RAF Cycling Downhill

The RAF Cycling Downhill Team are set to make a strong start to the 2015 season thanks to Chf Tech Nick Larkin, Puma Force Support, RAF Benson.

The team aims to maximise success by optimising the bike and the rider. In order to achieve this, the team is working in partnership with UK bike company Saracen to ensure that team riders are on the World Cup and World Championship winning Saracen Myst downhill bike. The bike is built from a mix of aluminium and carbon fibre, features the latest downhill specific geometry and suspension, and has the new, faster rolling 27.5” wheels.

Chf Tech Larkin has devised a structured approach to training in order to unlock the potential of the RAF riders by working in conjunction with Ian Warby of B1ke. Ian’s track record of success with riders at the very highest level paid dividends at the team’s recent training week at Aston Hill Bike Park near RAF Halton.

After explaining the training process, Ian coached the team in the techniques necessary to improve race results. Measuring improvement in downhill racing is very difficult without extremely accurate timings systems. Fortunately, through funding obtained from the RAF Sports Board, the team have recently taken delivery of a custom Freelap timing kit. Using sensors fitted to special watches, each rider was able to time themselves to 100th of a second through the different sectors of the track. The results were startling. By employing the correct techniques, riders were able to shave vital seconds off their time through a series of corners or features. Using this incremental approach over the full length of a downhill course, the racers recorded much improved times.

Cpl James Harvey (RAF Regiment, RAF Halton) admitted before the training that he struggled to achieve good race results but surprised everyone by consistently recording the fastest sector times. LAC Luke Yelland (AMS, RAF Brize Norton) is the newest member of the team and demonstrated some real potential with his flowing style and ability to hit creative lines. Cpl Andy Lochhead (2 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth) applied the coaching techniques to excellent effect by achieving his best ever result at the first round of the British Downhill Series with a 7th place in Masters. The team is always on the look-out for new riders so please contact Team Manager Flt Lt Baz Fenton at dhsec@rafcycling.org.uk if you’re interested in joining or would like more information.

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