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SPS continues to fly in Llangollen1st JUL 2011

28th June 2011

The Steve Peat Syndicate convoy rolled in to Llangollen last weekend for round 4 of the Halo British Downhill Series.

Well known as one of the steepest tracks in UK downhill, Llangollen offers riders the kind of challenge that all downhillers dream of. On this occasion though, wildly mixed track conditions from wet and loose on Saturday to bone dry and fast on the Sunday added to the demands of the course and set the stage for SPS to put their season long training to good use.

With recent SPS recruit and experienced race mechanic Jamie Johnston busy in the pits preparing the team V10s for action, the riders walked the track and swapped notes with each other and team boss Peaty before heading out for practice. The stage was set for race day.

Peaty talks lines with Tom Kelly and Freddie Oxley

As Sunday dawned, the sun appeared and dried the track out in record time. Gone were the loose, slippery conditions of Saturday practice and attention quickly turned to setting the bikes up for a fast, dry track. Working as a team, the SPS riders pulled together and helped each other get ready for their runs.

This prompted Peaty to later comment “The camaraderie in this team is awesome to see. They all help each other with set up, track walks and lines. It makes me so proud to be part of SPS”

On to the racing and as ever the Halo British Downhill Series did not disappoint. On weekends like this it is all too easy to see why the British downhill scene is widely regarded as being amongst the best in the world.

The highly competitive Expert class saw three SPS riders in action with the ever-impressive Nathan Vials cementing his domestic comeback from an awful shoulder injury with a well-earned 6th place. By his own admission, Vials is not yet back to full strength so to finish just 1.45 seconds back from the winner is a very strong performance and sets him up nicely for the forthcoming World Cups in Mont St Anne and Windham.

Dale Russell, fresh from his 4X exploits at Fort Bill’s World Cup weekend, finished in 14th with Tom Kelly in 31st.

Dale Russell prepares for his run with SPS mechanic Jamie Johnston

The Masters category is always an exciting race to watch and Llangollen continued this tradition with a very close fought race. For SPS, Chris Griffiths has been flying the flag very strongly all year. His season long battles with downhill legend, Nigel Page, have been one of the highlights of the season for many and continued last weekend with Chris coming in 3.4 seconds behind Page for third spot and yet another podium finish.

Chris Griffiths hits the track on his way to a strong podium finish

Team Manager and reigning British Masters Champion, Tristan Tunstall, put in a strong ride to finish 7th.

In the bulging Junior field, Josh ‘Loosedog’ Lewis continues to impress. Josh’s season has been one of steady improvement following an off-season of heavy training. His ninth place finish is the latest sign that this popular rider is continuing to improve and is adding consistency to his riding.

Billy Matthews and Freddie Oxley also ran strong races coming home in 15th and 17th places with Jack Read and Ben Humphries finishing 37th and 51st respectively.

At the other end of the age range, Vets SPS rider Ally Simpson finished 13th and then promptly ran off to check on team mate Jenny Beesley who he had earlier strapped up for her race run following an injury in Saturday practice. Ally is an NHS physiotherapist by day and official SPS physio at the weekend and is proving to be a very welcome addition to the team both on and off the bike.

Following that injury on Saturday, Jenny Beesley continued her debut race season with a very strong ride and proved yet again that she is continuing to improve and get stronger by the race.

In Senior men, Michael Vickers’ early season form and debut SPS win has set expectations very high. His 8th place finish at Llangollen, whilst not as strong as he would personally like, continues to cement him as a rider to watch at every race.

Michael Vickers continues to impress

Speaking after the race, team boss Peaty was quick to praise his team and pointed out that their performances continue to impress in their first season together.

“SPS is growing more than I ever expected” he said
“These guys are developing individually and as a team. It’s great to see them grow in confidence and improve their skills on the bike as the season goes on. We have some really talented riders here. They put pressure on themselves to perform well and our aim is to help them reach their potential quicker”

Speaking of his latest recruit, Jamie Johnston, Peaty said:

“Jamie is a huge benefit to the group. Now we have a top class mechanic at every race to get the bikes ready for each run. I’m really pleased to have him on board with us”

The next round of the Halo BDS is in Fort William on 10th September with the National Championships back at Llangollen on July 23rd – 24th. Be sure to come along and see the SPS guys in action.

SPS is proud to be associated with and supported by the following companies:

  • Santa Cruz
  • Royal Racing
  • SixSixOne
  • SRAM
  • Syncros
  • Maxxis
  • Five10
  • Troy Lee Designs
  • www.ActionCameras.co.uk

You can also find out more about the team and its sponsors as well as get in touch with the Steve Peat Syndicate today at www.stevepeatsyndicate.com

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