after a few days leading up to the event of typical mayhem weather, i.e. rain it was with trepidation we ventured to Gatcombe park, first up despite rumours to the contrary there was plenty of room to camp. the ground remained firm throughout the weekend even with some very heavy rain and high winds and dried out very quickly, there could have been more "posh" toilets and less "festival" toilets but at no time did I have to queue & the showers were plentiful and very hot! the camping area was closer (we were as far away as you could get) than we've been away from the arena at Eastnor in the past.
the course was great, some technical downhills & climbs, fast singletrack (loved the narrow bits down to the lake) and plenty of places for the fast boys and girls to over take. It did suffer after the rainy hours from being muddy but no where near as bad as the soup like conditions of last years mayhem. it also dried out very quickly, a dry line formed and speeds (in our team) went from 1.20 in the wet to sub 1 hour in the dry on increasingly tired laps. there were some challenging climbs, the series of grassy ones in particular for us mortals, I saw some SS riders clean it, very impressive! so if you were fit and had good technique it was do-able. there was the bonus of super fast grass decents too with chance for some airtime. perhaps 75% of the course was wooded and sheltered the riders from the very high winds on the camp ground and was rocky under the layer of dirt and seemed like a proper MTB ride in contrast to eastnor.
so, i really liked the course it challenged me on 1 x 10 & I'd fit a granny for this venue if it's here again and I really hope it is
cheers Pat & crew, I'm now off for some zzzzzz's