5. Hafren Rally
Cliff jumping Starters 154 Result 24th (1st in Trail bike class)
Having suffered the disappointment of mechanical failure last time out, the team and I were desperate to finish off the year with a good result. With the event taking place in the midst of hurricane Abigale it was another wet, cold and brutally windy affair. And if that wasn’t enough I did my bit to end my race early by literally running out of road and riding off the edge of a Welsh mountain. In what was one of the biggest amateur-hour moments of my life, I had just passed Patsy Quick (the first and only British woman to finish the Dakar in Africa) before launching myself into oblivion. Patsy witnessed it all and within seconds of me crashing and rolling down the hillside, she was at my side checking if I was OK. Her coolness and matter-of-fact response impressed me to the core and within seconds she had someone slowing the other riders down at the top of the hill to prevent anyone repeating my idiotic riding and landing on us both. Her priority then turned to getting me back on my bike, and with no way back on track, gave me clear instructions of how to get down the mountain and back to the paddock. Passing a Dakar rider would’ve been a story to tell the grand kids, but it wasn’t even on a timed stage – it was a liaison section where there was nothing to be gained. Even three months on it’s still embarrassing. With the bike severely twisted, my head banging from the impact and my wrist in serious pain, I limped back to the paddock and got myself together while mechanic Rowan straightened the bike. With two laps to go it was time to man up and head back out to complete the race. It’s fair to say the crash took the edge off my pace, but the end result was good. From 200 starters I was 24th overall and won the trail bike class, which the AJP can be ridden in due to its trail bike homologation.