So, we are now reaching the end of 2012 and what a successful first season the
team has achieved, wins at a national level and world cup appearances would be
a modest description of what was achieved, because these were the least
difficult things to have been achieved this year.
We started off trying to arrange deals with companies to sponsor us for the
season and the companies that came to support us, we are grateful because
without them, we could not have performed to the level we did. This was around
December time in 2011 and pretty late on to be asking for support, but luckily
we pulled through and were off to a good start. Over the winter the riders got
on with their training and I tried to organise our calendar on top of that too.
The first national came around in April and we had got the van the day before.
I had never driven anything other than a small car and was to drive it 500 miles
down to Combe Sydenham near Taunton in Somerset, it was nervous first few miles
that's for sure. With it being the first race of the season, none of us were
sure what to expect from our competitors, but had obviously placed a lot of
pressure on ourselves to achieve what we wanted and to see if the winter's
training had paid off. It was almost a perfect weekend, with a good track and
good weather. Morgan managed to come away with 7th even with a stupid mistake
(along the lines of following someone with a mechanical off the track, feel
free to laugh, we still tease him about it today) and I took the win with a
time that placed me pretty well overall. Definitely can't ask for better way
than a win to start the season off.
We went straight into the following weekend with the first
Scottish national at Innerleithen. The weather was certainly a contrast to the
previous with rolling showers throughout and soaking track. But Innerleithen is
always better in the wet, a bit slower on the straights, but the corners have
bags more grip. Morgan unfortunately had been struck with tendonitis at Combe
Sydenham and had to sit out the next races until the British Championships in
July. The success was continued this weekend though, with me taking the win
again despite a puncture in my first run and having it all to do on my second
on a much slower track.
Following on from Innerleithen, we had a small break to get
some fun riding done, so we headed up to Fort William to get some practice in
on the track before the upcoming national round. We brought along Calum
McRitchie for some added fun too and it was a good thing he came because myself
and Morgan were a shambles with remembering all the stuff we needed. We got a
good days practice done though in the rare warm west coast sun. Well apart from
I found myself in A&E after tripping over myself in the finish area.
Back again at the Nevis Range for the second national round.
Morgan was hoping to go better than Combe Sydenham after taking some time off
to get over his tendonitis. A windy forecast brought race runs forward to
Saturday and it was evident who had come up for cheeky practice on the Friday.
Morgan unfortunately couldn't cope with his tendonitis on the brutal track and
didn't race in the end.
We paid Glencoe its first visit the following weekend and it
turned out to be a great race. With all the usual banter outside the tape at an
SDA, the event had a real laid back atmosphere, especially with the lack of
entrants. We had brought up a few friends to the race and everyone had a real
good time. Until race runs, when Morgan reverts back to his all or nothing
attitude and tries to break his back and wrist. Luckily he was ok.
After sustaining an injury from tripping over in the Nevis
Range car park, WigwamRacing wouldn't be seen in action again until the third
round of the IXS European Cup at Innerleithen. It was an amazing one off track
for the weekend, the weather was the opposite with pouring rain until Sunday
race runs. I came away with 25th
overall which I pleased with after 6 weeks off the bikes and that I could
barely hold on with my hand still not quite there yet.
The IXS was followed by a push up race at Pitfichie, which
was one of the gnarliest tracks I've ever ridden, and I felt great on it, but
unfortunately, my shoulder injury re-emerged and that was me out for the
season, so in comes Dan Carrigan as my substitute and now an official rider for
the team. Dan pulls of a third place on his test ride for the team.
Two weekends back to back of pissing wet rain really takes
it out of you and we couldn't believe our luck when Glencoe of all places came
around with a drying track. With a depleted field of riders due to riders
getting injured or not wanting to risk the variable weather of Glencoe, Dan
pulled out a great run to come away with third place. A great ride for his
It barely seemed like we were home, when we were already
packing up for the Scottish Championships in Fort William. With Morgan and I
still out with injury, it was left to Dan to represent. A weird weekend for the
whole team and we left with disappointment, but eager to press on with the
season as we had to start planning for our three week trip to France.
It was certainly a chaotic week planning for France, but
well worth it. We headed off for the British Championships at Moelfre. It was
hot and sunny weekend and Morgan managed a twelth place finish attempt to
conserve his wrist for the following weekend, but also trying to get some time
on the bike before the world cup too.
We then picked up a couple of friends and
headed off to Val D'Isere with a couple a couple of stops on the way and with
Ross having to get the bus back to Edinburgh and fly out because he had
forgotten his passport.
We arrived in Val D'Isere on the Tuesday evening before
the world cup to get ourselves acquainted with the venue. We got a fair bit of
riding done in the area and it was amazing with a free lift pass from the
swimming pool in tignes. Morgan's qualifying didn't go too great, but he did
pretty well for his world cup and the experience was a valuable lesson for us
all. After the race we had a few days to chill out before we got on the road
again, so we did some more riding and chilling out in the internet cafes.
On the Thursday morning we got up nice and early and made the long journey back to
the UK and to Caersws for the next British National. Pretty quiet affair
really, with showers throughout the weekend proving for some difficult track
conditions. After the race, we made the final trip home in time to catch the
100m final of the Olympics, so quite a fitting finish to our first trip to
Europe I think.
After we'd got back from France, we all took some well
deserved rest off the bikes before making the trip south again. With Dan back
from a couple of weeks in France, we were a full team again, despite myself not
being able to race. Bringewood was a great race, with an amazing looking track.
The weekend was subject to some pretty heavy storms rolling in which left the
track in a horrible slow state by the time race runs came around. With Morgan
feeling pretty good on his wrist, he managed a 6th place, which was
pretty damn good considering he hadn't been able to ride properly for 3 months
prior. Dan had some bad luck, but learnt a lot of things, so all was not lost.
Driving through Glencoe is always one of my favourite parts
of driving through Glencoe. And as we drove up to Fort William for some fun
riding, I definitely felt at home on the road again and was glad we'd decided
to take this trip up north. We had decided we needed some time off serious
riding, so headed up to Fort William for some fun mucking about and chilling
away from everything. We got some friends together and off we went. It was a
good trip to clear our heads before we headed into the final races of the
Llangollen, the steepest track in the UK. One of Morgans
favourites too. We were back down in Wales again for the final British National
of the season and it was shaping up to be a good one. The weather was kind but
cold. Whilst Morgan got underway with some practice on the Saturday, I thought I'd
check out a nearby trail centre, Llandegla. It was certainly a good move, with
it being one of the funnest rides I've ever been on and I did it all alone.
Come race day on Sunday, Morgan managed two spectacular crashes, to finish his
season off with a lot to think about over the coming winter.
So, season over and it was a great first season for Wigwam
Racing to have under its belt. We had our fair share of highs and lows, but
definitely a lot of positives to take away from it. After we had finished with
the season, we just went out and had fun on our bikes, hitting big jumps, epic
rides and just living the dream before the hard winter set in.
See you all trackside next year, can't wait!