On Saturday August 10 2013 the fourth round of the National Endurance Series hosted by Brighton Big Dog took place at Stanmer Park on the South Downs, just north of the seaside town. The event, now its fifth year, is becoming a bit of a classic with its festival atmosphere and fantastic trails. The course was tougher than last year, taking in some steeper climbs, in total 270metres of climbing per lap, but riders were rewarded with smile-inducing fast flowing descents. This would be the second year in a row that Ben and Tim would race the event. After last year’s success the riders had the number one and two number plates, no pressure then! As well as the main solo six-hour category there were pairs and three-person teams.
Off the start the teams rocketed up the first climb. On exiting the arena Ben sat in fifth overall and was first solo rider while Tim was just behind in third place – behind George Budd. Once out of the arena Ben pushed his early advantage moving up to just behind the leading team. This put him second overall through the arena at the end of lap 1. Tim moved up to second in the solo category and a minute behind Ben.
The trails were dry so both riders ran Racing Ralphs at the event. Ben was aboard his Scott Scale, choosing the hardtail for its light weight and acceleration. Any early greasy patches out on the clay soil track were dry after a couple of laps. Both our riders were riding safely on the singletrack to minimise risk but still managed to build an advantage over the chasers.
The Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team experienced little drama during the race, the hardest part was overtaking the slower lapped riders which is always a little scary. John from Vermont Images was once again there in support passing up bottles and gels. In an event this long and tough it’s particularly important to keep the energy and nutrients topped up. With lap times just under 30 minutes the race would be won in 12 laps, a total of 3360 metres of climbing, and 66 miles. The top 3 on the podium was a repeat of 2012 with Ben taking the Brighton Big Dog title and Tim in second.
Ben was delighted with the win. “It’s great to be on the top step here again. It was a hard race and quite stressful being in the lead the whole way. I had some of the teams to keep me company though, I think I probably could have got on the teams’ podium as well with all my laps! I’m pleased to see Tim have another good ride; he’s had some bad luck this year and deserves some more results to his name. If you missed Brighton Big Dog this year you really must enter next year’s event, what a fantastic day.”
Tim was equally happy following his strong performance. “After racing the Brighton Big Dog for the first time in 2012 I was really looking forward to coming back and having another crack at being crowned the Big Dog. The setting in Stamner Park is stunning and the course is really good fun with plenty of swoopy singletrack to look forward to each lap. The legs felt good though still weren’t good enough to stay with Ben who was flying. After a mid race bad patch I felt good again for the end of the race and was able to take second place and with Ben winning it was a great weekend for the team. A big thanks to the organisers and everyone who supported this fantastic event.”
With four rounds of the National Endurance Series now complete the Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team have won all but the one round they missed whilst away in South Africa. Tim now sits well placed in the overall standings, a good ride at the Gorrick 12 hour could secure the National Series title.
A big thanks to all our fantastic sponsors for their very generous support.
Click over to the team’s Facebook page for more info and a gallery from the event.