2013 World Champs in Pietermaritzbourg South Africa!
So, it has been a crazy week out here in South Africa. The sections are absolutely fantastic. They have been set up to have a real South African them, so each section has a them, such as Giraffe, Zebra and even a huge section that is actually “South Africa”! The weather has also been crazy, for the semi finals it has been up in the 30 degrees area, so a real full on challenge as there is no shade in the area. The sections have been very challenging and very different to the European style world cups, as they are far more technical. There have still been some big power moves in every section, but each section has very little rest.
So I first rode 20″ semi-finals on Wednesday. After just one days practice on my 20″ in the last year, I was not expecting allot from my result, I more did it as a fun competition as I have travelled all the way out here. After my first two laps I had some really silly 5’s on a couple sections I should have cleaned, so I assumed I was way off the pace for the finals. Then, on the third lap, when I arrived at the last section I was on just 4 points! Erwin Bos from Holland told me if I had just one point I could be in the finals. The pressure was on as I had a 5 in the section on the second lap. I rode strong and commited my mind to it and managed to get one point! I qualified for the finals in 7th place!!! I was so happy! It had made my trip already!
On Thursday I had to ride the 26″ semi finals, I felt like the pressure was on a little bit as I had made finals in 20″ and that is not my actual category, but I relaxed and figured I had a cheived my goal of being top 8 in the world already. So I rode and tried almost every move, clearing some of the hardest of moves, but again, I made a few mistakes and took 5’s on the first two laps, having 9 on the first lap and 11 on the second. With such a strong feild I was quite far down the pack. Somewhoe on the last lap I pulled it all back, finishing with a lap of just 3 points! One of the bext laps from any rider. This flew me into the finals placing 7th! Honestly it felt like a lifetime waitingf or the other riders to hand in their score cards! One of my goals in my riding career was to be a double finalist in the world championships and I have finally achieved it! It am so so happy to be able to ride in both categories.
So, as the 20″ finals approached, the weather started to cloud over and get cold, really misty. Then, the heavens opened and it poored down, reluctantly we all warmed up and prepared for the finals. As I had very little experience on 20″ wheels I was not sure what was ppossible in the rain. I tried my best and after the first lap felt quite comfortable, but it was already a little late to start riding well. I had a great time and ALLOT of fun. I had allot of support from the Aussies and Dutch guys in the Audience which was great! i pulled off some great moves and overall I was happy with my riding. I finished in 8th place and this is my first ever World Championship final, and it wa sin 20″!!!
The nest day was the turn of the 26″. I actually felt pretty good despite already competing for 3 days. No real tiredness of aches and pains. Fortunately the weather was perfect. I went round the Junior 26″ finals with fellow Brit Jack Carthy. He rode like a machine and stormed his way to the Junior World Champion title. I warmed up and felt good, the sections were long and technical, which I think suits how I ride quite well. It all went quite well, apart from just two moves in the whole competition, bith pedal-ups to hooks. They cost me a total of 18 points in the final!!! that would have jumped me way up the results. But its shows where my weaknesses are and now I have to work on them through the winter for next year. I ended up in 6th place which I am so happy about.
All in all it was a great trip to Pietermaritzbourg and I would like to say a huge huge thanks to Kim Phillips and his family for putting me up and being such great hosts. I am sure they had a big impact on my results by making me feel so at home and welcome. Kim was also responsible for building the trials course and they did a fantastic job! So again a massive well done for that Kim, and his son Bruce!
Hooking the “A” in the South Africa Section
Precision Gap in the Giraffe section