After weeks of preparations both by the organisers and the competitors it was all over in a matter of 12 hours and nothing, not even a couple hours of very wet rain, could spoil the fun that the event provided.
Year on year this event has continued to grow, attracting a huge range of riders from complete novices through to world XC riders and iron man competitors all rubbing shoulders, bumping along enjoying the compact eight-mile circuit. This year the event saw nearly 800 riders line up, all eager to get to grips with lashings of fast rolling singletrack fun.
All the organisers hard work over the recent months to improve the course paid dividends as rider after rider came in after their laps with huge grins plastered over their faces, relating tales to friends and families of fast berms and twisting ribbons of trail that snaked effortlessly around copious amounts of trees, offering you glimpses of other riders, darting in and out of the landscape up ahead.
Even the torrential rain two hours in made little difference to the race, with some riders relishing in the slip-sliding nature of the course, as they whipped around the increasingly damp trails. Fortunately the tap soon dried up, leaving the course an ever-changing collection of lines that made each lap a guessing game of fast rolling fun.
As the day progressed, riders waiting for their next lap, coupled with solo riders’ helpers, stayed glued to the constantly-updating results screen, eager to find out where they were in the grand scheme of things.
As night fell so did the mist, with riders eerily lighting up a ghostly landscape as the light faded, then as midnight struck a myriad of fireworks lit up the sky with a burst of welcoming colour signalling the race was over with riders heading to the marquee keen to grab a well-earned beer or two – and a bacon butty!
The racing was electric throughout with some real close battles for that ultimate top step throughout the categories. One of the closest had to be the vets solo race, with Dave Brothers taking an early lead. However, as the race progressed, rival Chris Clark battled furiously behind to try and bridge the gap. In the closing embers of the race, Brothers slowed significantly enough for Clark to edge past to take the win. Both riders clocked up an impressive 14 laps with less than five minutes separating them.
In the women’s solo race eventual winner Rachel Sokal made her way to the head of the race by lap two and didn’t look back, racking up 12 laps, two clear of runner-up Ruth Crawford.
In the men’s solo race, all eyes were glued on novice soloist Chris Bowles. Despite a lack of training leading up to the event his steady start paid dividends as he clawed his way up the leaderboard to finish just one lap in arrears to winner Al Fairbairn.
In the mixed team race, Bob Hope and his friends had their work cut out keeping the hungry Torq performance team from their door. After a 12-hour scrap, with female rider Jules Toone clocking up an equal amount of laps as most of her team, just eight measly minutes separated Bob Hope from Torq – with Hope taking the victory.
Event sponsors Torq were also in action in the male team event with Boyles brothers Anthony and Sion teaming up with Ben Thomas and Billy Joe Whenman, taking on the might of AWCycles, containing new dad Simon Earnest, Stephen James, Tim Dunford and young whippet Steve James. With both teams rarely dipping under 40 minutes-a-lap the heat was on. Nineteen laps later and it was Torq who reigned supreme, with AWCycles racking up 18 laps in second.
Certainly living up to their name, especially at prize presentations, were the Crazy Ladies who took the win with 12 laps in the women’s’ team race, one lap more than runners up XC Birds.
It was a closer affair in the pairs mixed team race. With 15 laps apiece the win went to VC10, keeping their rivals Stowmarket CC off the top step by just over 31 minutes.
It was a battle of the lights in the men’s pairs as lighting sponsor Four4th Lights battled with Lumicycle. In the end Lumicycle had the edge taking the win, completing two laps more laps and leaving the Four4th’s honour to be upheld by the women’s team who took their race with 15 laps ahead of rivals MTB Mum’s Ride.
The winners were not just the guys and girls who rode hard to grab their spot on the podium, other competitors were rewarded with excellent prizes thanks to sponsors and supporters Torq, Saddle Skedaddle, Continental, First Gear Cycles, Sram, Four 4ths. A race number prize draw meant that everyone was potentially a winner on the night, rounding up an excellent day out on a bike around some fun-packed trails, with a friendly enthusiastic bunch of riders.
See you next year!
Full results can be found at www.gorrick.com
All photos © Joolze Dymond