Nick Hamilton

A Short history of Sheffield’s MTB Scene

A Short history of Sheffield’s MTB Scene

I was very pleased to be asked to write a piece for Redbull/bike to promote Sheffield and the Howard Street Dual. I’m a massive fan and very thankful for their coverage of the Downhill world Cup, literally the only sport I watch on TV. They wanted a potted history of the Sheffield Bike scene in 600 words, from mates races to the howard st dual, what follows is my first go. I wrote a more in-depth piece years ago for Dirt working with Grant Robinson to document what was going on in with bikes in sheffield in 2011.

All images Sam McQueen  unless specified

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A short history of the Sheffield MTB scene – from mates races to the Howard Street Dual

Mates Races

I’ve been running mates races around Sheffield for a many years. It started back on a misty November weekend on a DH track me and my mates used to session. We met up with a stopwatch and a pair of mobile phones, that’s literally all it took. Everyone loved it and wanted to do it again and from there, things grew quickly. The 4th time we ran the race 40 people entered including one world cup champion. From this acorn spawned the This is Sheffield winter dual slalom series which has been running since 2010 and countless ridiculous ideas for races which just had to be made reality: Megadeath, TryAwfulOn, Two pint time trial, Hardcore Hartails, Mini Bike jousting, Gravity racers, Special Olympics, the list goes on. In the city the dual mates racing ethos goes way back to the late nineties at the Sheffield Ski Village with the legendary Iron Justice. What’s brought it together are a group of likeminded souls (mountain bikers) and the opportunities (radness) Sheffield offers to ride our bikes on all kinds of different terrain.

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Winter Dual – Round 4 – Bingham Grass

#dualrules @willswinden getting excited last night

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Lots to say, no time to say it!! The final grass corner was the absolute bomb!!! So much fun was had paddling across the final centimetres… the cheers for all were deafening. The biggest cheer of the night though went to Kel Parkin, who in her first Dual race made it to the small final and smashed it… unlike her fella… Sam. Keep trying Sam, I’m sure Kel’s got some tips for you!

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Howard Street Dual 2018 – Saturday March 10th

The ultimate form of head to head mountain bike racing returns to Sheffield City Centre on the 10th March to celebrate the Outdoor City Weekender. The devilishly difficult Howard Street Dual course will pitch the best riders against each other and the resulting spectacle will surprise and delight seasoned race fans, families of all ages and unsuspecting passers by. To enhance the drama this year we will be racing in the dark; once the sun goes down the course will be lit up making the elbow to elbow action even more entertaining.

Howard St Dual- Sheffield - 10th March 2018 - Winning Lads

Made possible by Sheffield City Council the riders will race from the top of Hallam Square, across the front from Sheffield Hallam university’s main building and on down to the bottom of Howard street. They must negotiate a series of features sendable by the best and rollable by all. It mixes man-made constructions with street furniture, flat grass corners and custom wooden features. Last year the finish fadeaway and infamous chaos corner claimed many riders winning ways.

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Where is your Happy place? Winter Dual Round 1 – 2018

Baybutt vs Capper, in the first leg. Photo: Rob Shaw

Where is your Happy place? Winter Dual Round 1 – 2018

On Wednesday night I was reminded that mine is in the woods, on my bike, racing dual with a great bunch of mates old and new. I had a massive smirk on my face all night.  I felt at home and content, pushing bright orange leaves aside with my tyres, blinded on my push back up by the lights positioned to illuminate our sideways journeys down the hill.

As the first race of the series there was a lot of catching up to do and lots of new friends to meet. Everything is word of mouth, friends of friends, no Dicks. Last year’s winter series was another classic with a great battle for the top step of the podium and Dave Camus victorious for the first time. Lower down the table new racers were making their mark with Rob Shaw getting hooked and never missing a race. The Pearson’s both fought back from poor starts to finish Tim 2nd and Chris 4th with a Monk breaking both his cherry and the top 5. Jake was 3rd. What happened to Will Swinden? Well as we have learnt over the years, the key to doing well in the overall is mainly just turning up. Will forgot that.

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