Photos & Musings: Grands Prix

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The downhill double at Namur

Here's Paul Malin jumping the downhill double at Namur. This was one of those jumps that nobody really considered a double. Itís a steep downhill, interrupted by a road crossing, followed by another short downhill. Itís also a long way down Ė think jumping off the roof of your house!

It can get very rutty, but the worst thing is that thereís no run up. If you check out the photos on the right you'll see that coming up to the take off it's quite narrow, and there is a tight right then left turn just before the jump. You have to take the corner carefully, roll on the power, hope you hook up, donít bog and donít spin out. There is a millisecond to make the decision as to whether all is good before you sail off the blind crest.

As the section is in the woods visibility can be a problem. It's mostly dark but the rays of dazzling, bright sunlight can create awkward shadows. In the shade of the forest the dirt can remain greasy all day, but also, if it's dry the dust just hangs around in the trees and never clears. Then of course there are tree roots all over the place!

Jumping it is much faster and makes the next corner much easier too because youíre braking earlier than those who have to jump twice.

As I recall, Jared Smith and Ismo Vehkonen were the first to jump it, but like many legends, some people will tell you otherwise. I jumped it a few times in about 1989 but as soon as they watered the corner it was too risky. Wouldnít be a nice place to case it sideways.

Even today, not many riders jump this. A legendary obstacle.

(Thanks to Jeff Beerdsen for the track walk photos -

Maler launches the blind downhill drop off double at Namur. Enlarge image

It always looks easy from this side, but... Enlarge image

The straight before leads into a tricky right - left off camber chicane. Enlarge image

Imagine trying to get speed out of this corner, turning all the time! Enlarge image

Even right on the lip it's blind. Enlarge image

Too late now if you're committed but heading off the track or coming up short! Enlarge image