Archives: endcliffe park

Summer Series 2012: Round 2 – Dual

Jolley letting it all hang out against Billsey (Photo: Steven Mackie)

Summer Series 2012: Round 2 – Dual

Dual racing helps keep us sane during the long winter months. You may have seen my many reports on these very pages about the torch lit antics around Sheffield and the fun that ensues. This stems from some very meagre beginnings when I popped down to B&Q and bought a load of overflow pipe, chopped the ends of at 45° at a foot long then headed down to the park on the Sunday after a Blacka Bashup. The fun and ferocious competition that ensued has continued since due to the fun and ferocious competition. 2 wheels – Most fun (my most overused expression?).

The new improved Dual Gates courtacy of Sheffield City Council (Photo: Steven Mackie)

For the past few years the Cliffhanger outdoor festival has been taking place during the summer in Sheffield. Put on by the city council and organised in part by Matt Heason it trys to bring a flavour of the outdoors to a park in Sheffield giving a taste of many activities to those that might have never even heard of them before. It centres around the British bouldering Championships which draw the biggest crowd around the purpose built competition wall sited a big top tent. This was actually my first introduction to the festival when I was asked to engineer the wall for the first year. It has expanded ever since taking in more sports as the years progress with cycling beginning to feature very heavily (because it’s the best! and Jon Dallow is a legend). This year Matt asked if I would run a Dual race and I agreed in return for a proper set of dual gates like those used in snowboarding dual slalom (the Electric fence posts provided by Jolley are brilliant, but not really for public consumption). The deal was done, the date set and we eventually found a company to make the gates.

Timmy not for the Winny (Photo: Steven Mackie)

You may remember just how wet this summer has been, I’m trying to forget but scars that deep-rooted with take a while to heal. The week leading up to Cliffhanger had been one of those weeks and the inevitable happened and it was cancelled. This was a huge pity because it was our first chance to open up the mates races to the public and get more people involved. By their very nature our races are just that, for mates. It’s not because we want to be exclusive, it’s just that I can’t get insurance or permission for every hair brained race we come up with. So everyone that races is a mate, they know that they can’t sue me should they break themselves because it just us having fun in the woods. Hopefully we inspire others to get off their arses and do the same because it so much fun, and hopefully one day, someone will invite us along to their race.

Rich Norgate getting Schooled in Dual by Timmy in the first round (Photo: Steven Mackie)

Chris getting Giggly (Photo: Steven Mackie)

Initially the race was off, completely. However, friends were coming from far and wide to race and staying in Sheff especially. This became abundantly clear after a few jars in the pub on the Friday night. A few hurried text messages later and the race was back on, only this time back in our normal coliseum of Endcliffe park. Having not actually tested out the fancy new dual gates I arrived early  to get set up, not early enough, the hoards were already waiting. These races usually happen in the dark and cold of a Wednesday night so it was quite a change to be able to see where to go. It also meant that the crowd was somewhat different, actually a family affair, as Cy Turner turned up with his wife and two kids whom were very helpful in setting out the course and even better cheer leaders (only for Daddy though). Once setup and  tested, practise on the course got underway with the conditions being a very familiar damp and drifty. One of the traverses was nearly impossible with many a back end stepping out too far. The new gates really look the part but I’m quite glad the public didn’t get the first use as there was a few teething problems to iron out. However, I’m sure the regular racers just smash in to the gates as hard as they can just to piss me off.

Jolley letting it all hang out against Billsey (Photo: Steven Mackie)

The Pearsons Locked in Battle (Photo: Steven Mackie)

I was faced with Cy Turner in the opening round. He was atop of a new prototype steed, a 29er version of the rocket. He had been flying in practise and reckoned that the larger wheels and there increased contact patch resulted in much more grip through flat corners. I can only assume this to be true as he kicked my arse and it cant be that he’s a better rider than me. Jolley had a characteristic off in the first round letting Billsey through to the second round where he also dispatched Chris Davey in his last ever Dual appearance. This round also saw the usual brilliant needle match of Pearson on Pearson which Chris edging out Timmy after picking up a bye through the first round. The small final ended with Cy using his big wheel advantage to show Bilsey who was boss. The top dog of the day was contested between Gordan and Chrisy P, with Chris having to put together a faultless second run to nudge out Jould. To finish of the afternoons festivities we came up with a new dual team relay format. With teams picked at random we lined up at the start gates. Each person in turn rode the course, dumped the bike at the finish line, then legged it back up the hill and slapped the next team member on the arse to set them off. Great fun, totally knackering and I cant actually remember who was on the winning team but I know it wasn’t mine! We finished off the afternoon with the traditional prize giving ceremony where everyone had given generously, particularly the person donating the child’s toilet seat.

A Massive thanks to Steven Mackie for all the great photos, its not often this gets to be seen in the light.

Cy Turner using all of his big wheeled advantage (Photo: Steven Mackie)

'Prizes' galore (Photo: Steven Mackie)

And so endeth the second round, series points dished out, and Chris Pearson taking an early lead. Billsey snuggled up close to him in second place with Timmy and me hugging it out in joint 3rd. Henry Norman rounds out the top 5. Next on the agenda, a return to the race that launched a thousand (well two that we know off) races. MegaDeath!

Spring Series – Round 5 – LycraFest

Mass Start (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Spring Series – Round 5 – LycraFest

With all the gravity fed racing throughout the preceding rounds of the Spring Series it was time to get a sweat on. XC racing was always going to feature but I’d been toying with various formats. This time we chose short course , a criterium, multiple laps and, to make it a bit more painful, an endurance test. How many laps could you do in an hour? In homage to real XC racing and to make everyone a bit less comfortable, I made Lycra mandatory with bonus points available for the most garish combo and double points for anyone bringing a turbo trainer. Check out the horrors on show below (click to make bigger)!

At 5 o’clock on Tuesday evening Si Choppin and Dave James met me in Endcliffe park at the spot where we usually race dual. It’s an ideal area of the park as it’s wooded, on a hill and not used for anything else other than walking dogs. I’d ordered half a kilometer of tape off EBay to mark out the course and recycled a load more from a Midlands series race in Dronfield a few weeks ago. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to course to go, taking in as much gradient change as possible and making up lanes between the trees for best use of the tape.

Mass Start (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Sprinting Hard (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Bike Chaos (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Nick briefly out in front (Photo: Henry Marsh)

The first hill brawl (Photo: Henry Marsh)

Steve Taylor in the Bush (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

We pieced together what became quite a challenging course. A long dragging hill to start and, half way up, the start-finish lanes for lap counting, this took the riders up to the highest point. From here there was a fast descent into a natural leaf filled gulley which funneled you through a hole in a holy bush which rutted up beautifully later in the race. Popping out of the rut you needed commitment to not slam in to the large log and stump on the right hander which followed. The next section of the course took in a short sharp climb with a dog-shit tech feature on the left to be avoided. This set you up for a tight right hander in to a steep chute with another tight right at the bottom, this developed in to a nice little cut line later in the race. Then we were back to the climbing, a long drag all the way to the top of the hill. Dave suggested a lovely little feature which was a log across track at the top, a killer element which was removed by rider ballot later in the race. From here the course snaked up and down the hill a couple more times through loose drifty corners until it hit a tight, tech, chicane. The final descent brought the riders back to the start of the lap and a return to the burn. We also happened to run out of tape.

Chop Suffering for the win (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Ruari Hallam (Photo: Dom Worrall)

Nick Hamilton feeling the Burn (Photo: Dom Worrall)

Matt Hunt Loving Life (Photo: Dom Worrall)

Martin Baker taking a facial (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Timmy Railing (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Ruari Sweating (Photo: Henry Marsh)

Henry and Adela doing the lap counting (Photo: Henry Marsh)

The race started in a Le Mans style on the grass adjacent to the woods.  After a quick race briefing and asking a few lasses if they’d mind moving over a bit, we all left our bikes at the bottom of the hill and walked back to the top. With a ‘Marks, set, go’ the 26 starters were off and legging it, elbow to elbow. Turning the bikes the right way up, Matt Hunt was somehow first back in to the woods on his new 29’r. Rich Baybutt was left well behind trying to readjust to clips. I got a flyer of a start and was first at the top of the first climb managing to keep the lead until Si Choppin took me on the second climb. After 4 laps I asked Henry Norman and Adela Carter, who were kind enough to help out counting laps, how long we’d been going. Rather than the 40 minutes I was expecting, we’d been riding for less than 20. Shit. The lap was a lot shorter than I’d thought, about 4 minutes.

Stokes, Not on for the Win (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Swinny taking it in the Face (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Rich Baybutt (Photo: Henry Marsh)

Neil Hunt making best use of his Lycra (Photo: Steve Haake)

Simon Bowns lapping it up (Photo: Steve Haake)

Chris Pearson (Photo: Steve Haake)

Hanna, The Fastest Sweede on Track (Photo: Steve Haake)

As the race continued we had a few early exits. Shane and Irwin both gave up after only 6 laps, sitting at the side looking a bit sick. Shane got back in the saddle after a good rest and bashed out a few more. Rob Stokes managed a total of 9 laps with much walking up of hills, then gave up and did what he does best. Heckle. Amongst the big lads the race for the win was between series leader Swinny and XC specialist, Si Choppin. Chop loves a bit of pain and suffering and his continued grimace as he kept lapping me showed just what a good time he was having. Swinny kept pace with him though looking amazing in his GB Onesie. He was hampered in the latter stages by a slow rear puncture, nothing his brute power couldn’t cope with though but he just couldn’t catch Chop. They both managed 21 laps in the hour along with Martin Baker who also came in to his own. Steve Taylor came in 4th with 20 laps and Hanna Jonsson was the first lady home with a great 16 laps. Neil Hunt took home the bonus points for best lycra in a lovely matching ‘Mapei’ road set although it was a very close call. Chop took first dibs on the prize pile and everyone else followed suit with a load cheer and clap all round. With all the formalities out of the way it was off to the Lescar to rehydrate.

The Aftermath (Photo: Dom Worrall)

The Aftermath too (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

JoeBow Piss testing Swinny on the finish line (Photo: Henry Marsh)

The Prize Giving (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Prize Pile (Photo: Dom Worrall)

Joe Bo on the Silly String (Photo: Dom Worrall)

So to the Series standings, Swinny is still sitting pretty at the top of the table, steadily extending his lead. With two poor performances in the last two events Mini Swinny, Will, has moved down a place letting me push up in to second spot. The rest of the top 5 remains relatively stable, but Si Chops first Win of the series catapults him 29 spots up the rankings in to 14th. Dave James also takes a leap up the points from 52nd to 31st. Katie Hallam is leading the Lasses race for victory with Hanna and Liz Bowman equal 2nd with 16 points.

Position Race # Name Laps Points Bonus
1 12 Simon Choppin 21 16
2 22 Swinny 21 15
3 9 Martin Baker 21 14
4 14 Steve Taylor 20 13
5 20 Chris Pearson 19 12
6 1 Nick Hamilton 19 11
7 2 Dave James 19 10
8 18 Tim Pearson 19 9
9 16 Jolley 18 8
10 26 Ed Thomsett 18 7
11 19 Steve
18 6
12 17 Ivor Biggun 18 5
13 7 Joe Bowman 17 4
14 8 Neil Hunt 17 3 1
15 21 Will Swinden 17 2
16 24 Ruari Hallam 17 1
17 10 Ally Fraser 17 1
18 11 Rich Baybutt 16 1
19 3 Simon Bowns 15 1
20 25 Alex Owen 15 1
21 13 Matt Hunt 14 1
22 6 Hanna Jonsson 14 16
23 4 Shane Townsend 13 1
24 15 Chris Davey 9 1
25 23 Rob Stokes 9 1
26 5 James Irwin 6 1

The Series Standings

Position Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
1 Swinny 15 16 16 15 62
2 Nick Hamilton 12 11 11 9 11 54
3 Will Swinden 16 14 13 1 2 46
4 Tim Pearson 16 6 15 9 46
5 Ruari Hallam 11 14 13 1 39
6 Steve taylor 12 12 1 13 38
7 Jordon Gould 15 15 6 36
8 Chris Pearson 8 10 1 12 31
9 Martin Baker 14 1 1 1 14 31
10 Jolley 1 10 7 8 26
11 Joe Mallinson 1 13 8 1 23
12 Ally Fraser 10 2 7 1 20
13 Katie Hallam 1 16 17
13 Simon Choppin 1 1 15 17
15 Jack read 16 16
15 Liz Bowman 16 16
15 jody Vallance 1 15 16
15 Hanna Jonsson 16 16
19 Tom Stewart 15 15
20 Davi Birks 14 14
20 John Inman 13 1 14
20 Luke Meredith 14 14
20 Rob Stokes 13 1 14
24 Cheggers 1 11 12
24 Ed Thomsett 12 12
24 Matt Hunt 9 1 1 1 12
24 Steve
6 6 12
28 Danny Whitehead 5 2 4 11
28 Dave Camus 1 4 6 11
28 Chris Davey 10 1 11
28 Dave James 1 10 11
32 Malco 9 9
32 Nat Hay 9 9
32 Adam Wiles 1 7 1 9
35 Sam Taylor 7 7
35 Oli Cooper 7 7
37 Shane Townsend 3 1 1 1 6
37 Joe Bowman 2 4 6
39 Dean Dobson 5 5
39 Dave Mitchell 5 5
39 Duncan Philpott 2 3 5
39 James Irwin 3 1 1 5
39 Ivor Biggun 5 5
44 Duncan Wiggans 4 4
45 Franky
3 3
45 Denis Cumming 2 1 3
45 Ol Green 1 1 1 3
45 Neil Hunt 3 3
49 Harry Tate 1 1
50 Simon Fagg 1 1
51 Tom Kahler 1 1
52 Will Shaw 1 1
53 James Crossland 1 1
54 Sam Reeve 1 1
55 Chris Palmer 1 1
56 Rich Baybutt 1 1
57 Simon Bowns 1 1
58 Alex Owen 1 1

The Next race will be a Hill Climb double header, a balls out peddle and a super tech height gain challenge. Watch out for details in the Calender.

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