With all the dust, mud and snow settled on the Dirty Reiver we figured it was a good time to catch up with Paul Errington and have a chat about the whys and what-for of the first organised large scale gravel race the UK has ever had.
Greg May: Simple enough one first. Why put the route together?
Paul Errington: The UK needed a big distance challenge. The US grinders I have ridden offered a truly positive riding experience so I wanted to replicate that. The route was created by Andy from Seismic events, and he took on board all my requirements and he made something pretty special!
GM: What do you think made the even so popular in its first year?
PE: I think there is a distinct lack of big off-road challenges and as this was also a little fresh in its concept and approach. People were probably pretty intrigued and interested to see what it was all about.
GM: What are your long-term hopes for the Dirty Reiver. It’s obviously gone well – any others planned?
PE: I hope to build the event to the scale of its inspiration, DirtyKanza200.com. This is really because the bigger we make it, the more fun we can have with it. We tried to maximise the value of the offering this year so hopefully people feel like they got good return on their entry fee. Right now, work starts in earnest for the event partners Seismic Events, on their Kielder 101 event, which I hope to be involved with.
GM: How did riders do in comparison to your expectations?
PE: We were hugely impressed by the tenacity of the riders out there. We knew that putting a 130km check close to the start/finish may be a real mental challenge for some, but all credit the people who finished – they really went all in. No single ounce of energy was spared right from the first rider to the last.
GM: Did you get much feedback from riders to you?
PE: So far we have had a great amount of positive feedback from all those at the event. We hope we met the expectations of those who came to the Dirty Reiver, and we aim to continue the same quality-offering year on year.