One of the more disappointing occurences (or non-occurences) of 2006 was the absence of the legendary Cheddar Challenge from the calendar. Organiser Dave Moore found himself forced to cancel the Challenge due to a combination of circumstances, bringing to an end 19 years of Somerset-based end-of-season race action.
Or, as it turns out, not. Dave hinted at the possibility of the event coming under new management in the future, and that’s exactly what has happened. Stepping up to the plate (or perhaps cheese board?) is the team from one of our favourite events, the Bristol Bikefest. So for 2007 it’s farewell Cheddar Challenge and welcome to Cheddar Bikefest (Powered by Kona).
The increasing popularity of the Bristol event is testament to the ability of the organisers, while the (in)famous Cheddar course will be extended and improved. Access issues in the Witches Wood section have been resolved, the course will run right up to the quarry area and there’ll be some new singletrack sections.
And what will they be doing with the improved course? In true Bikefest style, it’ll be a weekend of endurance racing – eight hours on Saturday 29 September and four on Sunday 30 September. Both events will have solo, pairs and teams of four categories, while Saturday’s eight-hour will also have an eight-person team option. Saturday’s race will extend into darkness, so if you don’t fancy night riding then enter as part of a team of eight and get your hour in early. On the subject of night laps, NiteRider will be on site offering technical support.
Something that Cheddar will have that Bristol doesn’t is a full range of permanent amenities – event HQ will be at Broadway House, a fully-equipped campsite. So you can look forward to real toilets, hot showers, catering, a bar and all those other things that it’s nice not to have to do without. Broadway House is also well-served with family attractions, so it’ll be an ideal event for your non-riding nearest and dearest to come along to. There’ll also be a kids’ race at Saturday lunchtime.
Also on the cards is live music, DJs and a sizable event village complete with demo bikes. The Bristol Bikefest team promises the “usual laid-back atmosphere”, and we’re sure that they’ll deliver.
Full details, including a downloadable entry form, are available at www.cheddarbikefest.com. There’s also an umbrella site covering the Cheddar and Bristol wings of the Bikefest empire (what use are metaphors if you can’t mix them?) at www.bike-fest.com.