As the curtain closes on the debut season of the Gate 8 Racing team we thought we'd look back at how we'd performed against our targets. What seems like a lifetime ago after a pre-season training session in Manchester, we set a stretch goal of achieving 4,000 points in a season and a more realistic goal of 3,600 points and a target of finishing our debut National season in the top 10.
With a team, who, based on 2018's performance would have scored under 3,000 points and two unknown riders (at least in the UK) in their debut UK National series, this was always going to be a tall order. With the backing of Gate 8 though, and the support of Mongoose Bikes and URP we believed that we had the right set-up to support our riders in pulling off what many would view as a shock result. It's fair to say we exceeded even our own expectations!
We finished round one at Manchester with a very credible (and on target) eighth place. We didn't know it at the time but this would be the team's worst result of the season. We were blown away to leave Manchester having bagged third in the team competition on day two. Cyclopark was a bit of a reality check with sixth and fifth, but we came into our own at Birmingham and Peckham where the team benefited from some pre race coaching with Kelvin Batey (at Birmingham) and Dean Reeves (at Peckham) the latter of which shared some local knowledge that secured at least two podiums on the race weekend in London. The result was four team podiums (2 x second and 2 x third) from four rounds.
This run of form put us within 20 points of a top 3 overall standing going into Scotland. A spate of injuries and some bad luck on the track however put pay to that idea and we left Knightwood having lost ground on our rivals. This left the team needing a herculean effort to overturn the deficit at the final rounds in Bournemouth. Initially, it was thought that all hope was lost with the cancellation of Saturday's race, but the introduction of double points on Sunday meant we no longer needed a fantastic weekend, just an excellent day! 400 points we calculated would be required for a top 3 finish, anything less and we'd be reliant on other teams to drop points.
Some outstanding individual rides saw us come tantalising close to the magic 400 point target netting 392 points for the day and that was good enough for the team's maiden victory and with double points it was technically two victories! It would prove to be just a little short however, as we finished the season in fourth position just 4.5 points behind the third place team - less than 1 race position across a whole season!
Whilst it's hard not to feel disappointed by the result and missing the overall podium by such a tiny margin, when it's looked at from the perspective of our pre season goal, our debut season was an overwhelming success. 4,424 points was 10% beyond even our most ambitious goal and we go into 2020 with an almost unchanged team and a confidence that there are better things to come.
It's the riders that 'maketh' the team
Whilst Gate 8 Racing compete in a National team competition, a team is only as strong as it's members and the strength in depth and consistency shown by the Gate 8 riders across the season long competition has been exemplary. Consistency has been at the heart of the team's success and that has been built on some outstanding individual performances.
Interested in joining Gate 8 Racing for 2020?
It's been an amazing debut season and we'd like to thank all our riders, sponsors and partners for their help. 2020 will see a departure from Mongoose Bikes and a new frame sponsor along with an extended deal with Puls Race Wear. If you're interested in joining us for next season and think you've got what it takes to challenge for National Podiums, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for details of our supported rider programme.
Photo Credit: Headfones Productionz