Me and Dave thought it would be a good laugh if we got the hardtails out and entered round 1 of the Gravity project at Rogate on Sunday 6th March.
Dan – “I needed to put the Production Privee Shan through a good test after going up to the Surrey Hills the weekend before and having so much fun I was looking forward to thrashing it down Rogate with a load of mates. The hardtail category is always a good laugh and never really taken that seriously with some good banter between us but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to win of course! ha.
I was running the Shan 917 in Large with DVO Diamond Fork 160mm, Spank Oozy Trail 295 Limited Editions Orange, Production Privee Bar 780mm, Production Privee R2R Stealth stem 50mm, Shimano XT brakeset, Sram X01 drivetrain, Rockshox Reverb and stuck a magic mary upfront for a little extra grip in the loose sand at Rogate.
The Schwalbe Magic Mary hooked up and well giving me some good confidence to push the Shan and coming down my first run and into 1st by 0.5 of a second was awesome! The Shan was so much fun, so agile and really loved racing a hardtail at a DH race.
We got a lot of attention from other riders about the Production Privee Shan as it stood out in its gulf racing livery and bright anodised orange Spank Oozy wheels. Some wishing they had one and others you could hear chatting about it in the distance. It certainly turned some heads that’s for sure. There’s no denying its one of the best looking steel hardtails on the market.
There was a long wait around for a next race run and it was bitterly cold up top with the wind blowing through you. Some good banter was had with the hardtail lot while jumping around trying to keep warm before setting off on a second run. I always hold it a bit conservative on my first run just to make sure I have a clean run and decent time in the bag. I overcooked it a little on the 3rd corner in which I stalled coming out of which cost me a fair bit of time as It was a flat section after, so getting back up to speed wasn’t ideal and the standing around getting cold probably didn’t help either but apart from that mistake the rest of the run was mint feeling a lot faster then my previous. Sadly I lost to much time up top and came down 0.2 slower then my previous which opened up the door for 1st place to be pinched away.”
Dave – When Dan first said to me about doing the 1st Round of the Gravity Project DH Series at Rogate I couldn’t resist the chance to take my little 24″ Dirt Jumping steed down something a bit rougher than the usual dirt jumps and skate parks it was used to. To prepare the bike for the race I stuck a couple of hydraulic brakes and some 24″ tyres with a bit of tread to give me some grip and a bit more confidence.
On race day it wasn’t exactly summer but after a couple of runs down the hill you warmed up pretty quick. With the first run out the way I realised it wasn’t going to be easy to get down the hill in one piece without crashing let alone get a good time. The track was around a minute long and there wasn’t much room for error with tight corners, rooty sections and off camber lines. After a few runs I started to feel a bit more confident on the smaller wheels through the rougher sections, only having 100mm travel upfront wasn’t very forgiving through the rougher sections but overall I was able to put in some okay runs and had the biggest grin on my face as I came down the hill.
Line choice was not my forte and after chatting with Dan & Ashley I soon changed the way I was taking the corners on the top section helping me to exit them with a bit more speed making it easier to pull away with my single gear! If you’ve been to Rogate before you will know how the conditions of the track can change, after several runs from over 100 riders the entries into corners got deeper and off camber lines got looser. After the first race run I was sitting a second in front of our friend Joe who like me wasn’t exactly a regular racer and enjoyed doing it for a bit of fun more than anything else. On my second run I shaved a second off giving me a slightly bigger gap over Joe’s 1st run but unfortunately he smashed my time on his second run coming through the bottom section with far more speed than the first run.
All in all I had a great day riding and racing with Friends, it was great to watch other riders competing and the track that Gravity Project put together was outstanding for Rogate.