Over 200 singlespeeders, their friends and supporters turned up to compete, if that’s the right word, in the Singlespeed World Championships last
Riders from across the globe came to race impractical bikes, with only
one gear on them, around a steep and challenging circuit in South Wales.
There were competitors from all over the UK, the USA (Boston, Seattle,
Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco), Canada, Sweden, Switzerland,
Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand.
The event started in Bristol on Friday (June 1st) as everyone met at the
first pre-race party. Not your average glass of buck’s fizz and canapes, but
a party worthy of an end-of-season bash. They even drank the Porthouse Club
in Bristol dry of all its beer.
“I fart in your general direction…”
On Saturday, the whole convoy then moved on to South Wales to the Afan
Argoed Country Park, near Port Talbot, site of the 9feet.com trail that made
up the race course.
Once again, the beer flowed and the loud music played. Unfortunately,
the defending mens champion, Jay ‘Hollywood’ Henderson came off his bike
while pre-riding his bike and hurt his shoulder bad enough to go to
hospital. Fortunately, he’d not broken anything and made it back from
hospital to see the end of the party at 3am.
The next day, 165 racers lined up in glorious, scorching sunshine, for
the unconventional Lemans style event. While race organiser Chipps
Chippendale (err, that’s me!) was giving out the few rules, marshalls behind him quietly moved
everyone¹s bikes around from where they lay.
The signal to start the race was when Chipps opened a can of beer,
drained it and crushed the empty can above his head. This then led to one of
the most chaotic, colourful and cheerful race scenes anyone had ever seen. A
huge cheer went up and everyone ran to find their bikes and set out on the
start of the first of two ten mile laps.
The difference in speed between the fastest and slowest was large. The
leading riders ripped round the course at international race pace, while the
slowest rider took a book with him to read while he smoked his cigarettes on
top of the first climb.
The men’s race was won by Bristol local, Jeff Wherlock already a past
UK singlespeed champ and the current European Silver medallist. The women’s
race was won by Alison Rushton, a pro racer though on the day very much in
the relaxed and hungover style of a true singlespeeder.
The prize presentation then followed. Everyone sat happily on the grass
in the afternoon sunshine and cheered just about everything. There was a
huge amount of prizes however, in most cases, all the big prizes went to
riders outside the top ten. There were prizes for Thinnest Singlespeeder,
Best Crash, Fattest Singlespeeder (with Sumo fight for the title), most
vomitings in the race (four and the guy still came seventh).
There was a new Bianchi frame awarded to the guy most in need of a new
bike, there were prizes for ‘Best Male Legs’ (awarded by the top ten women),
Pimpiest Bike and most Hungover.
The winners didn’t get more than their commemorative USE Alien Beer
because their prize is to follow in the next week a mandatory winners’
tattoo And an invitation to defend it at next year’s race. Where that will
be (the tattoo AND the race) is yet to be decided.
The Top Tens
1. Jeff Wherlock 1hr 13min 15sec
2. Andy Boyd @ 2.20
3. Joe Hayward @5.50
4. Sylvain Garde @ 9.10
5. Matt Ward @10.00
6. Rob Hinsdill
7. Fraser Malloch
8. Fred Salmon
9. Warren from Evans
10. Nick Boyd
1. Alison Rushton 1.04.20
2. Maria Bowers
3. Elena Sansiveri
4. Karen Burt
5. Sara Randle
6. Sarah Murrin
7. Sky Yager
8. Soph Gilbert
9. Sarah Topping
10. Ash Mainland
More information, full results and pictures will be appearing on The Outcast
magazine website www.yesweareontheweb.com in the next few days.
Oh, and the full report and story will appear in the next issue of The
Outcast and there’ll be another story and colour pics in Singletrack
magazine in July.
For more information, quotes etc,, e-mail me, Chipps Chippendale The Third, using my e-mail address or ring 07977 570271, anytime after your lunch / my breakfast.