Newnham Nationals & Moonlit Soggy Bottom Preview

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BY: Maddie Horton

Published: 22nd March, 2016

The Soggy Bottom Series is over for another year, and there are only 5 weeks to go until the carnival comes to Newnham Park in the form of the National XC Series.  We owe our thanks to our loyal Soggy supporters, who have put up with being crash test dummies for our hair brained track creations yet again.

What follows is a photo board course preview for the National XC, the Moonlit Soggy and the Beat the Bike trail run, making use of photos from the Soggy Series.

Before we begin though, here's a reminder of what's in store for racers on the weekend of 22nd - 24th April 2016.

Friday 22nd April
18:00 - Beat the Bike 5km trail run- can the fastest runner beat the fastest lap time of the Moonlit Soggy?
20:30 - Live Music

Saturday 23rd April
09:00     Plym Valley Parkrun - free 5km run just a couple of miles away from Newnham Park.
12:00     National XC   Course practice
14:30     National XC:  Open, Fun and Sport categories
18:00     National XC:  Under 12s categories

Sunday 24th April
National XC: Juvenile, Youth, Junior, Expert, Elite, Vet, Grand Vet and Super Vet categories.

How to enter

Online entry is available for the Moonlit Soggy and the National XC races

Entry on the day is available for Beat the Bike, the Moonlit Soggy XC, the Open and Fun races and the Under 12s races only.
All other categories must enter online.  

Further information about all of the races can be found on the Fully Sussed website.

Nationals course preview, photo story style. 

With the Soggy faithful having tested the tracks over the winter, we’ve put together a photo report of what might greet you at the Newnham Nationals in April. No, it’s not the same course as last year – it’s not time trialling. 

After a smally first climb you're greeted with Cottage Carnage. It will have a longer ‘B’ line, a tougher ‘A’ line and the bluebells should be in full bloom. We ran this section in Soggy Two and the resulting rider-on-rocks impacts were felt for miles around. It will be a less mech ripping exit than last year, but only for the brave. 

After a quick arena return to tick that UCI box, you’ll be over the Concrete River Crossing and up to the Quarry Drop, otherwise known as “Call THAT a ‘B’ line?!”. We spent hours digging this out just to keep riders and traffic apart for fifty metres. It was well worth it – tricky entry onto a steep loose drop that sets you up for the toughest climb in Newnham. Bring some gears. 

Check out the view from the most picturesque feed zone in NATO, nip in past James the Train at the top (you’ll see what we mean) and the fun begins again, once you’ve shovelled your lungs back in. Fly off the Rock Step, rail the tight left hander and you’re on the way to Ramp Rock. Style it up for the photo or showcase your skills at keeping your wheels firmly attached to the ground at all times, it’s up to you. Either way you are on your way to Rocky Horror 1. 

We had a notion of creating sections that were away from the ‘Scalextric track’ style of course design and more aimed at wide markings, lots of line choices which promote all round bike handling skills, momentum and gutsiness. The results are Rocky Horror 1 and 2. Pretty straightforward if you can hold your preferred line, but when you are hanging out of your hoop on lap four and can barely see you’re more likely to find yourself losing teeth. 

From here the Soggy course took on a fast and flowing section designed to allow the tension to build to unbearable levels before riders hit the New Cauldron. Here we spent some happy days field testing our new mattock and folding shovel with the resulting ‘A’ line steep, tight, loose and a proper test for the turbo trainer addicts. The South West posse rose to the challenge with some pretty bold line choices on the drop to the fire road, only a few seconds to catch your breath and rest your forearms before you hit the New Mineshaft. 

We’ve wanted to dig a new descent on the Mineshaft bank for yonks, and this was our chance. It very nearly worked, and the resulting crashes have shown us where work needs to be done. Crash netting might be our first port of call - it was a long way down. Tough start and finish to this track with an easy middle section as long as you didn’t hug a tree. 

Up we go again! Grind back to the top and you’re into the bomb-holes, a classic Newnham section. There was a time when we’d put a caution arrow at the start of the bomb-holes, but these days they don’t warrant a mention. Quick up and over on Hippo Rock and you are set up for Rocky Horror 2. Hold the line! Don’t look where you don’t want to go! Breathe! 

The only way is down from here. In April it might be Kong, but on Sunday it was High Speed Slide – pick your line and pin it. Then you remember that you’ve got Derriford Drop coming up and the short-lived smile is wiped off your face. Quickly go through the internal self-negotiation about whether to take the ‘A’ or ‘B’ line, and whatever you do, do it well. 

Nearly there. For one lap at least. Just Picnic Rocks to go and you can allow yourself a bit of grassland respite before it all starts again. If only we could find some movable ramps, we’d jazz up the finish straight, just like Red Bull Soapbox. Maybe next year? 

Of course all the above is subject to change if we find something more interesting.     

Click any of the images below for a larger view / slideshow

More on the Moonlit Soggy Bottom XC - 2016:
Event Calendar Listing

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Maddie Horton

Fully Sussed is run by husband and wife duo Jay and Maddie Horton.
Mountain bike enthusiasts, used-to-be racers and voluntary coaches, now scratching a living as event crew / lifters and shifters.

Read More By Maddie

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