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RaceFace Circus of Dirt round two report

A 9km circuit allowed most riders to take the enduro at their own pace
Round three takes place in Okehampton on July 3

RaceFace Circus of Dirt rolled back the years for round two at Plymouth’s Newnham Park.

Newnham Park is like an ageing rockstar in the UK MTB racing scene. No-one likes to say a bad word about the place but, in truth, you think you’ve seen the best it’s got to offer many times before and you’ll pop the CD on once a year for old time’s sake.

The team at Shred Events have probably done more trail time at Newnham than any mountain bikers on the planet so if anyone was going to deliver some new pieces of trail then it was going to be them.

And what they actually managed to deliver was an almost completely new track.

At 9km long it was like blasting back to 1993, a time when mountain bike races were long, hard graft and the chance of getting lapped were pretty small unless, a pre-facial-mole removed, Ned Overend was on course.

The weather had taken a bit of a turn from the previous week, but it wasn’t raining and a little moisture just added to the off-camber sections and slippery bluebell-covered trails. The scene was set for a great day’s riding.

The day kicked off with the two-hour enduro, turnout was up, with most riders enjoying the bank holiday vibe of riding an enduro rather than  putting themselves through the grinder in an XC race.

The bunch quickly spread out after the 10am start and before long most riders had the track to themselves, with plenty of time to enjoy the trails and a perfect opportunity for beginners to take their time on the technical sections without having a leg-shaven skinsuit-wearing racer breathing down their necks.

The enduro proved popular with less confident mountain bike riders but there was still a fair share of hardcore trail riders that just wanted to put their nice bikes around this great riding spot and still be home in time for the family roast dinner or to head down to Plymouth’s historic Barbican on the beer.

In the XC race it was elite rider John Whittington that, yet again, added another podium top spot to his season, quoting on his blog: “The course was the cream of the Newnham crop.

“At 9km, the world was Jay and Maddie Horton’s oyster and they created a loop which went out the back of the grounds, exploring tracks I had never seen. Plenty of single track, techy climbs, fireroad climbs, river crossings – it had it all.”

Full results and images, along with online entry for the next round in Okehampton on July 3, are available on www.shredevents.com

The winners

Elite/expert male: John Wittington, CNP Orbea

Elite/expert female: Jane Cumming, Southfork Racing

Grand vet male: Donald MacGregor, Cheddar Cycle Store

Junior male: James Birch, Shred National Trust

Juvenile male: Finley Clay, Fully Sussed

Masters male: Kim Hawey, Bristol Mountain Bike Club

Masters male: Alistair Lovell, Royal Navy

Sport male: Simon Harrison, RAFCC

Vet male: Andy Gordon

Vet female: Penny Allan, Yogi

Youth male: Ed Welsh

Youth female: Lucy Allan, Fully Sussed

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