Adam Hughes - the 13 year old ripper

July 26 2010

Heralding from Castle Douglas, Adam Hughes has no shortage of trails to hone his skills. Based around the 7-Stanes, he’s been quick to shift over his motorbike experience into the world of proper bikes.  XC or DH, with the support of his Dad and Mark Wilcox of Next Level MTB, he’s been showing a few older riders how to turn on the style.  But what does a 13 year old ride for DH in a world of big suspension? A Five AM seems to do the trick. The short 14” Five does a good job of providing the geometry he needs with a Fox 36 slackening things off at the front and stiffening things up for the odd rock garden. With a maxle out back he’s happy to slam it through berms with a chain device and Saint rear mech keeping the chain in check. While this is not a downhill bike, for a light ripper of 13 years, it’s the perfect setup. Light enough to throw around, and strong enough to endure the rigors of a dose of Adam Hughes, XC or DH. Read his race reports below to see how he’s getting on, expect to see much more of Adam over the next few years, the kid’s got talent…

Innerleithen Mini-DH:

On Sunday the 27th of June I competed in a mini downhill race at Innerleithen, Peeblesshire. I rode this event last year around Halloween time on my old bike. This was the first time I would properly have the privilege of riding my new Orange 5 am. I was very excited and looked forward to the day ahead.

I woke up early on the Sunday morning raring to go. I loaded the bike and all of the kit I would need for the day into the jeep. My Dad and I waited on my coach, Mark Wilcox to come round so we could set off to Innerleithen. A couple of hours later we reached Innerleithen. Mark went and got me signed on then I got ready to go up the hill. Unfortunately there was no up-lift. Luckily my new bike was so much lighter than my old bike and a lot easier to push. The course was short and sweet, it was the bottom section of the Cresta run. There was no practice runs as the timing was just a couple of stop watches set off at 30 second intervals. Luckily we were alowed as many runs as we could manage.

On my first run I went down fairly slowly to look at the track and get used to the bike. It felt great and was so much smoother than my last bike as it had better forks. I managed to catch five people but fell right after the finish which was a bit embarrassing. I went back to the car and got a quick bite to eat and get my cuts patched up.

I started to push up yet again with another bunch of people. When we got to the top we heard the track was closed because someone had broken their collar bone, scary.  After a long wait at the top we were ready to go again. The track had now been slightly changed at the bottom as it was too dangerous for some riders.

On my second run I started to increase my speed in some places as I was feeling much more comfortable on the Orange 5. The new section was a lot easier but still quite tight. I also had a clean run not catching any riders.

I got another two runs in that felt really good with the feedback and response from my Orange 5. The bike was feeling great. I headed back to the car after my runs got something to eat and drink and then got myself changed out of the clothes I was riding in. The ‘airbag’ jump was in the car park so I had a few goes on it and it was amazing fun. It was now time for the prize giving. There was an anxious wait for my results as there was no live timing. To my surprise I was 1st. I jumped up on to the back of the pick-up truck and attempted to spray the non-alcoholic champagne!

Overall It was a great days racing and I loved riding my brilliant new bike.

Scottish DH Champs:

On Saturday the 10th of July my Dad and I headed up to Dunkeld near Stirling for me to compete in the Scottish Downhill Champs. We woke up early on Saturday morning and strapped my Orange 5 onto the bike rack. We set off and a mere couple of hours later we were at the race venue. It was a wet miserable day, typical of Scotland.

I got singed on and got ready to ride. Since I was in juvenile I didn’t have to race the top part of the course. This meant I was on a different up lift, a transit van. We had to load our bikes into one of the vans and sit on hay bales in the back of the other. It wasn’t very comfortable and made a lot of people feel sick. On the way up on my first run the van we were in had to swerve out of the way to avoid the other uplift. It swerved into a ditch and was on 3 wheels! We then had to get out and push it back up. It was quite scary.

Dunkeld Adam Hughes on his Five

I finally got my fist run on the course and it was great. My bike felt amazing. The course was rooty and had lots of rocks. The mud and rain didn’t help the course either but it was still seriously fun to ride. All together I got 8 runs in.

 All very exciting and muddy. Some runs were better than others with a few falls, but still it was great.

We packed up and I got changed out of my mucky clothes and we headed over to the local petrol station to wash some rather muddy bikes. During the night I was woken up by a constant thumping, it was the rain, not good.

The next morning we woke up bright and early ready to race. The course was now even sloppier and ruts were starting to get deep.

It was soon time to go up for my first race run. I was having a really bad run but luck was on my side. As I was approaching the bottom section a red flag was put out. I got to the bottom and asked for a re-run, so was then sent back up the hill. This run was fairly clean with not too many mistakes. This paid off as I finished 4th in my first run. On my second run I got down pretty well with only one mistake but it was good and put me in 7th overall.

Altogether it was a great weekend and I was really happy with the bike and my result.

Ae National Champs:

On the 18th of July I competed in the National Downhill Champs at Ae forest. Ae is my local track and a huge amount of fun to ride.

I woke up early on Sunday morning, looked out my window and to no surprise it was raining...again. On Saturday’s practice the course was starting to dry up and was becoming so good to ride. I had also learned to do the drop on Saturday and it felt great! We arrived at Ae and I got ready to do a couple of practice runs. The course was so wet and muddy. It was nearly impossible to get through some sections without having to put your foot down. Ruts were also starting to form, making the course even harder. But in the mud and rain it was surprisingly great fun. Practice felt good and fortunately the drop wasn’t getting too rutted.

Adam Hughes Road Gap Ae

I got my bike washed and got changed into some different kit then headed for my seeding run. As we were going up in the uplift there was a sudden hard shower of rain. This made me a bit nervous. The wind at the top of the course was unreal and part of the way down it was like riding through a stream. I got to the bottom safely and had a reasonably good run seeding me 8th with a time of 3.26.

Once again I went back to the tent, got my bike washed and got into some new kit. The rest of juveniles and I got on the uplift and headed to the top of the hill. By this time the course was getting properly rutted up. I didn’t even bother with goggles as they just got too dirty to see anything through. My number was called and I drew up to the start. 30 seconds...15 seconds...10 seconds... 5 seconds... GO! I was off on my first national race. The top was now more of a river than a stream. But that didn’t matter as the bike felt great and I was riding really well. It was difficult to control the bike in the even muddier conditions now but I managed to get down with only one minor mistake, so I was happy as I beat my seeding time by 10 seconds with a 3.16! It was now time for the anxious wait to see if the faster riders beat my time. Fortunately not many of them did so it put me in 6th place. I was so happy to get a 6th in my first national but a bit disappointed to be only 4 seconds off a podium.

Overall it was an amazing weekend and I was really pleased to be coming away with a 6th place. Once again the bike felt amazing and rode so well.

All photos courtesy of proud Dad, Gordon Hughes.

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