Race report: UKGE round #3 Afan Forest

AMS team rider, and future enduro star, Rich Payne, raced last weekend at the third round of the UK Gravity Enduro series at Afan Forest. Seat and enjoy the read:

Rich Payne, going for it at Afan Forest

So round 3 of the UK Gravity Enduro series headed to Afan Forest in Wales and with the last 2 rounds in Scotland on steep technical dh tracks and in wet weather the weekends racing on a predominantly trails centre based sections and with temperatures around 25 degrees it was going to be a big difference in what we'd done already.

As me and the mrs rolled up on the friday to check out the trails the place looked prime for the riding and as soon as I got kitted up and headed out on the flowy trails i immediately had a smile on my face the place was running sweet the stages were long but fun and the weather couldn't be better, all in all shaping up for sweet weekends racing. Saturday dawned and with the sun already shining from early on i geared up once again to get a loop of the course in ready for racing on sunday and qualifying later on that day. the course proved to be a tough being about 27 miles long and with around 4800 feet of climbing, all the stages were physical and pedaly with the exception of 4 which was an awesome fresh cut stage which as steep, tech and flat out fun.

Qualifying came round and i felt good the stage was fast and finished on a 4 x track and a pedal through the camp area/pits, rolling up to the start line i knew it'd be a tiring one and maximum effort would be needed as you could make a good bit of time just from laying down some horsepower an getting on the pedals...... it worked i came across the line 4th with a solid run although a little back from 1st i was pleased and it put me in a good place heading in to the main race.

After a good nights kip, a check over of the bike and a good bite to eat i was race ready and knew the day was going to be a killer just from the heat let alone the length and nature of the stages. Setting of to the 1st stage of the day which turned out to be longest at around 6 minutes if felt good the bike was running spot on and al was pointing in the right direction for a good result. After stages 1, 2 and 3 the hardest work had been done with the longest stages and transitions put to bed they really would seperate out who had been training and putting in the time, all the competitors seemed to be feeling it but fortunately had the relatively easier by comparison stage 4 to look forward to. 4 DONE ! stage 5 and the final one of the day legs were buggered but i knew an all out assault on the last stage had to be done in order to gain what precious seconds were going to be needed to get as high up the results as i could. Bingo the all out assault paid of and id pulled of a podium and got 3rd so was stoked with it knowing the effort had paid of and also that id move up the points in the overall aswell.

Podium finish for Rich Payner

Massive thanks to All Mountain Style, the mrs for shouting encouragment at me and all my buddys who've helped me out with my bike and training and roll on the EWS at La Thuile.

Thanks buddy.