Sitting at my desk this morning, I’ve finally had a chance to look back and appreciate how good last weekend turned out to be. After so much planning,brain-storming,stressing and running about, it all came down to a damp Saturday day in March….
The original idea, was to have a small ‘mates race’, to run along side Alex Rankin’s film showing at SHAFF. As you all witnessed, this didn’t happen…. After many a late night in the Lescar, plans were formed and ideas ran wild.We planned for something bigger and better, something that would show off the brillant Sheffield scene, whilst catering for all abilities. When the Steel City King himself offered his help and support, a Mini Downhill Monster was born.
I’m going to miss having an excuse to go to the Lescar, it’s like leaving someone special behind, but less dramatic. It’s a funny old place, with a mixed bag of people depending on what time you go. We use to get the real stragglers at about 6pm, who have either been in there all day, or have just clocked off and ready to smash it. Anyway, enough pub talk…
One thing that really gave me hope for cycling and mountain biking in general, is how psyched and helpful everyone was in the lead up to this event. So many people offered there time and expertise in many different forms and without them none of this could of happend. All the amazing sponsors, the brave marshalls, the exhibitors and the AWESOME spectators, you made this event.Je James Cycles keeping warm! 5:30 am is no way to start a Saturday, but without sounding too Gok Wan, there’s definitely something satisfying about seeing the sun rise over the Peak on a misty morning. It was like a scene out of Lord of the Rings. However, coming over the tops, the nice looking morning fog turned into drizzle and mist, with Oughtibridge looking more like Mordor in this case…
Heading up a soggy Sandy Lane, my heart did sink a little bit, with thoughts of an epic wash out and an empty trackside, but luckily I was wrong. The mist lingered above the heath, creating a real eery atmosphere. I can’t wait to see what the trained eyes of Grant Robinson and Alex Rankin picked up…. Squeezing everyone in to the bomb-hole finish area was always going to be a challenge, but everyone was patient as we got everyone into position, creating an awesome looking finish arena.
Building the final drop was one of the best ideas we had and on race day attracted literally hundreds of spectators all going nuts for air and carnage.
Exhibitor wise, we had everything from local bike shops to beer tents and even the SRAM truck made an appearance giving the whole thing a real ‘big’ feel. The caterers, PJ Taste were jam packed all day, dishing out more burgers than your local Maccy D’s, the difference being, these actually contained meat. The course was marked, the tape had settled, the stands were in place and riders were turning up thick and fast. I remember hearing Steve say ‘Course is live’ and thinking ‘oh man I hope this goes well ‘ . Watching the first few riders come towards the final drop, I felt slightly sick seeing them creep to the edge, only to slam on at the last second. Gulp. Luckily there was no major casualties.
Time went pretty slow between practice and race runs, It was just a blur of questions and quick fire chatter over the radios. From what I can remember, everything went pretty smoothly in the morning, apart from one big blow, the PA failed to work. This was completely out of our hands unfortunately and even after a few trips to Maplin, we still couldn’t fix it. Luckily Monster rocked up in their huge truck and started blasting out some music to keep peoples ears ringing.
Hanna Jonsson taking a spill ‘for the crowd’. The weather didn’t play ball on Saturday… The keyboard heroes around the net were quick to point out how flat and muddy everything seemed and they were right, but at the same time, we weren’t looking for a full on gnarly downhill race, it was an event. If anyone knows of a steeper, more tech and less muddy woodland with a friendly land-owner in Sheffield, please do speak up now, but until then, we can’t thank the Woodland Trust enough for being so supportive in allowing us to host this on their land.
Seeing everyone laugh and slide all the way down, definitely put a few nerves at rest. The track started off the top track and dove straight into the dense woodland, with a pretty relentless sprint for the first 100m’s swooping across the loam, which in turn became mud! Once you were up to speed, you had two options before heading out into the open heath, smash through the whoops or rail the right hand berm. A slick looking straight lead you into the knee height heath, home to some classic English wildlife. Brushing through you encountered quite alot of rocks, making it hard to pedal and keep your flow. The best riders really shined here as they made it look effortless, soaking up the terrain for speed, diving in and out of the corners, staying light on the bike.
Jack Reading putting the power down Due to logging a few weeks before the event, the straight back into the woods after the open section became very boggy. We did our best trying to armour it and dig through the mess, but there’s only so much you can do with the tyrant of English weather. My favourite section was the rooty, rocky straights that followed, keeping your speed here was key as it set the tone for the bottom sprint. Bryceland managed a cheeky big double here in practice,which opened some eyes. Round a few berms and you had a pretty nasty sprint for the finish, those who stood up and pedalled here did well, carrying good speed into the final right hander (which Rowan Sorrel hit so hard he blew his tyre off!) and off the now infamous drop.
You said it! Once racing had kicked off, the hum of the generators and the jeers of the crowd became the norm as rider after rider put in their runs. I think we all agree that seeing 10 year old rippers smash down the track and even send it off the drop, was amazing and pretty much summed up what the event was all about for me.
There was spills and thrills all the way through run one, most noticeably, Yorkshire’s finest Chris Akrigg took a big hit to the head and had to sit it out for run two. For a local event, we had a pretty stacked elite field, with a mix bag of pro’s and local heroes, headed up by likes of Steve Peat, Josh Bryceland and Rowan Sorrell. The infamous Mr X (Rob Stokes to those who know, sorry guys Palmer was busy…) came all the way from France to race, now that’s commitment. He finished the weekend off with a very respectable 5th place in Pro!
Steve Peat lead the pack out of the gate, with a 1.31.813, with our very own James Swinden in 2nd !! People were tired, yet psyched to get up there and correct those spills and mistakes that haunted there first runs. There was an great sense of ‘beat your mates’ , with everyone having their own races within their respective groups.
By the time run two came about the mist and drizzle had lifted, leaving us with a cold and slightly slower track. Times were generally slower second time round and most peoples first run times stuck. I can’t thank the crowd any more for the amazing atmosphere they created in and around the finish area. You truly saved us, as we barely would of needed a PA to get you any more excited!
What a day. Pack-up went well, big thankyou to those who stayed around and helped out, we really needed it! I’m pretty sure the majority had a good day out, with plenty of familys and non-riders coming out to spectate and check out what was going on. There’s obviously a few things that could of gone better, but for a first try at organising a race I think we did ok?! Hats off to the full time guys like the BDS, MIJ and Pearce guys, I honestly don’t know how you do it. Will this be an annual event? A series? Who Knows…. Keep it peeled to this site and the Steel City Facebook page for news.
No time for showers, as it was film time at the showrrom cinema in town…. Alex Rankin put on a stormer, but that’s another story all together. Read on for the final results….
Results and podiums: Full results HERE
Rippers: Sponsored by Polaris A close finish in the rippers category!
|1||20||Kade EDWARDS||n/a||2:26.185 (1)||2:56.651 (4)||2:26.185||-|
|2||21||Robert THOMAS||n/a||2:27.417 (2)||2:38.021 (1)||2:27.417||1.232s|
|3||22||Jake MONK||n/a||2:33.363 (3)||2:47.085 (2)||2:33.363||7.178s|
|1||36||Thomas CRAIG||Scott Bikes||1:55.902 (1)||2:08.032 (1)||1:55.902||-|
|2||32||Thomas HEATH||n/a||2:16.480 (2)||2:19.663 (2)||2:16.480||20.578s|
|3||35||Jack MILLER (rpr)||n/a||2:31.487 (3)||2:35.892 (3)||2:31.487||35.585s|
|1||42||Oliver SPENCE||n/a||1:54.131 (1)||2:00.579 (2)||1:54.131||-|
|2||40||Jack READ||StevePeatSyndicate||1:54.648 (2)||1:58.988 (1)||1:54.648||0.517s|
|3||41||Adam DAWSON (yth)||n/a||1:57.250 (3)||2:03.360 (3)||1:57.250||3.119s|
|1||55||Josh LEWIS||StevePeatSyndicate||1:41.713 (1)||1:43.853 (1)||1:41.713||-|
|2||56||Freddie OXLEY||StevePeatSyndicate||1:46.591 (2)||1:51.288 (2)||1:46.591||4.878s|
|3||60||Robert CAMPBELL||Badman Racing||1:49.830 (3)||1:54.678 (3)||1:49.830||8.117s|
Senior: Sponsored by Five Ten
A local 1,2,3. Richard Batey will always be fast on anything two wheels. Tim Pearson comes out of retirement for a 2nd place aswell, closely followed by David White.
|1||151||Richard BATEY||n/a||1:43.040 (1)||1:43.040||-|
|2||155||Tim PEARSON||NEFR Racing||1:48.167 (2)||1:48.608 (1)||1:48.167||5.127s|
|3||194||David WHITE||n/a||1:50.792 (3)||1:55.258 (3)||1:50.792||7.752s|
Masters: Sponsored by 18 bikes
The SPS daddy Tristan Tunstall standing proud on the top spot! CGCC rider Devine smashes out a 2nd.
|1||85||Tristan TUNSTALL||StevePeatSyndicate||1:42.559 (1)||1:44.178 (1)||1:42.559||-|
|2||91||Andrew DEVINE||CGCC||1:45.163 (2)||1:54.102 (10)||1:45.163||2.604s|
|3||121||John HELLIWELL||He’s a chunky little boy||1:45.689 (3)||1:47.236 (2)||1:45.689||3.130s|
Vets: Sponsored by The Bike Tree
Tim Webb taking the win. Look at Singletrack mag in 3rd! Fastest media of the day?
|1||71||Tim WEBB (eng)||Red Mist Racing||1:51.705 (1)||1:57.262 (2)||1:51.705||-|
|2||79||Paul BROOKES||BROOKIE89||1:52.619 (2)||1:53.814 (1)||1:52.619||0.914s|
|3||74||Matt LETCH||Singletrack Magazine||1:55.076 (3)||1:58.891 (4)||1:55.076||3.371s|
|1||137||Emily HORRIDGE||Transition Bikes||1:58.940 (1)||2:22.220 (4)||1:58.940||-|
|2||136||Jess STONE||Trek- Gravity Girls||2:01.691 (2)||2:03.380 (1)||2:01.691||2.751s|
|3||138||Amie WILLS||Rootsandrain.co.uk||2:07.521 (3)||2:11.185 (2)||2:07.521||8.581s|
|1||1||Steve PEAT||Santa Cruz Syndicate||1:31.813 (1)||1:31.122 (1)||1:31.122||-|
|2||6||James SWINDEN||Chromag / Ellsworth Bikes / Thisisheffie||1:40.249 (2)||1:42.188 (3)||1:40.249||9.127s|
|3||11||Dave WARDELL||GT Bikes||1:40.472 (3)||1:40.472||9.350s|
It’s hard to really start thanking everyone, as so many people did so much, but here goes….. The Wildlife Trust Without their permission we wouldn’t have been able to hold the race. Many thanks to Roy Mosley for all his help and Julie Gough for dealing with PR.
Ecclesall woods sawmill (for the worlds coolest podium)
Bespoke Physiotherapy (for the best qualified medical staff a bike race has ever seen)
MIJ racing/timing (Jon, Martin and Ian)
Jon Dallow (Full time council, part time ledgend)
The Marshalls, who literally were heroes, braving the cold all day, we can’t thank you enough.
1 Denis Cumming
2 Adrian Smith
3 Martin Baker
4 Su Leeming
5 Fi Bowen
6 Pete Glover
7 Justin Jones
8 Steve Mackie
9 Paul Testa
10 Jody Vallance
11 Rob ’heckler ‘ Jolley
12 Simon Garrard
13 Helen Twohig
14 Beccy Mackie
15 Ally Fraser
Car Parking attendants Joe Berry, Ally Fraser and James Fuller
Farmer Jack for the use of his Field
Registration – Kate Hamilton and Rachael Ellis.
All the spectators and anyone that came out.
Garry Wesley and Ecclesall Saw Mill for the medals
Alex Rankin (for making the best films out there)
Rob Warner (for being a funny, lairy bloke)
All the photographers and videographers on the day, who did an amazing job of documenting everything.
The Lescar (who should definitely sponsor us next time if your reading this) and all our amazing category sponsors.
Big thanks to Raymond Dulieu and Will Ockelton from Freecaster.tv for all their support and coverage.
Joseph James Wilson
VIDEO contest and/or contributors
Luke Ryves Dempsey
Ivor Alan Bowen
The video contest was won by Luke Ryves Dempsey who will receive a ‘money can’t buy’ prize from Freecaster.tv.
Look out for a Sunday dual write-up and the full length show from Freecaster.tv coming soon….
Until next time….. You stay classy Sheffield.
From the Organizers, Steve Peat, Nick Hamilton, Joe Bowman, Steve Hardcastle and Henry Norman.
Our awesome sponsors: