WINter dual – Round 2 – Parkwood the Christmas special
Two weeks ago conditions for Dualling were ideal, this week, they were god awful. We know it’s winter, we know it’s supposed to be cold and wet and dark and miserable. But does it really have to do all 4 at the same time?
Round two was notable for many things, the most obvious being the Christmas special. We Duallers have always taken it as an opportunity to celebrate, get dressed up in ‘inappropriate to ride bikes in’ Christmas attire and do a mass secret santa with the prize bag. Equally notable was the influx of the wise men and lass of the family Fife who had driven 150 miles round trip from Guisborough bringing ¾ of the fam plus Lewis Burniston just to race Dual. They had seen the bright star of dual in the sky and were inexplicably drawn to its burning brightness. Its amazing the draw this format has combined of course with the Cotic development program. Wes Fife is on the team and at 16 going from strength to strength. Poppa Fife, John, had driven he and Mel down for their first taste of TiS dual and they weren’t disappointed and are already committed to round 3.
Also notable were the efforts of Rich Baybutt and his fellow Sheffield Bike Park director, James. They’d borrowed site lights from 4X hero Paddy Baker and spent a couple of hours stringing them up in the trees and positioning them trackside. The result was a stunning and incredibly festive spectacle that dulled the pain of the rain, sleet and snow drenching our santa outfits.
Further festive spice came in the form of sheet ice on track. We’ve never raced Mayor Dallows Dual Track in such slick conditions especially on the skating rink finishing straight. One dab of the brakes and you were straight down. This ice on track matched the same beneath the santa suits, only the constant stream of push ups was keeping us defrosted.
There was a healthy dose of new racers this round and what a baptism they had. The Pearson rule was in effect meaning that racers were seeded according to their overall ranked position. This means the fastest racers face off in the first round giving the newbies a chance to progress in to the later rounds. This left me getting knocked out by ex-champ Timmy but I’d like to think it was close! Dave Camus schooled protege Jake Monk and the Vickers vs Chrissy P showdown gave us the most exciting clash of the night, literally. Both were on the limit and came together in to a set of rollers sending Mike off in the wrong direction on his back wheel. Somehow he rode it out and got back on track but Chris, despite stopping to check he was ok, took the win. Danger Green took advantage of his borrowed big wheels to wipe the smile of Rob Shaws face and set him up for a quarter final finish.
In round 2 Camus continued to exert his dominance perhaps in part thanks to all the extra practise he’d put in on track in the previous weeks. There was a good battle between Cotic’s own Sam Capper and another northern importee Lewis Burniston who was insistent on wearing shorts despite the conditions. Evenly matched Lewis won the first leg while Sam took the second but the times were on Lewis’ side and he continued all the way through to the small final. The other travellers from afar, John and Mel Fife, also made their long journeys worth it by beating Nick Woof and Hannah Tew, this also being her first dual.
On to the Quarters and Camus forced a big mistake from Chris to secure his place in the Semi’s while Danger Green’s run of form was brought to a holt by a child, Wes. Having been drawn against his better half, Kelly Jayne, in the first round and showing no mercy, Aiken Collinge continued to let his skills do the talking. He styled up his victory of Papa Fife starting to find the limits of the track to face off and beat Lewis is the Semis who’d been victorious over Mel. Camus showed Wes who was boss to set up an all north east small final.
Wes used the skills that have earned him a place on the Cotic squad to take third overall beating Lewis in to forth. In the Big final Aiken pushed Dave Camus to produce his fastest times of the night cracking sub 20 seconds and taking the win.
The festive prize pile was a joy to behold and we gathered around it like recently occupied manger. Everyone had gone to town and, for once, put in descent prizes and wrapped them up ‘beautifully’, Despite the conditions we watched each racer unwrap their gift like an impatient child on christmas morn with loud cheers of delight as the magic was revealed. An equally loud cheer was rung out for Steph ‘the fingers’ Anderson who had stood in the snow and timed us all to perfection all night long, it would not have been possible without her.
With two races of 9 complete, Chrissy P is taking an early lead with Dave Camus chomping at his heels only a point behind. Only one point further back is The Mighty Baybutt in 3rd, with Timmy and Aiken filling out the top 5. In the Lasses League Anya is currently in the lead and 7th overall with Kelly Jayne 2nd.
Here’s hoping round 3 enjoys some slightly better WINter conditions.