Nick Hamilton

Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 7 – The Obstacle Course

25th January 2011

Cycling home from work in the drizzle my hood was up and my head was down to hide from the drizzle. Bugger. We haven’t had a wet dual since the first round of the winter series in Swinny’s field. Having spent half an hour securing new Slap Wraps (many thanks Henry) to the poles  with a mile of tape I headed over to the park to get setup. Having a bit of time on my hands (not having to wait for Bowman to turn up with the poles “I maybe late, but I’ve never actually missed anything that important”) a slightly more imaginative line was carved out of the hillside. Round 6 had highlighted the value of a few more natural features in the course to stop creative cornering, with fallen branches and plenty of trees around this wasn’t a problem.

James Irwin, big left hander Swinny on the far side (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

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The GoPro’s and all their weird mountings were out in force up at Blacka Moor. With John’s Cable cam, Martin’s Boom cam and Joe’s Boddingtons Unicorn Cam we had a lot to play with.

We rode exclusively below the wall as per the new accord with the rangers and we didnt miss the upper section at all. The trails were wet, sloppy and tons of fun.

Make sure you click the HD button to get it in all its glory

Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 6 – New Year, New Track

Tuesday 11th January 2011

Happy new year… and a happy new dual. With big plans for mates races throughout the year, the 2011 dual season kicked off with a corker. New Year, New track. Still on our favoured hill in Endcliffe Park but on a slightly different aspect with a few more obstacles to avoid. With winter proper arriving at last, the warm and wet conditions returned the track to its usual drifty goodness. However, once we’d broken through the top crust of loam and revealed the slick mud beneath, chaos reigned. Using more natural features, the tracks were split by a small coppice of trees half way down the track limiting some peoples cornering dog leg cornering ‘technique’. This is a ‘style’ being seen more and more frequently at duals of late where racers are pushing the limit of the rules and cocking there leg and whole body over the posts. Good for your time, not so good in the conduct stakes.

Den and John battle it out (Photo: Dom Worrall)

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Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 5 – Christmas Special

Tuesday 21st December 2010

With the festive season looming and everyone prepped for massive infusions of grub, grog and grannies, another Tuesday night rolled around…. Winter Dual… The Christmas special. The big dump of snow Sheffield received had long since melted but with temperatures rarely getting above -5 in the woods the Endcliffe Track was a different animal. Ruts and berms formed in previous races had frozen hard, which might have been great had it not been for the layer of leaves over the top. Once they got swept away the racers got down to polishing up the iced loam.

The Frozen Loam (Photo: Dom Worrall)

Having started collecting £2 donations to race, we’d bought a new set of poles to replace the original white overflow pipe. Rob Jolley supplied us with 30 of the finest electric fence posts money can buy. Not stretching quite yet to the white version we bought them in stealth green. Thankfully Henry’s Sustrans reflectors gave us colour coded lanes and a visible course to ride. With 24 riders turning out to brave the -8°C conditions practise got underway once we managed to get the posts in the frozen ground. As it was the Christmas special tinsel and baubles were in abundance and in some cases, detrimental to performance.

Swinney takes the winney (Photo: Dom Worral)

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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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