Down, Down & Away

  |  Published: Sep 11th 2015
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Two of RAF Halton’s personnel took part in the RAF Downhill Championships as part of the Aston Hill Mash Up downhill race at Aston Hill Bike Park near Halton this week. Cpls’ Jim Harvey and Phil Angus, both RAF Regiment, joined a stacked field of 25 racers with specialist downhill mountain bike coach, Ian Warby of B1ke on hand to offer advice on line choice and race technique, running sessions across the day for all the riders.

The track was extremely testing featuring jumps, drops, roots, steep chutes and some brand new sections of freshly cut off-camber “loam” linking sections of the pre-existing down hill tracks.

Flt Lt Baz Fenton from 72 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse explained about the event, saying: “The racing was unbelievably tight with the fastest of two timed runs counting towards the win. After the first race, training partners and RAF downhill team regulars, Cpl Andy Lochhead (RAF Lossiemouth) and SAC Graeme Murray (RAF Lossiemouth) were separated by a mere 0.11 secs with times of 1.22.35 and 1.22.46 respectively. It was all to play for in the second run and the riders looked devastatingly fast as they blasted down the spectator lined track. Incredibly, they both finished on a 1.20 with the final result not being announced until the podium, leaving both riders in suspense.”

“Perhaps the biggest surprise and best performance of the day came from LAC Tom Hunt (RAF St Athan). This was Tom’s first race for the RAF and he was riding a fairly well worn old bike wearing jeans and a borrowed RAF jersey. The young man, still on basic training, nailed his second run with an impressive 1.23.26 knocking RAF downhill team manager Flt Lt Baz Fenton (RAF Linton on Ouse) off the podium and claiming 3rd place! Hunt looks like an excellent prospect and is likely to be a key rider in next season’s RAF team.”

RAF Cycling Association Chairman, Group Captain Gus Wells announced the final podium results in front of a large noisy crowd of RAF riders, regular racers and the public. SAC Graeme Murray took the 2nd step of the podium with a 1.20.73 and Cpl Andy Lochhead was crowned the 2015 RAF Downhill Champion with a time of 1.20.32.

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