The 2011 winter dual season kicked off with a bang a couple of weeks ago with possibly the best dual yet. There had been a lot of banter going about and folk were very excited to get back to being sideways in the Endcliffe loam. We got there early to setup with Joe Bow and Hannah helping out after labelling up the fresh consignment of TiS Tees. Merch… Boom!
It was just like old times; in the woods, in the park, fixing lights to trees. Magic. Jolley kindly supplied a brand new set of posts for the new season, however, this year we upgraded. White poles. It’s amazing what a difference it makes. No more Sustrans slap wraps falling off every five minutes.
We were setting up at 7 and within 10 minutes the crew started to form, everyone keen to get practise runs in. I selected the original track to get us started, wide open with no obstacles other than a few concealed roots and a fun compression at the end. With the warm dry November the ground was still pretty hard keeping it slippy. Everyone did us proud bringing their lights along to the point where we actually had too many. Thanks to everyone that did, it made racing really easy (however, please bring them next time too!).
The success of the Spring and Autumn Series must have left riders gagging for more racing as we had the biggest number of riders to date, 43 showed up and threw down. With that many we could finally run a race of 32 which quali runs whittled us down to. Having only ever run races of 16 before it was with slight trepidation that it could take far too long. However, with the dream team of Mari and Izzy in control of the timing and with me shouting at people at the start gate (after failing to qualify!) it was smooth sailing and racing was done in a little over 2 hours. Amazing, massive thanks to Mari and Izzy and everyone else that put a post back in the ground or just helped out. It can’t happen without you.
Racing was tight but the left hand lane was definitely slightly quicker. However, with a run in each everything got evened up. With about 20 spectators on top of all the riders the atmosphere was great with as much chatting and catching going on as cheering and jeering.
We had 4 ladies enter which was brilliant as it meant they could have their own race. Slightly different format with each of them racing each other twice and gaining points for a win. This racing was even tighter than the men’s race and equally hard fought with arguably harder slams! Hopefully we can keep this going throughout the series and crown an overall winner. If any other ladies are keen to race, please get in touch.
One of the standout moments of the night was celebrating the delight that is #SheffGnar which pays homage to the great Shane McConkey in a Yorkshire manner. TiS’s own Duncan Philpodd called out Steve Peat on the start line with a classic “I can’t believe you’re a World Champ, I’m so much better than you!”. After the stitches from laughter had died down, they were off and the World Champ smashed the POD extraordinaire.
The results speak for themselves and with Dom Worrall on hand to take the great photos you see here the winter seasons was declared open and ready for battle. Keep checking back for more updates over the next few months.