Tha’ Knows, are Joe’s got some reet talent. Next weekend this is being recognised with the appearance of his work at the world famous Kendal mountain film festival. An annual festival bringing together the best films from around the world covering an very wide range of genre and giving out some very coveted awards.
What a night it was, what a race it was after and what documents of the whole event we now have. Check out Dirt #122 for a full feature of the night and the race. Here at last is Alex Rankins take what went down at the MachoTailDrop night in Sheffield. It was followed by the Ardcore Ardtails mates race to rinse away hangovers in the snow. What could have been a disaster, turned in to the making of the race as it became a competition for who could take the most snow balls to the face.
The idea for this mates’ race came from a conversation with Alex Rankin about a year ago, we were keen to work together but needed a format that would work for both of us. ‘Ardcore ‘Ardtails was born. The idea is simple, a test of as many aspects of a riders skill as possible in a single race. This took the form of a three parter: BMX track; Downhill and Uphill.
Taking advantage of the excellent track at Bolehills the first stage was to be a one lap, 4 Up, head to head time trial. Finishing position in your moto didn’t matter, it was your final time that would count. A test of your BMX skills; jumping and pumping. Second leg was a single run down the secret single track, BHDH. Again, it was you against the clock, your overall position was the only thing that counted. A test of your bike bike handling skills and bollocks. The final leg was a mass start uphill race back to Bolehills BMX track. Purely a test of fitness and tenacity, this wasn’t time, just finishing position. In an attempt to not bias any leg from the other points were awarded for each leg with 30 for the winner. With Alex on hand to film proceedings and be part of the MachoTailDrop madness the scene was set for another classic.
Sunday noon rolled around and I was trying to shake off a ManWolf sized hangover, I was also shitting it. Having walked each leg of the course, I was wondering if anyone would turn up and, those that did, would we really be able to race? Why? We had about 6 inches of fresh snow. This made Bolehills look almost unrideable and the uphill seem an impossibility. However, you can’t keep a man wolf down. By a bit after noon 16 bikes and riders had appeared on the start hill, most sporting similar ManWolf-Overs and many looking amazing still dressed as ManWolfs. After a few test laps of the track racing was on. It was slippy, drifty, sideways chaos but what could make better racing. Once the number boards were strapped on the first 4 lined up all doubts were cast aside, this was going to be Rad.
Photo: Duncan Philpott
As each four finished their lap the track became lined with hecklers. Hecklers quickly became snipers as the snow was balled up for ammunition. What better way to improve your position than take out your mate. It was great racing with mistakes being made all round and no mercy given. Dave Camus, Mallo, Alec and a few others were all clearing the first on the back straight. Which is more than can be said for John Alexander, who went down hard, Twice!, most amusingly on the last table top. Young Mallo (who had ridden an hour and a half to get to the race) was victorious, with Alec Hartley second and Vet, Rod Fountain, making a surprise 3rd.
We then all walked over to the start of the DH and the virgins took a walk down the 5 corners, not practise allowed. The snow had necessitated an amount of course rationalisation but not the fun. The sideways action was on from the start and those that could control the drifting rear faired well against the clock. Once again taking snowballs to the face was a key skill and Bowman proved most efficient at it, well he got the most practice at least. Some huge off the bikes and rousing cheers made this a stage to remember. Owen Elliott took the win with Chay Granby in second (although a review of the video evidence suggests that Chay cut the course in 2012), and Dave Camus third.
The Two Meter Penis (Photo: Duncan Philpott)
Spat out on to the road at the bottom of the track it was time for the final leg, the climb back to the start. With the Le Mans start arranged and a pre race snowball fight started it was to get the pedals turning. A balls out pedal along the road then a snow covered climb to separate the men from the boys Owen again reigned supreme. Martin Baker showed his fitness and took second with Chay gasping up the hill for third.
With a few prizes left over from the night before we actually had a good selection for the winners to choose from. As a Hardtail race, only those on hardtails were allowed to take home the goods. The left Owen with first choice and amazingly Rod with second. Who’d have thought the grey pubed old codger still had that much spunk left in him. Mallo was third which is a bit of a let down as he is literatlly half Rods again. Must try harder next time Mallo.
This is going to be big! Alex Rankin is putting together an exclusive Sprung/Earthed montage titled ‘progression’, for SHAFF film festival right here in Sheffield on March 5th.
Not only this, but during the day we will be hosting a race locally. Everything is still TBC, but if it all goes to plan it could be a classic weekend!
Progression: Mountain Biking with Alex Rankin and Steve Peat
You have to understand where you have been to know where you are going: Alex Rankin’s iconic mountain bike series Sprung and Earthed documented the rapid development of mountain biking as well as showcasing the developments in adventure film making.
This exclusive screening will showcase scenes from all ten films in chronological order and will be followed by an interview and a Q&A with one of the legends of the sport Steve Peat: Discussing how he has managed to stay on top in a rapidly progressing sport and how he sees it developing in the future
There will also be a short film competition – Check out the website for the details on submissions
thisisheffield, CGCC and Ride Sheffield Are also planning some kind of gravity fed race that will be held during the day – details of this event will be announced shortly on www.thisisheffield.co.uk If all goes to plan, this will be a corker of an event….
Party: As always at SHAFF there will be an after party held in the Showroom bar – for details check out the SHAFF website