It seems that the team have been waiting for this race for a long while now. Taylor is especially excited and ready to show his worth in his first season and first race onboard the GT Factory Racing team.
Gee and Rachel started to work with new trainer Alan Milway for the off season and are certainly coming into the race strong having had promising results from recent fitness tests. But it’s not all down to fitness with this sport so they will need their skills to be razor sharp to take on a top class field.
Marc started last season strong and is hoping that this season will be the same, he took the first round win here last year and he’ll be looking to replicate that come Sunday.
Riders: Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Rachel Atherton, Taylor Vernon
Mechanics: Piotr Michaliszyn, Mark Maurissen, Andy Lund
Combe Sydenham is the first round of five in the British Downhill Series 2013. The team hopes to compete in at least four rounds this season but schedules are subject to change as the season progresses.
The course has a 200m vertical drop over 1.6km which makes it one of the flatter races on the circuit, the track does take in a bit of everything however with a mixture of flowing turns, plenty of wooded root sections, a rock garden and some nice sized jumps. The racing should be tight with the win going to a rider who can perform well on a variety of terrain. Assuming that no major track changes have been made look for a time under 2.30 to take the win in the Men’s and 2:50 in the Women’s. Taylor should be chasing a time of around 2:35 in the junior event.
Showers and cloudy – high 11 degrees C
Combe Sydenham has a lot of positive associations for the team – Gee and Rachel grew up in the locality and used to ride the tracks there with their dad, Simon and Marc won this event last year in his first ever race for GT Factory Racing – a result that Taylor will be hoping to emulate. Taylor has only raced Combe Sydenham once before, taking 3rd in last year’s event which gave him a solid base for the 2012 season.
Current situation – team perspectives
Rachel: “We’re coming into the first race of the year strong – it’s been the first winter I haven’t had any major injuries to deal with so I’m feeling a lot more prepared. This will be a great warm-up race to get back into the swing of racing and figure out where we are and what we need to work on as we head into the World Cup.”
Gee: “Really looking forward to it, first race of the new season, new team-mate on board. Last year I was watching which was the first time I’d watched a race in so long – the last time was also at Combe Sydenham actually – way back – but I got to watch Slugger take the win. This year I’m after him!”
Marc:“Yeah, would love to repeat 2012 victory but I’m going to have to keep clear of my team-mate for one!”
Taylor: “Bring it on.”
Catch all the action on Dirt’s Live feed on Sunday with Pit walks from 11am