December 29 2016
Ben Moore started riding for Orange at the beginning of 2016. Setting out to do something a little bit different from the norm, let's see how he got on in his first 12 months...
Let's get started
To start the year, we competed in the downhill series. This was a 5 part series touring Europe, racing through the biggest shopping centers Red Bull could find! The 'Crush' was really well suited to these events. With its 27.5 wheels and long frame design, it made for a smooth ride down the escalators.
Urban DH in Falmouth
Shortly after this, the one and only UK Urban downhill race was looming so we took the coastal journey down to Falmouth to see what Will Evans had designed and built for this year's mayhem! The course was a big combination of high speed, low speed, and technical corners. It has jumps and off-camber grass sections (which were fun on slick tyres!). I did the course practice and qualifying on the Alpine 160 but swtiched to the Crush for my final race run. This worked well and we took the win by over 6 seconds on a sub 2 minute track.
No summertime blues here...
In our down time between races, we worked on a short video called 'Summer in the South', this was filmed at Tidworth Freeride park, and involved the bomb proof 324. Check it out here...
Fresh from the win in Falmouth, we received an invite from Red Bull to compete in their 'Dark Knights' competition in Singapore. Feeling fresh and confident, we set up the bike in the same way that we had for Falmouth and it worked: we took the win again!
Now for some real 'Alpine' riding. We packed the van, armed with the Alpine 160 and the 324 downhill bike, and headed for Alp d'Huez in July. The main task was to compete in this year's Megavelanche, but we were keen to make some films in the mountains and test different bike set ups ahead of the 30km legendary downhill race from Pic Blanc. The race went well and I can honestly say that I've never put my body to such extremes in a race before. We finished fifth in my qualifying heat and 41st overall in the main final.
After the antics and high pressure of Alp d'Huez, we headed to Morzine for five days of filming and training. Unfortunately, a freak accident on day 1 saw me break my left clavicle in three places. I knew an accident was due after having a relatively successful six months but didn't quite comprehend an accident of this scale.
Back from the Alps and from injury, my attention turned to the biggest film project of the year - a race against the Ariel Nomad. It proved a serious project, we built a course for the car to go alongside one of the 417 Fly Up Project bike tracks. It took me three months of planning and a lot of sleepless nights! Check out the result of our efforts, and watch the incredible Alpine 6 take victory against the 235hp monster of a car!
South 'Merica, Baby!
12 weeks of rehab and physio and we're off to Mexico for the final of the City Downhill World Tour. This was my third year of competing on the famous Taxco course and I was keen to simply get a clean race run and tick the event off for this year.
We finished in 15th position and headed to Guatemala the next day to meet Orange importer, Carlos.
The riding in Guatemala was like nothing I had ever done before. We filmed the 'Lavalanche' (our version of the Mega Avalanche) which entailed a high speed run down the city's biggest volcano. After this, we met with the locals and raced the national downhill track on the 324 and got some pretty amazing footage; that'll be posted this winter.
Back in the UK for just a week and I found myself back at the airport, armed with the ever awesome Alpine 6, heading to the south of France for the Grasse Urban Downhill Race. The bike had a specific makeover and was specifically set up to handle the urban course. Most of the other competitors were running downhill bikes but they couldn't stay with the sheer pace of the Alpine 6 on the pedal sections. After a smooth and conservative qualifying run, we sat in fourth position on the grid and were lined up for my final race run. But disaster struck: rain came in, washing the slippery concrete course, and turning it into an ice rink. Finished seventh in the main final. Smiles all around, you win some you lose some.
Last but not least of the 2016 season was the Bilbao international cup during the first weekend of Decermber, I took the Alpine 6 with a course specific set up. The Alpine felt great as always and we came home with the bronze medal loosing out by 800ths of a second!
I'm delighted that Orange and I have continued our partnership into the 2017 season and I'm looking forward to continue representing the legendary British brand and showcasing their phenomenal bikes all over the world.
Without these people all of this would not have been possible...
Alpine 6 vs Ariel Nomad: Matt Hardy (Director), James France (Camera 1), Peter Naylor (Camera 2), Alex Moore (Producer), Xander Ettling (Photographer) and of course the Ariel Motor Company.
Guatamala: Carlos and the crew
Singapore: Rob and the crew. Red Bull content.
Downmall series: Sebastian Sternemann
Falmouth: Xander Ettling
Sheffield: Darren Ellis
Mexico: Edgar Hurtado, Ale Oruna photography,
Injury photo: Factory Jackson,