Mike reports from the recent Bavarian-themed Kona Oktoberfest:
Almost 700 riders made it to the 1st ever helping of the Kona Oktoberfest powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport – the new autumn brother of the infamous Bikefest. After final edition of the Cheddar Bikefest the decision was made that the new 2nd event of the Bikefest series should also take place in Bristol and maybe carry it’s own theme. The Oktoberfest was born. Based on the similar mix of race packed action around the fantastic trails Ashton Court has to offer and the laid back atmosphere of the event, the Oktoberfest had a few ‘Bavarian’ touches thrown into the mix but more about that in a minute.
The days leading up the event were dry, windy and fairly warm for the time of year, ensuring the singletrack loaded course maintained its reputation as one of the most loved relay courses in the country. With the promising weather forecast and the relaxed event atmosphere lots of riders took the opportunity to arrive on Friday to enjoy the DJ and bar as well as prepare themselves for the 8 or 4 hours of riding in store. 9am the next morning around 200 teams, pairs and solo riders set off to fight out the fastest riders in the various categories on offer. As in years gone by the open male category was heavily fought over with the LVIS Singlespeed Superstars finally going clear and putting in the convincing win over the Progression Fitness Team 1 and Casual Vomit. In fact, the first 5 teams were only ten minutes apart from each other with the fight for the podium open up until the last lap of the event. Mixed in with the 8 hour event were two 4 hour events keeping the speed out on course high and the competition fierce. The categories on offer are simply too many to mention, so please go HERE for the complete results of the 8 hour and the two 4 hour events.
Photos out on course were once again shot by long standing event regular Jon Brooke. His normal playing fields are the MTB Marathon events but Jon made his way to Bristol this time round to take pictures of pretty much everybody out on course. Check the photos HERE.
Mercedes Benz Vito Sport was not just co-sponsor of the event and present in the event village with one of their superb vans, but were also busy with taking lots of pictures and shooting a video of the event. Photos from the Oktoberfest can be seen on Flickr or at Facebook. Their event video can be found HERE. Make sure you check it out!
The ‘Bavarian’ touch was taken to the extreme by event organiser Paul Newman as well as the signing on and tea/coffee team who were dressed pretty much throughout the event in typical Bavarian costume – a nice touch which raised a few eye brows and made people wonder what the real Oktoberfest must be like. But there was more – steins (1l beer glasses, typical for the Oktoberfest in Germany) as event trophies, pretzels at the bar, Bavarian flags everywhere and to top it all off an oompah music background which was clearly loved by some and hated by others!
2011 will have again a double take of Bikefest with the summer Bikefest in June and the Oktoberfest in October 2011. We will put the details up on the website as soon as they are confirmed.
Finally we would like to thank our sponsors Kona Bikes and Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport for their ongoing support and to all the riders who made the events what they are – a great weekend packed with fun trail, high standard racing, friendly banter and a unique atmosphere. Hope to see you all in 2011.