Glastonbury Ales NASS Open Slalom Championships, Shepton Mallett 9/10th July 2011

It was NASS! Mud, rain, sunburn, angry teens, pasties, rides, rock and racing.

Images from the weekend here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/samg/sets/72157627167578948/

Ella at NASS 2011

Race Report by Rob

This was the 4th year the UKSSA had raced at the Relentless NASS festival and was once again our racing was sponsored by those stalwarts at Glastonbury Ales.
The queue to get in was horrendous for me and Tom – 2 hours being made to stand in the competitor queue, (in a heavy shower for part of it!), when all we needed to do was hand in a waiver and collect a wristband! This year we were all issued “Hospitality” wristbands which pretty much got you in everywhere. At least the Athlete Camping was closer than previous years – in the field adjacent to the Production Car Park – although you still had to go through the main site to get to it. After setting up we went into the madness of the “wasted yoof” in search of the Glastonbury Ales Cider Shack and check out the Athlete Lounge.

Saturday morning sunshine was short lived as the skies began to bruise. We had got everything set up and ready and Pig Citys’ Mmedo Duffort had finished setting quite a challenging tight course when the rain came. Seeking what little shelter there was, chiefly Michael’s van, we settled in to watch the downpour. Luckily the rain was short lived but had been sufficient enough to leave standing water on the course and so delay the start of practice while everything dried out. After a somewhat damp impromptu slide session some of us took this opportunity to go for refreshments and food. The course was beginning to dry nicely when Michael came up handed Sam and I two tickets and said “Follow me” He had treated Sam and I to a spot of off-roading in a Land Rover Discovery with the Xtreme Off Road guys who where operating further up the road from us. Amazing to see what you can do in a bog standard “Disco”!

Finally back at the race site we were ready to go, Paul had delivered the ale and cider to slake racers thirsts and Paul Keleher was set up at “Mission Control”. After a shortened practice session and a few tweaks to the course qualifying began.
Mike Allison was in fine form leading the Pig City assault with a very fast 11.97.
The surface was causing problems in a few spots where the tarmac had become shiny over the years, pumping at the wrong spot could cost you dearly.

We had quite a few spectators this year, the public Purple Campsite was close by so as people were walking back and forth they took time to enjoy the racing as well as the afternoon sun. Even some of the security guards were coming out of their tents to watch despite being rudely awoken by us going past their compound at full speed towards the finish gate!
Mike retained the top spot after qualifying with Louis Selby (Pavel, GOG/Pistache) Bruno Silva de Oliveira (Virage) and Sam Gordon (Pavel/Virage) close behind.
It was these four who would go on to battle it out in the Round of 4. Mike would face Sam and the friendly rivals Louis and Bruno would again be fighting it out for a spot in the final. Despite some heavy cone carnage Mike squeezed his way into the Final past Sam by just 0.2 seconds. With Bruno DQ’ing his second run it was Louis who would race against Mike. Alas things went sour for Mike in the Final and he double DQ’d against the super lightening fast Louis handing him the victory. In the consolation round both riders were spraying cones but Bruno was the quicker and earned himself 3rd place.
After the racing we held a few freindly “gauntlet” races. Having missed the qualifying sessions earlier and so not having raced Ella was keen to throw down challenges to resounding cheers from her “Team Ella” fan club.
Racing over for the day we adjourned to the campsite for post race analysis and ale. A few of us even managed to catch up with Mike Vallely in the Athlete Lounge for a chat and invite him over to watch or even take part in Sundays racing.

As Sunday came the sun shone down on the campsite which was a floury of activity with people striking tents and packing stuff………all except for Louis! Suffering horribly from the previous nights excesses he continued to sleep it off in the morning sun.
The race site was made ready in customary “well oiled machine” fashion with Mmedo again setting the course in place of the “Sleeping Slipa”. There was much debate about the course to start with but after a pulling some offsets in and a few other minor alterations practice got underway. No sign of Mike V. though!
A bleary eyed Louis materialised in the back of Michael’s van and declared that he would not be racing sparking excitement in the Pig City camp. Could this be Mike’s chance after his disappointment in the Tight Final? But just as his hopes had been raised it had been decided that Louis should race and just needed “waking up a bit”. How? By giving him a ride in the Land Rover based Bowler Wildcat courtesy of our off-roading friends. He was strapped in and sent hurtling off into the distance 0–60mph in the blink of an eye! On his return he collapsed into a heap in the back of the van for a while, arose, padded up and put in a qualifying time of 13.070, the 4th fastest of the day – without practice!
The end of qualifying saw Bruno in top spot followed by Pig City Boyz Mmedo and Mike with Louis in 4th.
The Subsequent Rounds saw a large number of DQ’s due to sliding out, I tried some purple Cults out – thanks to Michael – and managed to put in a tidy clean run in qualifying only to be knocked out by the ever improving newcomer Paul Coupe, who put in a great performance and powered his way though to the Round of 8. Sam also appeared to be suffering from his Saturday night exploits – being “kidnapped” by Nutsac and coerced into going on various extreme rides in the early hours. He went out to Louis in the Round of 8, despite a super close first run, by 0.34 seconds.
The Round of 4 again paired Louis and Bruno and this time Mike would be facing fellow Pig City rider Mmedo. Despite some intensely close racing Bruno lost out to Louis on cones by a very narrow margin, and Mike lost to an on form Mmedo.
So once again the stage was set for a London vs Pig City final. In the his first run Mmedo really pulled out all of the stops, in fact both runs were intensely close, but never bet against a Londoner with a hangover – Louis snatched the victory with a margin of just 0.45 seconds. In the consolation Pig City emerged victorious with Mike taking 3rd place against Bruno who DQ’d in his second run.

After packing up in double quick time we prepared for the prize giving, unfortunately Paul Nash of Glastonbury Ales could not be with us to award the trophies so I stepped in for him.

On behalf of the UKSSA I would like to once again thank Paul for his continued sponsorship and support, it’s always a pleasure to work with you. Thank you too to Michael and Octane Sport, to Jamie and James at Sports Vision for inviting us once again and letting us race both days on the “Main Road” – it made such a difference, to Paul Keleher for timekeeping duties and finally thank you to everyone that came and made the event what it was – jolly good fun!

See you all at Hog Hill.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/samg/sets/72157627167578948/

…and it wouldn’t be NASS without Glastonbury Ales! http://www.glastonburyales.com/
LoveMonkey Ale

Slurp. Yum!

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