What a weekend! With nothing short of the expectations of the British mountain biking world on his shoulders, event organiser, Si Paton pulled of a remarkable success with the first of the new-school GT Cycles Malverns Classic events – and by the look of it, the first of many.
As we had said in the current issue’s story in the bumper subscriber section, there are so many of people’s fond memories of previous Malverns, conflated into one perfect event, that nothing short of a spectacular event, in perfect weather would ever match the expectations of those who were there for the original decade of events in the 1990s. Add this to the new generation who have no rose coloured glasses and who just want a decent weekend of racing and it’s a hard job to deliver.
However, the weather was good enough and the event was well received enough that it was a resounding success. While there were some barely concealed frayed edges (catering, event schedule, timing, camping and so on) all of those were quickly obvious enough that they are already going to be improved in future years. And there are already plans for next year’s event – June 14-16th 2019, put it in your diaries.
The Malverns did a good job of combining some surprisingly thrilling racing, given the apparent lack of terrain and altitude, with an overall ‘chilled’ vibe as mountain bikers of all ages wandered the extensive trade village and watched cross country, enduro, downhill and old-school dual slalom racing.
While there was a large contingent of retro bikes (with 69 pristine bikes on display for the WD40 Show ‘n’ Shine), that wasn’t the be-all and end-all. The arena was full of riders of all ages, many of whom who hadn’t been to the previous events and who were just there for a fun weekend of camping and bike riding.
There was a fair amount of after-hours fun too, with hundreds gathering in and around the extensive beer tent, listening to a great cover band and a ’90s DJ playing dance hits of the decade. Those riders who wanted crazy, impromptu things to happen, just like the Malverns of old, weren’t disappointed either. There was jumping to flat, off a folding table, there were skids and wheelies, climbing of marquee poles and a lot of good natured larking around.
So, a success? Yes, it was. According to the organisers, nearly 4,500 people visited the event over the weekend, more than enough to justify its presence in the calendar next year (and more than enough to get some better caterers in…)
The sponsors loved it, the racers loved it and the ‘just hanging out’ visitors loved it too. The Malverns is back.