Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 5 – Christmas Special
Tuesday 21st December 2010
With the festive season looming and everyone prepped for massive infusions of grub, grog and grannies, another Tuesday night rolled around…. Winter Dual… The Christmas special. The big dump of snow Sheffield received had long since melted but with temperatures rarely getting above -5 in the woods the Endcliffe Track was a different animal. Ruts and berms formed in previous races had frozen hard, which might have been great had it not been for the layer of leaves over the top. Once they got swept away the racers got down to polishing up the iced loam.
Having started collecting £2 donations to race, we’d bought a new set of poles to replace the original white overflow pipe. Rob Jolley supplied us with 30 of the finest electric fence posts money can buy. Not stretching quite yet to the white version we bought them in stealth green. Thankfully Henry’s Sustrans reflectors gave us colour coded lanes and a visible course to ride. With 24 riders turning out to brave the -8°C conditions practise got underway once we managed to get the posts in the frozen ground. As it was the Christmas special tinsel and baubles were in abundance and in some cases, detrimental to performance.
Qualifying went pretty smoothly with some fast times getting posted but also with a few upsets. Rich Bailey performed the most spectacular scorpion face drag but got up and left with only a minimal amount of blood. Will Swinden also failed to deliver and his early off saw his early exit from the race and our youngest ever rider, Jordan, posted a very respectable time of 18.1 seconds on his BMX.
With the extreme cold destroying the laptop battery we returned to the old fashioned timing method of stop watches and paper. Henry Norman and Joe Bowman did a great job of keeping time and keepings things moving, as did the racers. After 5 weeks of practise they finally seemed to get the idea that you can line up in order from the start gate. Amazing. The first round was fairly predictable with Swinny smashing me out of the contest, although I almost had him in the first leg after he slipped out on the first corner. However, my off over a frozen rut at the last turn saw order returned.
Alec Hartley was having a storming night qualifying fast and looking good under pressure. He saw off Billsey in the second round to move through. The brothers Pearson also met in the second round and weren’t giving an inch but Chris was eventually victorious edging Timmy out by .4. Dave Griffiths made a rare appearance and saw off Ben G to move through to the final four. The semis saw Swinny laying down consistently fast runs to put Alec in to the small final against Dave who’s off in his semi meant Chris met Swinny in the final. Alec pipped Dave to 3rd place keeping his run uncharacteristically smooth. In the final both riders laid down the fastest runs of the night, Chris hitting a 9.7 only to be smashed by Swinny’s 9.4 in his final run. Amazing riding from both of them and Swinnys first win of the season.
So thanks to all involved, for turning up, racing, cheering and jeering. To Jolley for supplying the new posts, Joe for carting them along, everyone that put a post back in the ground on the walk back up and brought a light along and put it in a tree. Many thanks to Dom Worrall for his continued photographic support. Big things to come in 2011 for Dual and other races!
Nick Hamilton, Crookes Gentlemen’s Cycling Club