June 24 – 25 saw the third edition of the Red Bull Mountain Mayhem 24 hour
race take place at Sandwell Country Park on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Having won the first two editions of the event, the revised Team Raleigh
squad arrived with the hope of completing the hat trick of wins in the event
that saw some 350 teams take part.
Even with a squad combining Team Raleigh members Barrie Clarke and Elliot
Baxter together with Raleigh Factory Racing’s Dan Lloyd, and Diamonback’s
Nick Craig a third consecutive victory was always going to be tough. It was
Clarke’s second race since breaking his hand in April, Craig is getting back
towards top form, but not quite there yet, and Dan Lloyd began the race with
a heavy cold! So we realised the task was going to be tough.
The Helly Hansen squad that has finished runner-up for the past two years
were clearly out for victory from the off. With a ¾ mile run being the first
obstacle to be overcome, the Helly guy’s were well to the fore but there were
still 23 hours and 55 minutes to go! At the end of the first of the 10.5
mile laps, the Helly’s held the lead – something that they would keep for the
remainder of the event; a composite team led by National Champion Paul
Lasenby occupied second spot with Elliot Baxter for Raleigh – Diamondback
As dark fell, the positions remained and the Clarkie – Craig’y duo set about
pulling back the lead throughout the night. However, the Helly’s were on a
roll; but could they last at that pace? At the twelve-hour point the
question was all but answered; they were still going strong, and slowly but
surely building a satiable and unstoppable lead.
As light broke, second place was still within sight of the Raleigh -
Diamondback team and the squad pressed on relentlessly – never giving up on
the chance of victory. But with Clarke and Craig now taking some time out
while Baxter and Lloyd took the reigns, the task was simply too tough as Paul
Lasenby got the bit between his teeth and drove his team hard towards
securing their runner-up place.
Finally, after 24 hours of racing and a total of around 8,200 laps covered by
the 1,800 participants – or around 82,000 miles (three times round the
Earth!) the leader board read the same as it did 23 and a half hours earlier;
1st Team Helly Hanson; 2nd Paul Lasenby’s composite; 3rd Raleigh -
Diamondback. Finally, somewhere on the result sheet was my team of ‘Heron’s
Headcases’ who got loads of cheers from teams who thought we were the real
team – that we enjoyed, as the only other thing we got was sore legs and
We trounced the ‘Helly’s’ both last year and the year before; they trounced
us this year. So the bull got away…..but it’s still 2 – 1 to Raleigh…….and
we’ll be back with renewed enthusiasm in twelve months time.