With showers a few days before the must do MTB event of the year, the trails at Stanmer Park were not looking good for Saturday.
A few hours to spare on the Friday afternoon I decided to jump into my car and head to Stanmer Park to take a leisurely ride round the new course.
The heavy shower in Brighton that morning had left Stanmer Park’s trails heavy and tricky to ride. The first chalky climb that everyone was talking about was near impossible and the off cambered rooty trails were left slippery and very muddy, no tread visible on my nobby nics within 1 mile so in no doubt will take a few victims on the Saturday unless they dry up within 24 hours.
We had a good turn out on the Saturday morning with a few virgin Big Dogger’s, Graham Brash, Stevie G, Aled, Tom, Jason returning back from his holiday that morning with a delayed flight and full of cold! Jon Linscott full of smiles as usual with his doubles partner in crime and Redhill CC veteran John Twitchen. The Big Dog regulars Matt, Gillie, Jules, James, Gareth, Mark, both Simons and Phil were fit and looking forward to the off.
I was voted by my team mates Mark & Simon J to take the first lap! Along with Aled, Gareth, James, Steve, Simon W & John. This meant an extra lap round the field to spread the riders before heading into the trees. Unfortunately this did not quite work, bottle necks into the first trail with the back somewhere near the M23 and riders stopping in front of you up the first steep climb meant jogging was the best option.
Quick overtaking manoeuvres, sharp elbows and a little aggression was defiantly the key to get through the highly congested 1st lap and Stevie G had all of the above, watching him push through the traffic in front of me was pure magical!
Apart from the hold ups on lap 1 the trails we surprisingly dry and nothing like the day before. I could not believe the difference in just 24hrs. I thought the 6 mile course was excellent with the majority of the climbing at the beginning and fast downhill technical single track at the end, summer tyres straight on for lap 2.
The following laps we more enjoyable once the field had spread out so times got better but so did the spills with a few riders clipping trees and taking corners a little too quick. Lap 3 saw yours truly losing the front wheel taking a corner to fast after the first long downhill past the A27 bridge.
This event is very popular and so it should be with riders at pro level to the Sunday socials so if you have not done this before put it on your calendar and join us next year! Not only do you get to ride some great single track, but you get to party in Brighton to 4am in the morning as a reward for entering!
Well done to Matt and Gillie who managed 8 laps in 6 hours (with 30mins to spare) finishing 6th in the mixed pairs and everyone else from Redhill who competed in this great day, also nice to see a guest appearance by John Twitcham riding for Redhill again.
See you all next year