Sun and hot weather made a special guest appearance at the south’s toughest endurance event, hosted by Gorrick MBC and sponsored by Gill.
Riders took on between two and seven laps each just under 13 miles and with
race distances up to 93 miles the key was to conserve energy and endure the
The course took in all the best bits that Swinley had to offer, with
singletrack ranging from fast, swoopy and bermed, to tight and twisty. This
year there weren’t as many killer climbs, but the singletrack was rough,
with lots of exposed roots ready to catch out tired riders.
The seven lap race started in grey and drizzly conditions with 64 riders on
the line ready to take on the challenge of a lifetime. Before long riders
were dropping like flies, thanks to the longer than advertised course taking
Leading riders, Richard Wood (Extreme Endurance), Jaime Newall (Evans
Cycles) and Chris Minter (PedalOn) were in a league of their own, lapping at
one hour. After four laps, reigning champion Newall and Minter threw
in the towel, leaving it to Wood to lap alone and extend his lead over
second placed Rob English (www.bikerevuk.com).
After seven hours and 45 minutes, Wood finished nine minutes ahead of
English and over an hour ahead of the rest. This was a race that really
placed the Extreme Endurance rider on the map. Third place was Simon Turner
(Ellsworth/Freeborn/Torq) and the fourth and final finisher was George Budd
(Titus Cycles UK).
This seven lap marathon was an extraordinary race, where only 6% of those
who started, finished. After the race, winner Richard Wood described the
seven lapper as “one of the hardest events I have ever finished in 15 years
of racing, physically tougher than the Grand Raid Cristalp”.
In the women’s seven lap event Katy Curtis (Leeds Uni/Torq/Evans) took
victory by default after completing four laps, ahead of Karen Brammer
(Leisure Wheels) and Riana Hawlett (Giant South Africa) who both completed
three laps, finishing second and third respectively.
The five lap race saw more action. Last years champion, Steve Hambling (VC
Deal/Activ) went hard from the word go, opening up a gap when Rob Lee
(Extreme Endurance) punctured halfway round lap one. This allowed Marcos
Schier (Foska/Torq) to move into second place, but Hambling was just too
quick to get caught.
Steve rolled in after just 5:39 for 67.5miles, taking his
second win in two years, five minutes ahead of Schier. Rob Lee came home 30
minutes later to secure third. Only 18 riders out of 88 starters managed to
complete all five laps.
Arguably, the performance of the day came from Viv Hazelton (Beyond Mountain
Bikes) and Anita Hibberd (Berks On Bikes) in the five lap women’s race. Both
managed to finish their five lap quota – the most completed by a woman on
the day. Hazelton finished first, Hibberd second and Jackie Roberts (Beyond
Mountain Bikes) was third, the fastest to complete four laps.
New for 2005 was the four lap race. Dave Collins (Scott UK) and Adam Broyad
(Climb On Bikes) battled throughout the race, but Collins’s early pace
proved too hot for Broyad to handle. Nick Onslow (PedalOn) was 36 minutes
back from the top two, finishing third.
Macie Reinhart (Oxford Uni) produced a gutsy performance in the four lap
women’s race, edging out Jean Lempitlaw (Team Milton Keynes) by three
minutes for the win.
Junior Robert Whenman (Team Corridori) struck for home in the three lap
race, building up a seven minute lead to beat PedalOn duo Nigel Grantham and
Cam Brown (Bike Brothers) won the women’s three lap race in style, eight
minutes ahead of Amanda Darcy (Dirt Devils), second and Rachel Davey (Ratz),
The two lap race saw a real ding-dong battle. Andy Boyd (Southampton Uni)
entered the seven lap race at the start of the day, but after completing two
laps, decided to change to the two lap race and start all over again. Youth
rider Jay Spetch (Team Torq) and Boyd worked hard together, building a lead
of ten minutes on a classy field. His earlier exertions may have hindered
Boyd on the last lap though as Spetch had the better finishing sprint,
winning by the smallest of margins. Lewis Marsh (Inter Bike RT) timed his
attack to perfection to claim third by three seconds.
Sally Lee made it two wins on the day for the Extreme Endurance race team,
cranking up the pace on the second of two laps. Emily Joyce (Gill/1st Gear
Cycles) couldn’t handle the continued effort and had to drop back and settle
for second, three minutes ahead of Georgina Suto (Berks On Bikes).
By the end of the day there was a new seven lap champion, who could proudly
call himself king of the enduro and this year it was Richard Wood. The long
course certainly provided value for money and a real challenge to all who
raced – or just completed one lap more than they ever thought possible!