The Plumz VIEW FROM the field in the FNSS 2004 series

Welcome to our views on how the Friday night summer series went in 2004, hopefully a rolling collection of anecdotes from the front of the pack (we hope) from all the riders. click any piccy for a bigger view.
Rugby St Andrews Round 6 result

- J.P. Jack-
Another blistering Rugby race, no one could live with Keith and he's got to be favourite for the series unless Pete manages to get 6 in and blow us all away.
The early battle saw me dragging Scott and Stu round even though I didn't have much there, the Ti-X performed superbly, better than the Surge which is now almost confined to the Bin. Either that or the dreaded last hope...A Singlespeed.
Anyway Ron joined us fast and after telling him not to slow or drag me round. I then would not let him go. Gary Hill was having another top ride and I could not let Keith get any more points on me. The Sprint, well Ron did try the break and I like a complete shit passed him on the line, racing sucks sometimes when you have to be competitive.
- Smiffy smiffy
What a race, well I would say that having won it.
The start was up the long drag at the back of the rugby field, Martin Eadon and Gary Mobbs (Treads, I think) got blistering starts, Adi Scott & I slotted in 3rd and 4th.
Soon we were past and opening up a small lead over eventual 3rd placer and first vet Keith Sperry (Welland Valley). Adi was riding real strong and with the windy conditions there was no way I could make a break, so we shared the work and moved away. Adi did have his moments, stalling on the turn at the bottom of the field and sending me right off the bike, also running wide and nearly falling off the side of the bumpy high section behind the club house (that made me chuckle, I must admit).

We were both on semi slicks and some of Adi's lines were inventive to say the least. I could see that Adi's lines throught the fast turns on the rugby field were not as tight as mine, I could turn inside him at will so if it came down to a sprint this is where I would mount an attack. Meanwhile I could also see Stu Knubley (KCC) having the ride of his life clinging on to Ron Rutgers' shirt-tails, not the only one eh Jack.

Moving onto the last lap, I lead throught the bell and 'let' Adi come by to lead the majority of the final circuit. Sure enough, I out-turned him at the long 180 deg.turn on the rugby field and went for it from there, it was enough and I had a few seconds at the line, I was chuffed 'coz I was out-sprinted in a close finish last year at Chicksands so this was a very sweet victory. Well done to Adi for an excellent race, and also to Stu Knubley for his first podium, fantastic result mate.
Next one at Daventry, hopefully there won't be a repeat of last years start-line pile up, but with the thinner fields this year it shouldn't be problem.
Chicksands #1 Round 5 result

- J.P. Jack-
finished and got points to stay on top of the series for now, thats about the sum total of it, good to see Ron getting back to speed, good second place.
- Smiffy smiffy
Chose to race on semi-slicks for first time since Plymouth, so did 2 pre-laps to shake em down, they seemed okay.
Got away in 5th with the leading bunch and was soon shadowing Adi who got his customary rocket start.
Moved into 2nd on the flat straight by the road and could see Woody the leader ahead.
There was no way I was gonna catch him, in fact he was staying in sight to make sure he was using the right course. When he was sure we were all on track he just took off and that was that.
Meanwhile, Phil Hughes had eased past Adi and was breathing down my neck, in fact he came past and made a break for it. I clung on and soon passed him back towards the end of lap 1. When I looked back a little later Phil had just dropped off me a touch but was still real close.
Suddenly it seemed all my energy left me and I was clinging on for dear life, I thought I was gonna hurl.
The feeling passed and I tried to settle down. Hughes in 3rd wasn't gonna let that happen, so every lap was absolutely flat out from now on. All the way to the finish Phil kept me real honest, we're so finely matched it's almost not true. Adi was still real close with Gavin Rumbles (Luton CC) not far behind either.
Another good close scrap, See you all at Rugby.

Cosford Rugby #2 Round 4 result

- J.P. Jack-
Having got back from Scotland, It dawned on me that I needed to sort a bike out for this race. The Ti-X was the only option; so I hastily threw on the Duo chainset and 26" wheels. The forth race guise for this bike in a year, this frame does anything. With no time to actually ride it before I got to the course, it was no surprise to find it had problems.
The chain just would not stop ramping around the BigRing, and locking solid. Stripping the rear mech. and setting it to super tension, then taking 6 links out of the chain still did no good, It was going to be the whole race on the Big ring, ouch. Just what I needed with my still aching back.
Luckily the feared super slow steering of a relaxed head angle did not cause to many problems in the tight twisty wooded bits, in fact it worked a treat.

Once again I chilled from the start, no need for any more back stress than necessary, (oh yes I did, be afraid). Pete was away this time so I concentrated on keeping Keith Sperry in sight for the first few laps. It was clear there was no need to bust a gut on the field climbs, as I could drag myself up to his back wheel in the woods easily. After a few laps of this I put in a bit more and hugged his wheel on the bottom field then jumped.
Through the first woods, I then kicked big time, broke the tow and put in a handy gap, could I hold it till the next lap then build on it, it was looking good.
BigRing passed me Uphill from his steady start, then on the downhill dip disaster.
With the increased speed I put it in the smallest rear cog for the first time all day, hit the compression at the bottom and LOCK, chain jumped and jammed between cogs and frame.........ARGHHHHHH.
Keith whizzed past as I swore and ripped out the chain, I then had to run the hill in totally the wrong gear.

Down the other side and what's this, Keith was ahead of BigRing too, turns out he had binned it, sod the result I'm more gutted I missed that. I clawed back a bit of time but never enough, as my head was gone due to the frustration of all that wasted effort. 3rd again and giving points away to rivals, great race though It's fun at the moment whist its so competitive.
Seems this is a bit of a bogey course for me, which is not good when we have to come back here again.
well done to Smiffy for getting revenge on Adi this time.
- Smiffy smiffy
Got a front row start slot, apparently BigRing got a back row place and Stu Knubley was 'asleep', they were joint last into turn 1.
Anyway, I was watching Pete Harris scream into turn 1, myself and Phil Hughes followed him up the hill, only to be blown away by a flying Adi who passed us both.
I passed Harris and latched onto Adi. We both ran wide as we dropped thru' the gate into the grassy field, both Phil Hughes and Ben Loaker came past at a rate of knots on the correct line.

4th it was then, as we entered the twisty woods for the first time. I feared the worst but my tyre choice paid off, 2" Hutchinson Scorpions. Had good grip and confidence in the tight stuff. It's all a bit blurred after that for a while.
I know I passed Loaker and Hughes to line up a shot at Adi once again. Passed him with authority this time, and set about getting a big lead.
I thought I was comfortably ahead but as I looked round at the top of the grassy hill on lap 3 I could see Phil Hughes catching up. "Oh no, not him again!" I thought, but it was. He caught me going into the woods, so I knew if he slipped past in there he might get away so I really concentrated and lead up the hill, pulling out a lead again.

This repeated itself over the next 3 laps each time I'd pull a lead up the two grinding climbs only to lose it all over the rolling fields. The lap board said 3 laps to go, then 1 lap to go next time round(?) so I buried it going away from the finish area, and the gap was enough for comfort at the end, though Phil must have been 'on it' coming back thru the trees coz it was REAL close at the end.

A very satisfying victory, bring on Chicksands.
BigRing bigring
Crash what Crash......Ohh that tactical dismount.
I was worried where Jack had gone, oh yes I was.
I took it easy at the start then ripped it on the second half of the race, makes it more entertaining than just watching Smiffy and Adi bugger off into the distance. And who was that fast whippet Loaker, where did he come from. Holiday time now, shame it will blow my series postion for a bit, I'll think of you from the Greek beaches.

Oback Farm Lutterworth Round 3 result

- J.P. Jack-
Well that was certainly interesting. I started off with a dead back, and finished with a bike with one too.

After some start chaos in the woods, and considerable light hearted abuse aimed at Keith Sperry after he binned it in front of me and Adi, it was slogging time.
I'd decided to just spin with no force efforts allowed so as not to aggravate my back. (Don't ask me, it was alright till I spent a day with Nige in the peaks)
Keith soon ripped off with BigRing in chase of the leaders, Pete Harris was yet again in a class of his own, chased hard by Vic on a mission again.

With two of the 6 laps to go I noticed a gaggle of Rugby Velo riders and Ron approaching fast, Oh well I guess I can suffer 2 laps of pain, then collapse.... I'm off.
Engage big ring and rip, two things then happened. I caught and passed Vic like he was standing still, and the Cruz developed a hinge.
What started feeling like a flat tyre, then caused the back wheel to catch up with the front in some corners. I guessed the pivot bolt had come loose and carried on.
At the end, glad to have snatched third, and leaving Ron wondering where the sudden speed come from, a closer inspection was not good.
The swinger had cracked, and damn near sheared across a 50mm beam section........B@###x
Oh well guess I'm still series leader at the Moment.
Load van, go and pick up the Indian in Yorkshire and its Scotland play time, Ummm Deja-Vu or what
- Smiffy smiffy
Had the most disastrous start to any race that I can remember. I'd chosen the left side of the start box, and the right side was the right side (eh!).

Was completely swamped, and about 25th into the woods at the bottom of the field. Apologies to anyone I passed in there, was a touch robust with some passing manouvres, including Stuart, Jack, et al. When we emerged onto the fields Ryan had already disappeared, what do they feed that boy on?

Passed Pete Harris and set about the leaders strung out ahead. Caught and passed a few (including Adi ha-ha!) and was 6th at end of lap 1. Slowly reeled others in until settling in behind Phil Hughes, so now at end of lap 2 it was Henry, Rose, Hughes, Smiffy.
Passed Phil as we started lap 3 and tried to get away but the attack was indecisive and he latched onto my wheel again. It was a fantastic scrap, he improved as the race went on and I clung on desperately.

By lap 6 he was close enough to mount a furious attack, leading us into the woods again, but a mistake allowed me to slip past and I attacked up the hill across the first field. This time the gap stuck and I was able to see Scott up ahead in 2nd.
As he turned up the hill by the M1 he looked round and saw me coming. You should have seen his face! I couldn't make the gap up but it was a laugh to see him scurry up that hill like it was life or death.
What a result, 3rd behind some big hitters and getting revenge for Phil Hughes beating me here last year.
Cosford Rugby Round 2 result

- Smiffy smiffy
Gently away from the start after it was moved further down the hill, bugger.
Got into 3rd behind Adi & Jack as we entered the 1st RUBBISH singletrack section.
I soon discovered I had almost zero front end grip, especially on the off camber rooty stuff, not to mention the Strike feeling really ponderous in the real tight turns 'coz of its high BB height.
Anyway, zapped Jack as we left the woods, Adi already had 100 metres on us so I set about reeling him in, caught him just before we re-entered the trees again, once again he moved away as I struggled with grip or lack of it.
This pattern repeated itself over the next 6 laps give or take, but each time we left the trees Adi was just that bit further away, I had to keep my head down 'coz Phil Hughes was coming up behind in 3rd, I could see him catching so threw it all in on lap 5 and pulled away a bit, actually started to catch Adi again, and was comfortably 2nd at the end.
I warned Adi that it'll be a different result next week at Lutterworth, he's gonna have to cough up a lung just to stay close.
I think a tyre change might be in order for the next Cosford race in a fortnight, we'll see what occurs.

- J.P. Jack-
Where did you find all that mud I was asked at the finish. Well there was plenty on the ground I replied, and that's where I spend a good deal of time in the singletrack wooded bits. No tyres fault this time, I just tried so hard to keep away I was pushing the front just too hard, a definite case of smoother would have been faster. It's a bummer to have led for so long and to lose by a bike length but Pete rode the Smarter race.

The rip off the start was cool, Adi had his Mr. Thetford head on so I let him get on with it in the first wooded section. I lost it once and waited for the flood of riders to pass, nope nobody there, we must have got a flyer.
Smiffy and Phil Hughes then came past and Jamie Harris, what a great ride from him. Really chuffed with my climbing today, that was a tough short shocker up hill. But seemed to get psyched out with that overhanging fence bit in the woods every lap. Crashed there big one lap, think I just lost concentration as I was on my own for so long.
Pete caught and passed me with one lap to go, that got me focused and I followed him round no problem but stupidly I tracked him through the final woods expecting a mistake. It never came he was just too good, and 100 metres only for the sprint there was no chance to make a move.

- BigRing bigring
Choose the wrong tyres simple as that, still happy with 4th and is that series 2nd place so far, bonus.
How the hell did I get so muddy in the first race. . Click for Bigger shots.
four sloppy guysfirst and second boys

The only riders I could tempt from there warm carsBulwick Estates Round 1 result

- J.P. Jack-
So off we went on a prelap, or two in my case. First time round, in the dry, lucky me, I soon realised I had nothing in my legs....whats going on.
The Enduro 6 hours and a hard week of shifts finishing with a Friday in bed had floored me. Panic stations! how the hell could I keep up. I know I thought, I'll use my semi-slicks to grab time back on the flat, its not really a heavy brake and steer course no problem.

Then the rains came, and came. Lloyd just laughed when I said I was still intent on using them, little did I realize just how bad the course had become whilst I huddled in the van.

Plumz were out in force me, Smiffy, Dirtmuncher, BigRing, Twinkletoes and new boys Scott and Ian (Oh yes you will get nicknames boys) Nige was on hand for support and camera duties, as we lined up in the monsoon.

Off we went, 100 metres and yes this is cool. JP Smiffy and Lloyd at the head damn busting through the puddles, what a race this will be. Then Vic came past and Ron and then followed by almost half the field, Help! where was JP's legendary sprint start.......I was sunk.

First slippy section and it was a nightmare, totally sideways and several riders either fell or hit me as I floundered like a novice. Me and Ron engaged in a touch of rodeo riding for a while as Vic disappeared. Then on the entrance to nettle wood I saw Vic and Lloyd dive in , but Smiffy and Scott had gone the wrong way DOH!
Luckily Lloyd shouted them back (you fool it could have been your win mate, its a jungle out there smile ) and Smiffy gave chase once more.
Scott completed his lap in 3rd overall for a great Youths win, well done mate.
look at that water
Lap 2, and I'm fifth arghhhhh. Ron and another Vet who I could barely recognize, (turned out it was Gary Hill and James Carpenter), carry on the battle. By now I could not see a thing and had to watch Ron disappear as I tried to ditch my glasses. It was going to be suffer the grit in my contacts or slow up.
Ron put half the field into me before the Horse Style as I struggled to get any rhythm going, this was a big power day and Vic seemed the only one suited to it.
Last section on the flat field and I decided it was time the Big ring and slicks did there job. I hammered out of the saddle and the lactic burn just about took away the eye pain, Ron getting closer by the second showed it was working.
Past the sunken car (what was going on there) and into the wood, I sized Ron up and went for it, Ron was shagged and I'd snatched a result from the jaws of a nightmare...amazing. Unfortunately for Ron I'd dragged James Carpenter along too so Ron got demoted to 4th after spending so much of the race thinking it was his birthday. Could be a tough year then boys. Loaded the dripping van and headed off to Scotland through the night, relieved but shattered.
Heres how Jacks race went in techno. Polar blurb. POLAR FILE HERE

- Smiffy smiffy -
As for my race, er well...... Got away 1st and was challenged by Scott Clipstone and a.n.other (?) but shook them off crossing the BIG field before the fence. Comfortably in the lead, tried to take shades off crossing the other BIG fields, but slipped off my bike trying, ouch! (Bruised rib)
Still in the lead but missed the right turn into the nettle filled woods, went 200yds further down the fields before I realised, rejoined in about 10th.
Total red mist, that was it, I wasn't gonna go down without a fight although the leaders were now out of sight. Passed riders left and right, caught the leaders across the bog where that car had got stranded.

Moved straight through into the lead, Vic and Lloyd were not having it for a start and so a right scrap ensued. Shook Vic off just as we started lap 2 leaving Lloyd with me, I looked back and was startled to see him dropping back too! Rode like my life depended on it, apart from slipping off again in the bog. Lloyd kept me honest all the way (he rode really well), but I was comfortable all the way to the flag. Fantastic, It's my first FNSS win, am chuffed.
So come on plumsters, tell me some stories or all you'll get is my inane rantings about how cool I am.
The views expressed here are purely personal and are not those of the FNSS organisers. © 2004