And what a Malverns that was! For many people at this year’s end of August gathering-in-a-field, this was the first time they’d had a chance to meet, ride and camp with many of their friends (or even anyone at all) for over a year. Some riders at the 2021 Malverns Classic hadn’t actually been to a bike event since the last Malverns Classic, back in 2018! So the thought of camping out for a weekend, among a few thousand other fellow riders was an emotional event.
The https://singletrackworld.com/2018/06/malverns-classic-is-this-the-new-must-do-event-of-the-summer/2018 Malverns Classic was a bold move, taking a long dormant event and revitalising it for a new world, many of whom hadn’t had the chance to experience the pre-internet, must-attend Malverns events of the nineties. It was a (surprise?) success, combining the latent retro-love that the Malverns name evokes, with a new interest in the sport from younger riders. Unfortunately, 2019’s event was a victim of the super-wet summer and cancelled, while the 2020 event was, understandably, Covid-cancelled. That left all eyes on the 2021 Malverns
But what a weekend! The 2021 Malverns started in hot sunshine, under blue skies on the Thursday, as riders queued to get in to the campsite. The event was virtually full before it had even officially opened, such was the pent-up longing in riders to pitch a tent, crack a beer and to be part of a scene again.
And once the gates had opened and riders could get in and look round the vast arena, take in the many trade tents (and the half-decent catering – a great improvement on 2018), the bar and the many, many events on show. Even if you weren’t racing yourself, there was a lot to watch – from dual slalom, kids’ bike racing, to dirt jumping and airbag riding. There was a lot to take in.
Regardless of the terrain, riders seemed happy. Sure, it wasn’t Fort William, but the quickest downhiller still won the downhill and the fittest riders won the cross country races (on a fun, but epically hard course…)
There was riding and there was camping. There was dancing and drinking. There were retro bikes and the latest bikes from Pyga and Privateer. There were one-off bikes from GT and a whole retro booth from Saddleback (which sells no retro components at all, but wanted to enter the spirit of the event.)
After the misery of the last 18 months, it was finally great to get into a field, pitch a tent and say ‘Yeah, these are my people!’
The 2021 Malverns certainly delivered that in spades. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough that the next one is going to be off the charts…