As the Sun continues to shine, so the Spring Series continues to gather momentum. Race 3 was a mini DH out in the peaks on an old favourite track which has a steep wide open, fast top section that then dips in to the woods for some bar smacking tight flowing turns. It then pops you out in to a rough rooty left which sets you up for two of the sweetest berms in the Peak. If you can hold your line out of the second you pedal hard in to a big booter with a lovely flat landing. All over in less than a minute, which most of the other lads are used to.
Helmet Camera footage by Duncan Philpott featuring Ruari, Swinny and Dunc’s own crash at the start
The series is starting to draw more of a crowd and certainly more attention. Last night we had nearly as many spectators, hecklers and drinkers as we did riders. Thankfully it was an experienced crowd who’d brought pans and wooden spoons to make as much noise as possible. Perhaps not quite what was wanted in the middle of the Peak District but certainly what was wanted for a great racing atmosphere. The race was slated to start at 7:30 so riders were up practising from about 6 and the tight wooded section quickly claimed a few casualties. ThisISheffield’s in house photo genius Duncan PhiliPhoto was already bleeding by the time I arrived, his arm had lost in an argument with a tree. He later did exactly the same thing again in the same spot which put him out of the race. Thankfully this meant he took lots of great photos. Henry Marsh managed to head butt a tree which also finished his racing for the night meaning he took photos too, thank you.
After all the racers had chucked 2 quid in to the jam jar and popped a prize in to the bag racing got underway. Henry Norman still out from racing with injury but concentrating on marathon training was kind enough to take on timing duties ably assisted by Simon Garrard. Simone was unfortunate enough to take the starters roll so spent half an hour stood at the top of the exposed track gradually freezing his tits off in the wind as the sun went down. The later racers also had to suffer the same fate hiding in the heather to keep warm. Reports of Swinny kissing caterpillars were greatly exaggerated. Joe Bowman was out of the race again due mechanical issues, with his van. However, he did turn up to heckle and session the track on the Cotic X. Going back to the old school, mobile phones and a stop watch were all we needed and each racer was sent down the hill in turn with a “3, 2, 1” and a Tarzan cry.
Jordan Gould took an early lead, 6th out of the ‘start hut’ and getting down in 37.12 also reportedly putting in the best jump off the bottom booter. I was next down the hill and put in a 39.97 sliding me in to an early 2nd place. However, next down was Ruari ‘POD’ Hallam who sent the final jump in a 37.91 closely followed by Steve ‘BikeTrack.org’ Taylor with a 39.94. The Ladies made a welcome return to racing with Jody Vallance bringing along Liz Bowman (any relation?) for her first race. Liz took the win with a 53.53 on only her 4th mountain bike ride in 3 years and was looking pinned over the top section. She narrowly beat Jody by just over a second and it was a good ride from both lasses. The next rider down the hill to worry the leaders was series leader Will Swinden. There was a real split between riders on hardtails or full bounce and strangely there didn’t seem to be much between them. Will was on his Curtis and put down a 38.56 sliding him in to third spot, however his elder brother was about to get on track. Swinny was looking super fast all night and also had the recovery of the night. Getting out of shape on the top section he clipped a bush, pitching him forward on his front wheel towards a little booter. Somehow flying off this he managed to get back on two wheels and make the next corner, amazing control. Swinny took 1.5 seconds out of Jordan with a winning time of 35.59 and a well deserved return to the podium.
Prizes were given out in the traditional fashion with Swinny opting for the Tunnocks’ Tea cakes and Jordan taking Haribo. Jordan had once again produced a brilliant trophy which will have to be presented later as he left it at home. My apologies to Dave Camus who I mistakenly missed out of the roll call so only ended up with a University of Sheffield T-shirt. With racing done we retired to the warmth and comfort of the Cricket Inn to rehydrate, although Eighteen bikes’ Si Bowns decided to have a pint on his own in the crown. Talk naturally turned to future series plans with some great ideas coming from all corners, my favourite though was Jolley’s suggestion. “Starting at the top of Porter Clough, first neck a two litre bottle of strongbow, run to your bike, then ride as fast as you can to Corp and the first to pull a fat bird wins”. Genius.
So the series standings. No change at the top, Will Swinden extends his lead with myself narrowly in second place. Swinny jumps up four places to 3rd spot only 1 point ahead of Jordan and Ruari jumps from mid-pack up to 5th.
Next race – Mass Start DH. Details will be in the calendar.