Sheffield’s New Dual Track
Today saw the opening of Sheffield’s first official dual slalom track, the ‘dual in the crown’ of Parkwood Springs, Sheffield’s city centre bike trail. The opening race was attended by some of the great and the good of Sheffield’s mountain bike scene. First down the buff limestone was Sheffield Steel himself, Steve Peat, accompanied by his 50:1 protégées Craig Evans and Josh Lewis. The sun was out and the view of the city was as breath taking as ever. The 30 second blast has the most perfect set of berms linked together by sections of rollers which will keep even the best riders amused for hours testing every possible combination. The final right hander is steep and long with bar drags possible in both lanes. The whole track is completely grin inducing and will offer a too tempting opt in to the exiting trail. Sheffield just got a little be radder.
When Parkwood opened its 2km of buff singletrack to the happy hoard of Sheffield riders in 2012 no one could have predicted its overwhelming draw. Constantly in use by thousands of riders it has hosted races, school groups and local dog walkers happy to share the rejuvenated space with their new two wheeled chums. Sheffield, #theoutdoorcity, has a rich history with the dual racing format kicked off by the fabled Iron Justice races in the 90s on the old Ski Village site which neighbours Parkwood. This inspired the long running This is Sheffield dual series which has been keeping the cities riders amused during the long winter months and the new track now offers a permanent legitimate venue.
The creation of the dual track marks a new phase in the development of the Parkwood site headed up by the city councils, Jon Dallow, the man that made Parkwood and many of Sheffield other trails happen. Funded by a grant from Sport England and in kind contributions from Sheffield City Council it has been a long time in planning. There are plans in place for further extensions to the trail but funding needs to be secured. It was built by Biketrack, Sheffield’s own trail building company, who are also responsible for the trails in Lady Cannings and Greno Woods. They’ve done another great job here.
The race was hosted by This is Sheffield’s Nick Hamilton with Ride Sheffield represented by Henry Norman and John Horscroft who’s plans to expand the city’s trail network further know no bounds. Biketrack head honcho and chief trail builder, Steve Taylor and Jordan Gould, both showed that they really know how to ride the trails they build. The rest of the field was made up of seasoned dual riders and first timers alike, with 72 year old Granny McGnarly, Pat Horscroft, giving the trail her blessing. Fittingly the race was won by Jon Dallow who benefitted from the respectful head start given by Craig Evans and then enjoyed the Haribo prizes he’d put in the pot.
During the test event at the end of March held to mark the end of the TiS dual series, 30 riders pushed the limits of the track to test its design. Flood lit by bike lights in characteristic style the racing was tight and the competition was heavy. The track made for amazing racing enhanced by the whole length being visible to spectators. The final came down to master and apprentice, Peaty versus Evans. Craig pushed hard linking the rollers and railing the turns forcing Steve to work hard to keep up. A mistake in the second leg saw the young pretender triumph over the old dog with smiles evident all round. Steve says of the new addition:
“It’s amazing that Sheffield has got behind a new dual track, dual is the funnest MTB discipline for spectators and riders to race and watch. Sheffield has such a good scene going right now and thanks to Jon Dallow for pushing is along. Good times ahead at Parkwood and the rest of Sheffield.”
Watch out for a race coming to these two parallel streaks this summer with a trail building fund raiser. In the meantime, get up there and ride it, it’s open to all. Just remember, respect it, and don’t brake in the berms. The carpark is open on the weekends 10 until 4, otherwise just ride there it’s in the city centre.
All photos credited to Richard Baybutt
#dualrules #theoutdoorcity #dallowformayor