19 Mar 2013

Whyte to Support RAF Team for 2013 Season

RAF Cycling is delighted to announce a new partnership with Whyte Mountain Bikes for the 2013 season. A number of the team will be racing aboard Whytes 29 CS bikes with hopefully more to follow in the near future.
Having just taken mine for its inaugural ride I can safely say that it is a very stable and very fast bike. I demoed a number of 29ers last season and was distinctly underwhelmed, the bikes felt sluggish on the ups, too nose heavy on the downs and slow to corner, the Whyte is different! Firstly the very slack (for an XC bike) 69 degree head angle, paired with a short stem makes the bike feel very stable on steep downs as well as being quick to corner. Whyte have also spent a considerable amount of time working out how to shorten the wheel base to make the bike more nimble. The result is a significant curve in the seat tube placing the back wheel well beneath your seat which not only shortens the wheel base but also massively improves rear wheel grip. This was most noticeable today riding the bike on some pretty slimey trails using Maxxis Ikon tyres (definitely a dry weather tyre) I was still able to maintain traction and go in a vaguely straight line. Finally the wheels, unlike most main brand 29ers you dont get some heavy in house kit, instead Whyte have specced Easton EA90s resulting in a 29er that actually accelerates!
Suffice to say I am in love and all thats left to do is strap on a number board and race it till my legs fall off!
If you have any doubts about switching over to big wheels try a Whyte, if their XC bikes are anything to go by the more trail orientated stuff should be excellent.
Click the Whyte badge on the right for more info.

Race Report - Midlands XC Rd 1 Cannock Chase

2 RAF Riders were out on Sun 17th Mar racing the opening round of the Midlands XC Series.  Russ Holman raced in Sport aboard his brand new (and very bling) Whyte 29-C Carbon hardtail while Martin Pearson competed in the Expert category.

A pre-ride of the course revealed very muddy conditions with approximately 40/50% of the course being suited to mud tyres and 50/60% suited to an intermediate. Both RAF riders opted for the full mud option, feeling that over the course of the race the ability to ride the whole course consistently would pay off. As a both had pretty poor starts due in part to the slower tyres and in part to a congested technical start to the course. 

Martin Pearson was in 14th at the end of the 1st lap at the back of a group of 4 riders, staying with this group he put in a hard attack on the 3rd lap prior to a muddy section which gained him about a minute. Despite paying for this effort the gap was made and he hung on to claim 10th place. Lap times 19.40, 20.26, 20.57, 22.05, 22.28

As a new convert to XC racing Russ is still finding his feet in particular with the speed required to be near the front on the opening lap. With this being his first race on his new Whyte 29-C it was always going to be a learning experience. However his strong endurance base and sensible tyre choice saw him also work his way back through the field from 21st at the end of lap 1 to claim a very respectable 11th place only 40s off 10th. Lap times 23.19, 22.09, 22.06, 22.19. 

Another good weekend for the RAF CA MTB Team.

The first round of the National Series is next weekend is at Sherwood Pines and we have 5/6 riders in action, so if your in the area come along on Sunday and lend your support. 


Expert Male

10th Martin Pearson mod.gif 

Sport Male

11th Russell Holman mod.gif

RAF CA XC MTB Team Performs Well in Early Season Events

The 2013 MTB season started well for the RAF CA MTB Team at the first round of the Welsh XC Series held at Margam Park on Feb 10th.  Horrific conditions of driving rain and thick mud meant that about 50% of the lap was running.  Dan Lewis took the Elite victory while Martin Pearson came home 3rd in Expert with both wishing they'd stayed in bed.

3 RAF riders raced Round 2 of the Welsh XC series at Coed-Y-Brenin on Sun 3rd March, in a change from the mudfest of Margam Park the weather was cold but clear with sunshine! In her first race for a couple of years due to injury, Lou Robins was the first rider racing.  A few pre-race teething problems with her bike were solved with a bit of assistance from Beics Brenin. With no time to practice what was a technical course Lou set out steadily in a field of 6 women starting together irrespective of category. Consistent laps saw her home in 4th place overall and 1st in Expert.
Dan Lewis and Martin Pearson then raced in Elite and Expert respectively, with stronger fields than at Margam Park both struggled a little for the top end required to get towards the front, but it is early in the year after all.  Both taking 5th place in their respective categories Dan summed up the day with his finishing quote "I could have ridden round there at that pace all day, just no top end".

After the brief glimmer of sunshine at Coed-Y-Brenin 4 RAF riders tackled Rd 1 of the Altura Nutcracker XC Series at Dalby Forest.   A challenging course comprised a single climb and descent with the climb accounting for about 2/3 of the lap. Conditions were cold with a very muddy top of the climb and first half of the descent necessitating pre-race tyre changing all round.  
Russ Holman and Mitch Webster both had their debut races in the Sport Male category placing 18th and 34th respectively, the speed off the start line may have come as a bit of a surprise to Russ while Mitch learnt a few things about tyres and bike set up! Fie Innes tackled her season opening race and placed 3rd in Sport Female collecting a voucher from series sponsor Altura for her trouble. Martin Pearson meanwhile rode his 3rd race of the year and while still a bit tardy on the climbs was pleased to be able to hold Elite race winner Paul Oldhams wheel on the final descent while being lapped, 6th place in Expert means decent ranking points for the early season.


Welsh XC Series Rd 1 - Margam Park - Feb 10th

Elite Male
1st Dan Lewis mod.gif

Expert Male
3rd Martin Pearson mod.gif

Welsh XC Series Rd 1- Coed-Y-Brenin - Mar 3rd

Elite Male
5th Dan Lewis mod.gif

Expert Male
5th Martin Pearson mod.gif

Expert Female
1st (4th Female) Lou Robins mod.gif

Altura Nutcracker XC Rd 1 - Dalby Forest - Mar 10th

Expert Male
6th Martin Pearson mod.gif 

Sport Female
3rd Fie Innes mod.gif 

Sport Male
18th Russ Holman mod.gif 
34th Mitch Webster mod.gif