Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team at Brass Monkey Endurance Series Round 1
Photos: Vermont Images
The winter may have arrived but the Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team never rests for long. This past weekend Tim Dunford drove the team van to the familiar venue of Minley Manor for round 1 of the Brass Monkey Endurance Series.
I always look forward to the Brass Monkey events. They have got bigger every year while retaining a nice chilled (literally!) atmosphere and offer a chance to blow away some winter cobwebs around some excellent all-weather courses which always feature miles of fun, twisty singletrack. The first round was relocated to Minley, which was used for Gorrick’s excellent summer 12 hour event. Some of the trails were therefore quite familiar to me, though as a big plus quite a bit shorter at only four hours! The course was fairly flat but had a couple of little kickers and everyone’s favourite, The Bumpy Field of Despair! There were lots of lovely sections of loamy singletrack and despite a fair bit of rain during the week it was mostly dry with just a couple of puddles to remind us that it was winter, that and the cold!
The start line of the four-hour featured all the usual endurance riders and George Budd who’d swapped from the two-hour category. The pace at the start was, well, rapid. Perhaps someone hadn’t told George it was four hours not two, or maybe he was trying to set a new maximum power reading on the short climbs! After a couple of laps of hanging on I decided to let George go and ride my own race. I was in good company and rode around with Scott Chappel, swooping through the singletrack like we were on speeder bikes.
After an hour we were joined by the three-hour riders and then the two-hour speedsters. It made for a busy course at times but everyone was having a great time and with just a little patience there would be a place to pass. Scott and I were still swapping second place, a gap would open then it’d close, it made for some close, exciting racing. Unfortunately with one lap to go my tyre, which had punctured but sealed earlier in the race, gave up the fight and went psssst! Still, only my second puncture all year, so can’t complain. I was content to ride home for third. A great day out, cake well earned!
The next round is 15 December at Windmill Hill, so if you missed this round, make a note in your calendar.
Big thanks to John Newport from Vermont Images for braving the cold and taking time out to keep us well fed with USN bottles and gels and to all our other sponsors for their ongoing support.