by Ben Haworth
June 17, 2011
Here’s a report on last year’s event and some gushing testimonies from those that were there…
Last year the Second Singletrack Classic Weekender was bigger and better than before.
It seems that there’s a certain breed of mountain bikers who are attracted to the particular format of the Classic Weekender. They’re all-round riders, they like technical challenges… They’re pretty fit, but they appear to like a beer and a barbecue too.And everyone loves a bonfire.They also appear to like a bit of good natured heckling too. The forecast for the weekend was typically threatening, but it didn’t stop a couple of hundred riders from pitching up at Lee Quarry, just over the hill from the Singletrack offices.There was much chat about the new downhill course, designed by World Cup downhiller (and coincidentally designer and builder of many of Lee Quarry’s trails) Rowan Sorrell.
Would it involve dropoffs of doom? Enormous chasms to cross? The trials course also caused much concern, although it would be fairer to call it an obstacle course than a test of anyone’s hoppity-hop skills.The cross country, at least, was going to be reasonably easy, wasn’t it? Riders who’d not been to the quarry since last year found out that there had been a whole lot of building going on, including technical climbs and the swoopiest of swoopy descents.
In addition to the new trails at the Quarry, there was the new pump track, adjacent to the race arena, where riders could wear themselves out and be frequently outridden by the local 12 year olds.
The five trials sections claimed their share of failures, but most riders made it through with at least a couple of passes (every fail meant a minute handicap on Sunday’s XC start line.)
All eyes then turned to the downhill. It didn’t follow a ‘regular’ trail and was marked pretty wide for much of its length, allowing riders to pick their own lines: some short and steep, or longer and smoother.The course favoured smooth riders who could handle a bike, as well as those with just pure bottle.The only ‘scary’ bit of the course had a longer chicken run, though most riders opted for the steep but fast option.
In the end, Rowan Sorrell romped home a good eight seconds ahead of second place. But would he have the legs for the XC? He is a downhiller after all, isn’t he?
The Saturday evening was spent in traditional style: drinking too much beer while regaling anyone who would listen with ‘I would have been really quick on the downhill, but…’ stories, as the bonfire climbed higher and higher, threatening to singe anyone standing too close.
Sunday’s race saw the usual scruffy first few rows lining up for the XC race as riders with perfect scores from the Trials (and who were in the top 10% of riders for the Downhill) lined up first, ahead of fitter, but less skilled/lucky racers.The waves of racers went off in minute intervals, until the final unlucky lot with 14 minutes of penalties went off, already being lapped by the leaders once they’d got onto the course. Not to worry, they didn’t seem to mind much.
After four laps, the winners came in and the celebrations and (often random) prizegiving took place, with members of the local and County Council on hand to give out the goodies.And that was the cue for the rainstorm, that had been holding off all afternoon, to unleash.As everyone packed away now-damp tents in a gritty gale, they all agreed that it had been a great test of rider vs terrain.The competition bit was secondary.
“Great weekend, weather, riding and well done all involved. Mrs DE even walked away with a new Ragley frame for the bestest fall off. Back next year.” – Daveells
“Yup, ace event. Thanks to all the ST lads and lasses, and all the marshals who gave up their time so we could have fun. Brill.” – Cy
“Yeap, had a really good time, was a bit stressed out on the Saturday when we arrived but soon chilled out and had a great time. Thumbs up to everyone involved great event.” – IamSam
“Had a fantastic time, it was my first ever event and enjoyed the nerves and tension waiting for the beeps in the DH start and the illation at the end that I beat my target of 3mins! Great to chill with like minded people in the campsite in the evening. Thanks ta all who marshalled, and especially to all those who gave me encouragement round the third lap of the XC race!” – SimonM
“Awesome weekend! Thanks to the organisers, marshals and all the people I met and chatted to everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere was just great. Time to make a list of skills I need to gain before next year!” – ctznsmith
“I’m dehydrated from the wind but what a great event. Thanks to all who helped and to the competitors that were, as ever, so friendly. What other sport cheers on their rivals?” – TimRaven
“It really was a great event. DH course was more challenging than last year, marked wide with lots of line choice it was hard to ride fast and smooth. XC was good and it didn’t send you right to the bottom of the hill every lap, which was nice. Great to catch up with people and make some new friends. Above all a good atmosphere and lots of fun, big thanks to everyone that made it happen.” – Simon
“Excellent event, thanks to everyone who made it happen. Brilliant atmosphere which says a lot about the people there.” – Ed80
“Brill weekend, enjoyed it all except the XC with a hangover… live and learn eh!! I also got told the Red option on the XC was faster, thanks to the marshals for the advice.. not that it made a difference to my time, the ladies in front of me were fast!!” – Alix
To read more about this year’s Shimano Singletrack Classic Weekender and how to enter go to…
Shimano Singletrack Classic Weekender
Lee Quarry, Lancashire, July 9-10, 2011
3 different races.
The ultimate “all rounder” event.
A weekend of Trials, Downhill and XC racing. One entry fee – all three events.