July 16, 2012
We’re just unpacking from the weekend’s Shimano Singletrack Weekender and wanted to bring you a quick report from the event. Later on, there’ll be a fully searchable results story, but until that’s wrangled to our satisfaction, you’ll have to just sit back and enjoy our take on things.
Let’s start with the weather, always a hot topic when mentioning events in the UK this ‘summer’.
Well, it was dry! There was wetness on Friday, which we said was just to damp down the dust, and then that was it! The skies were cloudy, but not so much that people didn’t come away with the now-traditional panda-eye tans.
The people came and they hung out and rode bikes and heckled each other and everyone seemed to think that the location, the courses and the atmosphere were all top notch. The Shimano/Madison convoy showed up during Friday’s showers and proceeded to banner everything up so that the stark quarry was once again turned into a colourful race venue.
Saturday morning saw downhill course inspection as well as a lot of riders having sneaky practice goes at the ‘harder than last year’ trials obstacles. In addition to the traditional tests of balance like the narrow pond-crossing plank and the seesaw, there was also an optional duck catching pond crossing as well as a ‘real’ trials obstacle.
This year all the riders got two downhill runs, allowing riders to either take the first run as a cautious exploration, or to go flat-out and keep a run spare in case something went wrong. The widely taped course also allowed the clever riders some very different lines that saved time – all the more important now that the new rules rewarded faster riders who made it into the top times.
After the two runs, riders chilled out or made the most of the two pumptracks at Lee Quarry. Singular Sam and the Shimano guys managed to get the bonfire lit so that it was roaring by the time the skies darkened. Meanwhile, the Hope Technology Pumptrack Challenge took place, with riders timed on a flying lap of the pump track. As you might expect, the youngsters mostly showed all the old-timers how it was done with plenty of sub 10-second times.
The evening faded to black and the group round the campfire thinned (and got closer and closer to the fire).
Sunday was dry and breezy. The noon start for the cross country allowed racers to see their combined downhill times and trials penalties while seeing how they fared against their mates. This year’s harder obstacles and the exaggerated downhill penalties meant that the field was nicely spread out. Only two riders went off a minute before midday, with the biggest group of riders being back with seven, eight or nine minutes of catching up to do. Even Nick Craig started five minutes back, thanks to a rubber duck incident… And that penalty was the decider as he was unable to catch up with John Hopkinson for the overall first prize. (It might also have been something to do with the cheese and wine Nick was on the night before…) Luckily the Craig pride was kept intact as son Thomas won the Junior race and Nick himself did take the Vet title…
1. Tom Craig
2. Tom Simpson
3. Nial Oxley
1. Julia Hobson
2. Esther Hobson
3. Kat Crompton
1. John Hopkinson
2. Carl Draper
3. Andrew Walker
1. Kirsty Forrester
2. Beate Kubitz
3. Sue Hawkridge
1. Nick Craig
2. Stuart Rider
3. Craig Scott
Here’s the forum thread for comments.
And finally a couple of videos of the event:
First from Dave Haygarth, who got most of Saturday’s fun in the bag.
Dave was busy racing on Sunday, but luckily the Shooters Media folks who live at the bottom of the hill saw the event and wandered up with a camera, so here’s their take on Sunday’s fun.
We’ll have a bit of a feature in the next magazine. But in the meantime, here are just some of Sam Needham’s beautiful photos from the event: