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Posted on May 07 2014

It was a nice Saturday morning, packing bags, doing some last minute bike checks and cooking quiche for the weekend ahead. I set off to meet Andy Bray and Charlie Currie from team DBS for the drive up to Cheshire, barely out of the van and the banter started reminding me of how much fun 4X weekends are with the Cornish crew. We arrived at Harthill, set up camp and headed up to get some practice in, gates were still running and the track was fairly quiet so it was the perfect opportunity to get comfy and dial in some sneaky lines. Harthill is one of my favourite tracks, the pedal out of the gate is really short into a roller and 1st corner with an inside and outside berm, quick table then the 2nd corner offered 4 berm choices although we all knew the inside lines would be obliterated before the end of the weekend! Another short table into a right hander with spine, then a few pedal strokes to get the speed for the step up/step down into a swooping left hander, another table and then the split between 2 line choices offering different jumps and step up options, the lines then rejoined in a right hander to lead out around 2 more corners a little manual/double lead into the last corner which was looking pretty sketchy on the wet grassy exit into the final quad before the line. Evening practice went well despite the wind and rain showers, we headed back down to the camping field for dinner, more banter and general biking antics. heather Photo by Charlie Currie I slept really well and awoke to a nice morning, we’d had rain overnight and been promised more during the day, but for the moment we were looking a lot better than expected. After a hearty breakfast we went to get our number boards and prepare for practice, the track was holding up pretty well, and practice flew by, it was great to catch up with a lot of the ladies I’d not seen since the end of last season, although some familiar faces were sadly missing for this round. A quick lunch then back up to the start for motos, the weather started drawing in and although the rain wasn’t heavy with the driving wind it didn’t make for pleasant spectating, and meant that jumping was not the best of ideas. I improved progressively in my motos getting two 2nd places behind Cara Murray and then my 1st ever 1st place in a 4X race, which felt pretty good, and allowed me to qualify in 3rd place. Motos Sunday Photo by Charlie Currie Another quick break before semis, was spent eating more food and encouraging Tyde D’Souza one of the younger riders competing at her first ever national race (although it turned out she didn’t need so much encouragement after all!). My semi-final went well, hot on the tail of Megan Wherry I came through in 2nd putting me into the A Final. The other semi was more eventful with Tyde and Cara crashing in the 2nd corner, they jumped back on their bikes and both managed to pip Hannah Escott on the line to qualify for A finals too. I lined up in gate 3 for the final, knowing the other girls all had fast gates I thought I’d try the fast high lines and stay clear of any clashes. It paid off swooping high around the first 2 corners I managed to overtake Megan into the 3rd corner and was neck and neck with Cara through the next sections into the pro line hot on the tail of Tyde with Megan breathing down our necks, we all held our positions in some very tight racing into the final quad where I took a tighter line to try and nip past Tyde and Cara, unfortunately my line choice didn’t pay off and allowed Megan to take a smoother line and sneak past me on the finish leaving me in 4th place. heather podium Photo by Charlie Currie In the B final racing was pretty close too with Hannah Escott pulling a fantastic move in the last corner to pip Clare Curtis in the last straight and grab that precious 5th podium spot. The racing in the ladies category was some of the closest all weekend (even if I do say so myself!), and promises an eventful season ahead. Once racing was over it’s a quick dash to get tents down and packed away before podiums and the long drive home…
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