Archives: Mates Races

Nick in Aprils MBR

Nick in Aprils MBR


The features in Aprils MBR

Aprils MBR has a feature on ‘People who are changing mountain biking’. I got a call in work one day from the editor Simon who asked me if I they could include me. To say I was shocked was an understatement but I was also completely humbling. I had an hours chat on the phone with Simon a few days later and he put together the interview which features in the Mag. I find it interesting what he picked out from what we talked about but that’s an editors job I suppose.

It was all about mates racing; how and why sticking your head up and making an effort it so rewarding. I’ve harped on about this many times before but its always worth saying again. According to MBR someone like me, following through on daft ideas thought up over a pint with mates is changing mountain biking for the better. I just do it because I love it and have so much fun with my mates. To see that others see the value of that too is amazing.


Winter Dual racing: Photo – Duncan Philpott

Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Sticking with the age old tradition, the last dual before Christmas was a festive affair. This consists of everyone togged up Santa outfits and all the prizes being wrapped up secret santa style. Its adds to the fun and gets us in the festive mood. This year we outdid ourselves and everyone made a real effort including our lady timers, Steph and LJ who were sporting red dresses and LJ even had matching lingerie. Amazing. Thanks as ever to both of them for keeping us on track and timing us.

Ho Ho Ho – A great sackful of Santas. Photo – John Horscroft.

I set out a slightly different course on our familiar hillside with the corners and the big traverse working the other way round. The first set of double lefts into a big right around trees got slick quick but not as much as the traverse. If you lost speed here, you were screwed as it meant a slightly uphill pedal. The remainder of the corners were fast, loose and close to your competitor, especially the last few tight ones. Great fun.

The Lovely LJ Showing off her Christmas goods. Furry Muff. Photo – John Horscroft

The Christmas spesh has also brought a few dual stalwarts out of the wardrobe which was great to see. First off I got a massive man hug from our own James Swinden who’d forgone Pilates in favour of getting sideways in the loam again. Also showing his winter Hobo Chic look for the first time this season was Stephen Peater of Ecclesfield. It was great to have them both back and in the same Santa suits they rocked last year. As well as Cheg’s, Steve brought along his mate Turtle who hadn’t raced our dual before, but more about him later. Henry Norman was also back racing for the first time this season and especially in the festive spirit as his wife Helen is expecting their first child! Congratulations to you both! (Just hope it misses the ginger gene…).

Timmy and Swinny Facing off – Not trying at all. Photo – John Horscroft

We had 28 entries overall which tested the new bye system (which means my comprehension of it). It worked out well though as the Pearsons turned up after eight with Joe Spivey in tow. As punishment they got no practise at all but unfortunately Chay didn’t get the bye he’s been promised. The first round saw a few interesting match ups as ever. JoBo got drawn again Swinny but had an epic fail in the second leg and didn’t put up a fight. Henry was paired up again Jake Monk and unfortunately failed to beat a child, something I hope he continues with into fatherhood. I was drawn against the ever quick Will Swinden. He fell badly in the second leg on the big right hander leaving me with a clear lead. Unfortunately I panicked, froze and still managed to lose. Gutted. In the second round Chegs and Swinny faced off first and it was a close one with Swinny only winning by half a second. Peaty came up against Will who resoundingly took him apart on both legs and 5 seconds overall, maybe it was the increased drag from the beard? Then came the Pearsons. They’d had a few rides down the sides of the track to figure out where it went but no actual practise. Tim had the easier draw and showed Joe Spivy who it was done. Chris was up against Chay who’d been practising for an hour and is rapid anyway. It was very close but Chris took the win in both legs and went through to the quarters. The Quarters were all tight, non more so than the brothers Pearson however Turtle, in his first dual outing, was smashing his way through the field. Watching him ride was an education, he was cornering on drifty loam like no one else, bike right over but still in control, feet up and peddling. I was impressed. The semis saw him face up again Swinny who managed to get a half second vitory and move on to the big final. Timmy brought a halt to Will’s progress and also moved through to the Big final, where Swinden senior beat him enough in the first leg to make up for a second leg loss. First time back this season and he takes the win. That boy can’t half ride a bike (and gives the best man hugs).

Get on board the Santa Train. Photo: John Horscroft

Once the poles and the lights were packed away it was on to the prize giving. With all the prizes wrapped up it made for an exciting selection process. The first few were shown off but it soon descended in to a blur of flying paper. As Turtle picked up his prize for 3rd place a definite grumble was heard from that side of the ring of people. He stepped back in to the ring, head bowed and admitted shamefully that he’d been running spikes. Swifter than the USADA with Lance he was stripped of his prize and his crys of not knowing the rules fell on deaf ears. Spikes are banned to keep things even and this was a very good demonstration of why. Tsk tsk Turtle.

Rhubard. Photo – John Horscroft

The Controversial Turtle using his unfair advantage to challenge the mighty Swinny. Photo – John Horscroft

After the 4th round the top of the Gnar points table is already hotting up. The best 7 out of the 10 rounds will decided the winner but at the moment Timmy is comfortably sitting at the top, with Chay 14 points behind in 2nd and Will Swinden sitting in 3rd.


Winter Dual round 3 – Enter the Death Chute

Winter Dual round 3 – Enter the Death Chute

Winter Dual round 3 – Enter
the Death Chute Inspired
by a death downhill dual
video posted up on Dirt
and emboldened by certain
comments about the loop
the loop feature I decided
to change things up a little
for my Birthday special.
Now this is where things
get a little hazy and all
information contained in
the rest of this post has
been dragged through a
Rum filter. This is because
my so called mates decided
that for some reason I
deserved to be poisoned
with rum as a birthday
treat. Now I’ll admit
that on occasion I have
been known to encourage
the imbibing of Rum in
celebration and forfeit but
this is always with

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Summer Series 2012: Round 1 – Cycle Speedway

Summer Series 2012: Round 1 – Cycle Speedway

Having taken the spring off organising mate’s races to concentrate on real life it was with great anticipation I announced the upcoming schedule for this year’s summer series. There had been some subtle and lots of very unsubtle prompting about when the new season would begin and so with the passing of the longest day, racing began.

This year’s series is planned to be a succession of 8 races taking in all ‘undisciplines’ of mountain biking, including a dual race open to the public and a Strava based round. The nature of these mates races is that they are just that, unofficial ‘races’ between friends, chaotic meetings of people all with the aim of having fun on bikes. As such it was great to have the opportunity to open up a couple of races to the public (other than Peatys Steal City DH) but more of that in another post. Also we’re still waiting for sanctioning from the UCI for points but ‘Ockers is working on it.

Round 1 this year was one of our old favourites and still the most fun you can have on two wheels, cycle speedway. Rob Mahwood of the Sheffield Stars once again welcomed us back to the newly surfaced oval to get our foot down and our bikes sideways. Apparently the lads that help Rob out when we come down look forward to it every time as the carnage that ensues is not quite typical of a speedway meet. Always happy to oblige. Every time we go down I’m amazed that this sport is not nationally well known: it’s so much fun; so hard to get right and such an amazing spectacle. It should featured every week on Grandstand.

Looking out of the office window at 3 and seeing another of this summers deluges running off the soaked earth I banged my head repeatedly against my keyboard. Somehow it spelt out ‘Fuck this summer’ 5 times in and email and sent it by accident to my most important client. Happily as 5 rolled round and I left the building, the sun cracked out from behind the clouds and our luck once again held. Descending upon Cookson park at 6 Rob had again rolled out all the stops, the full starting gate was in place the track had been bailed out (literally) and swept ready.

By now most of us are old hands at Speedway so the practice laps were quickly racked up once a suitable bike had been selected from the pile. The lankier of us always suffer with choice but that just adds further to the fun. 16 of us elected to race, with many just coming to watch the carnage, which meant the 3 lads and Rob himself were included in the line up. They have these brilliant grids already setup which set out who races who and when making sure everyone gets a go in each lane and shouldn’t race the same person more than twice.

Racing got underway quick and it was a full 4 lap affair. Considering the track is only 200m around, 4 laps is such hard work. Its balls out sprinting off the line, foot off, corner, drift, then back on the pedals as soon as possible to sprint to the next corner. The first corner is all important as once out in front it is possible to control the race if you have the skills, naturally we don’t and it’s just a balls out battle.

There are a few memorable moments from the evening; my favourite though was when I lined up against Rob for the first time. Such a pro, he’d been showing us how it was done all night and was very generous with advice. I was in lane 1, him in lane 2. He said to me “you remember Liam don’t you ?” as he signalled to the lad in lane 4. It was then that I remembered why I recognised him, it was from this incident, at 1:15, during last year’s Spring Series Speedway session. I’d used some rather dubious tactics to put him out of the race and it was as these neurons fired that Rob delivered the knife as the grin spread across his face “ …because he remembers you!”. That was it, purely psyched out, and I didn’t see any of them for dust but the team were being kind enough to let us invaders win.

During their 3rd round battle Rich Baybutt and Henry Norman had a bit of a coming together on the last corner of the last lap. Scrambling off the floor to get back on their bikes Baybutt was lagging well behind as Henry was first back on his feet pushing/pedalling/paddling his bike over the line. Not able to get back on his bike on the time Rich took the only logical choice and sprinted on foot towards the tape dragging his bike by the rear wheel behind him to the jeers for the assembled crowd. Victory was his as he crossed the line just ahead.

Surprise speedway star of the night was John Jones. He turned up late missing the practise and the first couple of rounds still in his steel toe cap work boots. Rob was immediately impressed by his style (you’d have thought he should be good being one of the most over qualified coaches in the country) and was trying to sign him up for the Stars.

Will Swinden was dominant all evening only dropping one point throughout which was in a first round battle with Timmy. Tim starting in lane 1 had the advantage and made the most of it. Ruari was also on form only dropping two points which left the final two spots in the big final to Chris Pearson and myself. I picked lane 1 out of the bag which put me next to Will in lane 2. As the tape flew up we sprinted off and I clashed with Will and went down like a sack of shit. Will went on to take a well deserved first with Ruari second and Chris in Third.

And so ended the first round of the Summer Series, the seal had been broken and it was on to the next race. This was scheduled to be the Dual in Endcliffe park but more of that in the next race report.


LycraFest Video

Mass Start (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

LycraFest Video

As part of the Spring series we decided to have a short Course XC race around the local Park. We taped off a section of trees and created 5 minutes of hell with no respite and just painful climbing. To make matters worse we made it an endurance test, so how many laps could you do in an hour. To add insult to injury we made Lycra Mandatory with the most tasteless and garish getting extra points!

This little edit should hopefully give a good impression of the pain… of seeing all your mates in Lycra! Full race report and more photos of the lycra here

Mass Start (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

Spring Series – Round 8, The Finale – XC Heaven

All the Bikes with rear wheels removed as we skulk off to the start line

Spring Series – Round 8, The Finale – XC Heaven

With the concluding race of the Spring Series, Eighteen Bikes in Hope were kind enough to host and sponsor the event. Si and Matt Bowns were very generous in offering a very fancy Evoc backpack up as a prize for the pot and the race started and finished from the Shop. The plan was to race an XC loop up and over Shatton Moor, via the mast, then back down the steep rocky bridleway. A test of fitness, skill and balls. As it was mid-summer the attendance was down a bit with quite a few of the usual crew away on holiday sunning themselves or getting smashed up at The Mega. This meant lots of series points up for grabs for those getting their priorities right.

The Courtyard

The race for the lead in the overall was at an interesting position as series Leader Swinny had been absent from the last round as his shifts had been changed at work. This meant Tim Pearson and I had been able to creep closer to his seemingly unassailable lead by getting top spots at the last round, Cycle Speedway. This left the top three split by only 3 points and everything resting on the result of the final round. In the Ladies race, Jody Vallance had the overall win well sewn up with an untouchable lead. Rumour had it that Swinny would also be unable to attend the final round and Tim definitely couldn’t make it as he was representing Splat shop out in France on the trials bikes. Was the men’s overall sewn up aswell?

All the Bikes with rear wheels removed as we skulk off to the start line

The XC course was basically a long steep climb up followed by sharp, rocky descent. The ascent started on a road which was very steep and got steeper, kicking up hard just before the bridleway started. The gradient then eased up and turned in to a long drag up to the TV mast, perfect for sapping the last remaining strength from your legs. Once on top of Shatton Moor things level out over  a long loop through farm track ruts and draggy grass, then the going gets fun. The Descent down Brough Lane is typical Peak District; Fast, rocky and straight, getting steeper the lower down you get. Large loose rocks combined with rutted goodness means fortune favours the brave. Keep off the brakes and pop and hop your way down and you’ll do well, get intimidated by size of the chunks of grit or catch one badly and puncture and its game over.

Carnage from the start

On the night 11 racers were able to make it to the start line, the promise of free beer and a curry at the end couldn’t bring people back from holidays. We met up in courtyard out the front of 18 bikes at 6:30 ready to race at 7. With such a long course and delays due to buying beer I didn’t have time to mark out the course. Therefore we pulled down the faithful OS map from the wall of the shop and explained the route. With the usual two quid in the pot and random prize in the pile we assembled a line of bikes. Matt Bowns brought out his Proto Full-Sus steal number for some race testing and Matt Hunt was the only rider on over sized wheels. To keep the start interesting, I had everyone remove their rear wheels before we walked down the street to the garage for the Le Mans start. Certain parties felt that this was a rather unfair start to the race and favoured the mechanically minded amongst us. Their protests were of course ignored and the race was started by Henry Norman who was kind enough to do the timing as he was still in recovery.

Some took longer than others to get their wheels in

With a tight pavement and many a keen racer it was carnage from the word go. Matt Hunt was using his weight advantage barrelling through and pushing the competition out of the way, even with his wheel in his other hand. Ruari Hallam was also seen to use a car to bounce off to compensate for the lack of grip his cleats offered on the tarmac. But it was the newly engaged Shane Townsend that got the jump on everyone and was trying to get his back wheel back in first. After I managed to escape being pinned to the wall by Matt Hunt and get my wheel in I was a few places down leaving the court yard. We had to do a small section on the road to get to the beginning of the climb but kept off the main road as much as possible. Negotiating several gates along the route bunched up the leaders nicely before getting to the start of the road climb. With a mix of bikes and gearing this is where the men were separated from the boys, those brave souls running a single ring setup soon knew about it. Some on heavier bikes were even reported to push up certain sections and worse still, be overtaken by girls. As the climb wore on I managed to start putting a little bit of distance in to the peloton taking an early lead. As we continued to ascend I spotted Si Bowns chasing me down, constantly getting closer as we hill ground on. I was first to reach the Moor at the top and tried hard to lose him, no chance, he had me in his sites and wasn’t giving up. Shit. Back down the field similar battles of wills were going on and with everyone keenly watching the tour, they knew not to give up in the mountains.

1st and 2nd Place

Ruari gave it his all

John popping a wheelie for the adoring crowds

I was first to hit the downhill managing to just hold off Si. I let off the brakes and peddled as hard as my big ring would allow jumping from rut to rut. The last time I’d ridden this section we’d been passed by a bunch of crossers on the flat section at the top. Pissed off with the exhaust fumes we determinedly pushed hard and caught them up on the steeper section, whipping off bumps as we passed them. The trail eventually turns back in to a road where we and the crossers regrouped, they were completely amazed and congratulated us on kicking their arse. Back to the race and I was almost caught out by a sharp left in the road managing to just skid round it and avoid an off. Lower down and back on the road I got a bit confused turning left instead of right momentarily before realising my mistake, unlike Ally Fraser, who rode all the way to the next village before realising. Crossing the line he blamed me and my shit signage for his drop down from third place, funny how everyone else managed it fine! The race finished back on the road and it was head down pedalling hard all the way back to the shop. Si was only 30 seconds behind me across the finish line, followed by Ruari and John Alexander making his first Spring Series appearance. Amy Herford brought home the girls gold with Jody just behind. The array of exhausted bodies laying around was testament to effort everyone made and the inappropriate choice of bikes for some. Will Swinden on his heavily set Curtis particularly enjoyed it as did Ruari pushing his 38 tooth front ring.

Matt Hunt crossing the line

Ally fraser coming in after a little detour

Will Swinden appreciating the weight of the Curtis

Jody was shocked... mainly by overtaking men!

Round 8 done

The prize pile

To accompany the courtyard prize giving we cracked open bottles of Ale to toast our success and the end of the Spring Series before piling in to the Curry Cabin. I can highly recommend the Monk Fish, delicious. And so ends the inaugural series, with 70 people participating over the course of 8 races it seems to have been a great success, watch out for a full review post before the commencement of the summer series. Which just leaves the overall results. Unfortunately, with Swinny working hard and unable to defend his lead and Tim away riding bikes with engines I had the series in the bag before Henry had shouted go as did Jody. I would have much preferred a battle to the end and a fair fight, but this is racing and you’ve got to be in it to win it. Which is pretty much how I and Jody seem to have won as only Ally Fraser also attended all the races in the series. Do I feel guilty that i won my own race series? Yes. Will I be awarding myself a large and ostentatious cup at the Hobo awards do for the honour ? No.

Spring Series Round 8 – XC Heaven
Position Race # Name Time Points
1 11 Nick Hamilton 34.51 16
2 7 Simon Bowns 35.25 15
3 6 Ruari Hallam 36.01 14
4 10 John Alexander 37.30 13
5 9 Matt Hunt 39.56 12
6 3 Ally Fraser 41.39 11
7 1 Shane Townsend 42.00 10
8 5 Will Swinden 42.18 9
9 8 Matt Bowns 42.20 8
10 4 Amy Herford 42.35 16
11 2 Jody Vallance 42.45 15

So many thanks go out to everyone that has been involved with the series over the past few months. Everyone that turned up to race or heckle. Particular thanks to everyone that turned up with a camera to shoot some photos or video, as I’ve said before what we’re doing here needs to be documented for posterity. And special thanks to all those that helped out by timing and marshalling, without you, the races couldn’t have happened. So, spread the word, we’ve learnt a lot this time round and the summer series will be even better than spring and of course, won’t finish until the winter… then we get Flood Lit Dual to while away the long nights. BOOM!

Spring Series Final Standings
Position Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Total Number of Rounds Average/round
1 Nick Hamilton 12 11 11 9 11 7 16 16 93 8 11.6
2 Swinny 15 16 16 15 16 78 5 15.6
3 Tim Pearson 16 6 15 9 14 15 75 6 12.5
4 Will Swinden 16 14 13 1 2 12 9 67 7 9.6
5 Ruari Hallam 11 14 13 1 10 14 63 6 10.5
6 Jody Vallance 1 15 16 16 15 63 5 12.6
7 Chris Pearson 8 10 1 12 12 11 54 6 9.0
8 Jolley 1 10 7 8 15 5 46 6 7.7
9 Martin Baker 14 1 1 1 14 13 1 45 7 6.4
9 Ally Fraser 10 2 7 1 1 5 8 11 45 8 5.6
11 Steve taylor 12 12 1 13 38 4 9.5
12 Jordon Gould 15 15 6 36 3 12.0
13 Joe Mallinson 1 13 8 1 6 29 5 5.8
13 Matt Hunt 9 1 1 1 5 12 29 6 4.8
15 Simon Bowns 1 10 15 26 3 8.7
16 Shane Townsend 3 1 1 1 7 10 23 6 3.8
17 Dave James 1 10 11 22 3 7.3
18 Adam Wiles 1 7 1 10 19 4 4.8
18 Joe Bowman 2 4 13 19 3 6.3
19 Simon Choppin 1 1 16 18 3 6.0
20 Katie Hallam 1 16 17 2 8.5
22 Jack read 16 16 1 16.0
22 Liz Bowman 16 16 1 16.0
22 Hanna Jonsson 16 16 1 16.0
22 Amy Herford 16 16 1 16.0
26 Tom Stewart 15 15 1 15.0
27 Davi Birks 14 14 1 14.0
27 John Inman 13 1 14 2 7.0
27 Luke Meredith 14 14 1 14.0
27 Rob Stokes 13 1 14 2 7.0
27 Jack Bauer 14 14 1 14.0
32 Steve Hardcastle 6 6 1 13 3 4.3
32 John Alexander 13 13 1 13.0
34 Cheggers 1 11 12 2 6.0
34 Ed Thomsett 12 12 1 12.0
36 Danny Whitehead 5 2 4 11 3 3.7
36 Dave Camus 1 4 6 11 3 3.7
36 Chris Davey 10 1 11 2 5.5
39 Malco 9 9 1 9.0
39 Nat Hay 9 9 1 9.0
39 Ol Green 1 1 1 2 4 9 5 1.8
39 Josh Lewis 9 9 1 9.0
43 Henry Norman 8 8 1 8.0
43 Matt Bowns 8 8 1 8.0
45 Sam Taylor 7 7 1 7.0
45 Oli Cooper 7 7 1 7.0
47 Alex Owen 1 5 6 2 3.0
47 Duncan Philpott 2 3 1 6 3 2.0
47 James Irwin 3 1 1 1 6 4 1.5
47 Daz 6 6 1 6.0
51 Dean Dobson 5 5 1 5.0
51 Dave Mitchell 5 5 1 5.0
51 Ivor Biggun 5 5 1 5.0
54 Duncan Wiggans 4 4 1 4.0
54 Rich Baybutt 1 3 4 2 2.0
56 Franky Fitzpatrick 3 3 1 3.0
56 Denis Cumming 2 1 3 2 1.5
56 Neil Hunt 3 3 1 3.0
59 Oscar Monk 2 2 1 2.0
60 Harry Tate 1 1 1 1.0
60 Simon Fagg 1 1 1 1.0
60 Tom Kahler 1 1 1 1.0
60 Will Shaw 1 1 1 1.0
60 James Crossland 1 1 1 1.0
60 Sam Reeve 1 1 1 1.0
60 Chris Palmer 1 1 1 1.0
60 Marco
1 1 1 1.0
60 John Horscroft 1 1 1 1.0
60 Jake Monk 1 1 1 1.0

Nick Hamilton

Spring Series – Round 6 – The Hill Climb

No togs this week so just my masterpiece (Painting: Leonardo da Fucking Vinci)

Spring Series – Round 6 – The Hill Climb

No togs this week so just my masterpiece (Painting: Leonardo da Fucking Vinci)

It was a hot and humid Tuesday that greeted the twenty racers taking on the double headed hill climbing monster of round 6 of Le Series de Spring. We rendezvoused on Clough Lane and went through the usual ritual of registration and chucking money and random prizes in piles. This fortnight’s donation bought two races for the price of one, a time trial and a technical hill climb testing both fitness and bike skills. First off was the time trail, up what used to be affectionately known as ‘The Rocky Bastard’ before Sheffield’s Highways and byways boneheads decided to make it in to yet another 2 metre wide perfectly manicured, accessible to all but satisfying none, right of way (see Ride Sheffield for more info on the struggle against the insanity). It’s been part of my local loop for as long as I’ve been riding mountain bikes and before being sanitised was a real technical challenge. As it is now, it’s a short steep climb which peters out in to three flattish corners before rejoining the road, the perfect setting for the first half of the race.

Time Trial
Position race # Name Time Points
1 18 James Swinden 01:49 16
2 3 Martin Baker 01:56 15
3 15 Rob Jolley 02:09 14
4 7 Dave James 02:11 13
5 12 Simon Bowns 02:23 12
6 2 Ally Fraser 02:26 11
6 13 Tim Pearson 02:26 11
8 1 Nick Hamilton 02:27 9
9 16 Chris Pearson 02:34 8
10 17 Alex Owen 02:36 7
11 20 Adam Wiles 02:36 6
12 11 Joe Malinson 02:37 5
13 4 Henry Norman 02:39 4
14 10 Marco Wood-Bonelli 02:41 3
15 19 Matt Hunt 03:02 2
16 14 Ol Green 03:05 1
17 6 John Horscroft 03:11 1
18 5 Jody Vallance 03:26 1
19 8 Oscar Monk 04:03 1
20 9 Jake Monk 04:10 1

We set off in number order at 30 second intervals up the hill. Marian was kind enough to start us off and Si Garrard was good enough clock the times at the top of the hill. I was first off and miss judged the length of the hill holding back a bit too much, leaving too much in the tank. As I rolled back down the hill to go and setup the second half of the evening I was greeted by many a grimacing face, most of them swearing at me and telling what I wanker I was for thinking this one up. They love it really. With only half a minute between racers and an average time of just under 3 minutes there was lots of overtaking going on which confused the timings slightly but we got them ironed out eventually. Swinny blasted his way to the win narrowly beating Martin Baker as the both got in under the two minute mark. Dave James’ commuting legs and lycra fetish brought him an impressive third place with a 2:11. We had four new riders join the racing for the first time for this one and hopefully they haven’t been too put off. Marco and the Monk Twins all competed well and I may have to consider adding some youngster categories to give them a fighting chance. Race done, it was a ride back down the valley to the steep bit.

Position race # Name 1st run 2nd Run Best Points
1 15 Rob Jolley 9 2 9 16
1 13 Tim Pearson 6 9 9 16
1 16 Chris Pearson 9 9 9 16
1 18 James Swinden 3 9 9 16
5 4 Henry Norman 2 7 7 12
6 19 Matt Hunt 4 4 4 11
6 20 Adam Wiles 4 3 4 11
6 3 Martin Baker 3 4 4 11
9 8 Oscar Monk 1 3 3 8
9 14 Ol Green 3 2 3 8
9 11 Joe Malinson 3 2 3 8
12 1 Nick Hamilton 2 1 2 5
12 5 Jody Vallance 2 2 2 5
12 12 Simon Bowns 0 2 2 5
12 17 Alex Owen 2 2 2 5
12 9 Jake Monk 1 2 2 5
12 10 Marco
2 2 2 5
12 6 John Horscroft 2 2 2 5
19 7 Dave James 1 2 2 5
20 2 Ally Fraser 1 1 1 1

I picked a quiet spot in Bingham Park and set up a series of gates meandering up the hill taking in various obstacles along the way. A bit more like a trials course than a hill climb really but all rideable, riders got points for every set of posts they got their front wheel though. Dave James and Si Bowns got the awards for chumps of the night, they both managed to completely miss the first gate. The first real obstacle came at gate two with a long set of slippery roots to be reckoned with and tape to stay within. Lots of riders pushed the limits of the tape only to fall foul when trying to get past the next post. The next gate surrounded a nasty rock step but it had just enough of a run up to make it rollable. However, with most folks in granny there were many legs spinning out. Following the step came a steep and loose loam covered bank at a point where most riders who’d made it this far were out of breath. Matt Hunt made it here twice but his big wheels couldn’t quite gain the traction needed. Then at the top of a testing climbing came a couple of tight corners with a short downhill section to mix things up. This was the downfall of Henry Norman who just under estimated the under growth. Rob Jolley was one of only two riders to complete the course on his first run ploughing through most of the obstacles like they were birds in Corp. The Pearson Bro’s used their trials skills to back hop their way to the top in impressive style, Chris doing it twice, Tim needing a second attempt. Victor of the first leg, Swinny, and current series leader also made it to the top on his second go after a poor first attempt getting to only gate 3.

Spring Series – Round 6 – Hill Climb
Overall Race # Name Time Tech Total Series Points
1 18 James Swinden 16 16 32 16
2 15 Rob Jolley 14 16 30 15
3 13 Tim Pearson 11 16 27 14
4 3 Martin Baker 15 11 26 13
5 16 Chris Pearson 8 16 24 12
6 7 Dave James 13 5 18 11
7 12 Simon Bowns 12 5 17 10
8 20 Adam Wiles 6 11 17 10
9 4 Henry Norman 4 12 16 8
10 1 Nick Hamilton 9 5 14 7
11 11 Joe Malinson 5 8 13 6
12 19 Matt Hunt 2 11 13 5
13 2 Ally Fraser 11 1 12 5
14 17 Alex Owen 7 5 12 5
15 8 Oscar Monk 1 8 9 2
16 14 Ol Green 1 8 9 2
17 10 Marco
3 5 8 1
18 5 Jody Vallance 1 5 6 16
19 6 John Horscroft 1 5 6 1
20 9 Jake Monk 1 5 6 1

Making up the scoring system on the spot, the winner of the first leg was awarded 16 points with second place gaining 15 and so on. The same applied for the second leg but points were awarded equally to any riders reaching the same gate. The total of the two then gave the race winner. This would have been easy enough had it not been for the infestation of midges biting at every exposed bit of flesh. Thankfully everyone was patient enough and the prize giving went without riot.

So to the series standings. Swinny is still way out out in front but Timmy has pulled ahead of his brother and is now in equal second place with me. Martin Baker continues his climb up the table nudging ahead of Chris Pearson. Jody takes over as the current Ladies champion putting quite a lead in to Katie Hallam.

Spring Series Standings
Position Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Total
1 Swinny 15 16 16 15 16 78
2 Nick Hamilton 12 11 11 9 11 7 61
3 Tim Pearson 16 6 15 9 14 60
4 Will Swinden 16 14 13 1 2 46
5 Martin Baker 14 1 1 1 14 13 44
6 Chris Pearson 8 10 1 12 12 43
7 Jolley 1 10 7 8 15 41
8 Ruari Hallam 11 14 13 1 39
9 Steve taylor 12 12 1 13 38
10 Jordon Gould 15 15 6 36
11 jody Vallance 1 15 16 32
12 Joe Mallinson 1 13 8 1 6 29
13 Ally Fraser 10 2 7 1 1 5 26
14 Dave James 1 10 11 22
15 Adam Wiles 1 7 1 10 19
16 Katie Hallam 1 16 17
16 Simon Choppin 1 1 15 17
16 Matt Hunt 9 1 1 1 5 17
19 Jack read 16 16
19 Liz Bowman 16 16
19 Hanna Jonsson 16 16
22 Tom Stewart 15 15
23 Davi Birks 14 14
23 John Inman 13 1 14
23 Luke Meredith 14 14
23 Rob Stokes 13 1 14
27 Cheggers 1 11 12
27 Ed Thomsett 12 12
27 Steve
6 6 12
30 Danny Whitehead 5 2 4 11
30 Dave Camus 1 4 6 11
30 Chris Davey 10 1 11
30 Simon Bowns 1 10 11
34 Malco 9 9
34 Nat Hay 9 9
36 Henry Norman 8 8
37 Sam Taylor 7 7
37 Oli Cooper 7 7
39 Shane Townsend 3 1 1 1 6
39 Joe Bowman 2 4 6
39 Alex Owen 1 5 6
42 Dean Dobson 5 5
42 Dave Mitchell 5 5
42 Duncan Philpott 2 3 5
42 James Irwin 3 1 1 5
42 Ivor Biggun 5 5
42 Ol Green 1 1 1 2 5
48 Duncan Wiggans 4 4
49 Franky
3 3
49 Denis Cumming 2 1 3
49 Neil Hunt 3 3
52 Oscar Monk 2 2
53 Harry Tate 1 1
53 Simon Fagg 1 1
53 Tom Kahler 1 1
53 Will Shaw 1 1
53 James Crossland 1 1
53 Sam Reeve 1 1
53 Chris Palmer 1 1
53 Rich Baybutt 1 1
53 Marco
1 1
53 John Horscroft 1 1
53 Jake Monk 1 1

Its amazing that we’ve had over 60 riders having taken part in the series but I’ve decided its about time to draw a line under spring and to roll on summer. We will have two more races in this series, the next one will be Cycle Speedway, the following race will be a classic Peaks XC route heading out from 18 bikes. More details will follow and calculations of series points to see who can still clinch the win??


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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