Nick Hamilton

Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 4 – Its Snow fun

7th December 2010

With Sheffield under a foot and a half of snow and the next round of the winter dual series just a week away I was a bit doubtful we’d be having a race this week. However, on Tuesday night 24 folk turned out to a pristine snow-covered track in our local park. Under the trees the snow was only about 6 inches deep and the zero degrees temperature was keeping it a lovely consistency. The park’s in a more of a built up area than Swinny’s field so no generators were allowed this time, we were back to duct taping our bike lights to trees. It’s amazing how few lights you need to illuminate a whole track, the first time we used only three but with most people bringing one or two now we had plenty. The posts we use are white (cut up overflow pipe, thanks B&Q) so we were a bit concerned about being able to see the course. Thankfully Henry Norman, of Ride Sheffield, supplied a load of reflective slapwraps meaning we could easily see the posts and each lane was even colour coded.

The Track (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

The area of the park we use is normally covered in brilliant loamy leaf mulch and previous races have been sideways affairs. However, with the few inches of snow banking up and being reinforced with loam the track was exceptionally grippy. Once it was cut in and a rut formed some of the lads were getting over to incredible angles, stomping the foot, catching the berm and powering out. However, Joe Bowman’s arse down foot paddling technique seemed to serve him well in the seeding runs.

The Start (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

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Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 3

Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 3

23rd November 2010

Continuing the progression of Sheffield’s ghetto dual scene, round three proved to be another classic. Back up in Swinny’s field word had spread further and this season’s largest attendance braved the cold but dry and clear night. Moving up in the world, the usual bike lights on posts/trees were supplemented with a generator and halogens to light up the course. The normal format applied though, practise from 7 and racing at 8. Spikes are banned to keep everything loose and fair and the course is marked out with short lengths of plastic overflow pipe cut for purpose. Every racer has to supply a random prize as an entry fee with the winner taking first dibs on the best. Ranging from tasty 5:10 jerseys through to cable ties and tea bags, it pays to be fast.

The racing is usual dual style, a head to head knockout with two runs, one on each lane, and the fastest combined time moving through to the next round. With 27 racers turning up seeding runs were in order with the top 16 moving on to the finals. The finals start order was chosen at random and paper plate number boards handed out.

The track (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

The course was a long one with a high stakes gorse corner to start us off, too tight and your gloves wouldn’t be saving you. In a grass field with an hour’s practise for 27 riders the surface soon cut up to reveal the mud below. It became so slippy that even the first corner was proving too difficult for some who went down hard. Foot out, committed turns were the winning formula with some unbelievable drifts being laid down. Once through the long peddley start traverse and around the gorse the course tightened up and the turns were difficult and tight. The surface was unpredictable giving rise to many a spectacular off accompanied by big grins all round. However serious the racing may get, it’s all about fun after all, we are dealing with bikes here.


Rob Jolley (Photo: Dom Worrall)

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