“You know what, I don’t think I could do it justice. I showed the bike to one guy – and he burst into tears just seeing it. That’s a pretty big thing you know?”
If there was ever a bike to create such a deep emotional resonance it would be Jason McRoy’s.
I had asked 44Rockstar team manager Christian Hatcher to talk to me on video about a very special bike that he was in charge of at Antur Stiniog last weekend, for the 2015 Rose Bikes British Downhill Final.
It was a very rare, very special red full suspension bike. It was the Specialized that Jason rode and raced during his career and the very bike he blew our minds with in the early ‘Dirt’ video. As mountain bike culture goes, it honestly doesn’t get more sacred than that. I can understand the hesitation.
The final of the British Downhill Series (the UK’s top national downhill series) is always going to be a special affair. This year’s final was made even more unique by the attendance of a host of the sport’s old guard – Dave Hemming, Rob Warner, Dave Wardell, Matt Farmer, Ed Moseley, Tim Ponting to name but a few. The aptly-named BDS Legends were in town to celebrate Jason McRoy’s life and mark 20 years since he passed away.The ‘Legends would race, teach us young ‘uns a thing or two and hold a brief ceremony to scatter Jason’s ashes next to the track.
Steve Peat: “He was massive. He was the first British rider to go and take on the word and fight his way into a pro deal. He led the way for the likes of me and Warner and all the other pros that followed after him”.
Jason’s mark on the event transformed a slatey grey day in North Wales into something really special indeed. It was briefly very sad as Peaty led the riders down the track, scattered Jason’s ashes and held a minutes silence for their friend and then – of course – hilarious and rawkus at every other moment they were around! The track was alight with aging bikes and race kit and the pits were awash with laughter, well-meant abuse and stories of racing legends that were older than most of the young racers on the start list!
There was supposedly a race for the old gits that Warner had been training hard for. A wager between motormouth MC Warner and Lee Bertram saw every Legend racer stop track side to spray Rob with beer and sabotage his run, allowed Lee to take the win. Successfully blinded with fizz, Rob had to settle for 2nd place and he now has to get Berty’s time tattooed on his bum to satisfy a bet. Let it never be said the old boys don’t know how to have fun!
“It was good! I think I can ride alright, I just need some fitness, it’s good though, I loved it! I reckon I’ll be back next year, I’ll come and do some of the steep ones!” Rob Warner.
If you’re interested, the main race was won by Manon Carpenter and Matt Simmonds. Manon took the overall series win for the ladies and Joe Smith for the guys.
You can find out more here.