0.02 with JC just getting the upper hand with an amazing time of 24.41. Pete Tatham got an incredible time of 24.07seconds in the open. The timing system worked without a repeat of any problems experienced at some earlier rounds and the argument for one has been laid to rest after the close times between top riders which could only be resolved with such a high-tech system.

The racing was brilliant to watch with literally hundreds of spectators lining the hill cheering on every rider brave enough to launch him or herself down the track at such high speeds. The racing was probably the most exciting of the season with riders racing neck and neck right up until the finish line, some of the closest race’s ended spectacularly with riders sliding out into multiple pileups on the bottom berm. The speed at which riders were passing me, stood trackside with my camera, was so fast I struggled to keep sight of them. At points a rider would be out of sight from dust thrown up by his tyres and before he became visible again the race was over.

The final races were superb with Team North’s Jonathon ‘JC’ Charles riding for Team NoSno flying to victory, passing the finish line well ahead of the other riders. In the Open category a brilliant final race saw Pete Tatham win with Renny Myles just taking second place. Despite a poor time in the morning qualifying Seb Cox gave a tremendous performance in racing and won the final. With Niki Forcast out of action for round 5 the racing was really tight between the remaining ladies. A fantastic race however saw Rosie Wilson take a win. In the masters Lawson David took the win with a fast final run, after been chased down the hill by Steve Birkbeck.

The party on Saturday night was really top notch with crowd favourites Skankt giving a well received performance. The partying continued well on into the night and I found myself wondering if anyone would actually be in a fit state to ride the following day. My doubts were laid to rest however as Sunday morning arrived and everyone was up and about preparing for the Slopestyle event. How does everyone do it?

The bowl from which RTH Superbole derives its name had undergone some major reworking and was really a SUPER BOWL. The main features, namely the large table and quarter were still in place, but the addition of a second table and wooden drop in to rail gap really made the difference, providing a whole bunch of new lines for the riders to entertain us with. The bowl layout provided a natural amphitheatre which was full of spectators and provided an amazing atmosphere. The tricks were of the usual high standard we now expect at events, but been the final round people really went for it and gave their all. AJ Lawson attempted a backflip to 50/50 on the kink rail but sadly never actually got it down. The U18s went to Tom Reed who provided some excellent tricks for the crowds to enjoy. Young Chloe Chew took the ladies win. Joel Treliving won the U14s event. Lawson David got the double by winning the Masters Slopestyle, and the open went to the talented Renny Myles.

Round 5 was a weekend filled with amazing riding and an excellent conclusion to a great series. The riding this year has been immense with some hugely entertaining events. Let’s hope next year is even better.

Words by Friday

Pictures by Jack Mitchell

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