Reigned in Spain – maybe next time!

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Against a field of elite racers in Spain, the youngest rider in the field qualifies 3rd only to be brought down by a mechanical in the final run.

Against a field of elite racers in Spain, the youngest rider in the field qualifies 3rd only to be brought down by a mechanical in the final run.

"After testing out the Intense M9 in Salève last week, i couldn’t wait to get out and race it!" The Nissan European Cup in Spain was a great opportunity to get away from home and test the bike out on a race weekend.

We travelled to Spain last Thursday for the Nissan European Cup in Macanet – a picturesque town just on the French/Spanish border. The race itself was bizarrely half way up the mountain on a dusty 4×4 track – how they were going to get spectators, we did not know!

On walking the track, it looked pretty sketchy and difficult in places. There were no uplifts on friday, so took our van up a couple of times, so the riders could get a few runs down the track. 

Tahnée said "The track was awesome; way better than it looked. It was fast and flowy, i was loving it! I just wanted to keep doing runs! It’s definitely one of the best tracks i’ve ridden although it wasn’t very long, but that meant i could go pretty much flat out everywhere! I hadn’t felt that good on a bike since.. well.. the last time i rode! It was great, i didn’t want to stop riding".

Thinking that Saturday was qualifying day, Tahnée got all prepared and ready – we then found out that qualifying and finals were all on Sunday. Saturday was pretty jammed with people and they put on 6 old trucks to take us to the top.

So in official practise – first run, first section Tahnée had a crash, nothing serious, just a comedy over the bars moment in front of the gathering crowd! 😉 "Other than that first crash this morning, I felt real good all day, i felt fast and strong, the M9 was working perfectly, areas that I thought would be tough, the bike just soaked it up so smoothly – I really was ready to race!

This Nissan European Cup event was run really well with TV coverage all weekend that went out to 6 different countries – Tahnée ended up being interview twice over the weekend from 2 different TV companies!

Sunday was qualifying and race final – loads of spectators had turned up. There was only time for one run in the morning before qualifying started. "I was probably over excited, because my practice run was all other the place. A mistake here, a mistake there… I was a bit annoyed because Saturday had gone so well!"

Tahnée’s qualifying run was at about 11, and knowing what usually happens at race week ends where she would really push it in qualifying and have the best run of the weekend – then mess up her final race run – she decided to take it easy, relax and see what her time was. She qualified in 3rd place (with a little mistake) just behind Swiss World Cup racer Emilie Siegenthaler, who had just returned from a season in New Zealand, and French ace Floriane Pugin. 

With plenty left in the tank, Tahnée was hoping to get well under the 3 minute mark for her final run. "It was a cool run, i had a load of fun. I got to the bottom and i wasn’t at all tired. I must have breathed in a load of dust or something, I could not stop coughing! Anyway, I knew that i could push so much harder in my race run. My time of 3.07 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I just knew what i had to do for the finals".

Tom one of the Junior GB lads we were with had a nightmare in his qualifying run – the sun and dust was difficult going in and out of the trees… he was blinded on one fast section, flat-out, cornered, took off and the front of his bike literally exploded hitting a tree. He was very lucky to walk away unhurt.

2pm and the finals started, for the first time during the weekend, the weather started to change – the sun had gone in a bit, and it was a lot cooler than the past few days. Tahnée headed up for har race run round about 1.30, excited to see how much better she could do….. 

"My bike took a bit of a bashing on the uplift and I did not think anything of it – until… I was out of the gate, everything was going great: my pedalling was strong and I was nailing my lines. Out of nowhere, i found myself eating dirt on the floor. I didn’t feel like i had made a mistake though, I grabbed my bike and jumped back on, only then i realised that i had oil covering my front disc. I tried pushing but went down again – I have never been so gutted.  I had to roll to the bottom and didn’t even look at my time. I was feeling so confident all weekend and really wanted to see where I was against Ms Pugin, maybe next time!"

Thanks to everyone for your support – other than the race run – it was a great weekend and the weather held up!

More pictures can be found here:


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