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?Continue reading
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.
The most exciting form of mountain bike racing comes to the streets of Sheffield to celebrate the Outdoor City Weekender on the 18th MarchContinue reading
After a year’s hiatus I cannot tell you how good it was to blow the dust off the summer series and get the crew back together. Although short, this series will be perfectly formed and was kicked off in style; The Baybutt Memorial Gravity race. This is so named as Richard Baybutt was so inspired by the first time he raced Grav Bikes that he has dedicated far too many hours, called in many favours (big up Matt Bowns!) and came out with his own dedicated UberRad gravity bike. He just needed a race to prove his worth.
Words: Nick Hamilton. Video: Richard Baybutt
More than once last night I uttered “Lots of fun has come from stupid ideas”. This was in response to many riders disbelief in the ‘great new finish feature’. This feature was exaggeratingly called the death drop which was dreamed up to test racers commitment to crossing the finish line first. Normally riders are peddling as hard as they can or showboating with a wheelie if they’re out in front. Then its massive skids for kids followed by knucks from the gloating winner and a push back to the top. As an antithesis to this we raced on a slope which culminated in a very steep 10 foot fade away where a park bench used to reside before some little shit decided to vandalise it. The finish line was positioned about 6 feet back from the edge giving our dear racers a choice: brake or press send. Play it safe or commit. Don’t or Do. It just depended on how much they really wanted it. A lot it turns out.
Finding the perfect grassy hill in one of our local parks the course criss-crossed over a couple of paths and a decrepit tennis court each covered in decaying tarmac. All surfaces were loose and promoted plenty of slideways action. The grass was pretty water logged in places and rutted up quickly. This didn’t prevent a masterful display of two wheel drifting by some and tail slapping three sixties by others. Honestly, some of the riding last night was unbelievable and required tyres to be checked for the word mud or spike. The control of some of these lads display, even in the heat of battle, needs to be seen to be believed. I bloody love racing on grass.
With the introduction of the Pearson rule all entrants were ranked according to their current standing in the points. This put Timmy and Willy in the gate straight off. As they sped off down the hill one Oscar Monk piped up “It should be called Pole Dancing rather than dual”. As I watched two of the best riders tango from corner to corner I delighted in his insightful statement. A feeling which was soon forgotten as his twin brother solidly beat me in the next round.
We had several new riders join the party last night, all friends of racers and coming highly recommended. We’re only picky about who races to protect ourselves; this isn’t a proper racing, its mates racing. We’re kinda putting our lives in each other’s hands (nearly literally last night) and if you’re the one that lets some dick in to ruin the party for everyone, you may never be forgiven. Amongst the new racers was one rider who’s very familiar to all the dual family. Steph Mug-Em Anderson, our long time timing angel who’s blown the starting whistle more than anyone else combined. She finally brought her bike down and committed to race. She drew Abi in the first round and declared “I’ve never raced so fast in my lift”. Get in Steph! Abi went on to face Chrissy P in the next round and smoked him first leg.
The rest of the racing was proper elbow to elbow. Some of the rides of the night came from Dave Camus and Will Swinden as they faced each other in the semis finding grip and pace where there should not have been. Will got an extra prize from the pile for ‘Best send off the end’ for his accidental scrub to oblivion which looked horrendous but thankfully left him not worse for wear. Unlike Ruari, who’s return to dual was marked with a very bloody knee and an early exit. Pity as he was looking quick!
Our collective thanks go out to Willy’s better half Holly who manned the timing buttons alongside Steph and Timmy after their early exits. Thanks also to the Baybutt for chopping together some memories of the event for our enjoyment. Much obliged! The star prize of the electric meat carving knife was also eagerly received. See you in a couple of weeks.
As we’d received a month’s worth of rain during the morning, it just had to be the opening race of the winter dual season. Traditionally as soon as the clocks go back we rendezvous on a Wednesday night somewhere in Sheffield to continue a tradition that dates back to 2010. This is when we first attached our bike lights to trees, stuck some posts in the ground and raced flood lit and loose. These events are for some the most competitive racing they do; they matter more than winning trials competitions or national DH rounds. For others, this is the only racing they do making it even more important. For everyone, it may be a laugh but as soon as the whistle sounds the elbows are out, the race face is on and friendships forgotten.
The first race of the season is always a good one. It’d been over 6 months since we’d met up for a dual race and the old friendships and rivalries soon fire up. The community that has grown up around dual speaks for itself; Sheffield is put to rights and plans for world domination formed between those trees. A lot of the doers of our scene bump knuckles and trade shite prizes through the winter, trading as many compliments as insults. It’s a reet laugh.
Conditions were almost unbelievable. Despite the deluge Endcliffe was dry and running fast, but unpredictably loose as always. With a track that featured a massive right drifter and Timmy’s death corner finale there were some spectacular crashes. Matt had a huge high side, Baybutt double punctured and even the mighty unshakeable Chrisy P drew blood from a nasty gash. Sam and Willy’s coming together off the line was one of my favourite moments, neither of em giving a shit about the other and both ending up in a scrambling heap on the floor. Classic Dual.
The results tell their own story, which misses out the technical issues of dying laptops and Chris not being anywhere near as good as Steph at timing.
At the micro pub afterwards a new rule was discussed which will be known as the Pearson Rule. These trials riding brothers have dominated or races throughout the seasons with their unbelievable skills and consistency. Chris was barely off the top spot all last season and Tim was only just behind him. In an attempt to open up the overall a little and also to give some of us slower riders a chance to advance beyond round 1 we’re trying out a new t’ing. Rather than being a random start order, riders will be seeded based on their position in the overall. The fastest will face the fastest in the first round, meaning only one can continue. With slower riders also facing their own. Let’s see how this goes… we’ll report back.
Although the lack of light in the evenings may depress us, at least we have dual to keep us sane. See you in a fortnight.
Massive respect to my fellow semi finalist Rich Baybutt for Chopping together the videdit and Rhino for shooting in portrait. Never one to conform.